Class 12 Swadesh Adhyayan Chapter 6 The Political Development of Assam (1826-1985)

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The Political Development of Assam (1826-1985)

Chapter – 6


1. Answer the following questions:

(a) In which year the Treaty of Yandaboo was signed?

Ans. 24 February 1826.

(b) Write any one provision of Yandaboo Treaty.

Ans. A permanent relationship of peace and friendship would be maintained between Burma (Myanmar) and the East India Company.

(c) In which year first Anglo-Burmese War broke out?

Ans. In 1824.

(d) Who was Gomdhar Konwar?

Ans. Gomdhar Konwar was a prince of the Ahom royal family. In 1828, he and Dhananjay Borgohain with their followers arranged to reinstate himself as the King of Assam and was formally announced as King at Bassa near Jorhat. It led to the outbreak of first anti-British uprising.

(e) In which year Mill’s Report was submitted?

Ans. In 1853.

2. Write Short Notes:

(a) Yandaboo Treaty: The Burmese created a very tense situation in Arakan, Assam and Cachar, which made conductive for a war between the EIC and the Burmese and in 1824 the company announced war against Burma. As a result of which Burma was heavily affected and failed to resist strongly against the British. Under the leadership of General Archibald Campbell, the main British force was present at a village named Yandaboo near Burmese capital Abha. Under the situation Burmese King Ba-gi-Daw offered the proposal of peace treaty with the British. As a result of this on 24 February 1826 the historical Treaty of Yandaboo was signed between Ba-gi-Daw and General Archibald Campbell. One of the main provision of this treaty was to maintain a permanent relationship of peace and friendship between Burma (Myanmar) and the East India Company.

(b) David Scot: David Scott was the Civil Commissioner of Rangpur, who constantly reported the higher authority of the EIC about the political events of Assam. In November 1823 he was entrusted with an additional responsibility of being the agent of North East to the Governor General. He wrote many reports on Assam and the North East. Later he was entrusted with the responsibility of administering Assam. The most important task for David Scott was to nominate a representative from the Ahom dynasty for the vacant throne of Assam. Later, for a smooth conduct of the administration British divided Assam into two part – western or lowers and earthen or upper Assam. David Scott was appointed as the senior commissioner for lower Assam and his head office was at Guwahati. In later years, Scott initiated British rule in Assam with the reformations in revenue, tax and judicial system.

(c) Mill’s Report: In 1853 the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal was willing to visit Assam and he ordered to submit a report based on investigation done on the region. This responsibility trusted upon A. J. Moffat Mills, Judge of Sadar Diwani Court. Mills reached Sibsagar same year and travelled different districts and in the last days of 1853 he submitted the report based on the survey done. This important document is known as Mill’s report. This document includes detailed information on land settlement, revenue system, judicial system, demographic pattern, transportation system, education, productions of industries etc. of the districts like Goalpara, Kamrup, Darrang, Nowgong, Sibsagar and Lakhimpur. Many people applied before Mill and most of them were Ahom nobles. Anandaram Dhekiyal Phukan with his personal knowledge and experience made some suggestions to Mill in order to reform the contemporary British rule. These suggestions were- to decrease the tax, to increase the number of courts and to appoint local people as judge, to develop agriculture, to establish technical and English medium institutions in Assam, to inspect the religious and voluntary organization and to reinforce Assamese language in Assam.

Maniram Dewan also applied two petitions to Mill. In the first petition he applied for obtaining personal benefits and in the second he furnished information on British rule in Assam. In this petition Maniram showed his grievances towards the injustices that were brought by opium cultivation, decline of local art, towards Satras and appointment of Bengalis and Marowaris as Mouzadar. At last he demanded to reinstate Ahom monarchy by announcing either Ghanakanta Singha, son of Chandrakanta Singha or Kandarpeswar Singha, the grandson of Purandar Singh as king.

(d) Jorhat Sarbajanik Sabha: Jorhat became the centre of social and political activities. With the alertness of Jagannath Baruah Jorhat Sarbajanik Sabha was established in 1884. Jagannath Baruah was the son of a tea planter and he received his higher education from Presidency College in Calcutta. He was influenced by the organisations that were very active in Bengal like Atmiya Sabha, Bengal British Indian Society, Patriots Association, Indian Association etc. He reflected the hope, expectations and grievances of the people of Assam and also played a significant role in designing the socio-economic policies of the government.

The basic three objectives of Jorhat Sarbajanik Sabha were – 

1. To represent the expectations of people before the government.

2. To explain the government policies before common masses.

3. To improve social condition of the masses.

The founder president of Jorhat Sarbajanik Sabha was Raja Naranarayan Singh and secretary was Jagannath Baruah. This Sabha protested the Assam Land and Revenue Policy introduced by British in 1886. Jorhat Sarbajanik Sabha sympathised with peasant uprising of 1892- 1893 and criticized the financial policies of the government. The Sabha demanded long term land settlement and right to own land by the Aadhiyars without increase in taxes. In 1893 it submitted a memorandum before Royal Commission on Opium. Jorhat Sarbajanik Sabha even appealed to the government for reformation in education sector and sufficient employment generation.

Jorhat Sarbajanik Sabha played a major role in the formation of Indian National Congress in Assam. It strongly protested the decision of partition of Bengal of 1905. Jagannath Baruah protested against merging Assam with East Bengal and demanded to protect the interest of people of this region and recruitment of local people as well. In this way Jorhat Sarbajanik Sabha took a strong step in the growth of social and political consciousness in Assam. Its members like Devicharan Baruah and Lakshminath Bezbaruah participated as representatives in the annual session of Indian National Congress. Jagannath Baruah died in 1907 and after his death there were contradictions among its members and the activities of the Sabha also stopped gradually after his death.

(e) Swadeshi Movement: The anti-partition movement that was started in the Brahmaputra valley was limited to cities and towns mainly. The people who took part in the movement appealed to boycott foreign goods and use indigenous products. In the towns of Assam people started using Khar instead of salt manufactured at Liverpool in England; they used sugar manufactured at Varanasi instead of foreign; they started spinning and weaving instead of using the clothes manufactured in Europe. The head priest of Kamakhya temple appealed to the pandas and the nearby shops not to use foreign goods. Under this circumstance shops run by local people were opened in Assam and buying and selling of indigenous products began. Ambikagiri Raychoudhury along with Gobinda Lahiri tried to strengthen the concept of Swadeshi among students. In 1905 the famous dramatist of Bengal Mukund Das performed patriotic songs and plays in Guwahati and was successful in spreading the message of Swadeshi Movement.

British government adopted harsh steps to suppress Swadeshi movement. Through Curley and Rishley circular British made it clear that the school administration had to assure that no student, studying in the school could be a part of Swadeshi movement. Disciplinary actions were taken against the students and the teachers who participated in the anti-partition movement. The meetings and processions were banned and political leaders were sent to jail. Restrictions were made on news agencies. The people who took part in the movement either had to pay penalty or had to go to jail or were exiled.

Secret societies were formed in Bengal against exploitative measures adopted by British to suppress Swadeshi movement. Ambikagiri Raychoudhury gave birth to an organization named Seva Sangha on the model of Anushilan Samiti of Bengal. But these small Samitis could not achieve much success in preventing imperial exploitation.

The President of Assam Association Raja Prabhat Chandra Baruah submitted a memorandum to British Secretary of State protesting the British decision to partition of Bengal. This memorandum criticised British’s policy of division instead of adopting policy of welfare.

There had been emergence of liberalist in the politics of England already. The next Governor General after Lord Curzon, Lord Minto realized that the problems of India could not be solved through exploitative policies. He believed in weakening the anti-partition movement by skilfully making division among the participants. In order to weaken the growth of Indian nationalism Lord Minto started to flatter the Muslim community. The Government of India Act, 1909 or Morley- Minto reforms allowed separate electorate for Muslims and provided additional membership to the minorities in legislative council. But it failed to solve the political problems of India. The extremists opposed this act and the moderates were worried about the hazardous consequences of ‘divide and rule’ principle of government. Viceroy Lord Hardinge informed British Secretary of State about the political anarchy prevailing in India due to partition of Bengal and the decision of partition of Bengal was finally cancelled on December 1911 at Delhi Darbar. As a result Assam got the chance to get back to her earlier status. Anew Chief Commissioner was appointed for Assam and new location of legislative assembly was confirmed at Shillong.

(F) Non-Cooperation Movement: During the last days of the second decade of twentieth century the political condition in India became complex. The common people had to carry heavy burden of taxes to meet the economic crisis caused by First World War which infused grievances among them. This circumstance was the background behind the launch of Non-cooperation movement in India. The factors responsible for non-cooperation movement were – 

1. Montague-Chelmsford reform could not satisfy the people of India since it rejected the Indian demand of self-governance.

2. The Indian Muslims were dissatisfied with British planning to divide Turkish Empire after the First World War. They started Khilafat agitation to gain British support in order to provide safety and security to Ottoman Empire of Turkey.

3. The Indians could not take the Rowlatt Act of 1919 easily that allowed to arrest the people and put them behind the bar without trial for two years. There was a massive protest against this Act and many Congress leaders including Mahatma Gandhi opposed this Act.

4. Thousands of people died of brutal firing by General Dyer at Jallianwala Bagh who assembled there to protest Rowlatt Act and this cruel incident is known as Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Indian history.

These incidents created a sense of discontentment against British among the Indians. Since British disagreed to accept the demands through constitutional means, Indian National Congress in its annual session at Calcutta in 1920 decided to launch non-cooperation movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.

(g) Break of Salt Law Act: Britain’s Salt Act prohibited Indians from collection or selling salt and gave the British a monopoly on the collection and manufacturing of salt. After the formation of Simon Commission feeling of strong dissatisfaction and hatred has arose among the Indians as the people of India felt insulted as no Indian was appointed in the Commission. As a result, a nationwide movement was started ( Civil Disobedience Movement) and on 1929, the Lahore Congress session demanded for Purna Swaraj and for the first time hoisted the tricoloured flag in the midnight of 30th December and declared 26th January as the Independence day on the demand of Purna Swaraj . Gandhi proposed an 11 paragraph demand to Lord Arwin which was later rejected by him. This created a dissatisfaction and Gandhi started the movement with the famous Dandi March from Sabarmati to Ahmedabad and took the activity of breaking the Salt Law Act with boycott of foreign good and intoxication.

(h) Round Table Conference: In 1930 the report of Simon Commission was declared. The circumstances became tense as in the report India was not given Purna Swaraj. Viceroy Arwin had suggested a round table conference to discuss on the matter of Purna Swaraj. In November, 1930 the first round table conference was held in London and a few Indians joined the conference. It was clear that without the participation of Congress the discussion over the providing constitutional right to India became meaningless. Therefore, Viceroy directed to free Gandhi and other Congress leaders from the jail.

In 1931, the Gandhi-Irwin Pact was signed and the public had reacted to it. Because Gandhi failed to restrict the death sentence of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.

The Civil Disobedience Movement was called off because of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact and Congress assured to join the next round table conference. The person who were not involved in the terrorist activities were released from the jail. The unsold lands were returned to the owner and the freedom fighters were exempted from the taxes collected.

The British Government declared communal representatives in the centre and provincial legislature to divide the Indian people. Gandhi started fasting to protest against the declaration of providing separate electorate to the Dalits of Hindu Society. This eventually led to the Poona pact between Gandhi and Ambedkar. After this treaty Gandhi devoted his two years to remove the untouchability from the country and also visited Assam with this objective.

(i) Gopinath Bordoloi: Gopinath Bordoloi was an important personality in the Assam politics in the pre-independence era. He was the first chief minister of Assam. In the election of 1936 Congress won the majority and Gopinath Bordoloi was elected as the leader of Congress in the Legislative Assembly. Though Congress was able to form a coalition Government but Bordoloi preferred to act as opposition leader and Sayed Mahammad Sadullah formed the ministry. But soon, Sadullah resigned from the Ministry to avoid the no confidence motion and Gopinath Bordoloi was permitted by the Governor to form the new Government. On 19th September 1938 the congress government was formed with Bordoloi as Chief Minister. Bordoloi did many remarkable development in many sectors, but after the WWII broke out, in 1939 Bordoloi Ministry had resigned. Soon after the end of WWII in 1945, elections were held in Assam and Congress with Gopinath Bordoloi again formed the ministry.

(j) Plain Tribe Politics: The Fragmented and diverse situation in India, especially in Assam paved the unrest to rise among the plain tribes especially the Bodos, who began to show revolutionary attitude since the 60s, and started to organize themselves to fulfil their desire

In 1946, Assam Plain Tribal League was formed. After the independence the tribes of plain also started to organize themselves to fulfil their desire. The plain tribes showed their interest to enjoy the democratic rights and the privileges given by the 6th Schedule of the Constitution but they thought that government was reluctant towards their desire. The representatives from higher caste dominated the ministry in the three elections held after the independence because of that the thought had grown on the mind of plain tribes. In reality, though Government had worked for the spread of education but importance was not given to the rural economic development or agriculture which was the main livelihood of the tribes. According to them the political parties became active in the tribal areas during the election only to get votes. But Government was inactive in the welfare scheme for the ethnic groups. Though, inactive Samabay were revitalized through the Second Five Year Plan but the governance and works of the Samabay could not put more impact on the development of the tribes. The ethnic groups were also influenced by the insufficient irrigation system, the reinstatement of the refugees in the reserved land and the increasing price of the foods. Many organizations were formed with the objective to bring these grievances to the government. The recognition of Assamese as medium in the educational institutions had also brought new crisis in the political arena. The government formed a linguistic minority committee to discuss on the demand of separate state udayachal raised by tribal league and this committee tried to solve the issues cooperating with the Plain Tribal Parishad.

(k) Language Movement: In 1960 Assam witnessed unrest centering the identity of Assamese language. According to the census of 1951, though the Assamese speaking people were 75% but the fear in the minds of Assamese middle class and Asom Sahitya Sabha of getting its linguistic identity overshadowed by that of the non-Assamese took such a serious turn that it led to communal riots. The students played active role in the linguistic movement. At last in the 6 districts of Brahmaputra Assamese was recognized as medium which brought some relief to the movement. In 1972, movement was started again demanding to recognize Assamese as medium for pre degree and degree courses.

(l) Assam Movement: In July, 1978, All Assam Students Union had started a movement on the 16 point charter of demands. During the movement against the foreign nationals, the normal life of the masses was effected by the program of picketing, Satyagraha, hunger strike, Assam Bandh, etc. In 1977 and 1978 Purbanchaliya Loka Parisad and Assam Jatiyatabadi Dal, were formed respectively. These two parties also participated in the movement. On 24th October, 1978 the issue of immigration of foreign nationals was mentioned by the Chief Election Commissioner which gave legitimacy to the issue. On 16th March the Chief Minister of Assam also mentioned the issue of the immigration. 

Assam Movement was started from April, 1979 in reality. During the by-election of Mangaldai constituency, a huge number of foreign nationals were included in the voters list which spread the movement for deporting the foreign nationals started by All Assam Students Union. In the same year on 7th June the ministry of Gola Borbora of Janata Party declined. In 1985, the historic Assam Accord was signed between Rajiv Gandhi, then Prime Minister and representatives of All Assam Students Union and All Asom Gana Sangram Parisad. The remarkable provision of the accord was that the illegal immigrants who had entered Assam after 25th April, 1971 would be deported. In 1985 the signatory student leaders formed a new regional party named Asom Gana Parisad in Golaghat town.

In 1985 for the first time State Government was formed under the leadership of a regional party named Asom Gana Parisad.

(m) Patharughat Uprising: Patharughat Revolt was a prominent event in the history of Assam. The increase of taxes created great dissatisfaction among peasantry during British rule. The peasants of Kamrup and Darrang organised Raij Mel and protested against British revenue policy. In 1893 the Chief Commissioner of Assam Sir William Ward increased the taxes to 70-80%. Hence the peasants also unitedly prepared themselves to protest against this policy. Arrangements were made by the peasants of Patharughat in Darrang district to organise a Raij Mel. After getting this news Deputy Commissioner J. D. Anderson and Superintendent of Police Barrington reached Patharughat with armed force at night on 28 January 1894. The number of peasant’s attendance started to increase as they received the news of coming of the Deputy Commissioner. They expected that the Deputy Commissioner would make some tax relaxation. But he ordered the gathered mass to return back to their homes. The peasants got offended and refused his order. The police force was ready to attack the mob. The peasants became excited. They started throwing stray stone to the police and some of them tried to defend themselves with sticks. Many peasants died in firing. ‘Dali Purana’ contains information on peasant uprising at Patharughat.

3. Answer The Following Question:

(a) Discuss the provisions of Yandaboo Treaty and its results.

Ans. The Burmese created a very tense situation in Arakan, Assam and Cachar, which made conductive for a war between the EIC and the Burmese and in 1824 the company announced war against Burma. As a result of which Burma was heavily affected and failed to resist strongly against the British. Under the leadership of General Archibald Campbell, the main British force was present at a village named Yandaboo near Burmese capital Abha. Under the situation Burmese King Ba-gi-Daw offered the proposal of peace treaty with the British. As a result of this on 24 February 1826 the historical Treaty of Yandaboo was signed between Ba-gi-Daw and General Archibald Campbell. One of the main provision of this treaty was to maintain a permanent relationship of peace and friendship between Burma (Myanmar) and the East India Company.

A number of significant provisions were included in the Treaty that affected Assam and its peripheral states. 

1. A permanent relationship of peace and friendship would be maintained between Burma and the East India Company.

2. Assam, Manipur and Arakan these areas went under the control of EIC and the company also asked the king of Abha to stop the behaviour he had shown to as war indemnity.

3. The Burmese ruler agreed to pay rupees one million pound to the East India Company as war indemnity.

4. Representatives of EIC were allowed to station at the Burmese Capital Abha.

Although the second clause of the treaty refers that Assam was transferred to the hands of EIC, but it was not mentioned cleanly in the treaty. It offers equal states to Assam, Cachar and Jayantiya and nothing significant was included in the Treaty.

Result:  The political decisions, EIC resolved about Assam Cachar, Jayantiya and Manipur were the important result of the Treaty of Yandaboo. The company allowed Govinda Chandra and Ram Singh to rule Cachar and Jayantiya Kingdom respectively but stayed away from offering such right to the representatives of Ahom Kingdom. 

The King of Cachar, Govinda Chandra agreed to pay a sum of rupees 10,000 annually to the company. Whereas, Ram Singh promised to assist the company in their Military campaign. British recognized Gombhir Singh as the King of Manipur through the Treaty. The impact was completely different in case of Assam, the representatives of Assam were not added to the treaty. Later the British imposed and took numerous political decision with the only intention to serve thein interest and had their hand in the political affairs of the state. The Treaty of Yandaboo can be regarded as the Treaty through which the British established their rule over Assam.

(b) Write the causes of Anglo-Burma War.

Ans. David Scott, in a report, written to the higher authority referred that the Burmese had established full control over Assam and also had appointed one of their representatives to hold supreme power that reflected Assam under their control. The Burmese looked Habraghat area of Rangpur and also entered into British occupied Goalpara. Rumour spread that Mingimaha Bondula was preparing to attack Goalpara. The administration of British ElC got aware of observing the military preparations made by the Burmese to attack from the three side. The Burmese not only threatened the security of the areas occupied by EIC but also disturbed the commercial interest of the company in North East India. After going through the reports sent by David Scott, the Governor General Council of ElC decided to severely punish and get the Burmese out. It is believed that the situation which the Burmese created in Arakan, Assam and Cachar made it conducive a war between the EIC and the Burmese. In 1824 the company announced war against Burma. Later come to be known as the First Anglo-Burmese war.

(c) Who was Purandar Singha? Write a short note on the administration of Purandar Singha. 

Ans. Purandar Singha was the last King of Ahom Kingdom in Assam. The British after Yandaboo Treaty realized that Ahom administration must contain some strong features since they ruled six-hundred years. Therefore, it was decided to announce Purandar Singha as the ruler of Upper Assam in 1832. He formally ascended to the throne in April 1833 and established capital at Jorhat adopting the little Sri Sri Maharaja Purandar Singha Narendra.

In the administration of Purandar, the Ahom nobles and officials showed dissatisfaction as they were deprived of the comforts they were enjoying earlier. Moreover, the Ahom aristocracy considered him Bengali rather than Assamese as Purandar spent a long time in Bengal and appointed Bengali umolahs in his administration. Since it became difficult for him to make annual payment of rupees 50,000 regularly, Purandar requested the British authority in November 1833 to include the other area of Upper Assam into his state. Shortage of currency created another crisis in upper Assam and British ignored Purandar’s appeal to deal with this crisis. Later, the British let Purandar free from the government of Upper Assam and dethroned him and brought Upper Assam under their rule. Purandar Singha although protested the British decision but the authority rejected his appeal and decided to pay him rupees 1000 a monthly pension. With this the historic Ahom rule came to an end. 

(d) Write critically about the peasant uprising in Phulaguri.

Ans. Due to the British Economic Policy, increase in land revenue and other taxes, the peasant were highly dissatisfied during the British rule, and had to suffer from extreme poverty.

In 1861 the peasants of Phulaguri, in Nagaon revolted against the British revenue policy. The British banned opium cultivation and this decision affected the domestic economy of many places of Assam especially Phulaguri. This area was comprised of highest opium consuming people. Moreover, the peasants belonging to Tiwa and Kachori community were influenced by the rumours that British would impose tax on property and betel nut and betel vine. Therefore, they protested and adopted the path of a rebellion. On September 1861, about one thousand peasants protested against the British revenue policy in Nowgong. Deputy Commissioner Herbert Sconce failed to control the peasant and some of them forcefully entered into his office. After four weeks of the commencement of this episode, the peasant took up a protest programme on ban of opium cultivation and other exorbitant taxed. Since the peasants did not get on positive reply from the administration they decided not to pay taxes and also plan to organise a Raij Mel. On the first day of the Raij Mel, Deputy Commissioner sent a police force to arrest the peasant leaders. The riots rejected government orders and the Darogah was forced to take the police force back. As a result the situation become hostile and Sconce sent Junior Assistant Commissioner Lieutenant Singer to Phulaguri to control the situation along with a police force. Singer ordered the peasants to go back. The excited mob killed Singer and flowed him in the river Kalong. At last Deputy Commissioner himself arrived and controlled the situation.

This event later came to be known as the Peasant Uprising in Phulaguri in the history of Assam. 

(e) Discuss the plan of partition of Bengal and it impact. 

Ans. The Partition of Bengal was a territorial reorganization of the Bengal Presidency implemented by the authorities of the British Raj in 1905. A new province was declared including East Bengal and Assam in an area of about 1,06,540 sq. Km. The partition separated the Muslim eastern area from the largely Hindu western area on 16 October 1905 after being announced by Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India. The partition of plan of Bengal was a part of the British’s policy of “Divide and Rule”. 

As an impact, the partition triggered radical nationalism. Nationalists all over the India supported the Bengali against the policy. Numerous organisation and groups opposed and protested against the decision of partition of Bengal. The protestors protested by singing ‘Vande Mataram’ and appealed to boycott foreign goods, schools, courts, etc. The partition also caused embarrassment to the Indian National Congress. 

The authorities not able to end the protest, were worried about the hazardous consequences of ‘divide and rule’ principle of government. Viceroy Lord Nardinge informed British Secretary of state about the political anarchy prevailing in India due to partition of Bengal and the decision of partition of Bengal was finally cancelled on December 1911 at Delhi Darbar.

(f) What was the impact of Montego Chelmsford Reform in Assam?

Ans. The process of constitutional reform was interfered because of the outbreak of First World War. The condition of the state became perilous because of shortage of food supply, inflation, epidemic etc. The demand for constitutional right became stronger than ever before in India. Under this circumstance British Secretary of State E. C. Montague decided to visit India personally in order to understand the political condition of the country. He along with Viceroy Lord Chelmsford met a number of representatives of the society while they toured India. Montague-Chelmsford reform was mainly interested in introducing autonomous institutions in India gradually. A section of Indian National Congress welcomed this reform, but others wanted the implementation of this reform at once.

It was not clearly mentioned whether Assam would be a part of Montague reform. There was a great deal of controversy on this issue amongst the Chief Commissioner Bitsan Bell, the European community living in Assam and other socio-political organizations. Assam Association entrusted responsibility on Nabin Chandra Bardaloi and Prasanna Kumar Barua were presented there among India representatives. Although the demand made by Indian representative to introduce self-governance was rejected by British parliament but on the request of the representatives from Assam, the state was included in the reform.

The spread of Swadeshi and Home rule movement in the country, revolutionary activities, events occurring in the contemporary world and the speeches delivered by Gokhle, Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal aroused political awareness among the younger generation. As a result of this awareness, an organization named Assam Students Conference was formed in 1916. Later on this organization came to be popular as Assam Chatra Sanmilan. Although this organization was non-political in nature, it gave birth to the personalities like Chandranath Sharma, Omeo Kumar Das, Hemchandra Barua, Padmadhar Chaliha etc. who strongly led anti-British struggle later on.

(g) What do you understand by Jallianwala Bagh Massacre? 

Ans. The Jallianwala Bang massacre also known as the Amritsar Massacre, took place on 13 April 1919 on the day of Vaisakhi, a major Punjabi Festival, when acting Brigadier General Dyer, blocked the of main entrance of Jallianwala Bagh and ordered the troops of British Army to fire their rifle into a crowd of unarmed Indian civilians in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab. Thousands of people died of brutal firing, who assembled there to protect Rowlatt Act. It was a major factor responsible for the launch of Non-cooperation movement in India.

(h) Write on the participation of students in Civil Disobedience Movement.

Ans. After the formation of Simon Commission in 1927, feeling of strong dissatisfaction and hatred had arose among the Indians. Because the people of India felt insulted as no Indian was appointed in the Simon Commission and united to boycott the commission irrespective of parties and opinion.

The Assam Student Association had taken political decision for the first time by boycotting the commission. Government became disappointed to this act of the students organisation and threatened the educational institutions saying that the government would curtail the aid to the institutions of their students who join the movement. Despite this the students joined the movements against Simon Commission actively.

The students of Assam were not much influenced by Civil Disobedience movement. But on May 1930 Director of Education, J. R. Cunningham declared a circular which brought awareness among the students. According to the Cunningham Circular the parents or guardians of the student of Government schools had to confirm the government regarding the non-participation of the students in Civil Disobedience movement. If student take part in the strikes, hartals or any political programs or disobey the school authority had to pay penalty and the scholarship and the hostel seats of such students would be withdrawn and would be rusticated from the school. The Cunningham circular created strong opposition in Brahmaputra and Barak Valley. The students decided to protest on road against this disrespectful circular. The student had blocked the wine shop and opium shops also. Numerous students left schools and protected against it.

The participation of the student of Assam in Civil Disobedience Movement in Assam was not direct but anyway it contributed there. Some incidents are discussed above.

(i) Explain the role of women in the freedom movement of Assam. 

Ans. The role of women in the freedom movement of Assam is very significant. The women took part actively in the freedom struggle against the British Raj. The role of women of Assam in the freedom movement are briefly discussed below.

(a) Non- Cooperation Movement: Responding to M. K. Gandhi’s appeal to participate in the Non-cooperation Movement, a large number of Assamese women had joined the movement shouting the slogan like Mahatma Gandhi Joy, Vande Mataram etc. The women had participated in the protest during the movement equally to the men and became active workers of the anti – British Movement. Leading women went to the village to organise the village women to participate in the anti-British Movement.

(b) Civil Disobedience Movement: The common mass of Assam showed support to Gandhi’s urge for Civil Disobedience Movement. Pushpalata Das, Runya Prava Boruah, Jyotsna Mujumdar formed ‘Mukti Sngha’ to organize women during the Civil Disobedience movement and contributed towards popularizing the demand of Swaraj The Government became aware with the increasing women members and Pushpalata Boruah, the General Secretary of Panbazar Girls High school was rusticated from the school.

(c) Quit India Movement: In Assam the Quit India Movement was started with non-violence principle but the brutality of policy had created fear in the minds of the fighters. The women played an active role in Quit India Movement but it was noticed that women folk were kept away from the organizational activities. The women leaders demanded for separate women wing to spread the freedom struggle .ln 1940 in Assam the women wing was formed. The women played glorious role during the Quit India Movement when the men were in jail. Among the women leaders Chandra Prabha Saikiani played the key role. The women joined not only in the ‘Shanti Sena’ but also in the ‘Mrityu Bahini’ which was formed to work against the government systematically. 

(J) Discuss the impact of Cabinet Mission plan in Assam.

Ans. In 1946, British sent Cabinet Mission to India with the objective to form a self-government and providing a Constitution to India before their departure from India. Cabinet Mission had rejected the demand of separate Pakistan and suggested the proposal of three Grouping system. Assam was included in the third group along with Bengal.

The grouping system was opposed by the Assam Pradesh Congress. If Assam would join the same group to the Bengal then Assam had to lose its identity and Muslim League would become the pieces of chess game. Gopinath Bordoloi had sent Bijoy Chandra Bhagawati and Mahendra Mohan Chaudhary to meet Gandhi in Srirampur to inform him about the situation, and also raised a proposal in Legislative Assembly against the Cabinet Mission.

Later on, In Assam the movement for grouping was called off because of the Mountbatten proposal.

(K) Narrate the background of Indo-China war. 

Ans. The Indo-China war was one of the major disputes between the two nations. China imposed communism on Tibet, and hence the Tibetan ruler and religious head – Dalai Lama escaped and reached India with many of his countrymen as refugees, through the NEFA (now Arunachal Pradesh) route. Due to this relations between India and China were greatly spoiled.

In 1962, China attacked India and occupied large tracks of territory in NEFA and Ladakh. Assam was indulged directly in Sino- Indian War which broke out centering border issue. The troops of China captured Bomdila and marched to Darrang that frightened the high officials of the district who left for Nagaon Guwahati, etc. leaving behind the people in war. The Chinese troops returned after the one day war, which ended the Sino – Indian war.


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