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HIST-2413 Ideas And Principles Of Former Indian Prime Minster: Research Essay Assessment Answer


History of South Asia from 1500 Final Research Essay (25%)

Assignment Description

In place of the previously assigned Reacting to the Past game, students will instead submit a research paper on the same theme that would have been explored in the RTP assignment. Students will select one figure or group (which will have been approved by the course instructor in the Proposal & Bibliography assignment) and research that figure. Your paper should address the following points:

  1. Who is your figure or group? Topics can include their background, what led to their involvement in the independence movement, what their views were and along what lines were they (e.g. religious, political etc.), and how they expressed their views.
  2. What was their position in the Indian independence movement? This is more of a contextualization. That is, how to they compare to other figures? Did they have allies or rivals in the movement? How representative were they of other segments of South Asian society?
  3. What impact did they have upon the movement?

This is a research essay which means you will be required to find academic sources, found through the University of Winnipeg Library catalogue. Websites not associated with a university will not permitted as these are not academic, peer-reviewed sources. To properly describe the context of your figure or group, you will likely be required to conduct more general research on the Indian independence movement to get a basic understanding of the situation. The textbook should be a starting point for everyone: Ainslie T. Embree and Mark C. Carnes, Defining a Nation: India on the Eve of Independence Reacting to the Past Series (New York: W.W. Norton, 2016).

The list of characters from which you will chose your research figure or group comes from the Reacting to the Past text book; there is also a list on p. 13 of the original syllabus distributed by Dr. Emma Alexander.

As you are researching and writing, remember that you are not only describing the position and influence of your character or group but that you are also being asked to detail how complex this moment in Indian history was. There were multiple voices, viewpoints, and motivations involved

in this movement. The original mode of the assignment - the presentations and discussion - was meant to recreate just how complex this moment was, and a well researched and written essay will attempt to investigate this. You can do this by contrasting your figure or group against others, laying out where they shared and where they differed in opinion to others. Remember, too, that the list of characters each represent larger groups; as you write your essay, think about those larger groups and their position in South Asian society.

Formatting Directions

The essay will be between 1500-2000 words, typed in a 12-point font that is easy to read. Please include a title page that will include the title of the article, your student information, and course details. The title should be more than something as banal as “Research Essay” or “Reacting to the Past Paper”; it should in some way let the reader know your research topic and argument. 

This is a formal essay format, which will include an introduction with a thesis statement, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. I have uploaded and powerpoint presentation to Nexus that discusses this format in detail. If this will be one of your first essay in University, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions (and even if you’re experienced, please do reach out!).

Research Assignment: Indian National Movement 

Assignment: Research Essay 2 (15%) 



Today, we see a world that idolizes human rights and justice to people. However, it bends down our heads to recall the era of colonization and World Wars, where oppressions to humans were largely recognized (Mason and Smith 2019). Together or individually, the people have fought for themselves, their identities, and their regions as a whole. One such mass movement is the Indian National Movement or known as the Freedom Struggle of India. While the world was divided into various aspects, the Indian subcontinent fought altogether in unity, at least for few years until the Divide and Rule Policy of the British triumphed. There were great figures seen participating actively in this movement. One such figure is Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru. He also became the first Prime Minister of independent India in 1947. In the Indian National Movement, though the objective was to attain independence from the British, the ideologies and political aspects varied from leaders to leaders. Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru is considered to have a vision not just for his country but for the whole world (Gopal 1976). The research essay is inclined to acknowledge the ideas and principles of Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru. We would learn about a brief background of his life and career, the important events that took place under his political career, the contradictions he had on views that other prominent leaders of those times, and the contributions that he made for the development of his newly formed nation.

The former Prime Minister of India, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, was born in 1889. He was lucky enough to be born and brought up in a well-known family amongst the people. His father, Mr. Motilal Nehru, was a lawyer and highly valued amongst the masses in Allahabad, a city in state Uttar Pradesh. Indian people in those times considered Law as one of the most respectable profession. When the freedom struggle was at its peak, around the 1920s, Mr. Motilal Nehru joined the movement with Mahatma Gandhi's assistance. He also became an active participant in Indian National Congress, the oldest Indian political party established in the 1880s (Zachariah 2004). It would be safe to assume that Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru followed the footsteps of his father.  He became a Barrister, returned to India from England, and started his practice in Allahabad. However, it did not continue for a longer time. Mr. Nehru said, "Decidedly, the atmosphere was not intellectually stimulating, and a sense of the utter insipidity of life grew upon me." It must be noted that the political conditions in the 1910s was the ideal time for the youngsters to get motivated to join the national movement.

Many developments took place in the 1900s, which had direct implications on the 1910s. In 1905, the partition of Bengal had disturbed the whole nation, and the communal bitterness among the majority religions, Hindus and Muslims, was making its place (McLane 1965). This was when Britons' intentions were quite clear to the National Congress leaders and educated people.  However, within the National Congress, the division took place based on ideologyextremists and moderates in 1907. The seeds of communal differences started to take a form when the Muslim League was formulated in 1906. Mr. Nehru joined the Indian National Congress in 2012, dominated by the moderates. However, his views contradicted those of his senior leaders and even with his father. He was considered as a radical party member who was not satisfied with the treatment by the British. He offered support to the Home Rule League, initiated by Annie Besant and Bal Gangadhar Tilak (an extremist). The league demanded a dominion status for India, which was offered to few countries among the oceanic countries like Australia and New Zealand. Mr. Nehru admitted that he hugely idolizes Ms. Besant for her initiatives, even when she was non-Indian. Mr. Nehru remained on both sides, simultaneously (Mortimer 1983). However, he started to diverge from the ideologies followed by his father in the early 1920s

In the 1920s, India was dominated by the radical ideals followed by the groups and even the individuals. The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919 by General Dyer had hurt Indians physically, mentally and emotionally (Tuteja 1997). It triggered the youth in different parts of the country, and they chose to adopt revolutionary measures to make the British feel their presence. The youth of those times like Chandra Shekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, C N Roy, Ramaprasad Bismil, amongst others, took up arms against the British (Mittal and Habib 1982). However, it must be noted that though Mr. Nehru was also against the lenient outlook of Congressmen against the British, he never advocated the violent measures. He was more of a radical political leader who wanted to attain a gainful presence with its genuine demands. The demand for a dominion status from the British within one year was acknowledged by Mahatma Gandhi in 1928, after some disagreements. However, when the British declined it a year later, Mr. Nehru went on to hoist the tricolor in Lahore on 26th March 1929, asking the people to celebrate Independence Day for India (Masselos 1996) The party leaders and common people thus started acknowledging him as the new political leader of the country.

While Mahatma Gandhi and Mr. Nehru opined differently regarding various issues, the impact of ideologies never let India suffer. There was a sense of respect and responsibility in the actions taken up by Mr. Nehru. His actions were well-calculated and well-structured, taking into consideration the viewpoints of his seniors. It is important to recall that Mr. Nehru was a Barrister who studied in a foreign university. He was well-aware of the international conditions of those times and even the past. He did not attempt to make any decision, which could have caused any harm to innocents. His continuous efforts to gain support from the Muslims in elevating Maulana Azada's position in Congress were directly challenged by Mr. Jinnah, who eventually led to the country's partition on religious lines (Hajari and Malhotra 2015). Even though religious disharmony was gaining momentum in the later 1930s, he positioned himself as a secular leader who had nothing to with religious portrayals. He was respectful of religions. However, he chose to remain at a distance from them. One possible reason could be the increasing communal differences in the country. The radical religious groups had started to gain popularity in the midst of religious divides planted by the British in their very famous strategy; Divide and Rule. However, things began to change in the later 1930s when Mr. Nehru started taking part in the British's political developments, after the Government of India Act was passed in 1935 (Muldoon 2016). This led to the split between him and Subhash Chandra Bose, who wanted to drive out the British by force.

Until India became an independent nation in 1947, carving out East and West Pakistan, there were quite many internal disagreements between the leaders of those times. Though there was no widespread disaffection seen between Mr. Nehru and Mr. Jinnah on the separate nation for Muslims, it would not be right to assume that he favored it. The political conditions were becoming precarious and sensitive in the early 1940sWorld War II was taking place, which devastated many nations. Any radical stand in India could have affected the whole subcontinent. It was necessary to prevent the land from tasting the bloodshed during the war. It was also when communal differences were on peak, and one wrong action could have led to internal disturbances. Mr. Nehru was also concerned about the intentions of Mr. Jinnah, who wished to extract as much land possible in favor of the newly proposed state, Pakistan (Devji 2013). While the formation of Pakistan was inevitable, Mr. Nehru diverted his interest towards convincing the princely states to be a part of India after independence (Singh 2000).  

There are various allegations put by the opposition political parties in India and the British, against the conduct of Nehru during partition. He is alleged to support it and blamed for the killings of innocent lives during the bloodshed partition (Zachariah 2004). However, it must be realized that Mr. Nehru was looked at as a political leader of India since the 1930s after Mahatma Gandhi turned towards spiritual means to gain independence, preaching non-violence and harmony amongst different religions and castes in India; which had caused internal divides. Mr. Nehru owned greater responsibility both at national and international levels. He had a vision for India, and he contributed the best of what he could, with all the powers he enjoyed. He even initiated the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) with smaller countries while the world was divided into two power blocks, the United States of America and the Soviet Union. He also pushed hard to help smaller countries gain independence from colonization. He had a separate set of ambitions and ideologies, not just for his country but also for the world. Mr. Nehru might have disagreed with many Indian leaders in many contexts, but the goal was common. Independence was the ultimate aim for him and other leaders. Even to this date, there are internal divides that every country has to face, be it political, economic, cultural, and even religious. However, that does not mean that leaders aim to disintegrate the country. We must learn to respect the people and their ideologies unless they do not aim to harm anyone. To date, the first Prime Minister of India, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, is cherished in his country for the initial developments under his leadership.

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