Constitutional History of India


  • New Designation “Governor General” to the Governor of Bengal.
  • Presidency of Bengal got supremacy over Madras and Bombay
  • Supreme Court to be established at Calcutta (chief Justice and 3 judge; it was established in 1784).
  • Governor General Council consisting of four members.



  • Parliament asserted sovereignty over Indian territories. 
  • No. of the members of the Governor General Council was reduced to 3.
  • The Act established a Board of Control consisting of six commissioners, including two cabinet ministers.
  • The Board of Control was to guide and control the work of the Court of

Directors and the Government of India

  • A Secret Committee consisting of three Directors was appointed to take the place of the Court of Directors in political and military matters.
  • The Act established the principal that the government of India be placed under the Governor General and a Council of there.
  • The Act laid the foundation of a centralised administration.



  • The Government decided to allow British subject access to India.
  • The monopoly of trade of the East India Company was abolished except in tea and its trade with China
  • The sum of Rs. 1 Lakh granted for education.
  • Church placed under Bishop and permission to settle and hold land as missionaries in India.



  • Governor General of Bengal became the Governor General of India.
  • By this Act, the Governor General in Council was given the power to legislate for the whole of the British territories in India.
  • The India penal Code and Codes of Civil and Criminal Law were enacted by the efforts of Indian Law Commission.
  • Company's monopoly to tea trade and China trade was abolished.
  • Fourth member added to Governor General's council as Law Member (Lord Maulay as First Law Member).



  • The consent of the Governor General was made necessary for all legislative proposals.
  • The Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Calcutta was to be the EX-Office member

of Council.

  • Governor-General, Commander-in-chief, and 10 salaried officials to make the councils to 12.
  • Indian Civil Service became open competition.



  • Also known as Queen's Proclamation. 
  • The Govt. of India passed from the hands of the English East India Company to the Crown.
  • The armed forces of the Company were transferred to the Crown.
  • Creation of the post of secretary of state.
  • Creation of India Council having 15 members to assist the secretary of State.
  • The Board of Control and Court of Directors were abolished.
  • The Governor-General known from now as the Viceroy or Crown's representative.
  • Governor-General in Council was made responsible to Secretary of State and Secretary of State to the Parliament.



  • Inaugurated the system of legislative devolution is India.
  • Expansion of G-G Council Legislative Wing now known as Imperial Legislative Council
  • Introduction of Portfolio System.



  • Increase in the Additional members in Imperial and provincial Legislative Councils
  • Legislative Councils got the powers to discuss Budget.



  • Also known as Morley-Minto Reforms.
  • Introduction of separate electorates for Muslims. 
  • Indians given place in India Council, Executive Council of Governor-General and

Council of Governors. (M.K. Gupta & Saiyad Husain Bilgrami in India Council,

Lord Shina in G-G Executive Council.)

  • Greater powers to discuss Budget (to Legislative Councils).
  • Expansion of Imperial Legislative Council.
  • Expansion of Provincial Legislative Council.



  • Known as Monatague-Chemisford Reforms.
  • Introduced the system of Diarchy in the provinces.
  • The provincial subjects were divided into “reserved” and “transferred”
  • Comparatively important subjects like law and order, finance etc. Were known as reserved subject' and placed under the Governor.
  • Subjects of lesser importance like education, health, agricultural, etc. were known as 'transferred subjects'.
  • The separate electorates for Muslims were continued.
  • The central legislature was to have a bicameral legislature.



  • Provided for the establishment of an all India Federation comprising the British India Provinces & such Indian states, which would desire to come into the Federation.
  • Abolished Diarchy at the provincial level & introduced it at the center.
  • The Federal subjects were divided into two categories-the 'reserved' and the 'transferred'.
  • Establishment of a Federal Court in Delhi.
  • Made a threefold division of power between the center and the provincesFederal list. Provincial list and concurrent list.



  • Creation of Two dominions – India & Pakistan
  • G-G to continue in both the dominion till taming of the new constitution.
  • End of British Paramount.
  • Native States given option to join any of the two dominions   Abolition of the post of the Secretary of State.
  • Two Boundary Commission to settle boundary question in Punjab & Bengal.



  • We should have but one desire today- the desire to die so that India may live...  Give me blood and I will give your freedom.    

                                                                                       S.C Bose during INA movement.


  • It is a crime against man and God to submit any longer to British rule.

                                             J.L. Nehru during Lahore Session of Congress in 1929.


  • Every blow that was hurled at us this afternoon (Oct 30, 1928) was a nail in the coffin of the British Empire.  

                                               Vallabhbhai Patel during Bardoli Satyagraha. 1928. 


  • Swarajya is our birthright and we shall have it. 

                                                                      B.G. Tilak during Home-rule movement.


  • A post-dated cheque drawn on a crashing Bank.

                                                                        M.K Gandhi about the Cripps proposal.


  • British Empire is rotten to the core, corrupt in every direction, tyrannical, and mean.                                             Sister Nivedita.


  • The congress is tottering to its fall and one of my great ambitions while in India is to assist it to a peaceful demise.  

                                                              Lord Curzon about India National Congress.


  • No choice was left to those who gave the primary impetus to the movement. The ferment was at work with a radically increasing intensity and it became of permanent importance to fence for its products an overt and constitutional channel for discharge, instead of having them to foster as they had already commenced to do under the surface.

     A.O. Hume explaining the foundation of the Indian National Congress. 


  • The yoga of Bahiskar.                     Tilak about the Swadeshi movement.


  • A big jump into the unknown; A rather Hysterical Assembly; Pretensions are extravagant; A Microscopic minority of the people.

                                                 -Lord Dufferin about the Indian National Congress.


  • Indians were more helots. They were worse than American slaves, for the latter were at last taken care of by their masters whose property they were       Dadabhai Naoroji regarding British economic exploitation of India.


  • An everlasting, increasing and everyday increasing foreign invasion that was though gradually, destroying the country.  

                                                                         Daddabhai Naoroji about British rule.


  • Surely, India is treated as a vast pasture reserved solely for the Europeans to feed upon.

      The 'Kesari' from Poona on the imposition of Cotton Excise Duties.


  • While India is safe-guarded against foreign inroads by the strong arm of the British Power, she is defenseless in matter where the English and Indian interests clash and where the very tense begins to feed on the crop.               P. Ananda Charlu, an ex-president of the Indian National Congress, commented in the Legislative.


  • Under the British Indian despot, the man is at peace there is no violence; his substance is drained away, unseen, peaceably and subtly he starves in peace and perishes in peace, with law and order.     

      Dadabhai Naororji against the British Law and order going to be maintained.


  • You announce yourself as a sincere supporter of British rule; you vehemently denounce the conditions and consequences, which are inseparable from the maintenance of that rule.

      George Hamilton, secretary of state for India, complained to Dadabhai Naoroji in 1900.


  • In a way there can be no doubt there is generated in the minds of those who read these papers..... a sincere conviction that we are all of us the enemies of mankind in general and of India in Particular.                             

                                    Dufferin about the role of the nationalist press in 1886.


  • Seditious and double side character.  

                                                             George Hamilton accused congress leader.


  • Factory of sedition.                Congress was described by British officials.


  • Disappointed candidates for office and discontented lawyers who represent no one but himself or herself.       

        Congressional representatives were described by British Official.


  • The sword conquered India and the sword shall hold it.

                                          Eglin the viceroy openly threatened Indians in 1898.


  • If there is a sin in the world it is weakness; avoid all weakness, weakness is sin, weakness is death...And here is the test of truth..... Anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually and spiritually, rejects as poison, there is no life in it, and it cannot be true.

     Swami Vivekananda emphasized the need for   belief in one's own strength.

  • Bengal united is a power. Bengal divided will pull several different ways ….one of our main object is to split up and thereby weaken a solid body of opponents to our rule. 

          Lord Curzon during his visit to east Bengal on Partition of Bengal.


  • A cruel wrong and a complete illustration of the worst features of the present system of bureaucratic rule its utter – contempt for public opinion its arrogant pretensions to superior wisdom, its reckless disregard of the most cherished feeling of the people... it’s cool preference of service interests to those of the governed.

      Gokhale referred partition of Bengal, Presiding over the Banaras congress.

  • Our nation is like a tree of which original trunk was Swarajya and branches

            were Swadeshi and Boycott.                                                            B.G. Tilak.


  • The remedy lies with the people themselves. The 30 crores of people inhabiting India must raise their 60 crores of hands to stop this curse of oppression force must be stopped by force.

      The 'Jugantar' expressed in an editorial after the Barisal Conference was broken up by police (1906)


  • The only lesson required in India is to learn how to die and the only way to teach it is by dying along.       

      M.L. Dhingra before his death, executed on the charge with killing Curzon Wyllie. 


  • Nothing less than a definite vision of the Home Rule to be realised in the shortest possible time will satisfy the Indian people.

          Gandhi in 1918 when he helped recruitment to qualify for Swaraj.


  • Wanted brave soldiers to stir up Ghadr in India.  

Pay- death;

Price– martyrdom; Pension– Liberty;

Field of battle– India.

                                                    An advertisement of Ghadr party in the 'Ghadr'.


  • It was a pact for power between the educated and rich Hindus and the educated and rich Muslims. It did not involve the Hindu and Muslim masses.                                                                                                               Gandhi on Lucknow pact.


  • They are a striking demonstration of the civil service to retain its grip on our necks. I consider the Bills to be an open challenge to us.  

                                         Gandhi on the proposals of the Rowlett Committee.


  • I feel the handcuffs on my wrists and the weight of iron chains on my body... The whole of India is a vast prison... What matters it whether I am taken or left? What matters it whether I am dead or alive?           

     Gopabandhu Das accepted the challenge and disobeyed the order when public assemblies and processions were    banned during the Khilafat Movement.


  • If the thing had not been suspended, we would have been leading not a nonviolent but essentially a violent struggle. The cause will proper by this retreat. We have come back to our moorings.                   

      Gandhi assured Nehru after dropping Civil Disobedience Movement.


  • I concluded that the British connection had made India more helpless than she ever was before, politically and economically. A disarmed India has no power of resistance against any aggression... she has become so poor that she has little power of resisting famines.                       

                                         Gandhi’s explanation for his actions during his trial.


  • Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.   

                                                 Gandhi concluded his explained during his trail.


  • The fight that was commenced in 1920 is a fight to the finish whether it lasts one month or one year or many months or many years.  

                                               -Gandhi explained the Khilafat Movement.


  • My only hope lies in prayer and answer to prayer.     

Gandhi wrote in anguish over communal   riots between 1922 and 1927.


  • The congress movement was neither inspired by the people nor devised or planned by them.                                                         Lala Lajpat Rai.


  • When the Queen desires that none should die, when the Governor declares that all should live....... will you kill yourselves by timidity and starvation”                                                                                                                 Balgangadhar Tilak.


  • The Muslims were fools to ask for safeguards and the Hindus were greater fools to refuse them.                                                    Abdul Kalam Azad.


  • This orderly disciplined anarchy should go, and if as a result there were complete lawlessness, I would risk it.                                               Gandhi.


  • The Indian congress party does not represent all India. It does not represent the majority of the people of India. It does not even represent the Hindu masses. It is a political organization built around a party machine and sustained by certain observation on the Indian National Congress.                                                                                                                                        Ambedkar.


  • In no instance is a friendly glance directed to the Whiteman’s carriage........ On one that language of the eye! Who can doubt? Who can misinterpret it?                                                                                      W.H. Russell on aftermath of the revolt of 1857.


  • We have no right to seize Sind, yet we shall do so and a very advantageous, useful, humane peace of rascality it will be.   

                                                    Sir Charles Napier on annexation of Sind.


  • As long as the millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold everyone a traitor, who having been educated at their expense; pay not the least heed to them.             

                                                                                      Swami Vivekananda.


  • The reactionary administration of Lord Lytton had aroused the public from its attitude of indifference and had given stimulus to public life. In the evolution of political progress, bad rulers are often a blessing in disguise.                                                                                                                                Surendranath Banerjee.


  • It is our fault, of course, and we must suffer for our failings. However, I cannot excuse or forgive the British authorities for the deliberate part they have played in creating disruption.......... in India. All other injuries will pass, but this will continue to plague us for a much longer period.

                                                                                         Jawaharlal Nehru.


  • To sound the order of retreat just when public enthusiasm was reaching the boiling point was nothing short of a national calamity. The principal lieutenant of mahatma.............. Who were all in prison, shared the popular resentment.                               

                                                                                                      S.C. Bose.


  • This orderly disciplined anarchy should go, and if, as a result there were complete lawlessness, I would risk it.                                       M.K. Gandhi.


  • One religion, one caste and one god for mankind.            Sri Narayan Guru.


  • No religion, no caste and no God for humankind.           Shadaran Ayyapan.


  • He would talk of religion only when he succeeded in removing poverty and misery form the country, for religion could not appease hunger.                                                                                                          Vivekananda.


  • The congress is in reality a civil war without arms.    Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.


  • All men! Well-fed and happy! Do you at all realise the dull miserly of these countless myriads ….... toil, toil, toil; hunger, hunger, hunger; sickness, suffering, sorrow; these alas, alas are keynotes of their short and sad existence.          

     A.O Hume wrote in a well–known pamphlet named “An Old Man's Hope”.


  • Political freedom is the life breath of a nation.                  Aurobindo Ghosh.


  • The personal wrong done to me was an illustration of the helpless impotency  of our people. In the midst of impending ruin and dark frowning misfortune, I formed the determination of addressing myself to the task of helping our helpless people in this direction of redressing our wrongs and protecting our rights, both as individuals and as a nation.                                     

                                                                           Surendranath Banerjee.


  • The period from 1858 to 1905 was the seedtime of Indian Nationalism and the early rationalists sowed the seeds well and deep. They evolved a common political and economic programme, which united rather than divided the different -sections of the people... In spite of their many failures, the early nationalists laid strong foundations for the national movement to grow upon and they deserve a high place among the makers of modern India.                               

                                                                                          Bipin Chandra.  


   I know my country as my mother. I adore her. I worship her.        

                                                                         Aurobindo raised patriotism.


  • A force already formidable and certain to be a source of increasing trouble in the future.              Lord Curzon and his aide's view regarding Bengalis.


  • The new province would invest the Mohammadans in Eastern Bengal with a unity, which they have not enjoyed since the days of the old Musalman viceroys and kings.                   Curzon on the creation of new provinces.


  • We cannot be parties to an enquiry into our fitness for Swaraj or for any measure of responsible government.... The third reason (for boycott) is undoubtedly the affront to Indian self-respect involved in the deliberate exclusion of Indians from the Commission.

M.A Ansari the Congress President at the Madras session of 1927, declared a Congress boycott of the Commission's work of enquiry.


  • I have burned my boats.  

      Gandhi on accepting the left wings unconditional position on Purna Swaraj.


  • I am thinking furiously, day and night and I do not see any light coming out of the darkness.                          Gandhi replied to Rabindranath Tagore.


  • This is the first nail into our coffin.             

            Gandhi on the proposed bill to disfranchise Indian in South Africa.


  • I am convinced that the only key to the solution of the world's problems and of India's problems lies in socialism...   

     Nehru at the Luknow congress in 1936 pleaded for the acceptance of socialism.


  • Our system acts very much like a sponge, drawing up all the good things from the banks of the Ganges, and squeezing them down on the bank of the Tames.      

John Sullivan President of the Board of Revenue. Madras on the Drain of Wealth. 



Ram Mohan Roy (1772 – 1833) and Brahma Samaj

Unanimously considered as first ‘modern man’; pioneer of socio-religious and political reform movements in modern India.

His Religious Ideas and Reforms

  • Studied different languages in order to study the various religious scriptures in their original.
  • Believed in monotheism (doctrine of the unity of godhead) and opposed the idol worship.
  • Established the Atmiya Sabha in Calcutta (1815) in order to propagate monotheism and to fight against the evil customs and practices in Hinduism. 
  • Laid emphasis on human reason and rationality in all religious matters.
  • Applied rationality to Christianity also. 
  • Defended Hinduism and its Vedanta philosophy, as found in the Vedas and the Upanishads, from ignorant attacks of Christian missionaries.
  • Established the Brahma Samaj in Calcutta (1828) in order to purify Hinduism and to preach monotheism. The Samaj under him was based on the twin pillars of reason and the Hindu scriptures (only the Vedas and the Upanishads), and incorporated the best teachings of other religions as well.

His Social Ideas and Reforms

  • His life-long crusade against the practice of ‘sati’.
  • Championed women’s rights like right to inheritance and property, and attacked polygamy and the degraded status of widows.
  • Fought for the introduction and spread of modern education through the medium of English.
  • Made Bengali the vehicle of intellectual intercourse in Bengal.

His Political Ideas and Reforms

  • Believed in the unification of divergent groups of Indian society in order to bring about national consciousness in India.
  • Pioneered Indian journalism in order to educate the public on current issues and to represent public opinion before the government.
  • Initiated public agitation on political questions like the need for reforms in the British administration, trade and economic policies, etc.


Brahma Samaj after Roy

Debendranath Tagore (1817-1905)

  • Established the Tattvabodhini Sabha (1839) at Calcutta to propagate Ram Mohan Roy’s ideas.

Formally joined the Brahma Samaj in 1843 and reorganized it.

  • Remained the undisputed leader of the Brahma Samaj till 1866 and carried on the socio-religious reform work initiated by Roy.

Keshab Chandra Sen (1838-84) and First Schism

  • Joined the Samaj in 1857 and became the right hand man of Devendranath.
  • Development of differences between the older and conservative section led by Devendranath and the younger and progressive section led by Sen over the issues of social reforms (particularly the caste system) and of the relationship between Hinduism and Brahmanism  
  • While the latter group stood for the complete abolition of the caste system and maintained that Brahmanism is different from Hinduism, the former group wanted to retain caste system, though criticizing its rigidity and asserted that Brahmanism is Hinduism.
  • Secession of Sen’s group from the parent body (which had come to be known as the Adi Brahma Samaj) in 1865 and formation of a new organization, known as the Brahma Samaj of India, by it in 1866.
  • Spread of the message of Brahma Samaj in other parts of India, including Bombay and Madras by his tours.
  • Adoption of a much more radical and comprehensive scheme of social reform and fusion of ‘bhakti’ into Brahmanism by Sen.
  • Formed the Indian Reform Association (1870) and persuaded the British government to enact the native Marriage Act of 1872 (popularly known as Civil Marriage Act) which legalized the Brahma marriages and fixed the minimum age for the groom and the bride at 18 and 14 respectively.

Second Schism in Brahmanism

  • It occurred in 1878 when a group of Sen’s followers, under Anandamohan Bose and Sivanatha Astir, left him and formed the Sadharana Brahma Samaj.
  • Causes for this split were the question of management of the Samaj and the violation of the native marriage Act by Sen himself.

Prarthana Samaj

  • An offshoot of the Brahma Samaj, it was founded in 1867 in Bombay by Dr. Atmaram Pandurang.
  • M.G. Rana De and R.G. Bhandarkar who infused new strength in it later joined it.
  • It was a reform movement within Hinduism, and concentrated on social reforms like inter-dining, inter-marriage, remarriage of widows, and uplift of women and depressed classes.

 Swami Dayanand Saraswati (1824-83)

Arya Samaj

  • Though founded by him at Bombay in 1875, it soon became very powerful in the Punjab and spread its influence to other parts of north India like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, etc.


His Ideas and Reforms

  • Considered the Vedas as eternal and infallible;
  • Opposed idolatry, ritual and priesthood (in his opinion priests had perverted

Hinduism with the help of the Puranas which were full of falsehood);

  • Attacked child marriages and caste system based on birth;
  • Encouraged inter-caste marriages and caste system based on birth;
  • Encouraged inter-caste marriages and widow remarriage;
  • Favoured the spread of Western sciences; 
  • Organised social services during natural calamities, etc.

Suddhi Movement

  • Started the Suddhi movement (the most distinctive feature of Arya Samaj) which means the reconversion of those Hindus who had once been willingly or forcibly converted into other religions, but were now willing to come back into the fold of Hinduism. 
  • It was considered by the Arya Samajists as a potent instrument for effecting socio-religious and political unity of India.


  • After the death of Dayanand (1838), serious differences arose between two sections of the Arya Samaj over the question of the system of education to be followed, resulting in a split in 1892. 
  • One section, known as the ‘Gurukula Section’ led by Swami Sraddhanand, advocated the adoption of the ancient system of Hindu education and established institutions for boys only, the most important among them being the one at Haridwar. 
  • The other one, called the ‘College Section’ led by Lajpat Rai and Hame Raj, stood for the spread of English education, and established a number of Dayanand Anglo-Vedic (DAV) schools and colleges both for girls and boys, the most important being the one at Lahore.


Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

Major Events of His Life

  • Established a monastery at Baranagar (1887) after the death of his guru, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.


Made an extensive tour of India, which brought him into close contact with the people and enabled him to realize the true condition of India.

Attended the World Parliament of Religions (1893) at Chicago (USA) and raised the prestige of India and Hinduism very high.

  • Made his second visit to the USA in 1899 and spoke at the Congress of the History of Religions at Paris (1900).

His Ideas and Reforms

  • Popularised his guru’s religious message and tried to put it in a form that would suit the needs of contemporary Indian society.
  • Stressed social action without which knowledge was useless in this world.
  • Proclaimed the essential oneness of all religions.
  • Declared Vedanta to be a fully rational system.
  • Condemned the caste system and the current Hindu emphasis on rituals, ceremonies, etc.
  • Urged the people to imbibe the spirit of liberty, equality and freethinking.

Ramakrishna Mission and Math

  • The former is a social service and charitable society, founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1897 at Belur, with the objective of carrying on humanitarian relief and social work through the establishment of schools, colleges, hospitals, orphanages, etc.
  • The latter is a religious order or trust, founded by Vivekananda in 1887 at

Baranagar (Belur has become the headquarters of both the Mission and the Math since 1898), with the objective of bringing into existence a bond of dedicated monks who would propagate the teachings of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (the universal message of Vedanta).

  • However, legally two distinct entities with separate funds and finances, the

Mission and the Math are in practice a single body, with the members of the Math forming the main workers of the Mission and the trustees of the math forming the governing body of the Mission.

Theosophical Society

  • Founded in New York (USA) in 1875 by Madam H.P. Blavatsky and H.S Alcott with three main objects:
  • To form a universal brotherhood of man; 
  • To promote the study of ancient religions and philosophies; and 
  • To make a systematic investigation into the mystic potencies of life and matter, which is called ‘occultism’?
  • The arrival of Mrs. Annie Besant in India and her succession to the president ship of the society after the death of Alcott.
  • The society under Besant concentrated on the revival of Hinduism and its ancient ideas. In order to provide Hindu religious instruction, she founded the Central Hindu School at Varanasi, which was later developed into the Banaras Hindu University by Madan Mohan Malaviya.

Young Bengal Movement

  • Its founder was Henry Vivian Derozio, who taught at the Hindu College.
  • His followers were known as the Derozians and their movement as the Young Bengal Movement as the Young Bengal Movement.
  • Their Views
  • Attacked of traditions and decadent customs.
  • Advocated women’s rights and their education.
  • Educated the public on the current socio-economic and political questions through the press and public associations.
  • Carried on public agitation on public questions like freedom of the press, trial by jury, protection of peasants, etc.

Other Hindu Reformers

Pandit Iswara Chandra Vidyasagar

  • Contributed to the up lift of Indian women by struggling in favour of widow

Remarriage (his efforts bore fruit in 1856 when the British passed the Hindu Widow Remarriage Act), by opposing child marriage and polygamy, and by campaigning in favour of education of women.

  • Evolved a new technique of teaching Sanskrit and a modern prose style in Bengali.
  • Admitted non-Brahmin students into the Sanskrit college at Calcutta and introduced the study of western thought in it.

Gopal Hari Deshmukh

  • A champion of new learning and social reform in Maharashtra, he was popularly known as ‘Lokahitawadi’.
  • Made powerful rationalist attacks on Hindu orthodoxy, and preached religious and social equality.

Jyotiba Phule

  • Belonging to a low caste from Maharashtra and being aware of the degraded position of the untouchables and non-Brahmins, he waged a life-long struggle against upper caste domination and Brahminical supremacy through his Satyashodhak Samaj (1873).
  • Pioneered the widow remarriage movement in Maharashtra and worked for the education of women.

Nature of 19th Century Renaissance

  • The socio-religious ferment that characterized this period was religious in character. Secularisation was not yet a viable stance, although a few anticipated it. The leaders implied their appeals in religious language and were heard as spiritual persons.

Largely they stayed away from politics. Only a few had opposed British rule and preached for its overthrow.

The economic ideas of the reform leaders represented the traditional outlook. They never possessed radical economic ideas, for the time was not ripe to breed such ideas.

  • A lot of difference can be observed in the approach and methods of the leaders in carrying out the reform movement. Roy broke away from the mainstream of traditional Hindu society. Rana De followed the path of gradual reform within Hindu society; Dayanand displayed an attitude of intransigence and rigidity towards foreign influences. 


  • One should give credit to the 19th century reformers for initiating social and religious awakening in India. It was due to their work that self-respect, selfconfidence and pride were fostered among Indians.
  • In the field of social reform, the results were more positive. Almost all the reform leaders highlighted the problems of women and untouchability. Though the result was not spectacular, the road was laid in the proper form. During the first two decades of the 20th century, much attention was paid to the problem of depressed classes in society.


  • At the same time, the religious reform movement was concentrated upon and benefited only a macroscopic minority of the Indian population.
  • Further, it started tending to look backward, appeal to past greatness, and to rely on scriptural authority.
  • The supremacy of the human reason and scientific outlook was undermined.
  • The neglect of medieval Indian history showed serious repercussions both socially and politically in later periods.
  • One of the main limitations of Indian renaissance was lack of unity and a sound organisation. Opposition from orthodox elements was there at every attempt of the reformers. For instance, Radhakanta Dev organized the Dharma Sabha to protest against reforms of Roy that the conservatives of Deoband Movement attacked Sayyid Ahmed Khan.
  • Rise of revivalism during the last decade of the 19th century in the form of Theosophical Society also contributed to the declining zeal of the reform movements.
  • The upsurge of militant nationalism, with its revivalist undertones, strengthened this trend.
  • These movements were carried under constraints inherent in a colonial society. They tended to lean more on alien rulers for help in their efforts to achieve their ends.
  • In addition, the reformers lacked mass support as their ideas and programmes never went beyond the reach of middle classes and their problems.
  • On top of all this, feudalism, though moribund, continued to be a major force and its ideology did not show signs of real break-up.




Guru Nanak (1469-1538)

  • Nanak was born at Talwandi in 1469
  • Guru Nanak visited different parts of India and other countries like Sri Lanka,

Tibet, China, Macca, Madina and Baghdad

  • He settled in Kartaspur with his family in 1530
  • He nominated Lahana his successor
  • He believed in monotheism. According to his belief, God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and formless
  • He laid emphasis on the theory of Kama and the laws of good conduct
  • His aim was Sachha khand (supreme bliss)


Guru Angad (1538-1552)

  • Developed Gurumukhi script restructuring Landa script
  • Wrote the biography of Guru Nanak named Janam Sakhi and hence gave a scripture to Sikhs
  • Founded a new city Goindwal
  • Criticised udasis and their practice of penance


Guru Amardas (1552-1574)

  • Expanded Langar and drew some rules and regulator, for it
  • Started Manji System by which some disciples started spreading the message of Guru Sahib in different regions
  • Composed Anand Geet which were recited on the occasion of joy
  • King Akbar came to see him. He granted 500 Bigha land to the daughter of Guru


Guru Ramdas (1574-1581)

  • Laid the foundation of a city named Ramdaspura. 
  • Constructed two ponds- Amritsara & Santokhsar
  • Sent his Masand round the corner for collecting money and established Masand System
  • King Akbar came to see him and at his request exempted the peasants of Punjab form tax for one year


Guru Arjun (1581-1606)

  • Compiled Aadi-Granth in which the hymns of Five Gurus and some disciples were incorporated
  • Completed the foundation of the city of Ramdaspur which was started by fourth Guru
  • Constructed Harminder Sahib

Developed the Masand System. Tenth part of the income of every Sikh, was made compulsory

Founded Tarantaran, Kartarpur, Govindpur & Chharhata

  • He promote trading of horse among Sikhs
  • Assisted prince Khusroo who had revolted against Jahangir. Jahangir wanted to punish him; fined with Rs.2 lakh; was executed when refused to give the money.


Guru Hargovind (1606-1645)  

  • Started keeping two swords, one was of Piri, symbol of spiritual strength and the other was Miri, symbol of worldly strength
  • Started wearing Chhatra and Kalagi (there were symbols in kingship)
  • Constructed Akal Takht for political and military purpose
  • He organized army, which contained 300 cavalry, 500 infantry and a platoon of Pathans under Pandey Khan
  • Constructed the fort of Lohgarh in Amritsar and fortified it
  • Fought three battles against the emperor Shahjahan
  • Emperor Jahangir imprisoned him in the Fort of Gwalior. However, after some years he released him


Guru Har Rai (1645-1661)

  • Adopted the policy of peace & non-violence
  • Gave assistance to Dara Shikoh in the war of succession


Guru Har Kishan (1661-1664)

  • Went to Delhi on the call of emperor imposed him and made the king accept his authority as Guru
  • Died of small pox in 1664


Guru Teg Bahadur (1664-1675)

  • Could not enter the Harminder Sahib in Amritsar because corrupt Masands had closed the doors of temple for him. 
  • He went to Kirtpur and Makkhowal after that after staying some time at Makkowal he want to Patna and from there Bengal and reached Assam. Finally, he returned to Anandpur
  • He was executed because he refused to accept Islam


Guru Govind Singh (1675-1708)

  • Born in 1666 at Patna
  • Established Khalsa Panth to fight against the atrocities of Mughal and for the protection of Hindu religion in 1699
  • On the day of Baisakhi in 1699, he called the people for self-sacrifice. Five men Dayaram, Dharmdas, Himmat Rai, Mokakamchand and Sahib Chand stepped forward. He called them Panj Pyaron
  • There were some rules and regulation of Khalsa- keep the title ‘Singh’, Keep five K’s- Kes, Kachha, Kara, Kripan and Kangha to believe in formless God, sometimes have a dip into pious pond of Amritsar, avoid smoking not to believe in castes, flight against Mughal and protect the Hindu religion
  • Sent his famous Zafarnama written in Persian script to Aurangzeb. He condemned the policy of religious suppression of the emperor
  • Fought against rules of hills in the first war of Anandpur in 1701 and the rulers were defeated although Mughals helped them
  • In 1703, second war of Anandpur was fought between Sikhs and Mughals. Guru Sahib fought bravely but because of unavailability of provisions, he had to hand over Anandgarh to Mughals
  • The two sons Fateh Singh and Jorawan Singh parted with Guru Saheb. Mughal executed them for not accepting Islam
  • He was at home in different language like Persian, Sanskrit, Hindi and Punjab. 
  • He was a great poet. Jap Sahib and Vichitra Natak are his Best composition


Banda Bahadur (1708-1799)

  • Earlier name was Lakshmandas. He renamed himself Madhodas. 
  • Accepted Sikh religion being influenced with Guru Sahib and adopted the name Gurubaksh Singh
  • Caught in the battle of Nangal and killed



South India

Justice Movement

  • It was an intermediate caste movement launched in madras around 1915-16 by C.N. Mudaliar, T.N. Nair and P. Tyagaraja Chetti on behalf of intermediate castes (like Tamil Vellalas, Mudaliars, and Chettiars; Telugu Reddis, kammas and balija Naidus; and Malayali Nairs) and against Brahmin Predominance in education, government services and politics.
  • They founded a new political party, known as the Justice Party, which exhibited its loyalty to the British government in the hope of getting more government jobs and representation in the new legislatures.

Self-Respect Movement

  • It was a populist and radical movement founded in 1925 in Tamil Nadu by E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker, popularly known as ‘Periyar’, against the Brahmin domination.
  • It advocated weddings without Brahmin priests, forcible temple-entry, burning of the Manu Smriti and outright atheism at times.
  • Periyar founded a Tamil journal, Kudi Arasu, in order to propagate his ideas.

 Nadar Movement

  • In the Ramnad district of south Tamil Nadu, an untouchable caste of toddy tappers and agricultural labourers, originally called ‘shanans’, emerged as a prosperous mercantile class by the end of the 19th century, and began to call themselves by the prestigious title of ‘Nadars’ and to claim Kshatriya status.
  • They organized a ‘Nadar Mahajan Sangam’, imitated upper caste customs and manners (Sanskritisation), and raised funds for educational and social welfare activities.

Movement of the Pallis

  • In northern Tamil Nadu, the Pallis, a lower caste people, began to claim Kshatriya status from 1871.
  • They called themselves ‘Vanniya Kula Kshatriya’ and imitated upper caste customs like the taboo on widow remarriage.

Ezhava Movement

  • The untouchable Ezhavas of Kerala, under the leadership of Nanu Asan (also known as ‘Narayan Guru’), began in the early 20th century to attack Brahmin domination, demand temple-entry and also imitate some of the customs of the higher castes.
  • In the later period, they became the firmest supporters of the communists in Kerala.

Nair Movement

  • In the state of Travancore the intermediate caste of Nairs (numerically the dominant caste) started in the late 19th century a strong movement against the social and political domination of the Nambudri Brahmins and the non-Malayali Brahmins (Tamil and Maratha).
  • C.V. Raman Pillai organized the Malayali Memorial, which attacked Brahmin predominance in government jobs, and his historical novel Marthanda Varma attempted an evocation of the lost Nair military glory, but his group was easily accommodated within the official elite by the late 1890’s.
  • After 1900, however, a more energetic Ramakrishna Pillai and M. Padmanabha Pillai. The former edited the Swadeshabhimani when its attacks on the court and demands for political rights led to his expulsion from Travancore.
  • Padmanabha Pillai founded the Nair Service Society, which worked for the social and political advancement of the Nairs.

Western India

Satyashodak Movement

  • It was a movement started by Jyotiba Phule in Maharashtra.
  • Phule, through his book, Gulamgiri and his organisation ‘Satyashodhak Samaj’, proclaimed the need to save the lower castes from the hypocritical Brahmins and their opportunistic scriptures.
  • This movement was dual in character. That is, it had an urban elite-based conservatism (the trend representing the desire of the urban-educated members of intermediate and lower castes to move upwards in the social ladder by Sanskritisation) as well as a more genuine rural mass-based radicalism (the trend representing the desire of the rural Maratha peasants to do away with the evils of the caste system itself).

Mahar Movement

  • It was the movement of the untouchable Mahars of Maharashtra under the leadership of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (their first graduate) from 1920’s. Their demands included the right to use tanks and enter temples, abolition of the ‘mahar watan’ (traditional services to village chiefs), and separate representation in the legislative councils. From 1927, some of them even started burning the Manu Smriti as a symbol of a sharper break with Hinduism.   In the late 19th century, also the Mahars organized themselves under Gopal Baba Walangkar, an ex-serviceman and demanded more jobs in the army and other government services.

Causes for Caste Movements

  • Grievances of the educated men belonging to the lower and intermediate castes, e.g. Justice Movement in South India, Satyashodak movement (its urban aspect) in Maharashtra, etc.
  • Desire of some of the lower castes to move upwards in the social ladder through the process of Sanskritisation (i.e. castes asserting a higher status for themselves through borrowing customs, manners and taboos from groups traditionally superior), e.g. movements of the Nadars and Pallis of Tamil Nadu, those of  Ezhavas and Nairs of Kerala, etc.
  • Desire of some radical elements to improve the lot of the lower and intermediate castes by attacking Brahmin domination, and at times by challenging the very basis of caste system, e.g. Self-Respect movement in Tamil Nadu, Mahar and Satyashodak movements (the latter in its rural aspect) in Maharashtra, etc.
  • Contribution of the British – indirect before 1901 (through their policy of divide and rule, i.e. turning caste against caste) and direct after 1901 (the 1901 census began the practice of classifying castes in social hierarchical order which encouraged a flood of claims and counter-claims by different castes).


  • Resentment among the tribal people against the penetration of their areas by outsiders from the plains.
  • Tribal resentment against the extension of British rule to their areas.
  • The activities of Christian missionaries in many tribal areas.
  • Resentment of the tribal against the tightening of control by the colonial state over forest zones for revenue purposes.


  • The tribal reaction included frequent violent rebellions as well as movements of ‘revitalisation’, i.e. movements of religious and socio-cultural reform.
  • The rebellions were marked by immense courage and sacrifice on their part, and unprecedented massacre on the part of the official machinery of suppression.
  • The movements of revitalization became increasingly typical in the period during 1860-1920 generally in the wake of defeated uprisings under traditional chiefs.

Areas Affected

  • Numerous Petty Rajas and Chieftains controlled the large hilly forest region of east India. 
  • It was a difficult task to establish an administrative system. From western Midnapur (in Bengal) across the southern Bihar, Chota Nagpur and Orissa, there were repeated risings. In central India also, there were risings.



Kols of Chota Nagpur (1831-32) 

  • They rebelled in 1831-32 because their villages were being transferred from Kol headman to foreign farmers. 
  • Extensive military operations had to be undertaken before it was suppressed.

Santhals of Rajmahal Hills (1855-56)

  • They were a simple folk. However, the heavy demands of rents compelled them to depend upon moneylenders, and they easily became victims to the latter’s malpractices. 
  • A religious enthusiast who claimed divine revelation and proclaimed that the country was to be taken away from the ‘sahibs’ provided further fuel. 
  • The grievances accumulated and, in 1855, the Santhals rebelled. 
  • They were subdued by the end of 1856 and a separate district of Santhal Paraganas formed.

Bhils of Khandesh (1818)

  • They controlled the mountain passes between the north and the Deccan. 
  • Maratha Wars, Pindari attacks, misgovernment and famine, devastated their region. 
  • On top of all this came the occupation of their country by the British in 1818. 
  • The revolt lasted nearly 30 years.

Kolis of Sahyadri Hills

  • They were employed earlier to defend forts. However, when the British dismantled the forts, they lost employment. Consequently, discontent led to their risings intermittently in the second quarter of the 19th century. 

Mundas of Chota Nagpur

  • They had witnessed their traditional ‘Khunt-katti’ land system being eroded by ‘Jagirdars’ and ‘Thikadars’ coming from the northern plains. 
  • Christian missions promised some help but eventually did nothing. 
  • Tribal chiefs (sardars) attempted to fight in the courts but failed. 
  • The savior came in the shape of Birsa Munda who claimed to have seen a vision of the Supreme God. 
  • Mundas responded enthusiastically to his passionate appeals to revolt. 
  • However, the rebels were defeated and Birsa Munda was captured and later died in prison. 
  • Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act of 1908, however, did provide some very belated recognition to ‘Khunt-katti’ rights and banned ‘Beth begari’.

Khonds of Khondmals (Orissa 1914)

  • In Orissa, a Khond rebellion began in 1914 over a disputed succession. The

British feared a general Khond rising and so went about burning Khond villages.

Oraons of Chota Nagpur

  • They participated in a movement started by Jatra Bhagat in 1914 calling for monotheism, abstention from meat, liquor and tribal dances and a return to shifting cultivation. 
  • Quick repressive action stamped out this militant strand.

Bhils of Rajasthan

  • They had been stirred to action by a reform movement under Govind Guru. This developed into a bid to set up a Bhil Raj. 
  • British were able to disperse them only after considerable resistance.

Koyas of Andhra (1879-80)

  • In the ‘Rampa country’, tribal Koya and Kondadora hill chiefs had risen against their overlord on a number of occasions in the 19th century. 
  • The major revolt of 1879-80 was rooted in the mansabdar’s efforts to enhance taxes on timber and grazing, while police exactions, new excise regulations restricting domestic preparation of toddy, exploitation by low country traders and moneylenders, restrictions on shifting cultivation (podu) in forest provided additional grievances. It could be suppressed only with the use of six regiments of madras Infantry.
  • Rampa again became a scene of a veritable guerilla war between 1922 and 1924 led by Allure Sitarama Raju. The grievances were the old ones of exploitation by moneylenders and forest laws restricting shifting cultivation and age-old grazing rights. An unpopular Tahsildar, Bastian of Gudem, provided the immediate occasion by trying to construct forest roads with unpaid tribal labour. The movement combined primitive rebellion with modern nationalism. It cost the madras government Rs. 15 lakhs to suppress the rebellion with the help of the Malabar Special Police and Assam Rifles.

Chenchus of Nallamala Hills

  • Another tribe of Andhra, the Chenchus, found its traditional rights to forest produce being increasingly restricted by the government from  DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATION
  1. a. First attempt was made through the Charter Act of 1813
    1. A Sum of Rs. 1 lakh was granted for the development of education and learning


    1. a. A 10 member Committee on Public Instructions was set up in 1823 with Horace

Haymon as the first President for the development of Education

    1. Later Macaulay became its President who was a great notary of western education


  1. Orientalist-Anglicist controversy finally ended in the victory of Anglicists headed by Macaulay, which led to introduction of Western Education


    1. a.  Macaulay’s minute, 1835 presented outline of western education through

English as medium of instruction

    1. It accepted Down Infiltration Theory
    2. Emphasis on Western education


  1. a. Bentinck’s Resolution, 1835
    1. Introduction of Macaulay’s system of education


  1. a. Adam’s Report on Vernacular Education in Bengal & Bihar
    1. In 1835, 1836 & 1838
    2. By William Adam, a missionary


  1. a.  Replacement of Persian by Vernaculars in District Court in 1833
    1. Replacement of Persian by English as official language in 1837
    2. English & Western education was made Passport to government employment in 1844 by Lord Hardinge


  1. a. Wood’s Dispatch known as Magna Carta of education in 1854
    1. By Charles Wood, the President of Board of control
    2. Features:
      1. Vernaculars for Primary Education                       ii. English for higher education                          iii. Grants-in-Aid for education

                     iv. Universities at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras                v. Education for all


  1. a. Plea for university at Calcutta on the model of London university was made first by Frederick John Mout
    1. Three universities set up at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras in 1857
    2. First Chancellor of Calcutta University was Lord Canning
    3. First Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University was William Colville


    1. a. First Indian Education Commission was set up in 1882
      1. Known as Hunter Commission under William Wilson Hunter, a member of

Governor Council

    1. Recommendations:
      1. Expansion of primary education                       ii.  Aid to female education                       iii.  Role of private enterprises

 iv.  Secondary education to be divided into two sectors literary education and  Vocational education


  1. Educational Conference convened at Shimla in 1901 by Lord Curzon


  1. a. Indian Universities Commission was set up in 1902 under Raleigh
    1. Only Indian member was Gurudas Banerjee
    2. Recommendations
      1. Vernacular in MA courses                     ii. Introduction of Advance Courses in universities                   iii. Raising of standard of Degree Examination


  1. a. Passing of Indian Universities Act in 1904
    1. Reduced no. of elected member in senate
    2. Strengthened govt. control over universities


  1. a. Curzon encouraged study of India’s ancient heritage
    1. Set up a Dept. of Archaeology
    2. Passed Ancient Monument Preservation Act in 1904


  1. a. Delhi Durbar of 1911
    1. King George V gave a grant of Rs. 50lakh for popular education


  1. a. Sadler Commission, 1917 under Michael Sadler
    1. Two Indian member Ashutosh Mukherjee and Ziauddin Ahmed
    2. Recommendations
      1. Degree Course to be divided into Honours and Pass Course                     ii. Introduction of 1+2+3 Pattern                     iii. Board of women’s Education                       iv. Minimum govt. interference


  1. a. Conference of Indian Universities in 1924 at Shimla
    1. For establishment of coordination among the universities
    2. It led to formation of Inter University Board in 1925


  1. a. Philip Hartog Committee in 1928
    1. A sub-committee of Simon Commission
    2. Recommendations
      1. Tutorial teaching   ii. Diversification of courses
  2. a. Central Advisory Board of Education in 1921
    1. Discussed Problems of educational reconstruction


  1. a. Sargent Report, 1944
    1. Presented by John Sargeant, the educational advisor to government
    2. Recommended abolition of intermediate level and introduced of free and    compulsory education (6 to 11 yrs.)




    • Printing Press was introduced in India by the Portuguese
    • First book in India was published by Jesuits of Goa in 1557
    • East India Company established a Press in Bombay in 1684
    • First newspaper published in India was Bengal Gazette or Calcutta General Advertiser in 1780 by Hickay
    • First Censorship of Press Act was passed in 1799 by Wellesley
    • Strict Licensing Regulations were introduced in 1823 by John Adam Provisions
    • License for starting a press
    • Power of G-G to revoke the license
    • Mirat-ul-Akhbar of Raja Ram Mohan Roy was banned through three regulations
    • William Bentinck showed liberal approach towards press
    • Charles Metcalfe is known as Liberator of Press. He revoked Regulations of 1823 in 1835
    • During the Revolt of 1857, Licensing Act of 1857 was passed for one year to discourage activities of Press
    • Lord Lytton passed Vernacular Press Act in 1878
    • It is known as Gagging Act           Provisions
    • No publication of any matter against Government
    • No to provoke the subjects of British Crown in India
    • No right to appeal in court of law
    • Under this Act proceedings were initiated against Som Prakash and Bharat Mihir
    • This Act was repealed by Ripon in 1882
    • Newspaper Act of 1908 to check anti-government propaganda
    • Indian Press Act of 1910
    • It revived features of Vernacular Press Act, 1878 of Lython
    • Formation of Press committee in 1921 under T.B. Sapru, the law member, to review   working of Press laws
    • Press Laws of 1908 & 1910 were repealed on its recommendations
    • Indian Press (Emergency Powers) Act, 1931 to check nationalistic activities during CDM
    • Press Enquiry Committee, 1947
    • It recommended for repeal of obnoxious acts