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BHIC-134: History of India from c. 1707 to 1950

BHIC-134: History of India from c. 1707 to 1950

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

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Assignment Code: BHIC-134 / ASST / TMA / 2021-22

Course Code: BHIC-134

Assignment Name: History of India: 1707-1950

Year: 2021 -2022 (July 2021 and January 2022 Sessions)

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Note: There are three Sections in the Assignment. You have to answer all questions in the Sections.

Assignment – I

Answer the following in about 500 words each.

Q1. What were the causes for the Revolt of 1857? 20

Ans) The British's cruel exploitation of the Indian people was the fundamental reason behind this. The British administration in Bengal, which was formally established following the Battle of Plassey in 1757, aimed to enrich the East India Company's coffers at the expense of the Indians. The East India Company was run by a group of selfish merchants and dealers who were willing to go to any length to enrich themselves.

Pathetic Socioeconomic Condition

The British treasury did not spend a single shilling on the defence of India. The severe famines that suffocated millions of people remained unaddressed challenges. The feelings of unhappiness that were building among the Indians eventually expressed themselves in the 1857 insurrection. The Indian public, which dislikes abrupt changes, was subjected to new laws and customs that were antithetical to Indian culture. Some of them included enabling widows to remarry, banning the practise of Sati, and establishing new land revenue schemes.

Problems of Land Revenue

The Ryotwari and Mahalwari systems demanded extravagant revenue, and the techniques used to obtain it were harsh. The Inam commission was founded in 1852, and it suggested that the Jagirs be taken over if the revenue was not paid. Twenty thousand Jagirs were seized as a result of the operation.

Low position of Indians in Administration

In their own country, Indians were excluded from crucial and prestigious positions. The infamous 'Dogs and Indians not allowed' signboards were common in British activity in India.

Annexation of Oudh

In contrast to the British view that it was done to remove "misrule and administration irregularities," the annexation of the so far loyal state of Oudh caused widespread terror and discontent.

Biased Police and Judiciary

The judicial system was skewed. In the land of Hindus and Muslims, British officers were despised and regarded foreigners. The repressive pillage of the officials, notably British-appointed Indian Daroghas, was despised by the populace.

Christian Missionaries

Christian missionaries' expanding activities were viewed with suspicion and distrust. They did everything they could to convert as many people as possible and spread false information about Hindu and Muslim faiths and religions. The Padris were assigned to the army to "teach" Christianity to the sepoys.


The education policy was not well received by the Indian people. They believed that the new British schools, where the "English" was taught, would turn their sons to "Christians."

Discrimination with Sepoys

Discrimination was perpetrated against the Indian sepoys. They were paid a pittance and were subjected to incessant verbal and physical abuse from their superiors. The Bengal army was dissatisfied with the conquest of Oudh in 1856. The new norms of not putting caste insignia on their foreheads, keeping beards, and wearing turbans irritated the Indian sepoys.

The Immediate Cause

The atmosphere was so tense that even a minor disagreement may spark a mutiny. The greased cartridges incident, on the other hand, was a significant enough issue to spark the uprising on its own. There was a dry tinderbox nearby, and all it took was a spark to light it. The greased paper cover on cartridges for the new Enfield rifle, which had recently been introduced in the army, had to be bitten off before the cartridge could be placed into the gun. Beef and pig fat were used in several of the greases. The Hindu and Muslim sepoys were furious, believing that the government was attempting to destroy their religion on purpose. It was the direct cause of the uprising.

Q2. Discuss the controversies regarding the origin of the Indian National Congress. 20

Ans) Because the Indian National Congress has played such a significant part in India's history, it's only natural that modern opinion and historians have theorised on the factors that led to its formation. Many researchers have worked hard to pinpoint the actions of a single person or a group of people, as well as the specific circumstances that can be deemed the primary immediate causes of the event. However, the evidence is inconclusive. A hundred years after the event, historians are still debating the subject. The following are some of the contentious issues:

Official Conspiracy Theory

Hume himself had stated that his goal was to offer a "safety valve" to manage the "vast and rising forces generated by" the British themselves, to use his own words. This is in contrast to W.C. Bonnerjee's assertion that Hume was acting on Dufferin's direct instruction. These two elements, taken together, led to the conclusion that the Indian National Congress arose as a result of a British plot to give a peaceful and constitutional outlet for unhappiness among educated Indians, thereby reducing the threat to the Raj.

Second, Hume's motivations were nobler than simply creating a "safety valve" to channel the displeasure of educated Indians. He had a true human sympathy for India and fought relentlessly for many years to ensure that the Congress remained viable and active. From 1885 to 1906, he served as the Congress's general secretary, assisting in the direction, shape, coordination, and documentation of the organization's activities. Hume saw no contradiction between working for the regeneration of the Indian people and embracing an 'enlightened' distant imperialism from which the Indian people could profit significantly in terms of social and cultural regeneration. The founding of the Congress cannot be attributed solely to a single person's initiative.

Ambitions and Rivalries of Indian Elite

Some historians, particularly those based in Cambridge, have claimed that the Indian National Congress was not truly national in some ways, that it was a movement of self-interested individuals who used it as a vehicle to pursue their own interests and local rivalries. In India, however, this viewpoint has been questioned. True, the drive for power or to fulfil one's own interests cannot be completely ignored. The founders of the Indian National Congress and kindred organisations were inspired by the idealism and loftiness of a nationalist vision in which individual, family, caste, and community concerns were subordinated to the interests of the Indian nation.

Need for an All-lndia Body

In a broader sense, the formation of the Indian National Congress was a reaction to the political and socioeconomic conditions that had developed as a result of protracted periods of alien control. As we have seen, the idea of a national organisation was quite popular in the 1880s. In reality, five conferences were conducted in different sections of the country over the last ten days of 1885. It was simply a matter of time until a national body was formed, given the growth of a nationally educated elite, the ideas they espoused, and the organisational innovations that had occurred. The Indian National Congress was the culmination of educated groups' recognition of the necessity to collaborate for political ends. The Indian National Congress developed in the early years (1885-1905).

Assignment – II

Answer the following questions in about 250 words each.

Q3. ‘The eighteenth century was a century of universal decline’. Comment. 10

Ans) Many notable advancements occurred in the subcontinent during the first half of the 18th century. The establishment of a number of separate kingdoms changed the boundaries of the Mughal Empire. By 1765, the British had successfully seized control of substantial sections of eastern India, another power. The political landscape in 18th-century India evolved considerably in a short period of time.

Toward the close of the 17th century, the Mughal Empire began to experience a number of challenges. The following people were in charge of it:

By fighting a long battle in the Deccan, Aurangzeb depleted his empire's military and financial resources. The imperial administration's efficiency deteriorated under his successors.

It became increasingly difficult for succeeding Mughal emperors to keep their powerful mansabdars under control. The governors' control of the provinces was consolidated, resulting in a decrease in revenue remitted to the capital on a regular basis.

In many parts of northern and western India, peasants and zamindars rebelled, adding to the challenges. The demands of rising taxation and attempts by powerful chieftains to consolidate their own positions were to blame.

Aurangzeb's successors were unable to stop the progressive transfer of political and economic power to province governors, local chieftains, and other groups.

In 1739, the monarch of Iran, Nadir Shah, stormed and plundered the city of Delhi, stealing vast sums of money. Following that, Afghan ruler Ahmad Shah Abdali launched a series of raiding invasions. Between 1748 and 1761, he invaded north India five times. Thus, we can say 'The eighteenth century was a century of global decline.'

Q4. Discuss the nature of Sikh state. 10

Ans) There is no denying that the Sikh Gurus' teachings laid the foundation for the Sikh polity. In the 18th century, the Sikh movement that had arisen in the mediaeval period to combat socio-economic and religious inequities became a political force. The moral ethos and democratic traditions of the Sikh Gurus thus provided the foundation for the Sikh government. The Sikh politics of the Misl period reflects this democratic legacy, with aspects such as the Gurmata, the Dal Khalsa, reigning in the name of the Khalsa, and so on. It's worth noting that historians disagree over the nature of the Sikh polity during the Misl period.

The establishment of the Sikh monarchy in place of several independent chiefs ushered in even more changes to the Sikh polity. During the 19th century, the individual Sardar's autonomy was eroded, and the king became the state's sole power. Ranjit Singh was a firm believer in the Sikh texts and religion. His personal beliefs, on the other hand, never got in the way of his job. Punjab, as a territory of different ethnic, religious, and linguistic groupings, required a secular administration, and the Sikh rulers did correctly in consolidating their power in the region. Religion's meddling in administrative concerns was ineffective.

Q5. What were the ideological tools and methods of mass mobilization employed by Gandhi? 10

Ans) Gandhi was largely a doer, and his own life experiences aided him in developing and refining his ideas more than his studies. He used the following ideological methods:


The concept of satyagraha emphasised the importance of truth and the need to seek it out. It implied that if the cause was just, if the struggle was against injustice, then fighting the oppressor with physical force was unnecessary. A satyagrahi could win the conflict via nonviolence without seeking vengeance or being confrontational. This could be accomplished by appealing to the oppressor's conscience. The truth was destined to triumph in the end as a result of this massive and epic battle.


Satyagraha was founded on nonviolence. Gandhi underlined that ordinary people may use nonviolent Satyagraha to achieve political goals. In practise, Satyagraha can take several forms, including fasting, nonviolent picketing, other types of non-cooperation, and, eventually, civil disobedience in the face of a legal punishment.

Idea of Hind Swaraj

The body of ideas that Gandhi illustrated in his book Hind Swaraj was another major aspect of his worldview. Swaraj, or self-rule, he saw as a way of life that could only exist if Indians adhered to their traditional civilisation, which had not been tainted by modern civilization. Gandhi then endeavoured to put his social and economic theories into practise by launching the Khadi, village rehabilitation, and Harijan charity programmes (which included the removal of untouchability).


Gandhi promoted swadeshi, or the use of products manufactured in one's own nation, emphasising the use of Indian handmade fabric instead of foreign machine-made commodities. This was his remedy to the poverty of peasants who might supplement their income by spinning at home, as well as his cure for the money drain to England in the form of imported cloth.

Assignment – III

Answer the following questions in about 100 words each.

Q6. Ryotwari System 6

Ans) The ryotwari system was a British Indian land tax system instituted in 1820 by Sir Thomas Munro, based on a system operated by Captain Alexander Read in the Baramahal District. It offered the peasant flexibility to cede or purchase more land for agriculture and permitted the government to deal directly with the farmer ('ryot') for revenue collection.

Only the fields that the farmer farmed were assessed. In the mid-1600s, Shivaji abolished the Jagirdari System and replaced it with the Ryotwari System, as well as modifications in the status of hereditary revenue officials known as Deshmukhs, Deshpande, Patils, and Kulkarnis.

Q7. Orientalism 6

Ans) Orientalism was a Western scholarly field that studied the languages, literatures, religions, philosophies, histories, art, and laws of Asian countries, particularly ancient ones, in the 18th and 19th centuries. Orientalism can also refer to a general appreciation for Asian or "Oriental" things.

Orientalism was also a school of thought held by a group of British colonial officials and academics who believed that India should be governed according to its own traditions and laws. The imitation or representation of features of the Eastern world is known as Orientalism. The majority of these portrayals are created by Western writers, designers, and painters.

Q8. Socio-Religious Reform movements in Western India in 19th century 6

Ans) Basically, there were two kinds of reform movements in the 19th century in India:


These movements were in response to the modern era's time and scientific temper. The movement, which was founded by social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772–1833), attacked idol worship, polytheism, caste discrimination, superfluous rituals, and other social problems such as Sati, polygamy, the purdah system, child marriage, and other social evils. The association also fought for women's rights, such as widow remarriage and female education. It also campaigned against Hindu superstitions that were prevalent at the time.


These movements began by resurrecting ancient Indian customs and ideas, believing that western thinking had damaged Indian culture and ethos. Swami Dayanand Saraswati founded this group in 1875 to combat idolatry, polytheism, rituals, priesthood, animal sacrifice, child marriage, and the caste system. It also promotes the transmission of scientific information from the West.

Q9. Moderates and Extremists 6

Ans) India's fight for independence was a long one. It would not have been possible without the contributions of several leaders who fought throughout the years. Nationalists were divided into two groups:

1. Extremists

Extremist leaders were convinced that the British had no regard for the Indian people. It was seen in the authorities' lacklustre response during a pandemic or famine. Extremists wished to be free of British domination completely. Extremists took a radical approach to their strategy, believing in violent measures such as the assassination of critical persons.

2. Moderates.

Leaders who believed in liberalism and moderate politics were known as moderates. They thought British people were decent yet oblivious. They believed that if the Rulers were made aware of the Indians' plight, things would improve. They attempted to achieve this through uniting the population, educating them, and forming a strong public opinion. This unity was then exploited to compel British policymakers to modify their policies and align them with public sentiment.

Q10. Cabinet Mission Plan 6

Ans) The cabinet mission plan of 1946 advocated establishing a Union of India, which would be responsible for defence, foreign affairs, and communications. The cabinet delegation urged unification of India and rejected the Muslim League's demand for a separate Pakistan.

The Communal representation was limited by the Cabinet mission. It stipulated that all members of the Interim cabinet would be Indians, and the Viceroy would be kept to a minimum. It also called for the convening of a constituent assembly based on the democratic population principle. It recognised the right of the Indians to secede from the Commonwealth. Finance, Foreign Affairs, and Communications were to be dealt with by the Union Government and its legislature with restricted powers. The union would be given the authority to raise the funds required to govern the subjects. As a result, the Cabinet Mission strategy proposed a weak central government.

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