20th Century India – 1901 To 1910


Hello friends, Welcome to Indian Art & Culture. Now we are going to starting the Series of 19th Century India. We are covered 100 Eventful Years of 19th Century India. Today we discuss the 1st part of 20th Century India – 1901 to 1910. so let’s start…

1901 – The Dawn of Nationalism

The sun rising in the 20th century saw a turning point in India’s struggle for freedom. The era of prayers and petitions to the British Government gave way to agitation for political rights and administrative reforms. 20th Century India – 1901 To 1910

The new Viceroy Lord Curzon was determined to stifle this rising tide of nationalism. He passed a series of repressive laws with utter disregard for the people’s feelings. The gulf between the rulers and the ruled widened.

1902 – West meets East

India mourned the premature death of one of her greatest saints and founder of the Ramakrishna Mission, Swami Vivekananda at the young age of 39.

Vivekananda was educated at a Christian college where he was exposed to Western philosophy, Christianity, and science. He devoted his life to working for social reforms such as eliminating child marriage and illiteracy and encouraging the care of the poor and the sick.

It was Vivekananda’s patriotic zeal and eloquence which made the Western world aware of India’s great spiritual and cultural heritage.

In 1893, he won thunderous applause at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago with his very first words, “Sisters and Brothers of America,” and boldly proclaimed that religions were not meant to spread hate and discord but to foster love and brotherhood.

The Ramakrishna Mission founded by Vivekananda in Calcutta after his return from America carries out educational and charitable work throughout India and has branches in Asia, Europe, and the United States. Belur Math, eight kilometers from Calcutta, is the international headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission.

Its architecture represents a church, a mosque, and a temple when viewed from different angles. It is truly symbolic of Vivekananda’s universality of belief. His statue at Kanyakumari where the waters of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean merge, is a place of pilgrimage tor millions of people. India celebrates National Youth Day on January 12 every year, on the occasion of Vivekananda’s Jayanti.

1905 – The First Partition of Bengal

The Viceroy Lord Curzon considered the Presidency of Bengal too big and unwieldy for effective administration. So on July 19, 1905, he announced the Partition of Bengal into two provinces- Eastern Bengal and Assam with Dacca as the capital, and the rest of Bengal with Calcutta as the capital. When the Partition came into force on October 16, 1905, it was observed as a day of mourning throughout Bengal. 20th Century India – 1901 To 1910

Both Hindu and Muslim Bengalis felt that Lord Curzon’s aim was to break up their unity and stir up religious differences. huge processions were taken out in the streets to protest against the move. Mataram became the rallying cry and so fired the people that the government issued a circular banning the song in public places.

20th Century India

1905 – Swadeshi – A Call to ‘Buy Indian’

Bengal partition agitation assumed militant form on August 7, 1905, when thousands of The anti-people at a meeting in Calcutta resolved to boycott goods until the proposal in British Was partition withdrawn. Under the leadership of Surendranath Banerjee, a former ICS officer, the Swadeshi Movement, as it was called, became the symbol of resistance.

Public bonfires were made of British goods and shops selling them were picketed Swadeshi (use of Indian goods and boycott of British goods) became a major struggle for freedom. This led to a Bipin Chand spurt in demand for Indian-made textiles.

Nearly 200 “Swadeshi Mills’ sprang up in Mumbai and Ahmedabad manufacturing Swadeshi cloth. Another fiery nationalists Bipin Chandra Pal preached a relentless boycott of British goods, schools, and administration in his papers New India and Bande Mataram. The agitation in Bengal spreads dike wildfire affecting the whole country.

1906 – Birth of the Muslim League

Nawab Salimullah of the new province of Eastern Bengal invited Muslims from all over India to Dacca to form a political association of their own to rival the Hindu- dominated Indian National Congress, formed in 1885. Thus, on December 30, 1906, was born the All- India Muslim League.

The league supported the Partition of Bengal and aimed at safe- Nawab Salimullah by guarding the political and other rights of the Muslims. The British, who had encouraged the formation of the Muslim League, thus succeeded in their ‘divide and rule’ policy and in sowing the seeds of the partition of India, which later took place in 1947.

1908 – Youths Take to Arms

The bitterness caused by the Partition of Bengal led many youths to resort to arms. A number of secret societies sprang up in different parts of the country, particularly in Maharashtra and Bengal. They trained members, mostly students, in the use of firearms to terrorize the British officers.

In this, the Chapekar brothers and the Savarkar brothers in Maharashtra and Aurobindo Ghosh and his associates in Bengal were quite active. Their main method was to spread terror by assassinating unpopular British officials and their Indian agents. Attempts were made on the lives of the Lt.-Governor of Bengal and on the Viceroy.

On April 30, 1908, 16-year old Khudiram Bose” fired a shot at a district judge which accidentally killed two English women instead. He was caught, severely flogged, and hanged. 

1908 – The Alipore Conspiracy Case

Soon after, the discovery of a factory manufacturing bombs and explosives on the Outskirts of Calcutta led to the arrest of several persons who were accused of conspiracy against the state.

Aurobindo Ghosh, who was known tor his revolutionary activities, was also arrested tor inciting people through his writings. Their trial took place at took Place at Alipore, Calcutta, was POpulariy Known as the Alipore Case. 20th Century India – 1901 To 1910

Conspiracy Aurobindo Ghosh defended by Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, who said, “Aurobindo will be looked upon as a poet of patriotism, a prophet of nationalism and I lover of humanity.” After a lengthy trial, Aurobindo was acquitted. But during the year he spent in prison, he went through a spiritual transformation. He retired from pOncs n 1910 to found an ashram in Pondicherry and became one of Indias Aurobindo Was greatest spiritual leaders.

20th Century India

1909 – The Morley-Minto Reforms

Although the British Government was able to repress the terrorist attacks, it was convinced that the demand by Indians for power-sharing and constitutional changes had to be conceded. So the Indian Councils Act, popularly known as the Morley-Minto Reforms (named after the then Secretary of State, Lord Morley and the Viceroy, Lord Minto) was passed. 20th Century India – 1901 To 1910

For the first time, the principle of election was recognized, and the number of nominated and elected members in the  Central and Provincial councils increased. But the most unfortunate part of the Act was that it introduced communal electorates, that is, it conceded the Muslim demand for “separate electorates”, where members to the seats reserved for Muslims were to be elected by Muslim voters only. Was This was another step by the British Government to widen the gulf between the Hindus and the Muslims of India.

Faces Of The Decade – 1901 To 1910

Dr. Mahendralal Sircar, a physician, set up the first scientific research institution at Kolkata in 1876 known as the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science. Interestingly, it was here that C. V. Raman did most of his research to get the Nobel Prize.

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan founded the Muhammedan Anglo-Oriental College which in 1920 became the Aligarh Muslim University. He got important European works translated into Urdu to enlighten Indian Muslims.

V.O. Chidambaram Pillai, a gallant leader of South India, founded The Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company at Tuticorin in 1906, in the wake of the Swadeshi Movement.

In 1901, Rabindranath Tagore founded an experimental school modeled on the ancient ideals of Gurukula at Santiniketan near Kolkata. T later developed into the Visvabharati University with the motto, “Where the world makes its home in a single nest.

Queen Victoria of Great Britain was also the Empress of India since 1876. In 1901, when she died Lord Curzon conceived of a memorial for her in Kolkata. Built-in white marble, the Victoria Memorial is a treasure house of relics of British rule in India. 20th Century India – 1901 To 1910

Raja Raja Ravi Varma of Kerala | (1848-1906) was the first Indian painter to acquire expertise in oil portrait technology. He was also the first to depict Hindu gods and goddesses on canvas. The demand for his works led to the birth of ‘Calendar Art (prints of paintings) and has shaped the way Hindus imagine their deities.

The world-famous Taj Mahal Hotel was opened in 1903 with 17 guests. Built by Jamshetji Tata, it was the first building in Mumbai to be lit by electricity.





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20th Century India – 1901 To 1910



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