• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What was the short term significance of the Amritsar Massacre?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What was the short-term significance of the Amritsar Massacre? According to Lawrence James, "1919 was a turning point in the history of India and Amritsar was the pivot." This statement suggests that the Amritsar Massacre was significant, and it is supported by numerous contemporary and other secondary sources. Gandhi's letter to the Viceroy suggests that the British Empire lost Gandhi's respect for the British rule because of the Massacre and the following "light-hearted" treatment of Dyer.1 This was significant, as Gandhi, as the leader of the Congress, was responsible for leading all-India nationalist movements, which pressurized the British Empire to give concessions and ultimately independence. Tim Leadbeater suggests that the Massacre was a turning point for British attitudes and policy toward India; henceforth, the British tried its best to avoid repressive measures.2 However, it is also possible to argue that the Massacre was insignificant, as the non-co-operation movement, which began after the Massacre, failed to reach its objective and crumbled in 2 years. The Amritsar massacre damaged British rule in India by undermining the philanthropic aims of the Empire. The British Empire had justified their expansions in India and other colonies as carrying the "white man's burden": educating and emancipating the world. In the Memorandum to Post war reforms in 1916, the Indian Legislative Council, made up of 19 Hindus and Muslims, stated that Indians should be grateful to the English "for the great progress in her material resources and the widening of her intellectual and political outlook under British rule"3. ...read more.

Middle

In 1915, he had graciously accepted the Kaiser-i-Hind medal from the British Empire, and he had professed his admiration for British institutions and conventions of fair play. After the Massacre, however, he was a changed man; calling the British rule "satanic"14, Gandhi said that Britain no longer enjoyed any moral right to rule India. In his letter to the Viceroy, he stated that he would no longer give his "loyal co-operation" to the British Government of India15; Gandhi's opposition to British rule was massively significant, as he were to have a profound influence in leading the Congress with nationalist movements, winning reforms and concessions from the British. As the main author of Congress's report on the Punjab issue, he acquired new standing in the Congress. Under his leadership, and under the conditions of non-co-operation, Congress was changed from an elite body, dominated by the professional middle classes from the presidencies of Bengal and Bombay, into a mass organisation, with representatives from wide range of localities. Members increased dramatically from under 100,000 to 2 million by 1921. Thus the Amritsar Massacre led to the rise of Congress, which gradually began to represent the whole subcontinent. The Congress, under Gandhi's leadership, became the centre of nationalist movements; in 1920, it led the non-co-operation movement. Non-co-operation was extremely significant in that it elicited from the British a changed attitude to political agitation which posed them a new problem because it was non-violent and so wide-scale16. ...read more.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, there were no sources to be found written by Indians who were neither elites nor middle class but poor peasants, who was the main bulk of the Indian population, so this essay cannot claim that it has considered the views of all Indians. To minimize this flaw, I have used secondary sources of Judith Brown, Lawrence James and John Keay which describe the mood and the thoughts of the Indian public as a whole. The variety of the secondary sources also gave me a balanced view of events: Brown concentrated more on the perspective of Indians, James on that of the British, and Keay gave balanced viewpoints from both the British and the Indians. The Amritsar Massacre was clearly a significant event, although there are some arguments which suggest that it was less so. The Amritsar Massacre was the death of British philanthropy in the eyes of Indians, as Indians believed that the British public supported Dyer and his actions. However, this didn't mean that British philanthropy was dead, as there were British people who condemned Dyer and called for less repressive measures in India. The Massacre sparked off the flames of nationalism in the hearts of Gandhi and many other Indians (usually the elite and the middle class); although the mass of people may have joined the non-co-operation movement not so much due to nationalism, as they took part in the movement which united the subcontinent, they began to feel that they were all part of a nation. The Amritsar Massacre was, in a sense, a catalyst for Indian independence. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Historical Periods section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Historical Periods essays

  1. Why Were Some Forms Of Nationalism More Successful Than Others In Achieving Concessions From ...

    War of 1831-36 which the revolutionary Nationalists, under the name of Ribbonism, were most active. The Poor Law was basically just an extension of that of the English Poor Law, whereas Ireland's needs were different to that of its British counterpart.

  2. Assess the political, social and cultural significance of Versailles in the reign of Louis ...

    This illustrated French advances in technology. French advances in technology can also be seen at Versailles. The water for the fountain came from the River Seine in Paris some 20km away. All this suggests that through Versailles Louis was able to develop France and make France the dominating power in Europe.

  1. The British Raj has lasted many centuries and led to numerous transformations in the ...

    India became known worldwide by agricultural trade. India would be a very different country if the British had never ruled India. India would not be India today if it wasn't controlled by the Britain. If India remained under the Mughal Empire, India would have been small countries instead of one unity country.

  2. The Indian Mutiny

    world and the Indians, other than their association with Indians as their servants, whom they did not respect. This created a strain on the relationship between Indians and Europeans . The introduction of infrastructure demonstrated that the British had given up on accepting Indian traditions and were instead forcing them to conform to European standards.

  1. Gandhi was instrumental in India achieving its independence. Gandhi was able to procure Indias ...

    It was during this time that Gandhi began to become the great man that we know of today. He began to develop his ideas and beliefs. He began practicing ways of non violence and passive resistance, things that he is famous for today.

  2. The First English Civil War

    While the Earl of Manchester (with Cromwell as his lieutenant-general) was appointed to head the forces of the Eastern Association against Newcastle, and Waller was given a new army wherewith again to engage Hopton and Maurice, the task of saving Gloucester from the King's army fell to Essex.

  1. The storming of the BAstille was the most significant event in 1789

    As the historian Francois Mignet said; "The assembly had acquired the entire power; the corporations depended on it; the national guards obeyed it... The royal power, though existing of right, was in a measure suspended, since it was not obeyed, and the assembly had to supply its action by its own."

  2. The events in India in 1856/7 were caused by the issue of the new ...

    ?Of itself controversy need not have led to a general uprising.? Judd; The Great Indian uprising of 1857-8. Highlighting the issue of the cartridges was the issue which sparked up the entire mutiny and was the reason the events occurred did so.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work