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Important Questions For Class 12 History With Answers

Important Questions for Class 12 History

Important Questions for Class 12 History: The Central Board of Secondary Education is all set to conduct the Class 12 History Exam on 29 March 2023. The students appearing in the Class 12 History exam must practice the Important Questions for Class 12 History given on this page to boost their preparation. We have given Important Questions for Class 12 History with answers on this page so students can understand the answer framing to get full marks on all the questions. Important Questions for Class 12 History will help students to score more marks in Class 12 History and pass subject with flying colours. 

Important Questions For Class 12 History With Answers: Kings and Chronicles

Question 1.
“The granting of titles to the men of merit was an important aspect of Mughal polity”. Explain. (All India 2017)
The granting of titles to men of merit was an important aspect of Mughal polity as:

  • A man’s ascent in the court hierarchy could be traced through the titles he held.
  • The title Asaf Khan for one of the highest ministers originated with Asaf, the legendary minister of the prophet king Sulaiman (Solomon).
  • The title Mirza Raja was accorded by Aurangzeb to his two highest ranking nobles, Jai singh and Jaswant Singh.
  • Titles could be earned or paid for. For e.g. Mir Khan offered ? 1 lakh to Aurangzeb for the letter ‘Alif’ that is ‘A’, to be added to his name to make it Amir Khan.

Question 2.
How do you think that the chronicles commissioned by the Mughal emperors are an important source for studing Mughal history? (HOTS; All India 2017)
Chronicles are an indispensable source for any scholar wishing to write a history of the Mughals. At one level, they were a repository of factual . information about the institutions of the Mugal state, painstakingly collected and classifed by individuals closely connected with the court (especially courtiers). They were written in order to project a vision of an enlightened kingdom to all those who came under its umbrella.

On the other hand, they were meant to convey to those who resisted the rule of the Mughals that all resistance was destired to fail. The rulers wanted to ensure that there was an account of their rule for posterity. The histories that the authors wrote focused on events centred on the ruler, his family, the court and nobles, wars and administrative arrangements.

Their titles such as the Akbar Nama, Shah Jahan Nama, Alamgir Nama i.e. the story of Akbar, Shah Jahan and Alamgir (a title of the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb), suggest that in the eyes of their authors the history of the empire and the court was synonymous with that of the emperor.

Question 3.
How do you think that Qandahar remained a bone of contention between the Mughals and the Safavids? Explain.
The following points in this regard are discussed below:

  • The political and diplomatic relations between the Mughal kings and the neighbouring countries of Iran and Turan hinged on the control of the frontier defined by the Hindukush mountains that separated Afghanistan from the regions of Iran and Central Asia.
  • Qandahar was a bone of contention between the Safavids and the Mughals. The fortress town had initially been in the possession of Humayun, reconquered in 1595 by Akbar. While the Safavid court retained diplomatic relations with the Mughals, it continued to stake claims to Qandahar.
  • In 1613 Jahangir sent a diplomatic envoy to the court of Shah Abbas to plead the Mughal case for retaining Qandahar but the mission failed.
  • In the winter of 1622 a persian army. besieged Qandahar. The ill-prepared Mughal garrison was defeated and had to surrender the fortress and the city to the safavids.

Question 4.
“Mughal rulers efficiently assimilated heterogeneous populace within an imperial edifice”. Support the statement. (All India 2016)
Mughal rulers efficiently assimilated heterogeneous populace within an imperial edifice.
This statement can be justified in the following ways:

  • Mughal chronicles described that the Mughal empire was comprised of many different ethnic and religious communities i.e. Hindus, Jainas, Zoroastrians and Muslims.
  • As the emperor gathered knowledge about all religions and sects, he stood above all religious and ethnic groups, mediated among them and ensured justice and peace for all.
  • Akbar accepted the ideal of Sulh-i-kul i.e. all religions and schools of thought had freedom of expression, but they did not undermine the authority of the state.
  • Akbar abolished tax on pilgrimage and Jizya. AH Mughal emperors gave grants to support the building and maintenance of the places of worship, when temples were destroyed during war. Later grants were given to repair these at the time of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb.

Question 5.
“The keeping of the exact and detailed record was the major concern of Mughal administration”. Support the statement with examples. HOTS; (All India 2016)
The keeping of exact and detailed records was a major concern of the Mughal administration. This can be justified in the following ways:

  • The Mir Bakshi supervised the corps of court writers (Waquia navvis), who recorded all applications and documents presented to the court, and all imperial orders i.e. farman.
  • Agents (Wakil) of nobles and regional rulers recorded the entire proceedings of the court under the heading ‘News from the Exalted court’ with the date and time of the court session (pahar).
  • The akhbarat contained all kinds of information like attendance at the court, grant of offices and titles, diplomatic missions, presents received or the enquiries made by the emperor about the health of an officers.
  • All these informations is valuable for writing the history of the public and private lives of kings and nobles.

Question 6.
‘One important pillar of Mughal administration was the nobility’. Justify. (Delhi 2015)
One of the most important pillar of the Mughal state was its corps of officers. Historians called them as nobility. The main features of this class were:

  • The nobility was recruited from diverse ethnic and religious groups. It ensured that no group was large enough to challenge the authority of the king.
  • The nobility was described as a bouquet of flowers (guldasta) held together by loyalty to the emperor.
  • In Akbar’s time, Turani and Iranian nobles played a significant role in administration. Many of them accompanied Humayun, some migrated later to join the Mughal Court.
  • From 1560 onwards, two ruling groups of Indian origin, viz. the Rajputs and the Indian Muslims (Shaikhzadas) entered the imperial service.

Question 7.
“Abu’l Fazl has described the ideal of Sulh-i-kul of Akbar as the corner-stone of his enlightened rule”. Justify. (Delhi 2015)
The ideal of Sulh-i-kul i.e. absolute peace was described by Abu’l Fazl as the corner stone of enlightened rule.
This can be justified in the following ways:

  • Mughal empire had many different ethnic and religious communities like, Hindus, Jainas, Zoroastrians and Muslims. Thus, the emperor stood above all religious and ethnic groups to ensure justice and peace for all.
  • In Sulh-i-kul, all religions and schools of thought had freedom of expression but on one condition that they did not ignore the authority of the state or fight among themselves to capture power.
  • The ideal of Sulh-i-kul was implemented through state policies in which nobilities were comprising Iranis, Turanis, Afghans, Rajputs and Deccanis. All of them were given positions and awards on the basis of their service and loyalty to the emperor.
  • In 1563, Akbar abolished the tax on pilgrimage and in 1564 he abolished Jizya. Both of these were based on religious discrimination.
  • All Mughal emperors gave grants to support the building and maintenance of places of worship.

Question 8.
Identify the distinctive features of the imperial household of the Mughal Empire. (All India 2015)
The distinctive features of the imperial household of the Mughal Empire can be explained in the following ways:

  • The household of the Mughals consisted of the emperor’s wives and concubines, his mother, step and foster mothers, sisters, daughters, daughter-in-law, aunts, children, etc and female servants and slaves.
  • Polygamy was practised widely by Mughal emperor. The term ‘harem’ is used to refer to the domestic world of the Mughals. Persian word ‘haram’ means sacred place. Slave eunuchs (Khwajasara) were appointed as guards or servants in the harem.
  • In the Mughal household, a difference was kept between wives come from royal, aristocratic families (begums) and other wives (aghas) who were not so noble by birth. The concubines (aghacha) occupied the lowest position. They all received monthly allowances and gift according to their status. The agha and aghacha could rise to the position of a begum depending on the husband’s will and in case where the husband did not already have four wives. Love and motherhood are considered here in acquiring such position for a legally wedded wives.
  • Apart from wives, numerous male and female slaves were there in the Mughal household. They performed various types of works from regular work to specialised work which requires skill, tact and intelligence.
  • Many Mughal queens and princess like Nur Jahan, Jahanara, Roshanara enjoyed significant power and financial status. Often elderly women of Mughal household played significant role in resolving tension among princes and kings.

Question 9.
“Historians have provided accounts of diplomatic relationships and conflicts with the neighbouring political powers of the Mughal Empire.” Elaborate. (All India 2015)
The Mughal emperors took many high-sounding titles like Shahenshah, Jahangir, Shah Jahan to reiterate their claims on territorial and political control. They had diplomatic relationships and conflicts with the neighbouring political powers. This can be explained in the following ways:

  • The political and diplomatic relations between the Mughal rulers and the neighbouring countries of Iran and Turan were based on the control of the boundaries marked by the Hindukush mountains that separated Afghanistan from the regions of Iran and Central Asia.
  • The conquerors who wanted to make their way into the Indian sub-continent had to cross the Hindukush to have access to North India. The central
    objective off the Mughal policy was to ward off this potential danger. For this purpose outposts like Kabul and Qandahar were strictly regulated.
  • Between the Safavids and the Mughals, Qandahar became a bone of contention. First it was under Humayun’s control, later it was captured by Akbar in 1595. But the Safavids continued to stake claims to Qandahar.
  • Jahangir sent a diplomatic envoy to the court of Shah Abbas to plead the Mughal case for hiring Qandhar in 1613. However, the Mission failed. A Persian army captured Qandhar in 1622. The Mughal garrison which was ill-prepared was defeated. It had to surrender the fortress and the city to the Safavids.

Question 10.
Describe how the ‘Humayun Nama’ of Gulbadan Begum gives us the glimpses of the Mughal Imperial household. (All India 2013)
The book ‘Humayun Nama’ was written by Gulbadan Begum, the daughter of Babur. It gives us interesting glimpses of the Mughal Imperial household in the following ways:

  • Gtdbadan’s book was not an eulogy of the Mughal emperors. Rather she described in great detail the conflicts and tensions among the princes and kings.
  • Gulbadan also wrote about the significant role played by the elderly women of the Mughal household in resolving some of the conflicts of the Mughal empire.
  • Gulbadan Begum recorded her memories of earlier times under Babur and Humayun, which was considered as a very important document of Mughal era.

Question 11.
Describe briefly the expansion and consolidation of Mughal Empire under Jalaluddin Akbar (1556-1605). (Delhi 2011)
Many historians think Jalaluddin Akbar is the greatest of all emperors. Akbar (1556-1605) not only expanded the empire but also consolidated it in the following ways:

1. Akbar became the emperor in 1556. He checked the expansionist designs of Uzbeks of Turan (Central Asia) and the Safavids of Iran. Qandahar was a bone of contention between the Safavids and the Mughals. Akbar reconquered it in 1595. He succeeded in extending the frontiers of the empire to the Hindukush mountains.

2. Akbar not only secured the frontiers of the empire, but he also expanded his empire to the Deccan. In Deccan, various states were constantly on war with each other. Akbar established his empire in Deccan and resolved the internal conflicts and persuaded the sultans to accept his supremacy.

3. Akbar consolidated the various instruments of governance. An effective method of taxation and administration was introduced. He abolished the tax on pilgrimage in 1563 and Jizya in 1564 as these two were based on religious discrimination. Instructions were sent to officers to follow the precept of Sulh-i-kul (absolute peace) in administration. All the Iranis, Turanis, Afghans, Rajputs, Deccans nobles were given positions and awards purely on the basis of their service and loyalty to the king. In this way, expansion and consolidation of Mughal Empire under Akbar took place.

Question 12.
Describe briefly how the emperor began his day in the balcony and at Diwan-i-am.
All Indio 2011
Jharoka darshan or appearance from the small balcony was introduced by Akbar with the objective of broadening the acceptance of the imperial authority as part of popular faith. The emperor began his day at sunrise with personal religious devotions or prayers and then appeared on a small balcony. The small balcony was known as the Jharoka and it faced the east. Below a crowd of people waited for a view or darshan of the emperor.

After spending an hour at the Jharoka, the emperor went to the public hall of audience (Diwan-i-am) to conduct the primary business of the government. Here state officials presented reports and made requests to the emperor. The emperor spent two hours here and then left for Diwan-i-Khas to discuss confidential matters.

Question 13.
Name the author of ‘Badshah Nama’. Describe its content. (All India 2011)
Abdul Hamid Lahori, a follower of Abu’l Fazl is known as the author of Badshah Nama.
On hearing about his talents, emperor Shah Jahan commissioned him to write a history of his reign on the pattern of Akbar Nama.
Badshah Nama is an official history which is divided in three volumes i.e., daftars, of ten lunar years each. Lahori wrote the first and second daftars which included the first two decades of the emperors reign (1627-47). These volumes were later improved by Sadullah Khan who was the wazir of Shah Jahan. Infirmities of old age prevented Lahori from writing the third volume, which was later chronicled by the historian Waris.

During the colonial period, the British administrator started the study of Indian History to establish an archive of knowledge about the sub-continent to help them for better understanding of the people and the culture of the empire they sought to rule. The edited text of Badshah Nama were first published by the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 19th century.

Important Questions For Class 12 History With Answers: Colonialism and The Countryside

Question 1.
Why was the permanent settlement of land revenue rarely extended to any region beyond Bengal? Give two reasons. (HOTS; All India 2009)
The permanent settlement of land revenue Am. rarely extended to any region beyond Bengal because:

1. After 1810, the cost of agricultural products were increased. Due to this, the income of the landlords in Bengal were increased but there was no growth in the income of the East India Company Thus, the colonial government wanted to maximise its land revenue by introducing temporary revenue settlements instead of permanent settlements.

2. When British officials devised permanent settlements, they were influenced by the economic theories at that time. By the 1820s, famous economist David Ricardo came with his new theory which said that the state needed to tax the surplus agricultural produce to enhance its revenue. So the British officials thought that permanent settlement is ’ not a proper method to collect tax.
Therefore, the colonial government wanted to maximise its land revenue by introducing temporary revenue settlements instead of permanent settlement.

Q. “The ryots came to see the moneylenders as devious and deceitful”. Justify the statement in the context of Ryotwari System in India in late 18th century. (Delhi 2016)
It is true that the ryots came to see the moneylenders as devious and deceitful. As the moneylenders were much insensitive to the plight of the peasants. They got deeper and deeper into debt trap and were dependent on the moneylenders for their survival.

This can be understood by the following points:

  1. In Ryotwari System one general norm was that the interest charged cotdd not be more than the principle.
  2. The British government passed a Limitation Law in 1859 which meant to check the accumulation of interest over time and give 3 years validity of loan bonds signed between moneylenders and ryots.
  3. Moneylenders again manipulated the law and forcing ryots to sign a new bond every three years. When a new bond was signed, the unpaid balance, the original loan and accumulated interest was entered as principle on which a new set of interest charges was calculated.
  4. They refused to give receipts when loans w’ere repaid, entered fictitious figures in bonds, made peasants to sign and put thumb impression on documents and did not allow peasants to know what is inside the documents.

Question 3.
The East India Company had recognised the zamindars importance but wanted to control and regulate them. Explain the steps taken by them to subdue their authority in the 18th century. (Delhi 2016)
Explain how East India Company subdued the authority of zamindars in Bengal during 18th century? (Delhi 2015)
East India Company recognised the importance and significance of zamindars but it also wanted to control, regulate and subdue their authority. To limit the authority of zamindars:

  • The Company disbanded the troop organised by zamindars, custom duties were abolished and ‘cutcheries’ or local court organised by zamindars were brought under supervision of company.
  • The company appointed collector and gave power to supervise these courts, over the period of time collectorate emerged as centre of authority.
  • The power to organise local justice and the local police, was also abolished.
  • The Permanent Settlement system was also limited, the power to the zamindars to collect rent from the ryot and manage their zamindari.
    So by these above steps, influence of zamindar was reduced by the company.

Question 4.
“The battle between the hoe and plough was a long one”. Substantiate the statement with reference to the Santhal and Paharias of Raj Mahal Hills during 18th century. (Delhi 2016)
Santhal came to Bengal around 1780. Zamindars hired them to reclaim land and expand cultivation. British invited Santhals to settle in the Jangal Mahal, when they failed to subdue Paharias. The Paharias refused to cut the forest, resisted touching the plough and continued to be turbulent.

On the other hand, Santhal appeared to be ideal settlers, clearing the forest and ploughing the land with vigour. Santhal settlements and cultivation gradually expanded and Paharias were forced to withdraw deeper into hills and were confined to dry interior and to more barren and rocky upper hills. This severely affected their lives, impoverishing them in the long term. If paharia life was symbolised by the hoe, which they used for shifting cultivation, the santhaTs life represented the power of the plough. The battle between the hoe and plough was really a long one.

Question 5.
What was the Limitation Law? Why was this considered as a symbol of oppression against the ryot of 19th century? Give three reasons. (All India 2016)
In 1859, British passed the Limitation Law which stated that the loan bond signed between moneylenders and ryots would have validity for only three years. This law was meant to check the accumulation of interest over the time. However, this law was considered as a symbol of oppression due to the following reasons:

  • Moneylenders forced the ryots to sign a new bond for every three year and turned the law around.
  • When new bond was signed, the unpaid balance, i.e., original loan and interest was entered as principal and and this principal interest was charged.
  • Moneylenders refused to give receipt when loans were repaid, entered fictitious figures in bond, acquired the peasant’s harvest at low price and ultimately took over the property of peasant.
  • Moneylenders brought the new regime of bond and deeds. Peasants were made to put thumb impression and sign on the document without knowing the full details of the documents.

Question 6.
“The arguments and evidences offered by the Fifth-report cannot be accepted uncritically”. Give arguments. (HOTS; Delhi 2015)
Why did the Fifth Report become the basis of intense debate in England? (Delhi 2013)
Describe the Fifth Report produced by the select committee on English East India Company in 1813 by the British Parliament.
Critically evaluate the significance and shortcomings of the ‘Fifth Report’.
The Fifth Report was a significant report, it continued shaping our conception for over a century and a half about the nature and consequences of East India Company’s Rule in Bengal in the late 18th century. It served as basis for intense parliamentary debates on the nature of company’s rule in India.

The evidence contained in the ‘Fifth Report’ is considered to be of great importance. But as it is an official report, it should be read and anaylsed very carefully. The major short comings of this report included:

  • The Fifth report exaggerated the collapse of traditional zamindari power and the rate at which zamindar were losing their lands. Zamindars were not always displaced given the indigenous methods they used to retain their lands.
  • The report was biased because it wanted to highlight the maladministration of the East India Company in India.

Question 7.
“Jotedar inevitably weakened zamindars in Bengal by the end of the 18th century”. Give arguments to support the statement. (Delhi 2015)
Describe the position of the ‘jotedars’ at the end of the 18th century, (All India 2009)
The points given below describe howjotidar inevitably weakened the power of zamindars in Bengal by the end of the 18th century:

  • In the 18th century when many zamindars were facing a crisis, a group of rich peasants, known as jotedars, were consolidating their position in the villages.
  • Unlike zamindars, jotedars lived in villages and thus, had good influence on village population.
  • Jotedars had acquired vast areas of land. They controlled local trade, moneylending, exercising immense power over the poorer cultivators and their land was cultivated through adhiyars or bargadars (sharecroppers).
  • They fiercely resisted the effects of zamindars to increase the Jama of the village, prevented zamindari officials from executing their duties. They deliberately delayed payments of revenue to the zamindars.
  • In fact, when the estates of the zamindars were auctioned for failure to make revenue payment, often jotedars bought their estate. This made the jotedars most powerful in the North Bengal.

Question 8.
What was the other name of ‘Bombay Deccan revenue system of 1820s’. Mention the features of it. (All India 2015)
Which revenue system wras introduced in the Bombay Deccan? What were its features?
Ryotwari Settlement was introduced in the Bombay Deccan by the British. It has the following features:

  • Direct Settlement with the Ryots: The revenue was settled directly with the ryot.
  • Calculation of Revenue: Unlike the Permanent Settlement, the revenue was estimated taking into consideration all types of soil, the average income of the harvest was estimated. It assessed how much revenue a ryot could pay.
  • Share of State: The share of the state was fixed in proportion to the income of the ryot.
  • Re-survey of Land: After every 30 years the lands were re-surveyed and the rates of revenue were increased accordingly.
  • Temporary Demand: The demand for revenue was not permanent but temporary.

Question 9.
Critically examine the experience of injustice felt by ryot on the refusal of moneylender to extending loans to them after 1830.
Revenue demand was set high in the Bombay Deccan under Ryotwari System. Peasants were finding it difficult to pay under normal circumstances. But when rainfall failed and harvest were poor, it was impossible to pay.
In 1830s, problem became severe and in 1832 agricultural price fell sharply. At the same time, the villagers were devastated by famine in year 1832-34. During this time, l/3rd of cattle and half human population died. Those who left had no resource to overcome the crises. Unpaid balance of revenue mounted. They had to borrow from moneylender to pay revenue and to carry agricultural work but they were unable to pay it back.

As the debt mounted and loans remained unpaid, peasants dependence on moneylender increased. They now need loan even to buy their everyday needs and meet expenditure. By 1940s, they were in alarming level of indebtness.
During time of 1861-64, moneylenders easily gave advances to the peasants in order to get maximum production of cotton but once demand of cotton reduced, moneylenders were very reluctant to give loans. By cotton production mostly rich peasants prospered while large majority of the cotton produced face heavier debt.

Question 10.
Explain how the Ricardo’s idea of land ownership was introduced in the ‘Bombay Deccan’? (All India 2013)
The colonial officials were under much influence of the ideas of David Ricardo, the renowned economist of England, during the early decades of the 19th century. He suggested that a landowner should have a claim only to the ‘average rent’ prevailing at the time. According to him, when the land yielded more than this average rent, the landowner had a surplus that the state needed to tax.

If tax was not levied, cultivators were likely to turn into rentiers and their surplus income was unlikely to be productively invested in the improvement of the land. The British officials viewed that the same condition had arisen in Bengal because of the introduction of Premanent settlement. The zamindars in Bengal had become rentiers in a way as they had leased out their lands.
Therefore, the British officials wanted to follow a different system of land revenue.

Question 11.
Explain the impact of American Civil War of 1861 on Indian peasants. (Delhi 2011)
Britain was mainly dependent on America for importing raw cotton for its Cotton Textile Industry before the 1860s. Three-fourth of raw cotton imports into Britain came from America. But because of civil war in 1861, the amount of cotton „ in Britain from USA reduced. So, India was asked to grow cotton in large amount.

The rise in the price of cotton encouraged the cotton exporters. Indian peasants were given loan to grow cotton. Landlords did not hesitate in giving long-term loan. Some of the peasants became rich but majority of peasants went further into heavier debt.

Question 12.
Explain the impact of refusal by moneylenders to extend loans to ryots, around 1865, under the colonial rule of India. (All India 2011)
The condition of peasants was miserable under the British rule. They were left impoverised and went through hardships which deteriorated their situation further. Because of the economic policy of the British administrators, the economic condition of the Indian people at the time of 1857 became very pitiable.

There was no dearth of people who were unemployed and struggling in vain.
People needed money to repay their loans and meet their daily expenses. However, sometimes their condition did not improve and they fell into debt trap. They were unable to repay their loan.
The moneylenders were apprehensive of losing their money. Thus, they refused to extend their loans. The borrowers failed to manage money for agriculture.

Question 13.
Explain two reasons for the failure of the Permanent Settlement of the land revenue introduced by the British in Bengal. (Delhi 2009)
The reasons for the failure of the Permanent Settlement of the land revenue introduced by the British in Bengal are as follows:
1. The early revenue demands fixed by the company were very high. Under permanent settlement, the state revenue demand was fixed in ’ perpetuity. It meant that company was not claiming an additional share of increased income from land with rising prices and expanding cultivation. Therefore, the Company wanted huge revenue for high demand in order to minimise this anticipated loss.

2. It is worth mentioning that the high demand of land revenue was fixed in 1790s. The price of agricultural produce were depressed during this period. Consequently, it became difficult for the ryots to pay their dues to the zamindars. Thus, the zamindar could not collect the rent and were unable to pay their fixed amount to the company.

Important Questions For Class 12 History With Answers: Rebels and the Raj

Question 1.
Examine how Lord Dalhousie’s policy of annexation created dissatisfaction amongst the people of Awadh. (Delhi 2016)
Critically examine Lord Dalhousie’s policy of annexation in Awadh. (HOTS; All India 2015)
How did British dispossess Taluqdars of Awadh during 1857. Explain with examples. (Delhi 2014)
“The annexation of Awadh displaced not just the Nawab, but also dispossessed the taluqdars of the region, causing breakdown of an entire social order.” Critically examine the statement. (HOTS: Delhi 2010)
The Nawab of Awadh had been loyal to the British East India Company from the very beginning. But, the loyalty of Awadh was of no significance to Lord Dalhousie’s imperialistic ambitions. Awadh could not be annexed on the basis of the Doctrine of Lapse as Wajid Ali Shah, as the Nawab of Awadh had several successors. So, the British especially Lord Dalhousie used a number of mischievous tricks to annex the Awadh and dispossessed the taluqdars.

These were:

  • On 13th February, 1856, Awadh was annexed to the British empire on the grounds of maladministration.
  • Nawab Wazid Ali Sahib was sent to Calcutta with an annual pension of ₹ 12 lakh. With the dissolution of the royal administration, large number of courtiers, officials and taluqdars became jobless.
  • Jagirs of taluqdars were confiscated. This upheaval was aggravated by immediate material losses.
  • The British were not willing to tolerate the power of the taluqdars.
  • With the removal of Nawab, all taluqdars of the Awadh were also dispossessed, taluqdars were disarmed and their forts were destroyed.
  • With a new revenue system i.e. Summary Settlement, taluqdars lost their very large share of revenue from land. Wherever possible, taluqdars were removed and settlement was done directly with peasant.
  • British believed that this would increase the flow of revenue to the company and peasants would also be freed from oppression of taluqdar. This annexation of Awadh meant complete break down of social order.

Question 2.
With the help of specific examples examine the nature of Indian leadership that emerged against British in the revolt of 1857. (All India 2016)
During the revolt few leaders participated very enthusiastically while some other participated because they had no choice. They had to participate in the revolt for the sake of their reputation.

For e.g. Bahadur Shah was reluctant to join the rebellion but due to demands of sepoys, he joined the revolt and it was fought under his name. Similarly, sepoys and people of Kanpur choose
Nana Sahib as their leader and he joined the revolt.

Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi participated because her kingdom had been annexed to empire by ‘Doctrine of Lapse’ and there was also popular pressure on her to take the leadership. In Awadh, their was deep resentment against annexation, dispossession of nawab and oppressive rule of British. People of Awadh declared Birjis Qadar, the young son of dispossessed Nawab as their leader.

Apart from the royal families, local leaders also emerged during the revolt like Kuwar Singh in Arrah, fakir in Lucknow, Shah Mai in Barout and Gonoo, a tribal cultivator in Singhbhum. Although the leaders of 1857 revolt participated in this war, but they had separate goals which made the revolt unsuccessful against British.

Question 3.
Examine the repressive measures adopted by British to subdue the rebels of 1857. (All India 2015)
It was not easy for the Britishers to suppress the revolt. Even then they took various steps to crush the rebels.

These steps were as follows:

Passing of Laws to help the Troops:
The British passed several laws to help the troops before sending them to re-occupy North India. The military officers were also empowered to try and punish the rebel Indians. The ordinary process of law and trial were ignored by them.

With the help of new laws and the new reinforcements coming from Britain, the ‘ British started the process of suppressing the revolt. British thought to reconquer Delhi was most important to suppress the revolt. Therefore, in June 1857, the British attacked Delhi from two directions. Captain Hudson arrested the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah II and Begum Zinat Mahal from the Tomb of Humayun on 21st September, 1857.

Resorting to Diplomacy:

The British while resorting to diplomacy kept away the educated Indians and zamindars from the rebels. The British created a rift between rebels and the zamindars by promising the latter to give back their estates.

Use of Military Power on a Gigantic Scale:

The British used military power on a gigantic scale. But, this held their absolute control over the means of communication. Their control over the railways enabled them to send quick military support to different parts of the country’.

Communication System:

The telegraph system helped the British to get timely information about the incidents occurring in different parts of the country. Consequently, they were successful in wrecking plans of the rebels by taking immediate action against them. Thus, the British tried their best to maintain their absolute control over the means of communication in order to suppress the revolt.

Question 4.
Examine the provisions of ‘Subsidiary Alliance System’ devised by Lord Wellesley in 1798 for India. (All India 2015)
Explain the provisions of the Subsidiary Alliance imposed on Awadh in 1801 by the British. (Delhi 2012)
The Subsidiary Alliance was introduced by Lord Wellesley in 1798. All those who entered into such an alliance with the British had to accept certain terms and conditions.

These were:

  • The British would be responsible for protecting their ally from external and internal threats to their power.
  • In the territory of the ally, a British armed contingent would be stationed.
  • The ally would have to provide the resources for maintaining this contingent.
  • The ally could enter into agreements with other rulers or engage in warfare only with the permission of the British.

Question 5.
“The relationship of the sepoys with the superior white officers underwent a significant change in the years preceding the uprising of 1857”. Support the statement with examples. (All India 2014)
How did the white officers make it a point, during the 1820s till 1840s to maintain friendly relations with the sepoys? Describe briefly. (All India 2012)
The white officers made it a point during the 1820s till 1840s to maintain friendly relations with the sepoys.
These were as follows:

  • Several white officers could speak in Hindustani easily and were also familiar with the culture and traditions of the country.
  • The relationship of sepoys with their British officials underwent significant change. In the decade of 1820, British officers stressed on maintaining friendly relations with the sepoys.
  • Prior to the revolt of 1857, the relationship of the sepoys with white officers made it a point to keep friendly relationship with the sepoys. They would actively took part in their leisure activities.
  • Despite this in the 1840s, the balance of mutual relationship changed drastically. The white officers created a sense of superiority and started keeping the sepoys as their racial inferiors.
  • The equation of superior and inferior changed the whole script of mutual relationship. The elements of abuse and physical violence became routine activities. Consequently, the distance between sepoys and officers became wider. Due to this, mutual suspicion cropped up.

Question 6.
How did the rebels in 1857 try to materialise their vision of unity? Explain briefly. (HOTS; Delhi 2010)
The revolt tried to garner the support of all sections of the society irrespective of their caste and creed. The rebellion was viewed as a war in which both the communities as Hindus and Muslims stood equally to gain and lose. The amicable relations which existed between the two communities were emphasised. The ishtehars brought to the forefront memories of the pre-British Hindu-Muslim past and glorified the coexistence of different communities under the Mughal Empire.

Thus, religious differences were not visible between the two communities in 1857 despite British attempts to create a wedge between them. Through this way, they tried to materialise their vision of unity.

Question 7.
“The rumours in 1857 began to make sense when seen in the context of the policies pursued by the British from late 1820s”. Support your answer with evidence. (Delhi 2009)
The rumours in 1857 that made sense in context of the policies pursued by the British from late 1820s were as follows:

  • During the Governor-Generalship of Lord William Bentick some specific policies were adopted in order to ‘reform’ Indian society by the introduction of Western education. Western ideas and Western institutions.
  • Reforms like the abolition of Sati System.
  • Annexation of Jhansi and Satara-British refused to recognise adoption.
  • Reforms like Widow re-marriage Act.
  • Reforming socio-religious customs like land holding, inheritance, etc.
  • Rumours had an impact on the minds of people under these uncertain times.

The common Indians looked at all these steps with apprehension and suspicion.
Visual images and literature as much as the writing of history have helped in keeping alive the memory of the revolt of 1857.” Assess this statement. (All India 2008)

Question 8.
Describe how the British celebrated those, 9. whom they believed saved the English and repressed the rebels during the Revolt of 1857? (Delhi 2008)
The British celebrated those whom they believed saved the English and repressed the rebels during the revolt of 1857 by the various types of paintings which were meant to provide a range of different emotions and reactions also.
In an example of this type, ‘Relief of Lucknow’, which has been painted by Thomas Jones Barker in 1859 is particularly remarkable in this regard.

Henry Lawrence, the Commissioner of Lucknow, gathered all the Christians and took refuge alongwith them in heavily fortified residency after the rebel forces besieged Lucknow.

Lawrence was killed, but the residency continued to be defended under the command of Colonel Inglis. On 25th September, James Outram and Henry Havelock arrived out through the rebel forces and reinforced the British Garrisons. Collin Campbell reached with huge reinforcements and rescued the besieged British Garrison. In British accounts, the siege of Lucknow became a story of survival heroic resistance and the ultimate triumph of British power.

The arrival of Collin Campbell has been depicted as an event of celebration in Jones Barker’s painting. Campbell, Havelock and Outram, the three British heroes have been painted in the middle of the canvas.
The victorious figures of the heroes in the middle symbolise the re-establishment of British power and control is the main objective of these paintings and was to reassure the English in the power of their government. These paintings clearly conveyed the message that crisis was over and the revolt had been quelled and the British had succeeded in re-establishment of their power and authority.

Question 9.
Visual images and literature as much as the writing of history have helped in keeping alive the memory of the revolt of 1857.” Assess this statement. (All India 2008)
The writing of history, art and literature contributed remarkably to immortalise the sacred memory of the struggle of 1857. The leaders of revolt were presented as heroes taking the country towards the battlefield. They were depicted as heroes inspiring the common masses to begin struggle against the oppressive colonial power.

Many heroic poems were composed narrating the bravery of Laxmi Bai, holding a sword in one hand and the reins of the horse in the other, fought for the independence of her motherland. She was usually portrayed in battle armour with a sword in hand and riding a horse symbolising the determination to resist injustice and alien rule.

Thus, it becomes clear that visual representations produced various images of the revolt. We should know that these images were not a mere expression of contemporary ideas and sentiments, but they also reflected the contemporary sensibilities.

Question 10.
“Rumours and prophecies played a part in moving the people into action during the revolt of 1857.” Examine the statement with rumours and reasons for its belief. (All India 2017)
It is true that rumours and prophecies played a part in moving people to action during the revolt of 1857.

These rumours were as follows:

1. During 1857 revolt, there was an apparent rumour that the Indian sepoys were intentionally given the Enfield rifles, and its bullets were coated with the fat of cows and pigs and biting those bullets would corrupt their caste and religion.

2. The British tried to explain to the sepoys that this was not the case but the rumour that the new cartridges were greased with the fat of cows and pigs which spread like wildfire across the sepoy lines of North India.

3. This is one rumour whose origin can be traced. Captain Wright, commandant of the Rifle Instruction Depot, reported that in the third week of January 1857 a ‘low-caste’ Khalasi who worked in the magazine in Dum Dum had asked a Brahmin sepoy for a drink of water from his lota. The sepoy had refused saying that the Tower caste’s’ touch would defile the lota. The Khalasi had reportedly retorted, “You will lose your caste, as ere long you will have to bite cartridges covered with the fat of cows and pigs”.

4. The truthfulness of the report had not identified but once this rumour started no amount of assurances from British officers could stop its circulation and the fear of it spread among the sepoys.

5. This was not the only rumour that was circulating in North India at the beginning of 1857. There was the rumour that the British government has hatched a gigantic conspiracy to destroy the caste and religion of Hindus and Muslims.

It is seen that rumours reflect about the minds of people who believed them, their fears and apprehensions, their faiths and convictions. Rumours circulate only when they resonate with the deeper fears and suspicions of people. The rumours in 1857 begin to make sense when seen in the context of the policies the British pursued from the late 1820s. The reasons of believing in these rumours are discussed below:

  • From that time under the leadership of Governor General Lord William Bentinck, the British adopted policies aimed at ‘reforming’ Indian society by introducing Western education,Western ideas and Western institutions. With the cooperation of sections of Indian society they set up English-medium schools, colleges and universities which taught Westerp sciences and the liberal arts.
  • The British established laws to abolish customs like sati (1829) and to permit the remarriage of Hindu widows.
  • The British annexed not only Awadh, but also Jhansi and Satara. Once these territories were annexed, the British introduced their own system of administration. The impact of this on the people of North India was profound.
  • It seemed to the people that all that they cherished and held sacred from kings and socio-religious customs to patterns of landholding and revenue payment was being destroyed and replaced by a system that was more impersonal, alien and oppressive.
  • This perception was aggravated by the activities of Christian missionaries. In such a situation of uncertainty, rumours spread with remarkable swiftness. And people started to believe in these rumours during the revolt of 1857.

Question 11.
Examine the visual representations of the revolt of 1857 that provoked a range of different emotions and reactions.
(All India 2017)
Am There are a number of visual representations of the revolt of 1857 like paintings, pencil drawings, etchings, posters, cartoons, bazaar prints, etc which were produced by the British and Indian artists and painters. These are discussed below:

1. British pictures offers a variety of images that were meant to provoke a range of different emotions and reactions. Some of them commemorate the British heroes who saved the English and repressed the rebels. For e.g. ‘Relief of Lucknow’, painted by Thomas Jones Barker in 1859 depicts the efforts of James Outrom, Henry Havelock and Colin Campbell in rescuing the besieged British garrison in Lucknow.

2. Newspaper reports have a power over public imagination. This reported about the incidence of violence against women and children and raised a public demand in Britain for revenge and retribution. Artists expressed as well as shaped these sentiments through their visual representations of trauma and suffering.

3. “In Memoriam” was painted by Joseph Noel Paton in w’hich English women and children huddled in a circle, looking helpless and innocent seemingly waiting for the inevitable dishonor, violence and death coming from the rebels. This represents the rebels as violent and brutish.

4. In another set of sketches and paintings women are seen in a different light. They appear heroic, defending themselves against the attack of rebels, for e.g. a painting depicts Miss Wheeler who stands firmly at the centre, defending her honour, single-handedly killing the attacking rebels. This picture is represonted as having a deeper religious connotation. It is a battle to save the honour of Christianity and the book lying on the floor is the Bible.

5. As waves of anger and shock spread in Britain, demands for retribution grew louder. Threatened by the rebellion, the British felt that they had to demonstrate their invincibility.
For e.g. in an image an allegorical female figure of justice with a sword in one hand and a shield in the other is seen. Her posture is aggressive, her face expresses rage and the desire for revenge. She is trampling sepoys under her feet while a mass of Indian women with children cower with fear.

6. When Governor General Canning declared that a gesture of Leniency, he w’as mocked in the British press. In a British Journal of comic satire, Canning is shown as a looming father figure, with his protective hand over the head of a sepoy who still holds sword and dagger in hands, both dripping with blood.

7. On the other hand leaders of the revolt were presented as heroic figures leading the country into battle, rousing the people to righteous undignation against oppressive imperial rule. For e.g. Rani of Jhansi was represented as in popular prints a masculine figure chasing the enemy slaying British soldiers and valiantly fighing till her last. She is usually portrayed in battle armour, with a sword in hand and riding a horse, a symbol of the determination to resist injustice and alien rule.

Question 12.
‘A chain of grievances in Awadh linked the prince, taluqdars, peasants and sepoy to join hands in the revolt of 1857 against the British”. Examine the statement. (All India 2017)
Since 1800 century, Awadh faced a number of grievances which linked the princes, taluqdars, peasants and sepoys to join hands in the revolt of 1857 against the British. The British wanted to annex Awadh in their empire. This conquest happened in stages which were:

Annexation of Awadh:

The Subsidiary Alliance had been imposed on Awadh in 1801, which confined the power of the Nawab over his territory as his military force disbanded, the British troops took position in the kingdom and he could not take any decision without the advice of the British resident who was attached to the court of Awadh. He could no longer assert control over the rebellious chiefs and taluqdars. The British became increasingly interested in acquiring the territory of Awadh as it was economically and geographically important for them.

By the early 1850s, all the major areas of India, e.g. Maratha land, Doab, the Carnatic, the Punjab and Bengal had been conquered by the British. By annexation policy Nawab Wajid Ali Shah (Awadh) was dethroned and exiled to Calcutta on the plea that the region was being misgoverned.

The emotional upheaval was aggravated by immediate material losses, e.g. it led cultural loss as well as many people lost their livelihood.

Dispossession of Taluqdars:

This annexation also dispossessed the taluqdars of the region. Before the advent of the British, they were powerful and maintained armed retainers, built forts and enjoyed degree of autonomy. The British were unwilling to tolerate the power of taluqdars. Immediately after the annexation, the taluqdars were disarmed and their forts destroyed. The first revenue settlement, known as the ‘Summary Settlement’, further undermined the position and authority of the taluqdars. This settlement proceeded to remove the taluqdars wherever possible. The taluqdars of Southern Awadh were the hardest hit and some lost more than half of total number of villages.

Suppression over Peasants:

By removing the taluqdars, the British wanted to reduce the level of exploitation and increase the revenue demand, and end-up the rendition system.
But now, Peasants were in more difficult situation. Under the British rule there was no guarantee that in times of hardship or crop failure the revenue demand of the state would be reduced or collection postponed, or that in times of need they would get any loan or support that the taluqdar had earlier provided. Thus, with this suppression, neither taluqdars nor peasants had any reasons to be happy with the annexation.
Now, the situation was completely changed. Many taluqdars outside the Awadh who participated in the 1857 revolt were loyal to the Nawab of Awadh and they joined Begum Hazrat Mahal (the wife of Nawab) in Lucknow to fight the British. Peasants also took participate in the revolt.

Rage of Sepoys:

There was also a rage in sepoys towards the British. Before 1820, the British were very gentle with the sepoys but in 1840 this began to change. The officers developed sense of superiority and started treating the sepoys as their inferiors. Abuse and physical violence became common. Trust was replaced by suspicion. The episode of the greased cartridges was a classic example of this.

Most of the sepoys were from Awadh and Eastern Uttar Pradesh. Now, the fears of the sepoys about the new cartridges, their grievances about leave, their grouse about the increasing misbehavior and racial abuse on the part of their white officers were the responsible factors for their rage. A whole complex of emotions and issues, traditions and loyalities worked themselves out in the revolt of 1857. In Awadh, more than anywhere else, the revolt became an expression of popular resistance of an alien order.

Important Questions For Class 12 History With Answers: Mahatma Gandhi and the Nationalist Movement

Question 1.
When Gandhiji returned to India in 1915, he observed a few changes in India. Mention any two such changes. (HOTS: Delhi 2011)
Following were the two changes observed by Gandhiji when he came back to India:

  • India was far more active in a political sense. Branches of Indian National Congress had been established in major cities and towns.
  • The base of the Indian National Congress had registered a growth particularly among the middle classes.

Question 2.
Why was salt march notable? Mention any two reasons? (All India 2011)
The salt march was notable because:

  • The choice of salt as a symbol of protest against the colonial rule was a remarkable indicative of Gandhiji’s tactical wisdom.
  • By making the salt as his target he wanted to garner the maximum participation of the masses in the National Movement.

Question 3.
State the significance of Gandhiji’s speech at Banaras Hindu University. (All India 2008)
The speech of Gandhiji at Banaras Hindu University was an indicative of the fact that the Indian nationalism was a creation of elite such as the lawyers, doctors and landlords. Besides this, it was also the first public announcement of the desire of Gandhiji that he wanted to make nationalism more properly representative of the Indian people as a whole.

Question 4.
Gandhiji encouraged the communication of the Nationalist Message in mother tongue rather than in language of the ruler. Examine how he knitted the Non-Cooperation Movement with his philosophy. (HOTS; Delhi 2015)
Gandhiji believed that any struggle can be successful only when masses will support it. For participating in any movement masses must known the aim of movement. In India through local languages or mother tongue, communication with public could be done easily. So, Gandhiji advised nationalist to use mother tongue.

In addition, he believed that masses will felt more connected to movement when there will be communication in mother tongue. Gandhiji believed that mother tongue will play an adhesive role in dividing society and will help in bringing masses at single platform. Englishmen during these years believed that their language is superior than other language. Use of Indian language for communication by every Indian will change this notion and alongwith this, it will boost confidence in Indian citizen that their language has its own importance. Therefore, considering all above factors Gandhiji stressed on use of mother tongue.

Making the Non-Cooperation Movement successful Gandhiji called for renunciation of all voluntary associations with the British and as responded very optimistically to it. Students stopped going to the schools and colleges run by the government, lawyers refused to attend courts. There were strikes in factories, mills and workshops, peasants stopped paying taxes, tribes violated forest laws, forests were burnt and liquor shops were picketed..

Non-Cooperation Movement was very successful as masses participated in it without any difference of caste, creed, religion, economic and education, status and language. Non-Cooperation Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi played seminal role in uniting different regions of India as country and promoted a sense of nationhood among the fellow citizens.

Question 5.
“The salt march of 1930 was the first event that brought Mahatma Gandhi to world attention.” Explain significance of this movement for Swaraj. (All India 2015)
Explain the main events of the Dandi March. What is its significance in the history of the Indian National Movement? (All India 2008)
On 26th January, 1930, ‘Republic Day’ was observed, with the National Flag being hosted in different venues, the patriotic songs being sung and after the observance of this day, Mahatma Gandhi announced that he would lead a march to break one of the most widely disliked laws in British Indiq. The law which gave the state a monopoly in the manufacture and sale of salt.

The conditions in the country had become very favourable to launch a widespread movement against the British, the movement was started with famous Dandi March on 12th March, 1930. Gandhiji alongwith 78 of his followers began his foot march from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi, a village of seashore in Surat district, about 375 km away from Sabarmati Ashram. The violation of salt law by Gandhiji was a signal of the beginning of Civil Disobedience Movement. Soon, this movement spread like wildfire through the length and breadth of the country.
Gandhiji’s Dandi March occupies a very significant place in the history of the freedom struggle of India because of several reasons:

  • This march made Gandhiji a centre of attraction of the whole of the world. The European press and the American press published detailed accounts of the Salt March conducted by Gandhiji.
  • Undoubtedly it was the first National Movement in which women participated in large numbers. Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay, the renowned socialist worker advised Gandhiji not to keep the movements limited to men-folk only. A large number of women alongwith Kamala Devi violated the salt and liquor laws and courted arrest collectively.
  • As a result of the salt movement, the colonial rulers understood it clearly that their authority was not going to remain permanent in India and now they will have to give some participation to the Indians in power.

Question 6.
In the history of nationalism Gandhiji was often identified with the making of a nation. Describe his role in the freedom struggle of India. (Delhi 2014)
Explain how Gandhiji transformed Indian Nationalism by 1922. (Delhi 2010)
The period of 1919-1947 occupies a very important place in the history of the Indian freedom struggle. It was the third and the final phase of the Indian freedom struggle. It was during the period that a great personality entered the Indian political scene with several weapons like Satyagraha, Non-Cooperation and Civil Disobedience, based on truth and non-violence and soon became the pioneer of the National Movement. This period is generally known as the ‘Gandhian Era’, Gandhiji transformed the nature of the National Movement and it became a mass movement.

Gandhiji transformed the National Movement of the masses by following his new technique of struggle based on the principle of Satyagraha and Civil Disobedience. Indian nationalism witnessed a transformation in its nature with the active participation of Gandhiji in Indian National Movement. The mass appeal of Gandhiji was undoubtedly genuine. His qualities of efficient leadership made a remarkable contribution in making the base of Indian nationalism wider. It is worth mentioning that the provincial committees of the Congress were formed on linguistic regions and not on the artificial boundaries of the British India. These different ways contributed greatly to take nationalism to the distant corners of the country.

Consequently, the social groups previously untouched by nationalism, now became an important part of it. Thousands of peasants labourers and artisans started participating in the National Movement. Similarly the common masses participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement significantly. In Delhi, some 1600 women picketed the liquor shop. In the same way, Quit India Movement became genuinely a Mass Movement, hundreds of thousands of ordinary Indians participated in it.

Besides the common Indian, some very prosperous businessmen and industrialists too became supporters of the Indian National Congress. They came to realise it well that the favours enjoyed by their British competitors would come to them in free India.

Consequently, some renowned industrialists such as GD Birla started supporting the national movement openly whereas some others began to do so tactly.
Thus, the followers and admirers of Gandhiji included both the peasants and the rich industrialists. Thus, under Gandhiji the National Movement was transformed into a Mass Movement.

Question 7.
Describe the different source from which we can reconstruct the political career of Gandhiji and the history of National Movement? (All India 2014)
How have the different kinds of available sources helped the historians in reconstructing the political career of Gandhiji and the history of the national movement that was associated with it? Explain. (Delhi 2013)
Explain the sources from which we can reconstruct the political career of Gandhiji and the history of the nationalist movement. Delhi 2012, (All India 2011)
How do autobiographies, government records and newspapers help us in knowing about Gandhiji? Explain. (All India 2010)
Examine the different kinds of sources from which political career of Gandhiji and the history of the National Movement could be reconstructed. (Delhi 2009)
Explain three different kinds of sources through which we come to know about Gandhiji. Give any two problems faced while interpreting them. (Delhi 2008)
Private letters and autobiographies furnish us with significant information about an individual. With these help we can make almost an accurate estimate of the concerned individual’s ideology and career. For instance, Gandhiji’s letters and his autobiography help us significantly in understanding Gandhiji and his ideology.

Different kinds of sources from which the political career of Gandhiji are as follows:

They give us an account of the past i.e. rich in human detail. Autobiographies are retrospective accounts written very often from memory. They tell us what the author would be able to recollect, what he or she saw as important or was recounting or how a person wanted his or her life to be viewed by others.

Private Letters:
They give us a glimpse of the private thoughts of an individual. In letters we see people expressing their anger and pain, their dismay and anxiety, their hopes and frustrations, in a way in which they may not express themselves in public statements. Gandhiji regularly published in his journal Harijan, letters written to him during the national movements. Nehru edited a collection of letters called Bunch of Old Letters.

Government Records:
The letters and reports written by policemen and other officials were secret at that time, but now they can be accessed in archives. One such sources is the fortnightly report prepared by the home department from early 20th century. These reports were based on information given to the police by the localities, but often expressed what the officials saw or wanted to believe, e.g. in fortnightly reports for the period of the salt march, it is noticed that the home department was unwilling to accept that Mahatma Gandhiji’s actions had evolved any enthusiastic response from the masses.

Newspaper Records:
Both Indian and foreign newspapers played an important role while covering the news of Indian National Movement and the political career of Gandhiji. Every detail given in the state reports cannot be accepted as factual statements of the events that had been happening. Often these details acquaint us with the anxieties and worries of the officials who had been finding themselves incapacitated in controlling the movement and who were much too worried about its getting momentum. They were unable to take the decision whether they should arrest Gandhiji or not. They were also not able to realise that what would be the result if Gandhiji was arrested. Thus, it can be concluded that the accounts furnished by private letters and autobiographies differ from the officials account in several ways.

Question 8.
Examine the causes and contribution of Non-Cooperation Movement to India’s freedom struggle. Why did Gandhiji couple Non-Cooperation Movement with Khilafat Movement. (HOTS; Delhi Board 2011)
Undoubtedly, the Non-Cooperation Movement was a form of protest. It w7as a popular form of the expression of public resentment and protest against the Rowlatt Act. Its main objective was not to extend any cooperation to the administration, thus, rendering it completely crippled.

The Non-Cooperation Movement was a form of protest and by it national leaders wanted to express their protest against the abominable events such as the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. By launching this movement they wanted to severely punish those British who were responsible for killing hundreds of innocent people by firing on the peaceful meeting.

The Non-Cooperation Movement was a form of protest on another account also because it aimed at boycotting government jobs, titles, honorary offices, law courts and educational institutions, etc. The Indians wanted to display their protest against the British rule by boycotting foreign goods and government elections by non-payment of taxes to government and by peaceful disobedience of government laws. Law courts were boycotted, renowned advocates like Deshbandhu, Chittaranjan Das, Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabh Bhai Patel, Rajgopalachari, Babu Rajendra Prasad and Asaf Ali left their lucrative legal practices.

Thousands of students boycotted the government and semi-government educational institutes. Many Vidyapeeths such as the Kashi Vidyapeeth, Bihar Vidyapeeth and Aligarh Muslim University, etc were set up in various parts of the country to impart national education.

A strong wave of the movement swept the country side as well in Northern Andhra. The hill tribes refused to obey the colonial forest laws. Farmers in Awadh refused to pay taxes and the peasants in Kumaun refused to carry loads for colonial officials. In Assam, the labourers on tea plantations went on strike and the farmers of Midnapore refused to pay taxes to Union Board.

Gandhiji couple this movement with Khilafat Movement to foster the feeling of unity between two dominant religious communities and gave a movement an all India outlook. Indian Muslim were angered with the removal of Khalifa and they wanted English to restore the Khalifa so they also participated against British in this movement.

Question 9.
Assess the significance of salt march in India’s freedom struggle. How did the • British.Government reach to it? (Delhi 2011)
The choice of salt as a symbol of protest against the colonial rule was remarkable indicative of Gandhiji’s tactical wisdom which were as follows:

  • Salt law was one of the most widely disliked laws in British India. It provided the state a monopoly in the manufacture and sale of salt.
  • The common-folk hated the salt law. Salt was an inseparable part of food for every household, but people were prohibited from making salt even for domestic use. It was because of this law that Indians were compelled to buy salt from shops at a high price.
  • The state monopoly over salt was deeply unpopular. By making it his target, Gandhiji hoped to mobilise a wider discontent against British rule.

Thus, Gandhiji by making the salt law his target wanted to garner the maximum participation of the masses in the National Movement.

Question 10.
“Wherever Gandhiji went rumours spread of his miraculous powers.” Explain with examples. (All India 2011)
The peasants regarded Gandhiji as their ‘Messiah’ and considered him to be having many beneficial and miraculous powers. Many rumours were in circulation at various places regarding his miraculous powers. At some places the common masses came to believe that he had been sent by the king to remove their miseries and resolve their problems and he had such power that he could even reject the orders of all the officials.

At some other places it was affirmed that Gandhiji’s power was greater than even the English king and it was claimed that with his arrival the colonial rulers would run away out of fear.

In many villages this rumour was in circulation that the persons criticising Gandhiji got their houses mysteriously caved and their standing crops getting destroyed without any reason.

Gandhiji was popular with many names such as ‘Gandhi Baba’, ‘Gandhi Maharaj’ or ‘Mahatma’ among the peasants. They considered him as their saviour and believed that only he could save them from the exorbitant rate of land revenue and the oppressive activities of British officials.

Question 11.
Explain why many scholars have written of the month after the Independence as being Gandhiji’s ‘finest hour.’ (Delhi Boord 2010)
Gandhiji did not attended any function or hoist a flag either at the day of Independence, instead he marked a day with 24 hour fast. He kept himself isolated from the celebrations as he believed that freedom has come at an unacceptable price, country has been divided and due to communalism, two religious communities of India are seeking life of each others.

After attainment of Independence, Gandhiji kept himself aloof from the political work and engagements. He focussed on pacifying people, went around hospitals and refugee camps and giving consolation to distressed people. He appealed to Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims to forget the past and extend the hand of friendship and cooperation to one another.

He said the worst is over and all Indians should work together for equality of all classes and creeds. He even thought that though India and Pakistan are divided geographically and politically, but at heart we shall be friends and brothers and be the one for outside world. Gandhiji was in Bengal when India attained its freedom, after bringing peace to Bengal he shifted to Delhi and he was willing to go to Punjab to console the people.

So, it can be said that in his last days Gandhiji was spending time to bring peace without any pressure of political objectives. He was serving the humanity, tried to reduce the sufferings of displaced people with hands of empathy. Thus, keeping the all above in consideration, scholars described the month after Independence being Gandhiji’s ‘finest hour’.

Important Questions For Class 12 History With Answers: Framing the Constitution

Question 1.
Why is ‘Objective Resolution’ of Nehru considered as momentous resolution? Give two reasons? (HOTS; Delhi 2013)
Objective resolution was considered as momentous resolution because:

  • It outlined the defining ideals of Constitution of Independent India and provided framework within which constitution making was to be proceeded.
  • It proclaimed India to be an “Independent Sovereign Republic”.

Question 2.
Mention any two arguments given by Balakrishna Sharma for greater power to the centre. (All India 2013)
Balakrishna Sharma said following things in favour for greater power to the centre:

  • He said strong centre could plan for well-being of the country and it can mobilise the available economic resources of the country.
  • Strong centre can establish proper administration and defend the country against foreign invasion.

Question 3.
Describe the different arguments made in favour of protection on of depressed class in the Constituent Assembly. (All India 2017)
The following arguments were made in favour of protection of depressed classes in the Constituent Assembly:
1. It was realised that the depressed classes especially tribals and untouchables needed special attention and safeguards to raise their status in society and provide them equality. But some members of the depressed class emphasised that the problem of the “Untouchables” could not be resolved through protection and safeguards alone.

2. These members believed that the disabilities of the depressed class were caused by the social norms and the moral values of caste divided society. The depressed class had been left in isolation with this belief that they are not born to be fit in the civil society.

Their suffering was due to their systematic marginalisation. They had no aceess to education and also had no share in the administration.
Thus, in the Constituent Assembly many recognised that social discrimination could not solve only through constitutional legislation, there had to be a change in the attitudes within society.

Question 4.
“The discussions within the Constituent Assembly were also influenced by the opinions expressed by the public”. Examine the statement. (HOTS; Delhi 2012)
The public opinion had a considerable effect on the discussions of the Constituent Assembly that were:

  • There was public debate on all the resolutions.
  • The newspapers reported the arguments presented by different members on any issue.
  • Criticisms and counter criticism in the press shaped the nature of the consensus that was ultimately reached on specific issues.
  • Suggestions from the public was also welcomed which created a sense of collective participation.
  • Many linguistic minorities demanded protection of their mother tongue. Religious minorities asked for special safeguards.
  • The groups low caste or dalits demanded an end to ill-treatments by upper caste people and reservation of separate seats on the basis of their population in legislatures.
  • Important issues of cultural rights and social justice raised in the public discussions were debated in the Assembly.
  • In the same way, groups of religious minorities came forward and asked for special safeguards.

Question 5.
“A communist member Somnath Lahiri saw the dark hand of British . imperialism hanging over the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly”. Examine the statement and give your own views in support of your answer. (All India 2012)
The statement implies that Somnath Lahiri saw the influence of the British imperialism over the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly.
As a result, he urged the members to completely free themselves from the influences of imperial rule. During the winter of 1946-47, when the assembly was constituted, the British were still in India.

An interim administration headed by • Jawaharlal Nehru was in place, but it could only operate under the directions of the viceroy and the British Government in London. Lahiri exhorted his colleagues to realise that the Constituent Assembly was British made and was working on the British plans as the British should like it to be worked out.

Question 6.
“Within the Constituent Assembly of India the language issue was intensely debated”. Examine the views put forward by members of the assembly on the issue. (All India 2016)
The language issue was intensely debated in the Constituent Assembly. R.V. Dhulekar, Shrimati G. Durgabai, Shri Shankarrao Deo and T.A. Ramalingam Chettiar were prominent members of the Constituent Assembly who gave their remarkable views on language.

R.V. Dhulekar, a Congressman from the United Provinces, made a strong plea that Hindi must be used as the language of constitution making. He stated! “People who are present in this house to fashion a constitution for India and do not know Hindustani are not worthy to be member of this Assembly. They better leave”. Many members of the Assembly became agitated and the controversy regarding language continued over the next three years.

After three years, the Language Committee of the Constituent Assembly had produced its report. The committee tried to give a compromise formula to resolve the dead lock between those who advocated Hindi as the national language and those who opposed it. The committee suggested Hindi in the Devanagari script would be the official language along with English. But this solution could not satisfy members like Dhulekar who wanted to see Hindi as the national language of India.

Shrimati G. Durgabai from Madras expressed her worry that this controversy made the non-Hindi speaking people to think that other powerful languages of India would be neglected and it was an obstacle for the composite culture of our nation. She informed the House that the opposition in the South against Hindi was very strong. She said “The opponents feel perhaps justly that this propaganda for Hindi cuts at the very root of the provincial languages”.

She along with many others had obeyed the call of Mahatma Gandhi and carried on Hindi propaganda in the South. She accepted Hindustani as the language of the people. But its character was changed as it took many Urdu words and regional vocabulary. Durgabai believed this composite character of Hindustani was bound to create anxieties and fears among different language groups.

Shri Shankarrao Deo, a member from Bombay, a Congressman and a follower of Mahatma Gandhi accepted Hindustani as a language of the nation. But he warned “If you want my whole-hearted support (for Hindi) you must not do now any thing which may arise my suspicions and which will strengthen my fears”.

T. A. Ramalingam Chettiar from Madras suggested that whatever was done had to be done with caution. Because the cause of Hindi would not be helped if it was pushed too aggressively. There would be fear and bitter feelings among people if Hindi was applied forcefully, although the people might be unjustified. So he believed that to form a united nation “there should be mutual adjustment and no question of forcing things on people.”In this way different members of the Constituent Assembly expressed their views regarding the controversy.

Question 7.
How did Constituent Assembly of India protected the powers of the Central government? Explain. (All India 2016)
India achieved its independence on 15 th August, 1947 and was also divided into two parts i.e. India and Pakistan. Before the partition, the Constituent Assembly did not communicated itself in commendation of a strong Central Government, but after the declaration of partition on 3rd June, 1947, Constituent Assembly considered itself free from all restrictions inflicted by Cabinet Mission and political pressures. Constituent Assembly decided to opt for a federation alongwith strong centre. There were arguments in favour of strong provinces which evoked powerful reactions from the leaders who preferred strong centre.

Dr BR Ambedkar and Jawaharalal Nehru propounded a strong Central Government for India. They mentioned to the riots’and violences that were fearing the nation apart and stated that only a strong centre can stop the communal disharmony. Balakrishna Sharma focussed on length of the nation and stated that only a centre, which was powerful could plan for the well-being of the country. Strong centre would help in mobilising available economic resources and proper administration was possible only through strong centre only.

In spite of arguments of the centre has likely to break or inefficiency of the centre, the rights of the states were most impressively defended by K Santhanam from Madras. Also the decision of the Constituent Assembly to have a strong centre was occasioned by the situations in which it was taken. Most of the members felt that strong centre was the need of the hour. It was necessary to ensure peace, prosperity and political stability, and hence, Gopalaswami Ayyangar requested to make centre as strong as possible.

Question 8.
“There cannot be any divided loyalty” Govind Ballabh Pant argued that in order to become loyal citizens people had to stop focusing only on the community and the self. For the success of democracy one must train himself in the art of self discipline.

In Democracies one should care less for himself and more for others. There cannot be any divided loyalty. All loyalties must exclusively be centred round the state. If in a democracy, you create rival loyalties, or you create a system in which any individual or group, instead of suppressing his extravagance, cares nought for larger or other interests, then democracy is doomed.

  1. Why did Govind Ballabh Pant lay more stress on the art of self-discipline?
  2. What was considered important for the success of democracy?
  3. ‘In Democracies one should care less for himself and more for other.’ Give your views on this philosopy. (Delhi 2015)

1. Govind Ballabh Pant suggested that to make democracy successful, one should be self disciplined. Individual should care less for personal gain and focus more on collective benefit or for others gain in democracy. So a trait of sacrifice should be present in every citizen and this character of sacrifice can be learned through discipline.

2. For success of democracy, there should not be divided loyality and it must be centred round the state and citizens
should care less for themselves and more for fellow citizens.

3. This philosophy of democracy suggests that one should be considerate towards other, nothing should be done for personal gain which can harm the interest of other person or large section of people. This philosophy promotes the feeling of people centric benefits instead of individual centric.

Question 9.
‘We are not just going to copy’ We say that it is our firm and solemn resolve to have an independent sovereign republic. India is bound to be sovereign, it is bound to be independent and it is bound to be a republic….Now, some friends have raised the question “Why have you not put in the word ‘democratic’ here.?” Well, I told them that it is conceivable of course, that a republic may not be democratic but the whole of our past is witness to this fact that we stand for democratic institutions.

Obviously, we are aiming at democracy and nothing less than a democracy. What form of democracy, what shape it might take is another matter. The democracies of the present day, many of them in Europe and elsewhere, have played a great part in the world’s progress. Yet it may be doubtful if those democracies may not have to change their shape somewhat before long if they have to remain completely democratic. We are not going just to copy, I hope, a certain democratic procedure or an institution of a so-called democratic country.

We may improve upon it. In any event whatever system of government we may establish here must fit in with the temper of our people and be acceptable to them. We stand for democracy. It will be for this House to determine what shape to be given to that democracy, the fullest democracy, I hope the House will notice that in this resolution, although we have not used the word “democratic” because we thought it is obvious that the word “republic” contains that word and we have done something much more than using the word.

We have given the content of democracy in this resolution and not only the content of democracy but the context, also, if I may say so of economic democracy in this resolution. Others might take objection to this Resolution on the grounds that we have not said that it should be a Socialist State.

Well, I stand for Socialism and, I hope, India will stand for Socialism and that India will go towards the Constitution of a Socialist State and I do believe that the whole world will have to go that way.

  1. Explain why Nehru did not mention the word democratic in the resolution.
  2. Mention the three basic features of the constitution given in the above passage.
  3. On what kind of socialism did Nehru give stress to? (Delhi 2014)

1. The explanation given by Jawaharlal Nehru for not using the term ‘Democratic’ in the objective resolution is as follows:
(a) It was thought by the makers of the constitution that the word ‘republic’ contains that word.
(b) They did not want to use unnecessary and redundant words.
(c) They had given the content of democracy in the resolution especially democracy.

2. Three basic features of the constitution given in above passage are independent, sovereign, republic.

3. Nehru was supporter of Socialism and he said that India would stand for socialism, where every citizen would be provided equal opportunities for growth and development. There would be economic democracy and economic justice.

Question 10.
“British element is gone but they have left the mischief behind”
Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel said
It is no use saying that we ask for separate electorates, because it is good for us. We have heard it long enough. We have heard it for years, and as a result of this agitation we are now a separate nation… Can you show me one free country where there are separate electorates? If so, I shall be prepared to accept it. But in this unfortunate country if this separate electorate is going to be persisted in, even after the division of the country, woe betide the country; it is not worth living in. Therefore, I say, it is not for my good alone, it is for your own good that I say it, forget the past.

One day, we may be united… The British element is gone, but they have left the mischief behind. We do not want to perpetuate that mischief. (Hear, hear).

When the British introduced this element they had not expected that they have to go so soon. They wanted it for their easy administration. That is all right. But they have left the legacy behind. Are we to get out of it or not?

  1. Why are separate electorates considered as a mischief?
  2. State the arguments given by Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel for building political unity and forging a nation.
  3. How did the philosophy of separate electorates result in a separate nation? (All India 2015)


  1. Explain Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel’s views on the issue of separate electorate system.
  2. In what ways did Sardar Patel explain that “The British element is gone, but they have left the mischief behind”?
  3. Mention the reasons behind Sardar Patel urging the assembly members to get rid of separate electorate.
    (All India 2014)

1. Separate electorate was considered as a mischief because in the name of giving representation to minorities and making the administration easy, Britishers divided two major communities of India politically. Later, this issue of separate electorate played an important role in partition of the country.

2. Patel said in an assembly that there was no provision of separate electorate in any free country. He further said that separate electorate could not deliver any good, so it was better to forget it. For political unity he said, this electorate had to go. British introduced the policy of divide and rule. After the British we should reject.it for the sake of the unity of our nation.
3. Philosophy of separate electorate saw Hindus and Muslims as separate political identity. It believed that interest of Hindus and Muslims were not common, so to represent Muslims there should be a Muslim only, similarly for Hindu only Hindu should represent. This policy separated the people on the basis of religion and started to keep one community isolated from another politically. It was there to divide Indians on the basis of religion.
1. According to Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, separate electorates would be suicidal to the minorities and would do tremendous harm to them and the whole society. It was a demand that had turned one community against another, divided the nation, caused , bloodshed and led to the tragic
partition of the country. He argued that it would permanently isolate the minorities, make them vulnerable and deprive them of any effective say within the government.

2. Sardar Patel said that British policy of separate electorate created a division in the people of India and divided them on the basis of religion. This division culminated with partition of the country Britishers have left the country but negative consequence of that policy still haunted Indians.

3. Sardar Patel was urging for no separate electorates because it may harm the unity of the country as such no country is in the world having separate electorates.

Question 11.
“That is Very Good, Sir-Bold Words, Noble Words”
Somnath Lahiri said: Well, Sir, I must congratulate Pandit Nehru for the fine expression he gave to the spirit of the Indian people when he said that no imposition from the British will be accepted by the Indian people.
Imposition would be resented and objected to he said and he added that if need be we will walk to the valley of struggle. That is very good, Sir-bold words, noble words.
But the point is to see when and how are you going to apply that challenge. Well Sir the point is that the imposition is here right now.

Not only has the British plan made any future Constitution dependent on a treaty satisfactory to the Britisher but it suggests that for every little difference you will have to run to the Federal Court or dance attendance there in England or to call on the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee or someone else.

Not only is it a fact that this Constituent Assembly, whatever plans we may be hatching, we are under the shadow of British guns. British Army, their economic and financial stranglehold-which means that the final power is still in the British hands and the question of power has not yet been finally decided which means the future is not yet completely in our hands. Not only that, but the statements made by Attlee and others recently have made it clear that if need be, they will even threaten you with division entirely.

This means Sir there is no freedom in this country. As Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel put in some days ago, we have freedom only to fight among ourselves. That is the only freedom we have got…therefore, our humble suggestion is that it is not a question of getting something by working out this plan but to declare independence here and now and call upon the Interim government and call upon the people of India to stop fratricidal warfare and look out against its enemy, which still had the whip in hand of the British imperialism and go together to fight it and then resolve our claim afterward when we will be free.

  1. Why did Somnath Lahiri congratulate Pandit Nehru?
  2. Explain why Somnath feels that the absence of constitution will mean dependence on the British.
  3. How did he feel that final power was still in hands of the British?
  4. Explain the views of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel.
  5. Explain the intentions of the British in not framing the Constitution beforehand. What did they want?
    (Delhi 2012, 2010)

1. Somnath Lahiri congratulated Pandit Nehru for his fine expression that gave to the Indian people, when he said no imposition from the British would be accepted by India which was his true spirit for India and its free people.

2. Somnath felt that in the absence of Constitution for every basic law and rule, there would be need to refer to British government. British would obviously want control over the governance. So he felt that Indians should draft their own constitution according to their will and will of people, so it could be truly, independent and free.

3. Somnath Lahiri feels that although we have made our constitution but still we are not free. We are under British Army, British economic and financial stranglehold and this means that final power is still in the hands of British.

4. According to Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, we had freedom to fight only among ourselves, there was as such no freedom in our country.

5. The intentions of the British in not framing the constitution beforehand can be explained in the context of their convenience. It suggested that for every little difference, one would have to run to the federal court or act on the rule of the Government of England or to call on the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

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Is NCERT enough for Class 12 History?

Yes, NCERT is more than enough for Class 12 History. The students can practice the CBSE Class 12 History Important Questions given on this page.

Where can I find CBSE Class 12 History Important Questions?

You can find the CBSE Class 12 History Important Questions here. We have given the CBSE Class 12 History Important Questions based on the latest CBSE Exam pattern on this page.

When CBSE will conduct the Class 12 Exam for History?

The CBSE will conduct the Class 12 Exam for History on 29th March 2023.

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