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It has been 75 years since India achieved independence. One cannot deny that it was made possible due to the efforts of great Indian leaders who played a significant role in driving out the British from India. We should not forget this contribution of theirs, and not just remember them on two-three occasions every year, rather thank them and look up to the lessons taught by them every day. It is our prior responsibility to salute the national leaders who helped instill in people the feeling of freedom, patriotism, and nationalism.
Britishers in India
British entered India in mid 18th century. They wanted to establish their permanent authority in India for which they utilised Indian natural resource wealth. The British initiated and started the East India Company to conduct trading activities. As time went by, these trading activities developed manifold and the Company took various steps to eventually develop India for self-interest.
Any development comes with education. So, Britishers set up various schools and colleges in India. An English medium system of education was incorporated. This gave a tremendous boost not only to the development of education but also led to the foundation of Indian Freedom Struggle. According to History, the Indian Freedom Movement commenced in the year 1857. However, the Revolt of 1857 did not leave scope for the national level movement as it was confined to some regions only.
The syllabus prescribed by the British Government consisted of topics like Democracy, Socialism, Secularism, Communism, and so on and so forth. These ideas inspired the students who were pursuing higher education across the country.
Indian Leaders Pursuing Higher Education
Eminent Indian leaders like Dadabai Nauroji, Surendra Nath Banerjee, M.G Ranade, K C Telang, and others studied in prestigious institutions in London and were awed by the democratic ideas which further led them to form the ‘East India Association’ to discuss the policies of Britain. They started to question the British government on what right they have to rule over India.
These leaders laid emphasis on ‘Economic Impact of British Rule’ and concluded that the British were draining India of her wealth through taxes and other means. Without education, this might not have been possible for Indian leaders to raise their voice against Britain.
The intellectuals formed associations in various states and started to educate people on the policies of British and pointed out various negative impacts of the land revenue system. These leaders drew the attention of Indian masses. They also played a significant role in providing primary education to Indians.
Role of Indian National Congress
The Indian Congress Party was founded in the year 1885 which consisted of intellectuals who had a clear vision on British Policies. They began conducting meetings in each and every state to enlighten people to fight against the British.
The first step was ‘Swadeshi’ movement. The movement started in the year 1903, and Indians stopped supporting British markets. Most of the Indian leaders started ‘Swadeshi’ schools and colleges and imparted education to Indians. They explained about various countries and their struggle for independence. They made people have a clear idea of democracy. These leaders were successful in imparting the feeling of nationalism.
At the same juncture, leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose extended their support to the Indian Freedom Struggle. Subhas Chandra Bose fought against the British with the help of Japan during the Second World War. He formed Indian National Army (INA) in Japan.
Mahatma Gandhi who was inspired by the ideas of Ramayana and Bhagavadgeeta promoted peace and non-violence. Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Babu Rajendra Prasad supported him in the same.
As you know, Dr. BR Ambedkar, an IAS officer, played a significant role in drafting the Indian constitution. He headed the Drafting Committee of Indian Constitution which consisted of a bunch of educated intellectuals.
So, it is apt to say that education played a significant role in the Indian Freedom Struggle. Most of the Indian leaders were educated. Their education had given them a path to fight against the British.
CollegeDekho salutes all the National Leaders for their untiring efforts which brought us Independence.