Solution: Weekly Problem Practice For History Optional- 2022 [Modern India: Week 6]

Solution: Weekly Problem Practice For History Optional- 2022 [Modern India: Week 6]

Q.1 “Although the Government of India Act of 1935 replaced diarchy with provincial autonomy, the overriding powers of the Governor diluted the spirit of autonomy.” Elucidate. [20 Marks]


As per Government of India Act, 1919 had introduced dyarchy for the Provincial Governments. The provincial subjects were divided into two categories viz. reserved and transferred. The reserved subjects were kept with the Governor and transferred subjects were kept with Governor acting with the Indian Ministers. The scheme of Dyarchy was ‘cumbrous, complex, confused system due to several limitations and defects:

  • Illogical and irrational divisions between Reserved and Transferred subjects, the result being that neither a Minister, nor an Executive Councillor could work independently of the other. Thus, while Agriculture was a transferred subject, Irrigation was kept as Reserved, though the two for obvious reasons cannot be separated.
  • sometimes it was difficult to decide whether a particular subject belonged to one department or the other,
  • ministers did not have the required control on the services under his own department,
  • ministers were not even consulted in several matters,
  • ministers had to serve two masters: Governor and the Legislative Council.

All these factors led to the failure of the Dyarchy and as per recommendation of the Simon Commission, it was abolished in the provinces in the Government of India Act, 1935 and Provincial Autonomy was introduced. The administration of the provincial affairs was to be ordinarily carried on by a council of Ministers appointed by the Governor from the elected members of the provincial legislature and responsible to that body.

But the Provincial Autonomy did not exist in real sense which, along with other shortcomings of the Act prompted Nehru to call it a new charter of slavery.

Principle of Provincial Autonomy is that the Provincial Legislature should have complete control over Provincial Executive. i.e. Council of Ministers headed by Governor. The Minister was responsible to the Provincial Legislature, but the Legislature had no control over the Governor who was the head of the Provincial Executive. The Governor, on the other hand, was clothed with even more autocratic power than before. The Governor did not only act as the constitutional head of the province merely acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers. He had several special responsibilities and enjoyed several special powers:

  • Issuing of ordinances and the Governor’s Acts
  • The Power to assume for himself the functions of the Government in the event of a breakdown of the Constitution or failure of Constitution machinery.
    • The Governor could take the entire or partial government of the province into his own hands if he was satisfied that the government of the province could not be carried on in accordance with the normal provisions of the Act.
  • Power of making regulation for the law and order or for peace of the province and good government of excluded or partially excluded areas.
  • Stopping the discussion of Bills at any stage.
  • Giving or withholding assent to Bills passed by the Legislature or reserving them for the pleasure of His Majesty.
  • The Governor had enormous powers (which included many legislative powers as well as over non-votable items, comprising about 40% of the budget). Many items like the salaries and allowances of Civilians and the expenditure of the Governor’s establishment were non-votable, i.e. the Legislature had no control over them.
  • The Governor could and in several cases actually did dismiss the ministers but the role of Governor was active in provincial like Bengal and Sindh where coalition minsters were unstable.
  • He had “special responsibilities” regarding certain specified subjects like the prevention of menace to the peace and tranquility of the provinces, safeguarding the legitimate interests of the minorities, looking after the legitimate interests of the services, prevention of discrimination against the British subjects.
  • In the discharge of his “special responsibilities”, he was authorized to act in several matters in his discretion without consulting his ministers, in others he exercised his individual judgement after considering the advice given to him by his ministers.
    • If a question arose as to the capacity in which the Governor had to act to a particular case, whether as the constitutional head or in his discretion or in his individual judgement, his discretion on the question in his discretion was to be final.
    • In other words, the field of ministerial responsibility with respect to any particular matter was as wide or as narrow as the Governor might choose to make it.

There is no gainsaying the fact that the provincial ministers under the 1935 Act were certainly superior in power to their predecessors under the 1919 Act. For one thing, now there were no “Reserved” departments in the provinces. The other ministers were to be appointed on the advice of the Chief Minister though the Governor had to see that minorities were duly represented in the ministry. The arrangement worked smoothly from 1937 to 1939 as the Governors exercised their “Special Powers” and individual judgement carefully and very sparingly though some hurdles appeared in some provinces which were satisfactorily cleared. ©

Q.2 “The failure of the Non-Cooperation Movement and the gloom that descended on the nationalistic scene, created conditions for the revolutionary activities.” Critically examine. [20 Marks] 


  • On hearing of the incident of violence in Chauri chaura, Gandhiji decided to withdraw the movement. The Non-cooperation movement was, therefore, withdrawn on 11 February 1922, followed by the Bardoli resolution, which emphasised the need for constructive work before beginning any political agitation. ©
  • Gandhi was criticised by many including his own Congressmen (like Motilal Nehru, C.R. Das, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Bose), for withdrawing the movement when it had reached its peak.
    • They could not understand why the whole country had to pay the price for the crazy behavior of some people in a remote village.
    • Many thought that the Mahatma had failed miserably as a leader.
  • Gandhi’s action caused great dismay within the Congress and the country at large. It precipitated the violent revolutionary activities.
  • Gandhiji had promised Swaraj within a year if his programme was adopted. But the year was long over, the movement was withdrawn, and there was no sign of Swaraj or even of any tangible concessions which disappointed and demoralized many.

This failure and the gloom that descended on the nationalistic scene, created conditions for the revolutionary activities.

  • Revolutionaries had watched the ‘non-violent’ mass movement unfold with admiration.
    • Soon after, the National Congress launched the Non Cooperation Movement and on the urging of Gandhiji, C.R. Das and other Leaders most of the revolutionaries either joined the movement or suspended their own activities in order to give the Gandhian mass movement a chance.
    • Almost all important members of the revolutionary movement had participated in the Non-cooperation Movement and shared immense exhilaration generated by the unprecedented popular upsurge and high hopes raised by Gandhi’s promise of attaining independence within one year.
    • Nearly all the major new leaders of the revolutionary politics, for example, Jogesh Chandra Chatterjea, Surya Sen, Jatin Das, Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Shiv Varma, Bhagwati Charan Vohra and Jaidev Kapur, had been enthusiastic participants in the non-violent Non-Cooperation Movement.
  • But the euphoria proved to be short-lived as Gandhi revoked the movement abruptly in February 1922, when it was at its peak.
    • The sudden suspension of the Non-Cooperation Movement shattered the high hopes raised earlier. Abrupt suspension came as a shock and surprise to them.
    • The revolutionaries wanted quicker results and discounted the value of persuasion and low-grade pressure.
    • The idealist and radical youth could not find anything wrong with chauri-chaura.
    • Many young people began to question the very basic strategy of the national leadership and its emphasis on non violence and began to look for alternatives.
    • They did not appreciate the conception of integration of politics and morality adhered to by Gandhi which led the movement to a standstill.
    • They were not attracted by the parliamentary politics of the Swarajists or the patient and undramatic constructive work of the no-changers. Many were drawn to the idea that violent methods alone would free India.
    • Revolutionary terrorism again became attractive.
  • Their sense of gloom was heightened by disintegration of the Hindu-Muslim unity as well.
  • Deepening sense of pessimism and despair led them to seek an alternative- eventually it led them to socialism on the one hand and revolutionary terrorism on the other. They accepted both, And the revolutionary terrorism with a distinct socialist tinge emerged.
  • Revolutionary activity re- emerged with the aim of tapping into the strength of mass agitation, but through a technique diametrically opposed to Gandhi’s ‘ahimsa’.

But the suspension of Non Cooperation Movement was not the only factor which created conditions for the revolutionary activities. There were other factors like:

  • Influence of the Russian Revolution:
    • The Russian Revolution marked the triumph of socialistic ideas.
    • It set an example for the success of revolution against powerful enemy.
    • The Russian Revolution acted as a great source of inspiration for the revolutionaries in India. It stirred the youth into action.
  • The upsurge of the working class:
    • The upsurge of the working class also  influenced the Revolutionaries.
    • The revolutionaries could see the revolutionary potential of this new class and wished to harness it to the national revolution.
  • Socio-economic conditions created by the World War I also created favorable conditions for the revolutionary activities. ©

Q.3 Evaluate the contribution of Ghadar movement in India National Movement. What factors led to its failure? [20 Marks]


In 1913 the Ghadar Party was founded in the United States (San Franscisco) with Indian workers and students, mostly Punjabis, with the object of overthrowing the British rule in India. The word Ghadar means revolution.

Their aim was to use British preoccupation with the First World War to their advantage, link up with enemies of the British, notably Germany and Turkey and eventually organize an uprising in India by 1915, with the help of sepoys. Ghadar Movement was crushed by the British.

  • Ghadar movement can not be termed a failure.
  • Their contribution:
    • deepening of nationalist consciousness,
    • the evolution and testing of new strategies and methods of  struggle,
    • the creation of tradition of resistance, of secularism, of democracy, and of egalitarianism.
  • The greatest success of Ghadar was in the realm of ideology.
    • Through its papers it carried the nationalist critique of colonialism in a simple and powerful form to the mass of Indian immigrants
      • This huge propaganda effort motivated and educated an entire generation.
    • Though most of the participants were drawn from among the Sikhs, the ideology that was spread through The Ghadar and Ghadar di Goonj  was strongly secular in tone.
      • The leaders belonging to, different religions and regions were accepted by the movement.
        • Lala Har Dayal was a Hindu, and so were Ram Chandra and many others,
        • Barkatullah was a Muslim and
        • Rash Behari Bose a Hindu and a Bengali.
      • The Ghadarites consciously set out to create a secular consciousness among the Punjabis.
      • Further, the nationalist salute Bande Mataram (and not any Sikh religious greeting such as Sat Sri Akal) was urged upon and adopted as the rallying cry of the Ghadar Movement.
      • The Ghadarites sought to give a new meaning to religion.
        • They urged that religion lay not in observing the outward forms such as those signified by long hair and Kirpan, but in remaining true to the model of good behavior that was enjoined by all religious teachings.
    • The Ghadarites did not follow any narrow regional loyalties. (No regionalism)
      • Lokamanya Tilak, Aurobindo Ghose, Khudi Ram Bose, Kanhia Lal Dutt, Savarkar were all the heroes of the Ghadars.
      • Rash Behari Bose was importuned and accepted as the leader of the abortive Ghadar revolt in 1915.
      • Far from dwelling on the greatness of the Sikhs or the Punjabis, the Ghadars constantly criticized the loyalist role played by the Punjabis during 1857.
      • Similarly, the large Sikh presence in the British Indian Army was seen as a matter of shame and Sikh soldiers were asked to revolt against the British.
      • The self-image of the Punjabi, and especially of the Punjabi Sikh, that was created by the Ghadar Movement was that of an Indian who had betrayed his motherland in 1857 by siding with the foreigner and who had, therefore, to make amends to Bharat Mata, by fighting for her honor.
      • In the words of Sohan Singh Bhakna, who later became a major peasant and Communist leader: ‘We were not Sikhs or Punjabis. Our religion was patriotism.
    • Another marked feature of Ghadar ideology was its democratic and egalitarian content.
      • It was clearly stated by the Ghadarites that their objective was the establishment of an independent republic of India.
      • Also, deeply influenced as he was by anarchist and syndicalist movements, and even by socialist ideas, Har Dayal imparted to the movement an egalitarian ideology.
    • Har Dayal’s other major contribution was the creation of a truly internationalist outlook among the Ghadar revolutionaries.
      • His lectures and articles were full of references to Irish, Mexican, and Russian revolutionaries.
    • Ghadar militants were  thus distinguished by their secular, egalitarian, democratic and non-chauvinistic internationalist outlook.

Factors for its failure:

  • The major weakness of the Ghadar leaders was that they completely under-estimated the extent and amount of preparation at every level — organizational, ideological, strategic, tactical, financial — that was necessary for any armed revolt.
    • They forgot that to mobilize a few thousand discontented immigrant Indians was very different from the stupendous task of mobilizing and motivating lakhs of peasants and soldiers in India.
  • They underestimated the strength of the British in India, both their aimed and organizational might as well as the ideological foundations of their rule.
  • The Ghadar Movement also failed to generate an effective and sustained leadership that was capable of integrating the various aspects of the movement.
    • Har Dayal himself was temperamentally totally unsuited to the role of an organizer.
    • He was a propagandist. His ideas remained a shifting amalgam of various theories that attracted him from time to time-
    • His departure from the U.S. at a critical stage left his compatriots floundering.
  • Another major weakness of the movement was its almost none existent organizational structure; the Ghadar Movement was sustained, more by the enthusiasm of the militants than by their effective organization.
  • Other reasons of their failure:
    • The Indian political leadership and the commercial and land-owning classes gave unquestioning support to the British for their war efforts.
    • They made no secret of their plans during the voyage and British intelligence agents, who had infiltrated their ranks, gave detailed reports to the government, which was fully aware of their plans earlier than their arrival.
    • British took some preventative measures in time, such as keeping the regiments on the move, transferring them from one cantonment to another – even from one province to another, so as to prevent contact between the soldiers and the revolutionaries.
  • These weaknesses of understanding, of leadership, of organization, all resulted in what one can only call a tremendous waste of valuable human resources.
    • The 40 Ghadarities were sentenced to be hanged and over 200 given long terms of imprisonment. It resulted in the beheading of an entire generation of secular nationalist leadership.
      • Sachindranath was deported for life, Jatindranath died in a gun battle against policemen and Rashbehari Bose managed to leave the country for Japan.
    • They would certainly have given their strong secular moorings, acted as a bulwark against the growth of communal tendencies that were to raise their heads in later years.
      • In the late ‘20s, and ‘30s, the few surviving Ghadarites helped lay the foundations of a secular national and peasant movement in Punjab.
  • Inspired by the Ghadar Party, 700 men of the 5th Light Infantry at Singapore revolted under the leadership of Jamadar Chisti Khan and Subodar Dundey Khan.
    • But they also failed.
    • 37 members of those revolutionaries were publicly executed while 41 were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Q.4 “Sardar Patel accomplished a silent revolution by absorption and assimilation of a multitude principalities with the Indian Union without shedding blood with great skill and masterful diplomacy using persuasion and pressure.” Elaborate. [20 Marks]


  • In colonial India, nearly 40 percent of the territory was occupied by about 600 small and large states ruled by princess who enjoyed varying degrees of autonomy under the system of British paramountcy. British power protected them from their own people as also from external aggression so long as they did British bidding.
  • In 1947, the future of the princely states once the British left became a matter of concern. Many of the larger states began to dream of independence and to scheme for it. They claimed that the paramountcy could not be transferred to the new states of India and Pakistan. Their ambitions were fuelled by Clement Attlee’s statement that “His majesty’s Government do not intend to hand over their powers and obligations under paramountcy to any government of British India”.
  • Further they got encouragement from M.A Jinnah who publicly declared that ‘states would be independent sovereign states and would be free to remain independent if they so desired.

Need for integration

  • The Indian nationalists could hardly accept such scenario where the unity of free India would be endangered by hundreds of large and small independent or autonomous states interspersed within which were sovereign.
  • The people of the states had participated in the process of nation-in-the making from the end of nineteenth century and developed strong feelings of Indian nationalism.
  • People of the states were integral part of the Indian democratic political order and integration with rest of the country was their right, even if the leader of the state had different stand.

Sardar Patel skill of persuasion and pressure

  • “The Iron Man of India” assumed additional charge of newly created States’ Department with V.P Menon as secretary. Patel knew that ‘the situation held dangerous potentialities and that if it was not held promptly, hard earned freedom might disappear.
  • Patel and Menon adopted policy of carrot and stick.

Skill of persuasion (carrot approach)

  • The official policy statement of the Government of India made by Patel on 5 July 1947 made no threats. Instead, it emphasised the unity of India and the common interests of the princes and independent India, reassured them about the Congress’ intentions, and invited them to join independent India “to make laws sitting together as friends than to make treaties as aliens”.
  • He reiterated that the States Department would not attempt to establish a relationship of domination over the princely states. Patel and Menon backed up their diplomatic efforts by producing treaties that were designed to be attractive to rulers of princely states. Two key documents were produced.
    • The first was the Standstill Agreement, which confirmed that the agreements and administrative practices that existed as between the princely state in question and the British would be continued by India.
    • The second was the Instrument of Accession, by which the ruler of the princely state in question agreed to the accession of his kingdom to independent India, and to granting India control over specified subject matters. Patel appealed to the princes whose territories fell inside India to accede to the Indian Union in three subjects which affected the common interests of the country, namely, foreign relations, defence and communications. Some states joined the Constituent Assembly in April 1947 by their choice by signing Instrument of Accession.
  • Patel also gave an implied threat that he would not be able to restrain the impatient people of the states and the government’s terms after 15 August would be stiffer apart from appealing to some nationalist native rulers for integration in national interest. This shows how diplomatically he dealt with them and resulted in peaceful integration.
  • Fearful of the rising tide of the peoples’ movements in their states, and of the more extreme agenda of the radical wing of the Congress, as also Patel’s reputation for firmness and even ruthlessness, the princes responded to Patel’s appeal and all but three of them—Junagadh, Jammu and Kashmir and Hyderabad— acceded to India by 15 August 1947. By the end of 1948, however, the three recalcitrant states too were forced to fall in line.

Other stick approaches:

    • aroused spirit of nationalism in rulers
    • promised protection of their traditional rights (during accession)
    • promised autonomy in internal matters and asked only for surrender of defence, external affairs and communication subjects
    • assured the provisions of a new constitution wouldn’t apply to them
    • offered privy purses, retention of personal property and titles, inducements of Governorships as ‘Rajapramukhs’ (during integration)
    • emphasized that without integration their economies would collapse resulting in situation of anarchy

Skill of pressure (Stick approach)

    • used threat of popular protest
    • encouraged Praja Mandals to agitate for accession to India – Travancore, Mysore, Kathiawar, Orissa
    • cut off critical supplies and lines of communication to Junagadh
    • threat of military action
    • use of military occupation – Junagadh
    • use of police action – Hyderabad (Operation Polo)


  • Junagadh was a small state on the coast of Saurashtra surrounded by Indian territory and therefore without any geographical contiguity with Pakistan. Yet, its Nawab announced accession of his state to Pakistan on 15 August 1947 even though the people of the state, overwhelmingly Hindu, desired to join India. Pakistan accepted Junagadh’s accession.
  • On the other hand, the people of the state would not accept the ruler’s decision. They organized a popular movement, forced the Nawab to flee and established a provisional government.
  • Indian troops thereafter marched into the state. A plebiscite was held in the state in February 1948 which went overwhelmingly in favour of joining India.


  • The state of Kashmir bordered on both India and Pakistan. Its ruler Hari Singh was a Hindu, while nearly 75 per cent of the population was Muslim. Hari Singh too did not accede either to India or Pakistan. Pakistan under disguise of Pathans invaded Kashmir, Maharaja came for help to India.
  • Under international law India could send its troops to Kashmir only after the state’s formal accession to India. The Maharaja acceded to India and then Indian troops were send to Kashmir.
  • The matter was referred UN where resolution providing for a referendum under UN supervision after Pakistan had withdrawn its troops from the part of Kashmir under its control.


  • Hyderabad was the largest state in India and was completely surrounded by Indian territory. The Nizam of Hyderabad wanted to stay independent, he was increasing his forces. Patel made it clear that India would not tolerate ‘an isolated spot which would destroy the very Union which we have built up with our blood and toil’.
  • Nizam had raised is army of Razakars who were attacking people. There was uprising in Telangana and other movements were going against the Nizam. Patel waited for months for peaceful agreement but when people were not able to bear the bad administration of Nizam the Indian army moved into Hyderabad (Operation Polo) calling it a police action.
  • The Nizam surrendered after three days and acceded to the Indian Union in November. The Government of India decided to be generous and not punish the Nizam. He was retained as formal ruler of the state or its Rajpramukh, was given a privy purse of Rs 5 million, and permitted to keep most of his immense wealth.
  • With the accession of Hyderabad, the merger of princely states with the Indian Union was completed, and the Government of India’s writ ran all over the land.

Full integration of the princely states

  • The second and the more difficult stage of the full integration of the princely states into the new Indian nation began in December 1947. Once again Sardar Patel moved with speed, completing the process within one year. Smaller states were either merged with the neighbouring states or merged together to ‘form centrally administered areas’.
  • A large number were consolidated into five new unions, forming Madhya Bharat, Rajasthan, Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU), Saurashtra and Travancore-Cochin; Mysore, Hyderabad and Jammu and Kashmir retained their original form as separate states of the Union. In return for their surrender of all power and authority, the rulers of major states were given privy purses in perpetuity, free of all taxes.
  • The privy purses amounted to Rs 4.66 crore in 1949 and were later guaranteed by the constitution. The rulers were allowed succession to the gaddi and retained certain privileges such as keeping their titles, flying their personal flags and gun salutes on ceremonial occasions. Thus appeasing, diplomacy, persuasion was again used.


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