How did India become independent from the British? 

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Indian independence from Great Britain was the culmination of many movements and events that took place over the course of a ninety-year span beginning in 1857. Let's look at some of these movements which would eventually lead to independence.

It can be argued that in the Sepoy Rebellion, also known...

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Indian independence from Great Britain was the culmination of many movements and events that took place over the course of a ninety-year span beginning in 1857. Let's look at some of these movements which would eventually lead to independence.

It can be argued that in the Sepoy Rebellion, also known as the Indian Mutiny, of 1857 stirred the initial feelings that led to the ultimate independence movement. The harsh British response to this rebellion planted the seeds of future independence movements in the minds of many Indians.

In 1885 the Indian National Congress formed with the goal of increasing Indian autonomy and lessening British control over many of India's internal affairs. This congress pushed for many reforms to counter the poverty in their country which they considered to be the result of British rule. During the early 20th century, this group organized boycotts of British goods and other non-violent means of weakening British control and power in the country.

The arrival of Mahatma Gandhi in 1915 also spurred on the independence movement. He quickly started organizing peasants and laborers to protest against oppressive colonial laws. He was a great uniting force for the various independence-minded factions in India.

The post-WWI Khilafat Movement was a joint effort by Indian Muslims and Nationalists who were angered that the British overthrew the Islamic Caliphate after the war. Over a five-year span, they organized many anti-British protests around the country. This led to even greater anti-British sentiment, particularly among Muslims who saw the British actions as anti-Muslim.

In August 1942, Gandhi called for an orderly British withdrawal from India. This spurred Indian freedom fighters to call for a total disobedience movement against Great Britain in what became known as the Quit India Movement. This movement gathered wide support across India. Since the British were preoccupied at the time with World War II, they did not have the resources to overcome this.

After the war, the British came to the realization that they had lost the ability to effectively govern India. Three generations of independence movements had made it clear that Indians would no longer tolerate colonial rule. Indeed, imperialism was falling away around the world. In 1947, the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act, which effectively gave India its independence.

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India achieved its independence from Great Britain in 1947 after a long and gradual process. The Indian Independence Act, which was passed by Britain's Parliament, took effect on August 15, 1947.

Two organizations fought for decades to achieve independence. One of these was the Indian National Congress or Congress Party (1885) and the other was the Muslim League (1906).

The Congress Party's initial goal was to give Indians a greater voice in their government. By the early twentieth century, however, the group was divided into moderates and militants.

In 1919, tension in India escalated. The Rowlatt Act enabled British authorities to imprison people without trial. Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948) urged his countrymen to protest peacefully. The British responded with the Amritsar Massacre in 1919, and hundreds of Indians were shot dead. Gandhi, as leader of the Congress Party, continued to lead peaceful opposition to British rule.

The Muslim League, led by Ali Jinnah (1876–1948), eventually advocated a separate state for India's Muslims. Gandhi, on the other hand, wanted a united state for Indians of all faiths.

World War II (1939–1945) badly weakened Britain. Also, peoples under colonial rule were encouraged by Japan's victories because they showed that Westerners were not invincible. Gandhi led a "Quit India" protest to convince the British to leave, and they finally did so in 1947.

The subsequent division of British India into India and Pakistan was extremely violent. Gandhi himself was assassinated in 1948.

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The short answer to this is that India became independent from the British when the British voluntarily granted India its independence.  In 1947, the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act, creating the new countries of India and Pakistan.  Thus, India became independent through an act of Parliament.

The longer answer is that India became independent for at least two reasons.  Perhaps the less important of these reasons was WWII.  WWII badly sapped the strength of the United Kingdom.  This left it without the resources it might have needed to maintain sovereignty over India.  It also put the United States in position to lead the non-communist world, which mattered because the US did not generally approve of colonialism.  Thus, WWII severely weakened Britain’s ability to hold India.

The more important of these reasons was the long rise of Indian resistance to being colonized.  Beginning at least with the creation of the Indian National Congress in 1885, there was an organized movement to reduce British power and, eventually, to bring independence to India.  The Indian elites were often educated in England and did not see any good reason that Indians should not have more power at home.  They pushed strongly for greater self-government and, eventually, for independence.  The most famous figure in this movement was, of course, Mahatma Gandhi.  His various protest movements against the British helped to undermine the legitimacy of British rule and to gain support for Indian independence.

When you combine these two factors, you can see why Britain was forced to give India its independence.  It had been under greater and greater pressure to do so from within India as the independence movement grew stronger.  Because of WWII, it had less of an ability to continue to subjugate India. For these reasons, Britain “voluntarily” gave India its independence in 1947.

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