Essay on the last phase of India’s struggle for independence (1945-47)

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a. Introduction:

Till very recently it was believed that the 42-Movement was the last mass movement of the Indian people that eventually led to the transfer of power by the British to Indian hands.

But it is quite possible now to express a contrary view that during the period following the end of the World War II there were popular initiatives challenging the British rule in India.

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Indeed, various people, such as the peasants, workers, students, and even the armed forces organized militant demonstrations throughout the country that made the continuance of the British rule in India impossible.

b. Students’ Movement:

The student con munity lodged severe protest against the British government when it decided to hold public trial of the INA prisoners.

For example, in Calcutta streets the student community organized a sit in demonstration which continued for long hours.Two of the protesters were killed when the British police opened fire on them.

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c. The RIN Revolt:

The ratings of the Royal Indian Navy had their grievances against their senior officers.

But they also expressed their patriotism when the ratings included the release of the INA soldiers in their charter of demands.

Immediate release of the INA generals was their first and foremost of the demands.

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d. Workers ‘Movement:

In the final phase of the national upsurge there was a wave of strikes organized by the workers of industries, press, bank, office, etc.

In the opinion of R. P. Dutt the workers’ movement reached its climax in 1946 when as many as nineteen lakhs of workers participated in the strike.

The industrial workers of Howrah in West Bengal, Kanpur and many other places went on strike. The Railway strike of 1946 (31 July) was described by the British officials as a ‘serious political situation’.

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e. Peasant and Tribal Movement:

In the post-War upsurge peasants and the tribal people of different places of the country burst out in rebellion.

In this respect mention may be made of the Tebhaga movement of Bengal, Tonk Movement and Baksht Movement in Bihar.

In the Tebhaga movement the peasants demanded two-third of the Produce of the soil Peasantry resisted the eviction from land in the Baksht movement.

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During the period under consideration the tribals of Dahanu and Umabarga waged intense struggle against the money-lenders and other oppressors.

Thus it may be said that in the last phase of the national movement all classes of people burst out in rebellion that ultimately forced the British to leave the country as early as possible.

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