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Britain: Indian Independence - How Britain Dealt With The Issue

As a part of their GCSE studies students will be taught about the British Empire. One aspect they will look at is how Britain dealt with the issue of Indian independence.

The first half of the Twentieth Century saw a rise in the demands for Indian independence. Britain dealt with these demands by gradually handing over powers from British to Indian officials, although Indian nationalists wanted a much faster pace of change. The existence of several different ethnic and religious communities in India was also a major complication.

Test your knowledge of how Britain dealt with the issue of Indian Independence by playing this quiz.

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  1. In 1919 British troops opened fire on an unarmed crowd of demonstrators in the Punjab, killing at least 379 people. Who was the commander that ordered this?
    This event encouraged many Indians to distrust the British and to support Congress
  2. In 1919 the Government of India Act was passed, which introduced the sharing of power between elected Indians and British officials. What name was given to this concept?
    For the British this was a radical step, but it did not go far enough for committed nationalists
  3. What status did India enjoy after 1950
    Indians were careful to take a while to determine the nature of their new relationship with Britain
  4. When Britain went to war with Germany in September 1939, 2.5 million Indians joined up to fight on Britain's side. What name was given to this pro-British force?
    A minority of Indian nationalist militants collaborated with the Japanese, but far more supported Britain
  5. In November 1930 a conference opened in London to discuss India's future. What was the conference called?
    Gandhi attended on behalf of Congress and made many useful contacts in London, especially in the Labour Party and the trade union movement
  6. Which British Conservative politician had done his best to delay Indian constitutional reform in the 1930's, and in the late 1940's - now as Leader of the Opposition - opposed Indian independence?
    Many Conservatives were against independence for India, as they felt that this would hasten independence for other colonies elsewhere
  7. After the Second World War a new Viceroy negotiated with the Hindu and Muslim leaders the terms of independence for India. One further complication was the existence of many states still ruled by their traditional leaders, who would need to be coaxed into joining a new independent country. What name was given to these areas like Hyderabad, Mysore and Baroda?
    Negotiations had to take place with each one of these regions, whereby they lost political power, but retained their wealth
  8. Eventually the British decided that they would have to divide India into a Muslim state and a Hindu state. What name was given to this kind of division?
    This was a similar "solution" to that adopted for Ireland in 1922
  9. The Indian National Congress demanded self-rule at an early stage, but Britain would not countenance this. What Hindi word was used to describe this aspiration?
    Britain was prepared to reform the government of the Raj, but at a very gradual pace, which frustrated nationalists
  10. In 1905 the Viceroy divided one of India's provinces: a move which Congress suspected as an attempt to split Muslims from Hindus. Which province was involved?
    This area had a significant number of Muslims

Author: Edward Towne

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