The emergence of nationalism in India pre-1920


1905 Partition of Bengal

  • Curzon's attempt at 'divide and rule' 
  • Carried out without the consultation of any Indians; outraged the existing nationalists 
  • Split Bengal into two halves; where before it was Hindu dominated, after one half was dominated by Muslims, this outraged Hindu nationalists and the Muslims realised that they needed to start protecting their interests
  • Led to forms of protest such as swadesh and public articles which raised awareness of the nationalist movement
1 of 8

1909 Government of India

Began an irreversible process of diluting power to the Indians

2 of 8

Economic Problems

  • Educated Indians had realised that India was being exploited by the British:
  • The British exported raw materials to be used to make industrial goods which they then sold back to India 
  • India provided the biggest market for British goods 
  • Tarriffs were not placed on British goods making them cheaper to buy than Indian ones, ex. cotton, forcing the Indians who were poor to invest in British economy - hence swadesh 
3 of 8

Rejection of the priveledged few

  • "posts worth more than £500  a year were reserved for Europeans" 
  • Entrance exams for the ICS were held in England; prevented many Indians from entering the service 
  • Viceroy Curzon, had a superior attitude and dismissed Indians as 'unequal to the task' of running their homeland
  • Fustration among the elite of not being able to influence the governing of the country 
  • The Indian Council which served the Sec. of State was made up of British men 
4 of 8


  • Indians serving on the front lines with the British realised that they were no morally or culturally superior than themselves
  • British ran up huge debt to India and the repayment called to benefits Indians 
5 of 8

The Amritsar Massacre

  • A peaceful protest at a religious festival in Amritsar was open fired upon by General Dyer and his troops killing and injurig 100s 
  • The is one of the worst examples of open repression and brutality in the British regime; would have discouraged many loyal supporters of the Raj 
6 of 8


  • Gandhi returned to India for South Africa in 1915 after touring India and becoming a part of Congress Gandhi began organisng satyagrahas 
  • His early satyagrahas raised awareness of the nationalist movement 
  • Became leader of Congress in 1920 and began transforming it into a political body 
  • As a leader he was identifiable with the masses unlike many nationalists before 
7 of 8

Home Rule Leagues

  • 1916; led by Tilak and Annie Besant 
  • Aimed to stimulate public opinion 
  • Organised public pressure to be put on the British 
  • Generated agitation among the masses
8 of 8


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Russia - 19th and 20th century resources »