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Day 3 – Q.3 How did the first world war affect the discourse of nationalist movement in India? Critically examine.

  • IASbaba
  • November 30, 2022
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Art & Culture, GS 1, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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3.How did the first world war affect the discourse of nationalist movement in India? Critically examine.

प्रथम विश्व युद्ध ने भारत में राष्ट्रवादी आंदोलन के विमर्श को किस प्रकार प्रभावित किया? समालोचनात्मक जाँच कीजिए।


Approach –

In this question candidates need to write about how first world war changes discourse of nationalist movements in India,give both positives and negatives

Introduction –

The First World War (1914-1918) altered the economic and political situation in India. The British government declared India as an ally without the consent of the Indians. This created mass resentment among the Indians against the British rule, as the war had the many  socio-economic impacts on Indians.

Body – 

  • A huge rise in the defence expenditure of the British Colonial Government, which increased taxes on individual incomes and business profits.
  • Increased military expenditure and demands for war supplies led to a sharp rise in prices which created great difficulties for the common people.
  • The crop failure of 1918-19 and 1920-21 led to acute food shortages, accompanied by epidemic influenza.
  • These factors, among others, gave impetus to the nationalist movement in India. Apart from the economic impact, the war and its aftermath also involved the following:
  • A large number of Indian soldiers serving abroad. Many returned with an understanding of the ways in which the imperialist powers were exploiting the people of Asia and Africa, with a desire to oppose colonial rule in India.
  • The British were fighting against the Turkish Empire, which was ruled by the Caliph (Khalifa). The Muslims had great respect for the Caliph and joined the Caliphate (Khilafat) Movement for the defence of Turkey against the British.
  • The war effort compounded the oppression faced by the agrarian society faced with exorbitant tax rates, high prices of food & other necessities.
  • The anguish amongst the tenants was leveraged by nationalists who initiated the process of their organization on modern lines & linked them with politics at the national level e.g. in Kisan Sabhas in UP & Mappila agitation in Malabar.
  • The growing nationalism also re-united the moderates & the extremists at the Luckow session, 1916.
  • Furthermore, the Congress & the Muslim League ignored their differences & put up common Political demands in front of the British.
  • Ghadarites attempted a violent overthrow of British rule, while the Home Rule Leaguers launched a nation-wide agitation for securing Home Rule or Swaraj.
  • Mahatma Gandhi emerged as the leader of the masses & led the Khilafat movement to unify Hindus and Muslims. He also propagated the idea of Satyagraha. The Champaran Satyagraha, Kheda Satyagraha and Ahmadabad Satyagraha- were centred around the issues of locals.
  • The Indian business groups reaped great profits from the war; the war created demand for industrial goods (jute bags, cloth, rails) and caused a decline of imports from other countries to India.
  • As the Indian industries expanded, the Indian business groups began to demand greater opportunities for development.

Conclusion –

Thus, the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 gave a new lease of life to the nationalist movement which had been dormant since the Swadeshi Movement.

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