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PSIR 1B-1.1 Political Strategies of India’s Freedom Struggle – Previous Year Questions – Solved

Previous Year Questions (2013-2022)

1] Analyse the workers’ movement in India in the pre-Independence period. [2022/10m/150w/5a]

2] Trace the role of militant and revolutionary movements in Indian national movement. [2020/15m/200w/6b]

3] National movement in India was anti-imperialist and increasingly radical in its socio-economic and political programmes. Discuss. [2019/20m/250w/6a]

4] The Revolt of 1857 was a ‘sepoy mutiny’ or ‘first war of independence’. Discuss. [2018/10m/150w/5a]

5] The success of Mahatma Gandhi lay in transforming both political and non political movements into a unified nationalist movement. Discuss. [2017/10m/150w/5a]

6] Differentiate moderate nationalism from extremist / militant nationalism in terms of their objectives and means. [2017/15m/200w/8c]

7] Comment on Satyagraha as a strategy in the Indian national movement. [2015/10m/150w/5b]

8] Explain how the peasant movement promoted nationalist ideas during the struggle for Indian independence. [2014/15m/200w/6c]

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Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2022)

1] Analyse the workers’ movement in India in the pre-Independence period. [2022/10m/150w/5a]

The workers’ movement in India during the pre-Independence period played a significant role in shaping the country’s struggle for freedom from British colonial rule. This period saw the emergence of various labour organizations and unions that fought for the rights and welfare of workers across different industries.

The early 20th century witnessed the formation of trade unions in India. The Bombay Mill Hands Association (1890) and the Madras Labor Union (1918) were among the earliest trade unions. These unions primarily represented workers in the textile and manufacturing sectors and advocated for better working conditions, higher wages, and reduced working hours.

Many labour leaders and activists were also involved in the Indian National Congress and other nationalist organizations. This convergence led to a dual focus on both workers’ rights and the overall liberation of the country.

Additionally, the early 1920s saw the spread of communist ideologies in India, leading to the establishment of the Communist Party of India (CPI) in 1925. The communist movement played a significant role in mobilizing workers and organizing strikes, particularly in the industrial centres of Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras. They championed the cause of workers’ rights and advocated for revolutionary changes in society.

The workers’ movement also influenced legislative reforms. The Trade Union Act of 1926 provided legal recognition and protection to trade unions, giving them the right to organize and negotiate on behalf of workers. The Factories Act of 1948 established regulations for working conditions, safety, and welfare of factory workers.

In the end, the pre-Independence Indian workers’ movement was a significant part of the larger struggle for freedom. In addition to fighting for immediate changes in working conditions, the movement also helped to establish the labour rights and legal framework that still influence India’s industrial landscape today. [293 words]

2] Trace the role of militant and revolutionary movements in Indian national movement. [2020/15m/200w/6b]

The revolutionary movements were an integral part of the Indian freedom struggle. They filled the vacuum whenever the mainstream movement was silent and kept the tradition of fight and pride alive while the nation was under subjugation.

After the revolt of 1857, the Gadhar movement was the first organized attempt to overthrow the British by violent means. Although it failed to achieve its stated objective, as Bipin Chandra suggests, “it was in the realm of ideology that Gadhar’s success was the greatest.”

Through its mouthpiece, it created widespread awareness about the British exploitation of India. Their ideology was strongly secular and had leadership from all communities. It had an international outlook and was democratic and egalitarian in its character. Unfortunately, when their plan failed, the entire generation of leaders was cleaned by the British.

The second wave of revolutionaries came after the failure of the Non-Cooperation Movement to secure its promised goal. The Kakori train robbery, the killing of Saunders, Chittagong armoury raid and numerous assassinations of British officials made their marks on history. The deep patriotism, courage and determination and sense of sacrifice of these freedom fighters stirred the Indian people. In their short period of activism, they left lasting impressions on the mind of the masses and awakened nationalist consciousness.

The fight for Indian freedom consisted of numerous movements with a variety of methods and ideologies, all striving for the same objective. In that, the contribution of revolutionaries was undoubtedly significant. [243 words]

3] National movement in India was anti-imperialist and increasingly radical in its socio-economic and political programmes. Discuss. [2019/20m/250w/6a]

The Indian national movement was a long-drawn struggle with various phases that adopted different techniques and goals.

The anti-British struggle was given an organized form with the establishment of various organizations in the last decades of the 19th century, Congress being prominent among them.

The early nationalists saw the British as a ‘blessing in disguise’. They wanted the British to stay and believed that they are just and reasonable. Thus, their techniques largely consisted of constitutional methods like prayers and petitions.

As the exploitative nature of the Raj was getting exposed and studied by economists like Dadabhai Nairoji and RC Dutta, the younger generation of nationalists was already feeling impatient.

These leaders also called ‘extremists’, believed that constitutional methods in front of an alien bureaucracy was a political suicide. They wanted direct action. Their goal was ‘Swaraj’, and their methods, anti-British, i.e. ‘Swadeshi and boycott’. Some of these leaders were also involved in violent, militant activities. British squashed the attempts of these leaders in the aftermath of the Bengal partition (1905).

While the moderates had kept the fight to themselves, extremists tried to include the masses. Their programs created widespread awareness about the socio-economic exploitation by British policies, and their fight also included public participation.

Things changed after the arrival of Gandhi. To acquire and solidify its mass base, Congress actively participated in social upliftment programs. It worked for the upliftment of the masses and picked popular issues of peasants and workers.

These efforts of Congress lead to an actual disenchantment with British rule. The hegemony of the Raj started breaking. And by 1930, the demand of Indian leaders had changed from dominion status to a free India (Poorna Swaraj).

The 1942 Quit India Movement marks the peak of anti-British struggle. Gandhi gave the call of ‘Do or Die’. A leader like Bose created an independent Indian army to fight the British and take advantage of the 2nd WW. By now, the movement had completely changed in its content and character. The British could no longer maintain its jewel. [339 words]

4] The Revolt of 1857 was a ‘sepoy mutiny’ or ‘first war of independence’. Discuss. [2018/10m/150w/5a]

Foucault suggests a knowledge-power connection to explain discourses. The concept becomes highly relevant while discussing the nature of the revolt of 1857.

While British historians portrayed it as a mere ‘sepoy mutiny’, the Indian nationalists like Savarkar called it ‘the first war of independence.’

In his book, V D Savarkar suggests that the annexation of Oudh and the issue of greased cartridges were only tiny excuses for what was already in the making. The revolt was an organized attempt by Indians to throw back the British and their desire to establish swadharma and swaraj. The restoration of a Muslim ruler at the helm was not a retrograde action but rather a display of religious unity to fight the British.

On the other hand, British historians suggest that the revolt was small, spontaneous, unorganized and rather a normal event in a large body like the British Indian army. There was no leadership, nor did sepoys have any vision behind the fight.

After various regional players ceased to be a challenge for the British, the revolt of 1857 was the first significant opposition it faced. It was an attempt to completely overthrow the British, and irrespective of the debate around it, remains an important chapter in Indian history. [206 words]

The post contains answers to the last 5-year papers i.e. (2022-2018). Answers to the previous year questions from 2013-2017 are a part of our book PSIR Optional Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2022)

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