Many factors were responsible for the awakening of the Indians. With the opening of schools and colleges, some people got higher education. They learnt that the Indian were not treated well. They were not given the higher posts. Some people started speaking English, so the people of different regions came in contact with each other. They began to understand each other. The starting of railways and other means of communication also brought the people nearer. Our social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Swam/ Daya Nand, Swami Vivekanand and some other reformers brought about awakening among the Indians. All these factors made them conscious of their position in their own country. They began to oppose the policies of the British Government. There was great unrest and dissatisfaction in the country.
A retired English officer, Allan Octavian Hume ( A, O. Hume) thought that there should be an association to give vent to the feelings of the Indians. He collected some prominent educated Indians and formed the Indian National Congress in 1885. W.C. Banner was the first President of the Congress. Leaders from all over the country joined the Congress. In 1886 Dado Bhai Naoroji was elected its President. Gopal Krishan Gokhale, Feroze Shah Mehta, Ranade, Bal Gonga Dhar Tilak, Bipin Chander Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai were some of its prominent leaders. In the beginning the Government policy was friendly towards the Congress.
Bal Gonga Dhar Ti’lok, Lola Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chander Pal ( Bal, Lal, Pal) were the leaders of the Congress. They wanted to free India. Bal Ganga Dhar Tilak said, “Freedom is my birth right and I shall have it.” Youngman of the country were greatly influenced by these leaders. There was yet another group that wanted freedom at the point of the gun. They believed in the use of force. They were known as revolutionaries. Many of them like Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru, Sukhdev, Chander Shekhar Azad and others laid down their lives for the freedom of the motherland.
The British did not like the Indians to be united. They partitioned Bengal. This hurt the feelings of the Indians. They started agitations. There were strikes and boycott. They also started Swedish Movement. Ultimately the partition of Bengal had to be cancelled.
The First World War started in 1914. The people of India did not want to join the war. But the British wanted to fight the war. By this time Mahatma Gandhi came back to India from South Africa in 1916. He joined the Indian National Congress. He was a moderate leader. He asked people to help the British in the war. He hoped that the British will give freedom to India after the war.