Decolonization and nation building
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Decolonization and Nation Building. HIST 132 4 /8/13. Indian Nationalism. After 1858, emphasis on reducing ethnic, religious, and social divisions - Pan-Indian nationalism Combined Western ideas with traditional practices

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Decolonization and Nation Building

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Decolonization andNation Building

HIST 132


Indian Nationalism

  • After 1858, emphasis on reducing ethnic, religious, and social divisions - Pan-Indian nationalism

  • Combined Western ideas with traditional practices

  • Many nationalists came from growing middle class, merchants and manufacturing.

Barriers to Indian Nationalism

  • Deep economic divisions

    • Rural: peasants – landowners – moneylenders – maharajahs (princes)

    • Urban: urban poor – laborers – craftsmen – merchants

  • Language: 1,652 dialects spoken in India,

    122 spoken by more than 10,000 people,

    29 spoken by more than 1 million

    • English as language of upper class

  • Religion:

    • Hinduism: division into 100s of

      occupational castes

    • Muslims: had ruled before British;

      ¼ of population

  • Gender

British Rule and Industrialization

  • Colonial India governed by a

    British viceroy

  • Indian Civil Service: primarily


  • Encouraged industrialization

    which benefited British rule

    (railroads, telegraphs, etc.)

  • Discouraged industrialization

    which would benefit India (cotton

    and steel industries, limited

    training of Indians, etc.)

India at the turn of the 20th century

  • Despite famine and droughts (killing 2 million people from 1896-1900 alone), India’s population exploded.

  • 1900 = 250 million; 1941 = 389 million

  • Population growth placed new economic pressures on India

  • Despite deforestation and irrigation, not enough

    land available for peasants

  • Landless peasants moved

    to the cities, but there

    weren’t enough jobs

  • Conditions difficult for

    both rural and urban lower


Indian Nationalism

  • Many Indians accepted British rule

  • Did not accept British racism

  • Macaulay’s Children and lack of access

  • Indian National Congress: Founded in 1885; increased access to government positions

  • Partition of Bengal

    • 1905: Lord Curzon divides Bengal into two


    • Angers nationalists who were not consulted

    • Angers Hindu Bengalis who were now

      minorities in East Bengal

  • Demonstrations, boycotts of British goods,

    and violence

Divide and Conquer

  • All-India Muslim League: founded in 1906 to protect against Hindu domination

  • British grant limited rights to vote based on wealth

  • Muslims tended to be poorer than Hindus

    • Partially because many lower caste Hindus converted

  • British offer different voting qualifications for Hindus and Muslims

  • Shift capital from Calcutta

    to Delhi, former capital of Mughal


WWI and Indian Nationalism

  • During WWI, 1.2 million Indians volunteered for the army

  • Millions more contributed money to support British cause

  • Feeling that British would grant political concessions for loyalty

  • 1917: Announcement

    of the development of

    self-governing institutions,

    but vague

The Amritsar Massacre, 1919

  • April 13, 1919: General Reginald Dyer orders British troops to fire on peaceful protestors in the city of Amritsar

  • At least 370 killed, 1,200 wounded

  • Protests sweep across India

  • British House of Lords vote to approve of Dyer’s actions

  • A fund established to raise

    money in appreciation of Dyer’s


Mahatma Gandhi

  • Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)

  • “Mahatma” = “great soul”

  • English educated

  • Lawyer for Indian community in South Africa

  • 1915: Joined Indian National Congress

  • Preached ahimsa (non-violence)

    and satyagraha (truth-force)

  • Famous for organizing non-violent,

    non-cooperation protests against

    British rule


  • 1921: Gandhi gives up both Western style dress and upper class Indian style

  • Wears a length of homespun cloth and a shawl

  • Pushes independence movement as a

    mass movement by speaking to the

    harijan (Children of God) or the poor

    and outcaste

  • Protests include encouraging

    homespun cloth and gathering salt

    from the sea.

  • How are these effective protests?

Gandhi “Indian Home Rule”

  • Some questions to consider when reading:

  • How does Gandhi see India receiving its independence?

  • How does he see India responding after independence?

  • What would Gandhi like to see

    the British do?

Move to Home Rule

  • 1920s: British begin offering India control over “national” areas; education, economy, and public works.

  • Increase enrollment of Indians in the Civil Service

  • India able to impose tariffs against imports,

    including British imports, giving Indian

    industry a needed boost.

  • Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964): Gandhi’s

    designated successor as leader of Indian

    National Congress

    • Appealed to middle and upper class Indians

    • Wanted to push India as a modern industrial



  • Britain did not consult a single Indian when committing India to World War II

  • Provincial governments dominated by Indian National Congress quit en masse.

  • Push for full independence; “Quit India”

  • After the war, British Labour Party prepared for independence.

  • In the British Government

    Statement: Policy in

    India, 1946, what is the

    British government most

    concerned about?

Nehru, Speech on the Granting of Indian Independence, 1947


  • What does Nehru say about the future of India?

  • How does he relate India to the rest of the world?


  • 1937: Indian National Congress won provincial elections but refused to share power with the Muslim League

  • 1940: Muhammad Ali Jinnah (leader of Muslim League) demands an independent Pakistan

  • As independence approached, violence and rioting broke out between Hindus and Muslims

  • Gandhi’s appeals for tolerance

    went unheard

  • British calls for unification were



  • 1947: Indian National Congress accepts partition of Indian into secular, Hindu dominated India and Muslim Pakistan

  • Midnight August 15, 1947: India and Pakistan gain independence

  • Nehru and Jinnah become first leaders.

  • Violent outbreaks as Muslims moved north and Hindus

    moved south

  • 12 million people relocated

  • Trainloads of refugees

    attacked and killed

  • Train to Pakistan:

    Khushwant Singh


  • After partition, only one Muslim majority province remains a part of India, Kashmir

  • Most inhabitants of Kashmir would

    have voted to join Pakistan,

    but they were not allowed to.

  • Continues to be a source

    of conflict between India

    and Pakistan today…

Africa: French North Africa

  • 1952-1956: France grants independence to Morocco and Tunisia

  • Algeria is a different story…

    • 150 years of French rule

    • French settlement (10% of


    • Political rights to settlers

    • Fiction of integration with French


    • Like India, little real benefit…

  • Vietnamese success provokes

    Algerian response.

Battle for Algiers

  • Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN): supported by Egypt and other Arab countries, interested in liberation of all Arab nations

  • French colonists see Algeria as theirs and fight brutally until very end.

  • Battle for Algiers (1966)

  • 1962: Algerian


  • Colonists return to France

  • Despite long war for

    independence, strong ties

    remain between Algeria and


Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Independence through negotiation.

  • Like in India, leaders of independence movements often Western educated

  • Colonial organizations (schools, bureaucracies, labor

    associations) and imposed

    languages brought unity to

    independence movements.

  • Population growth added

    a youth movement to

    independence movement.

Kwame Nkrumah and Ghana

  • Studied in U.S. (philosophy and theology) and connects with black pride and independence ideologies of W.E.B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey

  • West African Secretariat:

    Pan-Africanist movement

    for decolonization

  • 1947: Returns to Gold Coast

  • 1951: Becomes Prime Minister

  • 1957: Full Independence

Kenya and the Mau Mau

  • White settler population resists independence

  • Protests amongst Kikuyu people

  • Settlers call the movement “Mau Mau” to make it sound primitive and savage

  • 1952: Violence escalates

    between settlers and

    anti-colonial groups

  • British troops hunted down

    Kikuyu leaders and resettled


Jomo Kenyatta (1894-1978)

  • PhD in Anthropology (London)

  • 1952: British impose a state of

    emergency in Kenya (British East

    Africa) and arrest Kenyatta and other

    nationalist leaders.

  • 1961: Kenyatta negotiates with the

    British, agrees to write a constitution

    for independent Kenya

  • 1964: Kenyatta becomes first

    president of Kenya

Benefits of French Rule…

  • Realization of future discrepancies between different regions (resource rich Ivory Coast vs. desert Niger)

  • Importance of French investment (a billion dollars between 1947-1956)

  • Dependence of elites on civil service employment.

  • Push to gain more self-governance under France

  • “One cannot conceive of both an independent territory

    and a France which continues

    to aid it.” de Gaulle, 1958

  • Does not stop the drive to


Belgian Congo and the Cold War

  • Contending political and ethnic groups backed by external allies.

  • Western business groups tied to mining operations.

  • Civil War with foreign mercenaries and Cold War

    rhetoric leads to heavy loss of life.

  • 1965: Mobuto SeseSeko seizes

    power in a military coup.

  • Results in corrupt regime,

    stays in office until 1997.

Results of Decolonization

  • Underdevelopment and poverty

  • Most trained professionals return to Europe

  • New nations push economic agendas in UN

  • Anti-Imperialist appeal of Soviet Union

  • New map reflects colonial experience, not ethnic, linguistic, religious, etc. divisions

  • Conflicts over political future of newly independent nations

  • Conflicts can take ethnic/sectarian turn…

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