india is celebrating its sixtieth year of independence, and various aspects of its development is being looked into!
Prof. Gyan Prakash, who is the dayton-stockton professor of history at Princeton university has looked into the history of india in a column in india today. he has kept his focus roughly between the period of 1940-47. let us revise what he had to say !
the quit india movement of 1942, launched with the august “uprising” in bombay, signalled a mass challenge to the empire. the imperial response was fierce. most of the top congress leaders were jailed and the initiative was passed to the local leaders, students, and socialist activists. much like 1857, the the upheaveal in the gangetic plane took the form of peasant rebellion.student leaders and kisan sabha activists in bihar and u.p. attacked govt properties, uprooted railway lines, and paralysed the administration. gandhi, the apostle of non-violence, declared that violence was preferable to cowardice. india was in upheaval.
nehru declared in april 1946 that the congress would be free to override any previous agreements for provincial autonomy, if it came in the way of the centre’s plan for national development. in jinnah’s eyes, this was proof of the congress’s perfidy. with mass politics firmly in place, discord at the top made its way quickly onto the streets. jinnah call for “direct action” resulted in communal slaughter across northern and eastern india. thousands were perishered between august 16 and 20 in the great calcutta killing. despite gandhi’s call for non-violence, killings continued and united india was now impossible.
it is noteworthy that depite the britishers intention of dividing india, our intelligent leaders who were british bred fell in their plan to divide india along communal lines in their hunger for power. on the other hand we had gandhijee, who also did his acdemics under the britishers, did not think it good for his own progeny. no wonder there is no one from his family in india who we know to be a great leader. think who is responsible for dividing india……!