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

    This also worked well, as Louis was in no position to demand of the national assembly as he could no longer rely on the army to help him out. The fall of the Bastille is significant in that it is further evidence that the army was abandoning the king.

  2. 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.

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

    Therefore, O'Connell entered into an alliance with the Whig government, known as the Lichfield House Compact in 1835, to campaign for more local grievances such as the Tithe Act 1838, the Poor Law 1838 and the Municipal Corporations Act 1840.

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

    With their assistance, the Palace of Versailles became virtually a shrine to Louis' greatness. Everything about it built the ultimate picture of an absolute monarch which gave Louis an indisputable claim to greatness. Louis often starred in plays which portrayed him as God.

  1. To What Extent was World War Two the Key Turning Point in Britain's Relationship ...

    In this way, the Second World War was not so much the key turning point for India as the First World War. The First World War also affected Britain's relationship with its dominions. The dominions were beginning to demand a greater say in the running of the Empire.

  2. The First English Civil War

    But Newcastle (now the Marquess of Newcastle) was not yet ready for his part in the programme. The Yorkshire troops would not march on London while the enemy was master of Hull. By this time, there was a solid barrier between the royal army of the north and the capital.

  1. The Indian Mutiny

    a legitimate heir, their inheritance of land and money went to the company after the individual's death and this also caused a lot of anger and resentment towards the British. The EIC's discontentment with their control India's trade led to their involvement in the political system, angering the Indian population.

  2. In the context of India in the 1840s to 1947, how far can independence ...

    The Indian people saw it as a further attempt to control and westernise them. This stemmed from the British fear that the educated Indian?s would band together and challenge their ruling authority as, ?Unlike the mild Hindu, the studious Hindu would pose a serious threat to white supremacy,?[2] helping Gandhi to later draw on this existing foundation of discontent.

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