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How did British governments deal with demands for Indian independence?For years the British tried to ignore Indian nationalism, having apparently convinced themselves

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Introduction

(b) How did British governments deal with demands for Indian independence? For years the British tried to ignore Indian nationalism, having apparently convinced themselves that there were too many differences in Indian society for the Indians ever to form a united movement; there were social, regional and above all, religious differences especially between Hindus and Muslims. However, during the war, Hindus and Muslims began to work together to pressurize the British, who were slowly coming round to the idea that India would have to be given a measure of self In 1917 the Indians were promised 'the gradual development of self institutions with a view to the progressive realization of responsible government in India as an integral part of the British Empire'. ...read more.

Middle

and Lord Chelmsford (Viceroy) put forward plans which eventually became the Government of India Act (1919). There was to he a national parliament with two houses; about five million of the wealthiest Indians were given the vote; in the provincial governments the ministers of health, education and public works could now be Indians ; a commission would be held ten years later to decide whether India was ready for further concessions. Congress was bitterly disappointed because, although the new parliament had some powers, the really important decisions were still taken by the governor-general the British also kept control of the key provincial ministries such as law and order and taxation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Irwin was convinced that negotiations must take place, and he was fully supported in this view by Ramsay MacDonald who had just become Prime Minister. Consequently two Round Table Conferences were held in London (1930 and 1931). The first was unsatisfactory because, although the Indian princes were represented and accepted the idea of an Indian federation, no Congress representatives were there, because most of them were in prison. Irwin had them released and prevailed upon Gandhi to travel to London to attend the second conference, much to the horror of Churchill, who refused to meet him and described him as 'this malignant and subversive fanatic'. Again little progress was made, this time because of disagreements about Muslim representation in an independent Indian parliament. ...read more.

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