WBBSE Class 10 History Chapter 7 Movements Organised By Women Students And Marginal People In 20th Century Long Answer Questions

Chapter 7 Movements Organised By Women In India Topic A Women’s Movement In The Twentieth Century

 Question 1 What was the role played by women in the Anti-Partition Agitation? What were the limitations of their movement?

The role played by women in the Anti-Partition Agitation:

Bengal was partitioned in 1905 by Lord Curzon. The Indians resisted the plan of partition to pressurize the British government to repeal the partition. In this context, women played an important role in the Anti-Partition agitation.

They were encouraged to come out of seclusion and take rightful steps in the national struggle. Women boycotted British goods and began to use indigenous goods. On the day of partition (October 16, 1905), they observed ‘Arandhan’ day. Sarala Devi Chaudhurani, through her journal ‘Bharati’, encouraged the women’s community to take part in the Anti-Partition Movement.

Sarojini Naidu traveled to various places and involved women participating in the boycott movement. Khairunnisa, through the journal ‘Nabanoor’, promoted the idea of Swadeshi among women as well. Women took part in the ‘Raksha Bandhan Utsav’ (October 16, 1905).

Women even donated money and ornaments to the Swadeshi fund. Among them, mention may be made of Kumudini Mitra, Lilabati Mitra, Nirmala Sarkar, etc. The Maharani of Natore also gave a call to the women to boycott British goods. community Ambujasundari Dasgupta of Jalpaiguri, the widow of Laxman Chandra (the zamindar of Mangalganj, Nadia), Punjalata Gupta of Mymensingh, Hemangini Das of Calcutta also made appeals to reject British-made goods.

Muslim women, however, did not directly participate in the movement, but only cooperated with their male counterparts. Women in large numbers did not participate in the Swadeshi Movement. The participation of women was confined to women of high-caste Hindu families. The movement could not spell its charm to attract low-class Hindu and Muslim women. Women did not have any effective organization or party of their own.

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Plans and programs of the Swadeshi Movement were determined by their male counterparts who had no role to play. Though the Swadeshi Movement was a mass movement women’s activities were resented by the conservative section of society which discouraged many of them from taking part in the swadeshi movement.

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Question 2 What was the role of women in the Non- Cooperation Movement?

The role of women in the Non- Cooperation Movement:

The Non-Cooperation Movement was started in 1920 under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. The leaders of the movement adopted the policy of passive resistance. Women responded enthusiastically to the call of Gandhi. They came out of their lives of seclusion and attended meetings of different leaders, marched in processions, and picketed in different parts of the country.

They even voluntarily courted arrest while picketing in front of government offices, courts, and shops selling British-made goods. The entry of ladies like Basanti Devi, Urmila Devi, and Lila Roy, of the respectable families of Calcutta, into the political area and the organized attempts on their part to defy authority added importance to the movement.

Spinning and weaving were popularised by Urmila Devi among the women of the nation. Along with Hindu women, Muslim women also joined meetings, and processions and boycotted foreign goods. Nellie Sengupta gave leadership in the strike of steamers in 1922. Rokeya Begum also spread the message of Swadeshi among the women. Thousands of women participated in the demonstrations against the Prince of Wales when he visited Bombay.

The role of Marwari women in the movement deserves a special mention in this context. At a meeting of Marwari women in Calcutta on January 29, 1921, Gandhi collected Rs. 10,000 in cash and ornaments for the Tilak Memorial Swaraj Fund. Thus, the participation of women constitutes an important chapter in the history of freedom movements against the British in India.

Question 3 Give an account of the role played by women during the Quit India Movement.

The role played by women during the Quit India Movement

Women of India fought with true spirit and faced various tortures to earn freedom for India. The participation of women in the Quit India Movement took many different forms. Usha Mehta set up a radio transmitter called ‘The Voice of Freedom’ to disseminate information about the war for freedom.

Another leader, Aruna Asaf Ali, broke the self-law. Consequently, she was arrested, sentenced, and imprisoned in Lucknow. Sucheta Kripalani was another prominent leader of the Quit India Movement. Sucheta’s job was to establish contact with groups that were acting throughout India and to encourage them in their anti-British activities.

In a variety of disguises, she traveled from province to province to keep the leaders in touch with one another. Matangini Hazra, a widow of 72 years deserves mention here. She led six thousand supporters, mostly women volunteers, to occupy the Tamluk police station.

She became a martyr by carrying the national flag towards the Tamluk Court and embracing bullets till her death, chanting the slogan ‘Bande Mataram’. She is rightly called ‘Laxmi Bai of Midnapore’ and ‘Gandhi Budi’ as she was powerfully attracted to Gandhi’s ideas.

There were other women leaders like Sumita Sen, Nandita Kripalani, Ela Dutta, Santi Dasgupta, Kanaklata Barua, Rani Chanda, who also joined the Quit India Movement in the course of time. A large number of peasant women also joined the movements, protesting against tax and land Their resentments made them openly resist the British, which further fueled the movement.

Question 4 Why is Matangini Hazra remembered?

Among the women who laid down their lives for the freedom of India, the name of Matangini Hazra (1869-1942), a peasant widow, deserves special mention.

WBBSE Solutions For Class 10 History Chapter 7 Movements Organized by Women Matangini Hazra

She became actively interested in the Indian Independence Movement as a Gandhian. She took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement and joined the Salt Satyagraha, traveling on foot to attend various Congress meetings, and interacting with many Congressmen.

She was an active member of the INC and took to spinning her own khadi. She also clashed with British authority on several occasions. In 1933, Sir John Anderson, the then Governor of Bengal, came to Tamluk to address a gathering. Here in spite of heavy security, Matangini managed to show a black flag demonstration in front of the Governor.

She was arrested and sentenced to 6 months of rigorous imprisonment. During the Quit India Movement in 1942, she led six thousand supporters, mostly women volunteers, to occupy the Tamluk Police Station.

She became a martyr by carrying the national flag towards the Tamluk Court and embracing bullets till her death, shouting the slogan ‘Bande Mataram’. She is rightly called the ‘Laxmi Bai of Midnapore’ and ‘Gandhi Budi’ because she was deeply influenced by Gandhi’s ideas.

Question 5 Why is Bina Das remembered?

In 1932, when the Civil Disobedience Movement was repressed, a spate of political crime broke out in Calcutta. This year resulted in an enormous rise in the rate of crimes, which included murderous attacks on officials. On February 6, 1932, the day Calcutta University had its convocation, Bina Das, a student of Diocesan College, and a member of a revolutionary organization was one of the recipients of the degree of Bachelor of Arts.

As the Governor, Sir Stanley Jackson, got up to address the convocation, she fired five shots in an attempt to shoot him. She was finally overpowered by Sir Hasan Suhrawardy, the Vice Chancellor, although she managed to discharge two more bullets. His Excellency was unhurt, but a Bengali professor was slightly injured. Bina’s act was to rouse people to action because she was a Bengali girl driven to an unnatural act by the oppressive British Raj.

Following this action on the part of Bina Das, a number of arrests were made. A search of her belongings was conducted at Diocesan College and a number of documents came into the hands of the police. She was sentenced to nine years of rigorous imprisonment but was saved from transportation to the Andamans by the petitions of C F Andrews and Rabindranath Tagore.

Bina, inspired to take the path of violence, was involved in the historic youth upsurge in Calcutta (November 1945) for the release of the INA prisoners. While the senior Congress leaders vacillated, she remained with the agitating youth for the entire campaign.

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Question 6 Discuss the role of women in the armed revolutionary movement in the 20th century.

The role of women in the armed revolutionary movement in the 20th century:

Women played an important role in the armed revolutionary movement. In this connection, mention may be made here of women revolutionaries like Kalpana Datta, Pritilata Waddedar, Bina Das, Santi Ghosh, Suniti Chaudhury, Laxmi Swaminathan, etc.

[1] Deepali Sangha: In 1923 Lila Nag established Deepali Sangha, an association for women, where the members are taught drills, parades, sword fighting, etc.

[2] Chittagong Armoury Raid: During the Chittagong Armoury Raid under the leadership of Surya Sen, Pritilata Waddedar played an important role. She fought bravely in the Jalalabad encounter with the police and escaped.

[3] Attack on European Club: In 1931 Surya Sen entrusted Kalpana Datta along with Pritilata to attack the Europen Club in Chittagong. Pritilata succeeded in attacking the European Club (1932) but was chased by the police. She was fatally wounded and was caught. Pritilata committed suicide.

[4] Governor Stanley Jackson Shot: In 1932, Bina Das made an abortive attempt on the life of the Governor of Bengal, Stanley Jackson during the convocation ceremony of Calcutta University. She was sentenced to 9 years of rigorous imprisonment.

[5] Jhansi Rani Regiment: Dr. Laxmi Swaminathan was the captain of the Rani of Jhansi Regiment, the women’s regiment of the Indian National Army. After the surrender of Azad Hind Fauj, Laxmi was arrested by the police. The participation of women in the armed revolutionary movement was significant. The police repression, assaulting and tormenting the women revolutionaries was indeed quite alarming.

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Question 7 Why is Kalpana Datta remembered?

Kalpana Datta (later known as Kalpana Joshi) was born at Sripur in the Chittagong district on July 27, 1913. She played an important role in the armed revolutionary movement. She joined the Chhatri Sangha (Women Students’ Association), a semi-revolutionary organization.

She joined the Indian Republican Army, Chattagram branch, the armed resistance group led by Surya Sen. She was entrusted with the carrying of explosives to and from Calcutta and the making of gun cotton. After the Chittagong Armoury Raid on April 18, 1930, many of the leaders of the raid were arrested and pending trial.

WBBSE Solutions For Class 10 History Chapter 7 Movements Organized by Women Kalpana Datta

Kalpana planned to plant a dynamic fuse under the court building and inside the jail to free the revolutionary leaders, who were being tried in a special tribunal. The plot was disclosed and certain restrictions were imposed on Kalpana’s movements.

In September 1931, Surya Sen entrusted her along with Pritilata Waddedar to attack the European Club in Chittagong. A week before the action, Kalpana was arrested while moving out for a survey in a boy’s attire. Being released on bail, she went underground at the bidding of Surya Sen.

On February 17, 1933, the police encircled her hiding place, but Kalpana was somehow able to escape. In May 1933, Kalpana, along with some. comrades, was arrested. In the second supplementary trial of the Chittagong Armory Raid Case, she was sentenced to transportation for life. However, she was released in 1939.

Chapter 7 Movements Organised By Women In India Topic B Students Movement In The Twentieth Century 

Question 1 Discuss the role played by students in the Non-Cooperation and Civil Disobedience Movements.

The role played by students in the Non-Cooperation and Civil Disobedience Movements:

The Non-Cooperation Movement started in 1920 by Mahatma Gandhi is an important chapter in the history of India’s struggle for freedom. Students enthusiastically responded to the movement and they boycotted schools and colleges. They came out of their classes and raised slogans such as ‘Gandhi ki jai’ and ‘Bande Mataram’.

They picketed in front of shops selling British goods and made bonfires of British goods. The demand for the nationalization of colleges started; students withdrew in large numbers from government colleges and the agitation spread rapidly. On November 17, 1921, when the Prince of Wales reached Bombay, the students observed a strike in protest.

Under the leadership of Netaji Subhas Bose, students showed black flags to the Prince of Wales. The students’ movement spread from Calcutta to Dacca, Chittagong, Mymensingh, Medinipur, and Faridpur. The Calcutta Students’ Association (1924) was established under the Presidentship of Prafulla Chandra Roy.

The students’ movement spread outside Bengal to different provinces like Bombay, Punjab, Bihar, Orissa, and Assam. Students also played an important part during the Civil Disobedience Movement. When Gandhi started his Dandi March (March 12, 1930), the students of Calcutta observed it as a special day.

A meeting was held in the Hall of Calcutta under the Presidentship of Jyotindra Mohan Sengupta, and about 700 students attended the meeting. Students of different colleges got arrested while picketing. In Tamluk and Kanthi districts of Midnapore, girls boycotted schools and colleges for about six months.

In the second phase of the Civil Disobedience Movement also, students plunged themselves into the movement. Students of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar joined the movement and courted arrest.

Question 2 What was the role of the members of Bengal Volunteers in the armed revolutionary movement?

The role of the members of Bengal Volunteers in the armed revolutionary movement:

Bengal Volunteers was a militant nationalist organization in Bengal. It was founded under the initiative of the revolutionary Hemchandra Ghosh. Benoy Krishna Bose, Badal Gupta (alias Sudhir), and Dinesh Gupta were three of the members of the Bengal Volunteers.

These members of the Bengal Volunteers were involved in different revolutionary activities. In 1930 Benoy Bose killed Mr. Lowman, the Inspector-General of Bengal Police and wounded Mr. Hudson, the Sub-Inspector of Police, Dacca. This was followed by a daring attack on the Writers’ Building on December 8, 1930. Benoy Bose, with two of his friends, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Gupta fatally shot Colonel Simpson, the Inspector-General of Prisons.

The three were engaged in war in the corridor of the Writers’ Building with the British force. This incident is known in history as ‘Corridor Warfare’. They were eventually overpowered by the police. Benoy and Badal shot themselves while Dinesh was tried and executed.

After this incident, the British Government got alarmed and the Governor of Bengal, Sir Stanley Jackson, applying several impressive policies, tried to calm down the revolutionaries. In 1931, on April 7, Mr. Peddie, the district magistrate of Midnapore, was shot at and killed by two members of the Bengal Volunteers- Bimal Dasgupta and Jyoti Jiban Ghosh.

This incident inspired the other members of the terrorist organization and the British Government soon appointed a new district magistrate, Mr. Robert Douglas to suppress the struggle. On April 30, 1922, two other members of Bengal Volunteers-Prodyot Bhattacharya and Prabhatangshu Pal gunned down Robert Douglas.

On September 2, 1932, the next District Magistrate of Midnapore, EJ Burge was shot dead by two Bengal Volunteer members- Anath Bandhu Panja and Mrigen Dutta. The British officers, in a desperate attempt to suppress the terrorist attacks, resorted to inhuman torture on the revolutionaries.

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Question 3 Why is Surya Sen remembered?

Surya Sen, popularly known as ‘Master’ was an Indian independence activist and a prominent Bengali freedom fighter, and architect of the freedom movement, centered in Chittagong, Bengal (now in Bangladesh). He was the leader of the Chittagong Armoury Raid.

WBBSE Solutions For Class 10 History Chapter 7 Movements Organized by Women Surya Sen

On April 18, 1930, Surya Sen along with other revolutionaries like Ananta Singh, Ganesh Ghosh, Lokenath Bal, Ambika Chakraborty and 54 teenagers captured two British armouries in Chittagong shouting slogans ‘Inquilab Zindabad’, ‘Down with Imperialism’.

Surya Sen, dressed in a white Khadi dhoti and a long coat, and a Gandhi cap took a military salute, hoisted the national flag among shouts of ‘Bande Mataram’ and proclaimed Indian Republican Government at Chittagong. They also succeeded in capturing telegraph communication and disrupting railway lines.

Sixty-five revolutionaries were involved which was undertaken in the name of the Indian Republican Army, Chittagong Branch. When the British police got the news they reached Chittagong to take repressive actions. The revolutionaries escaped to the Jalalabad Hills and fought bravely against the British police for 3 days.

Twelve of the revolutionaries died fighting the British police force. Surya and a few others escaped. Later on, Surya Sen was arrested and put to death. Surya Sen’s leadership gave a fillip to the younger section of the revolutionaries who were already fired with enthusiasm to drive out the British from India by force.

He is remembered for the heroic fight against the British, which kindled the fire of patriotism among the revolutionaries.

Question 4 Give an account of the students’ movement during the Anti-Partition Movement of 1905. ugh

The students’ movement during the Anti-Partition Movement of 1905. ugh:

The imperialist British ruler Lord Curzon partitioned Bengal in 1905 to weaken the anti-British sentiments of the Bengalees. The powerful movement which started against such a decision involved the active participation of the students of Bengal as well as from the whole of India.

[1] Boycott of educational institutions: The students enthusiastically left the government institutions and joined the national institutions. On observing such fervor among the students, Surendranath Banerjee commented that students were the self-employed propagandist of this movement.

[2] Organization: Different students and youth leaders assembled the students together to urge them to participate in the movement. The Dawn Society (1902) of Satish Chandra Mukhopadhyay and Anti- the Circular Society of Sachindra Prasad Bose played an important role in involving students in the movement. The student representatives of different colleges in Calcutta formed the ‘Kendriya Chhatra Sangram Committee’.

[3] Boycott: The students boycotted all foreign goods and picketed the shops selling British items like salt, sugar, cloth, etc. They campaigned in favor of boycotting foreign goods and even set fire to such goods. They went from door to door campaigning for the use of indigenous goods.

[4] Meetings: The students came out of their schools and colleges and participated in different meetings and demonstrations. About 5000 students walked in a procession to join a meeting at the Town Hall on 7th August. In spite of being a powerful movement, it received a set- back in the 1910s

Question 5 Write a note on the Anti-Circular Society.

Anti-Circular Society:

The Anti-Partition Movement in 1905 became quite powerful due to the participation of students in large numbers. In order to suppress the movement, the Chief Secretary of Bengal, R W Carlyle, issued a repressive circular which is known as the Carlyle circular.

[1] Background: The Carlyle circular prohibited the students from participating in meetings, processions, and demonstrations, and even chanting the slogan ‘Bande Mataram’ was banned. So the students form the Anti-Circular Society (November 1905) as a protest against such repressive measures.

[2] Foundation: Sachindra Prasad Bose, a student leader of Ripon College (present Surendra Nath College) and a follower of Surendranath Bandyopadhyay, founded the Anti-Circular Society in November 1905 as a protest against Carlyle’s circular. Its president and secretary were Krishna Kumar Mitra and Sachindra Prasad Bose.

[3] Objectives:

The main objectives of the society were-
[1] Unite the students and keep them involved in the movement,
[2] Encourage the students,
[3] Arrange for alternative education for the students who have been expelled from government schools and colleges.

[4] Activeness: The anti-British student movement gained momentum due to the initiative of the Anti-Circular Society. Sachindra Prasad also designed a flag in 1906. He continuously tried to keep the students united and so the enraged government arrested him in 1906 and sent him to Rawalpindi prison.

Question 6 What was the contribution of Khudiram in revolutionary movements? or, Why is Khudiram remembered in Indian history?

The contribution of Khudiram in revolutionary movements:

Khudiram Bose of Bengal (1889-1908) is an extraordinary example of self-sacrifice in the revolutionary movement of India.

[1] Beginning of revolutionary life: As a student, Khudiram Bose was highly influenced by the ideology of his teacher Satyendra Nath Bose and joined the Jugantar group to carry on revolutionary activities. He was imprisoned for three years for Muzaffarpur Bomb Case (1905). After being released, he participated in a train robbery (1907) to collect funds for the Jugantar group.

[2] Responsibility for assassinating Kingsford: Barindra Kumar Ghosh of the Jugantar group assigned the task of assassinating the tyrant Magistrate Kingsford to Prafulla Chaki and Khudiram Bose. However, Kingsford was transferred from Calcutta to Muzaffarpur in the meantime and soon the two revolutionaries went there. In an attempt to kill Kingsford, they mistakingly threw a bomb on a carriage carrying Mrs. Kennedy and her daughter Ms. Kennedy.

[3] Death sentence: After the two ladies were killed, Prafulla Chaki committed suicide but Khudiram was arrested. He was tried in the Alipore Bomb Case (1908) and was hanged (August 11, 1908). He embraced his end fearlessly.

[4] Inspiration: Khudiram proved that death was nobler than life by sacrificing himself on the altar of freedom. He showed that the Indians were ready to pay any price to attain freedom. His dauntless activities and self-sacrifice established an exceptional example that inspired the Indian youths to fight and lay down their lives for the sake of their country.

Question 7 What was the contribution of Prafulla Chaki in the revolutionary movement? or, Why is Prafulla Chaki remembered in Indian history?

The contribution of Prafulla Chaki in the revolutionary movement:

Prafulla Chaki was one of the revolutionaries who left an indelible impression in the history of the Indian freedom struggle (1880- 1908).

[1] Beginning of revolutionary life: Prafulla Chaki began his revolutionary activities in 1903 by joining the Bandhab Samity. During the Swadeshi Movement, he trained the students of Rangpur Jatiya Vidyalaya in ‘lathi khela’ and boxing. In 1906, Barindra Kumar Ghosh entrusted Prafulla with the task of assassinating Chief Commissioner Bamfield Fuller.

[2] Responsibility of assassinating Kingsford: Barindra Kumar Ghosh of the Jugantar group assigned the task of assassinating the tyrant Magistrate Kingsford to Prafulla Chaki and Khudiram Bose. Since Kingsford was transferred to Muzaffarpur, Khudiram and Prafulla went there. But by mistake, they hurled a bomb on a carriage carrying Mrs. Kennedy and her daughter Ms. Kennedy and failed to kill Kingsford.

[3] Prafulla Chaki committed suicide: When the two ladies were killed, Prafulla Chaki shot himself to avoid arrest. Khudiram Bose was caught and hanged.

[4] Inspiration: The self-sacrifice of Prafulla Chaki inspired the Indian youths to join the revolutionary movement. He proved that youths were ready to liberate their motherland at any cost.

Chapter 7 Movements Organised By Women In India Topic C Dalit Politics And Movement In The Twentieth Century

 Question 1 What were the teachings of Harichand Thakur and Guruchand Thakur?

The teachings of Harichand Thakur and Guruchand Thakur:

Harichand Thakur was a social reformer of Bengal. He was a devoted Vaishnav. His philosophy was ‘Matuaism’ and his followers were called ‘Matua’.

The teachings of Harichand were-
[1] Always speak the truth,
[2] Treat women as your mother,
[3] Remain liberal to all religions,
[4] Respect your parents like Gods,
[5] Love the world,
[6] Never discriminate on racial grounds,
[7] Sit in prayer every day,
[8] Sacrifice yourself for God,
[9] Utter the name of your Lord while working with your hands,
[10] Hold the six cardinal passions in check,
[11] Do not practice asceticism in a garb,
[12] Try to establish Harimandir (temple of the Lord).

WBBSE Solutions For Class 10 History Chapter 7 Movements Organized by Women Hari Chand Thakur

After the death of Harichand, the leader of the Matua movement, the leadership passed on to his son Guruchand. Under the leadership of Guruchand, the Matua movement made considerable progress. He is known as the ‘Father of Namasudra Renaissance’.

He advised his people to start schools in the areas densely populated by them. His next movement was to remove the disgraceful term ‘Chandal’ (which was then attributed to the Namasudras by the higher caste Hindus) from the census report. He was successful in doing the same.

Harisabhas were organized for the social upliftment of the Namasudras. In 1907, under the leadership of Guruchand, a delegation met the then Governor of Bengal and Assam and appraised him about the plight of the Namasudras. He also appealed for the employment of the Namasudras in government services.

Question 2 Give a brief description of the Namasudra Movement in Bengal.

Namasudra Movement in Bengal:

‘Namasudra’ is an Indian ‘varna’ community which was earlier known as ‘chandala’.

They lived outside the four-tier system and thus were outcastes:

[1] Causes of the Namasudra Movement: In Bengali Hindu society, the Namasudras were regarded as untouchables. They had no religious rights. They were forbidden by caste Hindus to enter places of worship to draw water from public wells or to wear shoes in presence of caste Hindus.

They were made to dispose of dead animals, dig village graves, and were relegated to the most menial tasks of manual scavengers, leather workers, street sweepers, and cobblers. They suffered from severe economic crises as well.

[2] The objective of the Namasudra Movement: The objective of the Namasudra Movement was to acquire special rights to strengthen the social and political position of the Namsaudra and attain perfect peace of mind.

[3] Beginning of the movement: The Namasudra Movement started in the 1870s when the chandalas of Bakarganj and Faridpur started a boycott of caste Hindus when their high caste neighbors refused to dine from a chandala headman. The Namasudras severed all sorts of social and economic relationships with the higher-caste Hindus.

[4] Matua Movement: Harichand Thakur, the leader of the Namasudras, started the Matua Movement, the aim of which was the upliftment of the downtrodden, attainment of peace of mind, and eradication of inequalities in society. After the death of Harichand the leadership of the Matua passed on to his son Guruchand who came to be known as the ‘Father of Namasudra Renaissance’.

He was successful in removing the disgraceful term ‘chandala’ which was then attributed to the Namasudras. Harisabhas were organized for the social upliftment of the Namasudras. He appealed for the employment of the Namasudras in government services.

[5] Namasudra Welfare Organisations: Various social welfare organizations like Bengal Namasudra Organisation, Namasudra Welfare Association, and Bengal Depressed Classes Organisation carried out active movements demanding proper rights for the Namasudras. The Namasudras were successful in wresting some social and political rights. After the partition of India, their movement slowed down.

Question 3 Write a note on the debate between Mahatma Gandhi and BR Ambedkar regarding Dalit rights.

The debate between Mahatma Gandhi and BR Ambedkar regarding Dalit rights:

‘Dalits’ or the ‘untouchables’ were excluded from the four-fold varna system and formed the unmentioned fifth varna, and so they were also called ‘Panchama’. Both Mahatma Gandhi and B R Ambedkar were aware of the problem of very much untouchability of the Dalits but they held two opposite views regarding the Dalit issue.

To Gandhiji, the untouchables, who came to be known as ‘Dalits’, were an integral part of the Hindu fold. However, to Ambedkar, the ‘Dalits’ were not a part of the Hindus. Gandhiji was against separating Dalits from Caste Hindus by creating a separate electorate for them.

To Ambedkar, Dalits were ‘a part apart’ a group of uniquely oppressed people and stood for the annihilation of caste. In the First and Second Round Table Conferences, Ambedkar supported separate electorates for the Dalits, but to Gandhiji, the untouchables (Dalits) were a part of Hinduism and a separate electorate for them would create a division in Hinduism.

When Ramsay MacDonald’s Communal Award was announced, giving separate electorates to Dalits, Gandhiji protested with a fast unto death, and this brought him into direct confrontation with Ambedkar. For Ambedkar, the problem was simple. He argued that after Gandhiji’s death, in villages throughout India, there would be programs directed against Dalits and massacres.

Ambedkar surrendered and the Poona Pact formalized this with reserved seats for Dalits. According to the Poona Pact (24th September 1932), the system of a separate electorate for the Dalits was canceled. In exchange, the reserved seats for the Dalits were increased from 71 to 147.

In the Central Legislature 18% of the seats which were allotted to the general electorate for British India, were reserved for the Dalits. After their release from Poona Jail, Gandhiji engaged himself with the movement of the Dalits whom he called ‘Harijan’. On the other hand, Ambedkar could not accept the Poona Pact from the core of his heart.

So he continued to keep away from the Congress, dominated by the leaders belonging to the upper caste. On the other hand, he took initiative to safeguard the interests of the Dalits separately. With this end in view, he established a political association named the ‘Independent Labour Party’.

In order to unite all the Dalit groups of different regions of India, he formed All India Scheduled Caste Federation in July 1942. At last, he challenged Gandhi in 1956 and gave up all relations with Hinduism.

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Question 4 Write a note on the various movements by the Dalits demanding equal rights in the early part of the 20th century.

Various movements by the Dalits demanding equal rights in the early part of the 20th century:

Since ancient times, the Hindu Dalit community fell victim to several acts of violence, exploitation, etc., at the hands of the upper class Hindus. They were even barred from entering temples.

Various political and social welfare organizations carried out active movements demanding proper rights for the Dalits. The Dalits became politically conscious and joined the movements demanding equal rights and dignity for themselves.

[1] South India: In Maharashtra, the Dalit leader Jyotiba Phule formed the Satyashodhak Samaj in 1873, and in Madras, T M Nayar and P Theagaraya Chetty formed the Justice Party in 1917.

[2] Punjab: Under the initiative of the Sikh community, movements such as the Akali movement and the Nankana movement were started in Punjab in order to secure equal rights and dignity for the Dalits.

[3] Movements by Congress: Under the leadership of Gandhiji, Congress started making demands for equal rights for the Dalits in the Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-22). Gandhiji too started the Harijan movement in support of the Dalits.

[4] Dissatisfaction among the Dalits: The movements that were started by various political parties, demanding that Dalits be allowed into temples, and for removal of the practice of untouchability, did not satisfy the Dalit leaders. They themselves launched several movements demanding equality in the fields of education, government jobs, and social dignity.

[5] Initiative taken by the Dalits: In the 20th century, the Dalits took part in several protest movements, demanding equal rights and social dignity. Among these movements, mention might be made of the Vaikom Satyagraha by Narayan Guru in Kerala, the movement for allowing entry in the Guruvayur Temple, etc.

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