Indian National Movement – History of India and Indian National Movement UPSC Notes

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Indian National Movement was one of the most important events in the history of India. It propelled the fight for independence and helped India gain freedom. The national movement in India marks a series of events that happened throughout the latter half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries that ultimately led to freedom from British rule in 1947. The movement is denoted by a rise in nationalism and the development of Indian consciousness which united various groups of varying interests to fight for one common cause, the emancipation of people and the country.

National Movement in India is pivotal to figuring out the historical, economic, and socio-political dynamics of the country. From the point of view of the UPSC exam, Indian National Movement notes PDF is crucial to have a proper understanding of the timeline, various events, and their causes. To understand the most significant movement in Indian history, being aware of the causes of the rise of Indian nationalism is essential. We have provided detailed Indian National Movement UPSC notes below for enhanced learning and understanding.

Indian National Movement

Indian National Movement refers to the mass movement that was the result of the rise in Indian consciousness and nationalism. The movement was started in the latter half of the nineteenth century and was the first instance of successful resistance against British rule. Before the National Movement in India, the fight for independence was going on in smaller, segregated sections throughout the country. Due to the divisive nature of these struggles, none were successful for too long. Many considered India not as one country but rather as a bunch of kingdoms being colonized by the same oppressive British force. The subcontinent was one entity for the colonizers. However, within it, people identified themselves differently from each other.

Indian National Movement Notes PDF

To ensure an enhanced grasp of all the movements and causes of Indian Nationalism, studying proper notes is necessary. Indian National Movement Notes for UPSC are written in a manner that enables easy understanding and retention. Find the link to download the notes below.

Indian National Movement Notes PDF

Indian National Movement changed that as the realization of what unity could do for the citizens dawned upon them. The different sections of society came together to fight for their emancipation, which led to a larger impact. Despite religious, social, and cultural norms, people decided to unite their efforts against the British, which ultimately led to success in the year of 1947.

3 Phases of Indian National Movement

On the basis of leadership, time period, and ideology, the timeline of the Indian National Movement from 1855 to 1947 is divided into three periods. The three phases of the Indian National Movement are:

  • Moderate Phase/Early Nationalism Era
  • Extremist Phase/Assertive Nationalism Era
  • Gandhian Phase
Phase Time Period Objective
Moderate Phase 1885 – 1905 Dominion Status
Extremist Phase 1905 – 1919 Swaraj or Self-Government
Gandhian Phase 1919 – 1947 Complete Independence

History of India and Indian National Movement: Causes

The rise of nationalism in India did not happen overnight. It was a gradual process, which took a considerable amount of time as well as a combination of various factors. The causes and circumstances of the growth of the Indian national movement are listed below.

  • Socio-religious Reforms: There were many socio-religious reform movements happening in the 19th century that acted as a propeller of the rise of nationalism in India. Reformers like Jyotiba Phule, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, etc., were an integral part of this movement as they worked relentlessly to remove the religious and social evils from society. During this time, the practice of Sati was abolished and education for women was encouraged.
  • Rise in Western Education: On 2nd February 1835, Macaulay presented his ‘Minute on Indian Education’ with the aim of creating a class of Indians who were educated in a western way and could serve as the administrators of British rule. However, instead of doing what was expected of them, Indians learned and used the English language to unite various regions and mobilized the ideas of freedom, democracy, equality, etc., which they were exposed to due to their exposure to western thinkers and philosophers.
  • Revival of Vernacular languages: As Indians realized the power of their native languages, vernaculars started gaining popularity, and many notable writers started writing in them. This helped propagate the idea of freedom and liberty across the masses. It was the easiest way of ensuring the integral ideas reached everyone in the language they understood.
  • Effects of Economic Policies of the British: The impact of the British Raj’s economic policies was disastrous and led to poverty among Indians, especially the peasants and farmers. They incurred heavy losses and debts with no help from anywhere. Their suppression ultimately led to a revolt which was further mobilized by the ideas of nationalism prevalent in the country at that time.
  • Aftermath of the Revolt of 1857: The Revolt of 1857 was the first major revolt against British rule. However, it was brutally crushed by the British and led to many deaths. This resulted in a deep resentment among Indians and also drastically increased the racial tension between them and the British. The revolt of 1857 became a precursor to the rise of nationalism in India in more ways than one.

Factors Responsible for Indian National Movement

Indian National movement was started due to various reasons; however, there are also a set of different reasons why it was able to grow and succeed. The British, in their selfishness, ended up giving tools that Indians could give to accelerate their movement. The various factors for the growth of Indian nationalism are listed below.

  • Political Unity in the Country: Most parts of India were put under a single political set-up under British rule. The system of administration was It resulted in an administrative system that was unified and consolidated across different regions. While it was easy to control for the British, it also led to a feeling of ‘oneness’ among these regions, leading to unity.
  • Rise in Network of Transport: British gave Indians roads and railways initially to make the transport of various raw materials easier. However, ultimately, it resulted in increased movements of people who could easily move from one place of protest to another. People who preached the Indian national movement could easily travel to different parts of the country now to convenience others to join and were largely successful as well.
  • Increased Communication: Along with transportation, the British also extensively built telegraph and post systems in India. This also ended up being extremely useful for Indians as they could now communicate the events of their freedom movements and information about the struggle through pamphlets, letters, etc., with relative ease.
  • Growth of the Modern Press: The increased communication was also a result of the growth of the modern press. The Indian National Movement was a success as the press was becoming more and more popular in both English and regional languages. Pamphlets, posters, etc., were printed in large numbers and distributed among people to propagate the idea of freedom from British rule.
  • The Policies of Lord Lytton: Lytton passed the Vernacular Press Act of 1878, which authorized the government to confiscate newspapers that printed anything against British rule. He was also behind the Arms Act of 1878, which prohibited Indians from carrying weapons without a license. He was also insensitive towards the needs of people and spent an exorbitant amount of money on Delhi Durbar while people died of famine in the south. These policies led to mass rage which led to the revolt against him and the British rule.
  • Racist Treatment: British were extensively racist towards Indians and treated them as inferiors. Ilbert Bill controversy only solidified this fact and caused Indians a lot of rage for the unequal treatment they were being meted by the British for no reason other than race.
  • Foreign National Movements: Indians took great inspiration from the nationalist struggles happening in foreign countries. Events like French Revolution, American Civil War, etc. resulted in knowledge of new ideals as well as promoted the Indian National Movement.

Important Centres of Indian National Movement

National Movement in India is marked by various events that played an essential role in the fight for independence. Each of these movements helped in masses gain insights into why fighting for freedom was absolutely necessary. The events which shaped nationalism in India are presented below chronologically along with the important centres of Indian National Movement.

Year Events Important Centres of Indian National Movement
1857 Revolt of 1857
1905-1911 Swadeshi Movement Calcutta
1914-1917 Gadar Movement
1916-1918 Home Rule Movement
1917 Champaran Satyagraha Bihar
1918 Peasant Satyagraha Kheda (Gujarat)
1919 Rowlatt Satyagraha Punjab
1920 Khilafat and Non-cooperation Movement Chauri Chaura (Uttar Pradesh) – Aborting the Non Cooperation Movement
1930 Civil Disobedience Movement and Dandi March Dandi (Gujarat)
1942 Quit India Movement

Indian National Movement UPSC

Indian National Movement UPSC notes are very important from the point of view of IAS preparation. Over the last few years, the number of questions from this portion has been increased in Prelims and Mains. The Indian National Movement is a part of Modern History in the UPSC syllabus. Some questions from the CSE General Studies Paper 1 History of India and Indian National Movement are shared below to ease the preparation:

Q.1. Which act during the Indian National Movement was known as the ‘Black Bill’?

  1. Government of India Act
  2. Indian Council Act
  3. Rowlatt Act
  4. Child Marriages Restraint Act

Answer: (3)

Q.2. Who started the Khilafat Movement?

  1. Muhammad Ali Jinnah
  2. Dr Zakir Hussain
  3. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed
  4. Ali Brothers

Answer: (4)

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