The history of freedom movement in India narrates the inspiring story of dedication, sacrifice and commitment to higher values of life by not only the various prominent leaders but also millions of ordinary people who did not expect any thing in return for their self-less service. This should be the main ethos of our national and political life in order to reinvigorate the political process in the country and to put an end to political, social and economic evils which have afflicted the system. India suffered from a series of foreign invasions due to lack of unity and national consciousness among the people and the absence of a strong central government. The degeneration and decadence of Indian civilisation which had started from the mediaeval period, reached its pinnacle particularly after the British conquest over India. All efforts were made by the British to denigrate and destroy the most prosperous and flourishing civilisation of India. They followed the policy of Divide and rule and most cunningly sowed the seeds of separatism, provincialism, castism, linguism and parochialism. While the rich and powerful elite sections of the people were pampered and protected, millions of poor and downtrodden people were mercilessly oppressed and exploited. This was the greatest hindrance to the unity of the people, which was an imperative necessity for fighting an effective battle of freedom. The organisation of the Indian National Congress in 1885 was historic in the sense that it fulfilled the fundamental requirement to promote unity and integrity among the people. Thus after long years of suffering, humiliation and exploitation in the hands of the alien rules, the Indians under the leadership of the Indian National Congress, exhibited undaunted Courage, dogged perseverance, determination and unprecedented sacrifice in fighting against British imperialism and colonialism. An attempt has been made in this book to present in a simple and lucid style, the glorious history of freedom struggle in India. It is earnestly and sincerely hoped that in this 50th year of India's independence, this small effort would go a long way in meeting the requirements of the students, teachers and all those who are interested to know about one of the most glorious chapters of our national history.
Prof. Hari Hara Das is one of the most eminent Professors' of Political Science and is widely known for his erudition and academic attainments. He is one of the distinguished luminaries in the Discipline in the whole country. At present he teaches Political Science at the Post-Graduate Department, Berhampur University, Orissa. He had a distinguished academic career and was awarded the Merli Curtis Gold Medal, by the Lucknow University in 1960. He is an eminent writer and has large number of publications to his credit. He received wide acclaim both in the country and abroad for his monumental work—Subhas Chandra Bose and the Indian National Movement. He is known for his deep study and research on the Indian National Movement and leading political personalities of India. He is widely published in journals of repute and has produced a large number of Ph.D. Scholars. He has authored a large number of books and the notable among these works are, India : Democratic Government and Politics, Comparative Politics and Governments, Principles and Issues in Indian Government and Politics and Principles of International Law and Organisation. He is also the Co-author of Introduction to Political Sociology and several other books. He was awarded a fellowship by the Max Planck Society, Munich, Germany and worked in collaboration with Prof. Klaus Gottstein on Science and Technology in Developing Societies. He has visited several Universities in the U.S.A. and Germany and has delivered lectures and participated in international seminars.
Freedom struggle in India constitutes one of the brilliant chapters of Indian history. India achieved her freedom after a long and bitter struggle, which would remain memorable not only because of the sufferings of the people, but also for their invincible courage and dauntless spirit. It is the saga of sacrifice of many eminent sons and daughters of India. Large number of people were imprisoned, mercilessly tortured, punished and their property was confiscated for the only crime of loving their motherland. In most cases, the people who were subjected to indignities and inhuman punishments, became unfit to lead normal healthy lives, after their release from Jail. Prominent leaders like Loka Manya Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Pandit Moti Lal Nehru were almost crippled during the period of their long incarceration.
The hundreds and thousands of people who sacrificed their life for the cause of India's freedom and accepted martyrdom with smile on their lips, should be remembered by generation after generation in order to provide the right inspiration and the perspective to our people. India has won her freedom with the blood of the martyrs. It would not have been possible for India to win her independence without the willing and voluntary sacrifice of millions of people.
In this struggle for freedom, thousands of women became widows and children orphans. The Indians were looked down upon and were treated as slaves by the British rulers. They were foreigners in their own country and a handful of alien rulers monopolized all power and privilege. The freedom fighters while carrying on an incessant struggle for the freedom of India contributed to the development of a new consciousness leading to the search for national identity. The Indian leaders who fought the battle of freedom, became the Chief architects of India's socio-political life. They also provided great inspiration for the liberation movements in other parts of the world, while working for the attainment of the goal of freedom in India.
No nation should forget the sacrifices and the sufferings of the people who made it free from the shackles of bondage, slavery and indignity by shedding their blood. The history of freedom struggle should, therefore, provide an inspiring example to all, whether young or old. It would be dangerous to forget the inspiring story of courage and sacrifice of the freedom fighters as that would make the present generation or those of coming generations, give themselves to a life of luxury and easy morals.
In order to have a proper understanding of the Indian Political system and the institutions provided by the constitution, there is the undeniable necessity of studying the historical development of the governmental system and freedom struggle during the British regime, as many features of our constitution owe their origin to a tremendous psychological impact of the alien system which has become part and parcel of our political tradition.
Apart from producing a galaxy of eminent leaders with dedication to the country, the Indian freedom struggle helped in manifesting many noble principles like secularism, socialism, universalism, scientific and rational temperament, national identity, parliamentarism and above all 'unity in diversity.' Mahatma Gandhi's Satyagraha movement was unique in its style and most far-reaching in its impact. His principles of non-violence and truth became the war-cry of millions of people all over the world, who were subjected to oppression and exploitation.
The history of freedom struggle which speaks the inspiring story of dedication, sacrifice and commitment, should form our daily prayer to keep us on the right track. The glorious struggle for freedom has come to an end with the attainment of India's independence. But India has to launch a bitter fight against the evils of poverty, corruption, prejudices, regionalism, linguism, communalism, casteism, provincialism, superstitions and prejudices in order to march ahead on the path of progress and prosperity.
It has been my endeavour to make an objective analysis of India's struggle for freedom, since the First War of Indian Independence of 1857. I have not hesitated to express my independent views, while dealing with the various aspects academically. In the treatment of the various aspects of India's freedom struggle, conscious effort is made to maintain strict neutrality and to avoid the fault of being either dogmatic and self-opinionated or pronouncing judgment not substantiated by valid evidence.
I am immensely grateful to those numerous writers whose specialized works have helped me in formulating my ideas and presenting my analysis. None of them, of course, has any responsibility for the opinions expressed by me or any other mistake that might have inadvertently crept into this work.
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