NCERT Solutions for Class 8 Social Science Our Pasts Chapter 11 : The Making of the National Movement: 1870s-1947


Why did Gandhiji choose to break the salt law?


(i) In 1930, Gandhiji declared that he would lead a march to break the salt law. According to this law, the state had a monopoly on the manufacture and sale of salt.

(ii) Mahatma Gandhi along with other nationalists reasoned that it was sinful to tax salt since it is such an essential item of our food.

(iii) The Salt March related the general desire of freedom to a specific grievance shared by everybody, and thus did not divide the rich and the poor.


Discuss those developments of the 1937-47 period that led to the creation of Pakistan.


Developments of the 1937-47 that led to the creation of Pakistan:

(i) From the late 1930s, the Muslim League began viewing the Muslims as a separate “nation” from the Hindus. This development intensified the communal tension between the two communities.

(ii) The results of the Provincial elections of 1937 convinced the League that Muslims were a minority, and they would always be dominated by Hindus in any democratic structure. The League feared that Muslims may even go unrepresented.

(iii) In 1937, the Congress rejected the Muslim League's proposal for a joint Congress-League government in the United Provinces. This annoyed the League.

(iv) The Congress failed to mobilise the Muslim masses in the 1930s. Taking advantage of this political situation, the Muslim League enlarged its support base in the early 1940s when most Congress leaders were in jail.
(v) At the end of the Second World War in 1945, the British facilitated negotiations between the Congress and the League for the independence of India.

(vi) However, the talks failed as the Members of the League saw itself as the sole spokesperson of India's Muslims, and the Congress could not accept this claim since a large number of Muslims still supported it.

(vii) Elections to the provinces were again held in 1946. The Congress did well in the “General” constituencies but the League's success in the seats reserved for Muslims prompted it to demand for a separate nation for its community.

(viii) In March 1946, the British cabinet sent a three-member mission to Delhi to examine this demand and to suggest a suitable political framework for a free India.

(ix) This mission suggested that India should remain united and constitute itself as a loose confederation with some autonomy for Muslim-majority areas. But the Congress and the Muslim League did not agree to the proposal. Partition was now more or less inevitable.

(x) After the failure of the Cabinet Mission, the Muslim League decided on mass agitation for winning its Pakistan demand. It announced 16 August 1946 as “Direct Action Day”.

(xi) On this day, riots broke out in Calcutta, lasting several days and resulting in the death of thousands of people.

(xii) By March 1947, violence had spread to different parts of Northern India. Finally, the demand for the Partition of India was finalised, and “Pakistan” was born.


Discuss the various forms that the Non-Cooperation Movement took in different parts of India. How did the people understand Gandhiji?


(i) In 1921 and 1922, the Non-Cooperation Movement gained momentum.

  • Thousands of students left government-controlled schools and colleges
  • Many lawyers gave up their practices
  • British titles were surrendered, and legislatures were boycotted
  • People lit public bonfires of foreign cloth

(ii) In most cases, people resisted British rule non-violently, and Gandhiji’s call for non-cooperation was related to local grievances.

(iii) In Kheda, Gujarat, Patidar peasants organised non-violent campaigns against the high land revenue demand of the British.

(iv) In coastal Andhra and interior Tamil Nadu, liquor shops were picketed.

(v) In the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, tribals and poor peasants staged “forest satyagrahas” and sent their cattle into forests without paying grazing fees.

(vi) In Sind (now in Pakistan), Muslim traders and peasants supported Gandhiji’s call during this time.

(vii) In Bengal too, the Khilafat-Non-Cooperation alliance gave enormous national unity.

(viii) In Punjab, the Akali agitation of the Sikhs sought to remove corrupt mahants - supported by the British - from their gurudwaras.

(ix) In Assam, tea garden labourers demanded a big increase in their wages. When the demands were not met, they boycotted the British-owned plantations and showed their full support to Gandhiji.

(x) People believed that Gandhiji was a messiah, someone who could help them overcome their misery and poverty. Peasants expected that he would help them in their fight against zamindars, while agricultural labourers felt that he would provide them with land.


How was the politics of the Radicals within the Congress different from that of the Moderates?


(i) By the 1890s many Indians began to raise questions about the political style of the Congress.

(ii) In Bengal, Maharashtra and Punjab, nationalist such as Bipin Chandra Pal, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai explored more radical objectives and methods.

(iii) They criticised the Moderates for their “politics of prayers”, and emphasised the importance of self-reliance and constructive work.

(iv) They argued that people must rely on their own strength, not on the “good” intentions of the government; people must fight for swaraj.

(v) Tilak raised the slogan, “Freedom is my birthright and I shall have it!”


Who were the Moderates? How did they propose to struggle against British rule?


(i) The Congress in the first twenty years was “moderate” in its objectives and methods.

(ii) During this period, the Moderates demanded a greater voice for Indians in the government and in administration.

(iii) They wanted the Legislative Councils to be made more representative, given more power, and introduced in provinces where none existed.

(iv) They demanded that Indians be placed in high positions in the government; for this purpose they demanded that civil service examinations to be held in India as well, not just in London.

(v) The Moderates’ demand for Indianisation of the administration was part of a movement against racism, since most important jobs at the time were monopolised by white officials.

(vi) Since British officers were sending a major part of their large salaries home, the Moderates demanded to reduce the drain of wealth to England.

(vii) Other demands included the separation of the judiciary from the executive, the repeal of the Arms Act and the freedom of speech and expression.


What did the Muslim League resolution of 1940 ask for?


In 1940, the Muslim League had moved a resolution demanding “Independent States” for Muslims in the north-western and eastern areas of the country. The resolution did not mention partition or Pakistan.


What economic impact did the First World War have on India?


(i) The First World War changed the economic and political situation in India. It led to a huge rise in the defence expenditure of the Government of India.

(ii) The government in turn increased taxes on individual incomes and business profits.

(iii) Increased military expenditure and the demands for war supplies led to a sharp rise in prices which created great difficulties for the common people.

(iv) On the other hand, business groups reaped enormous profits from the war. The war created a demand for industrial goods (jute bags, cloth, rails) and caused a decline of imports from other countries into India.

(v) So Indian industries expanded during the war, and Indian business groups began to demand greater opportunities for development.


Who did the Indian National Congress wish to speak for?


(i) The early Congress raised a number of economic issues against the colonial rule.

(ii) It declared that British rule had led to poverty and famines: increase in the land revenue had impoverished peasants and zamindars, and exports of grains to Europe had created food shortages.

(iii) The Congress demanded reduction of revenue, cut in military expenditure, and more funds for irrigation.

(iv) It passed many resolutions on the salt tax, treatment of Indian labourers abroad, and the sufferings of forest dwellers – caused by an interfering forest administration.

(v) All this shows that despite being a body of the educated elite, the Congress did not talk only on behalf of professional groups, zamindars or industrialists.


Why were people dissatisfied with British rule in the 1870s and 1880s?


The dissatisfaction with British rule intensified in the 1870s and 1880s due to the following reasons:

(i) The Arms Act was passed in 1878, disallowing Indians from possessing arms.

(ii) In the same year, the Vernacular Press Act was also enacted in an effort to crush the voice of those who criticised the British government.

(iii) The Act allowed the government to confiscate the assets of newspapers including their printing presses if the newspapers published anything that was found “objectionable”.

(iv) In 1883, the government tried to introduce the Ilbert Bill which provided for the trial of British or European persons by Indians, and sought equality between British and Indian judges in the country.

(v) But when white opposition forced the government to withdraw the bill, Indians were enraged. The event highlighted the racial attitudes of the British in India.

Start Your
7-Days Free Trial
and experience it yourself
Start Trial
Play StoreApp Store
Flying Girl
A subscription
that’s worth your
Get the best classroom experience on
India’s leading learning platform

in touch

Have a query about our services?
Get in touch with us and we will
guide you through a new world of
redefined learning