• Uttar Pradesh played a major role in the First War of Independence in 1857. It was Uttar Pradesh where the Revolt started and where the British had to put their hardest effort to suppress the revolt.
  • It resulted in an attitude of neglect of the British government towards this region. Due to this when many new movements of social and cultural renaissance started in Bengal, Madras, Mumbai and other regions, Uttar Pradesh remained completely untouched .
  • Its unique identity and originality were forgotten. It was only Bhartendu Harischandra who kept trying to create awareness among the people about British repressions through his works. He highlighted British repressions in his dramas Andher Afagri & Bharat Durdasha, and his articles in magazine Kavivachan Sudha.
    • In this regard one of his compositions as given below is important:
      • Bhitar Bhitar sab raschuse, Hasi Hasi Ke Tan Man Dhan Muse Jaahirhatan me atitej, kyosakhisajannahi Angrez
    • Bhartendu had to face the anger of the British several times for his compositions.

Indian National Congress and Uttar Pradesh

  • The Indian National Congress was established in 1885 by a retired British civil servant A.O. Hume.
  • A.O. Hume had been the collector of Etawah during the Revolt of 1857. Lala Lajpat Rai remarked about the Congress: “Congress was the creation of Viceroy Lord Dufferin.”
  • Initially, it was named as the Indian National Union. Based on the suggestion of Dadabhai Nairoji, its name was changed to Indian National Congress.
  • The first session of the Indian National Congress was held in Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College in Bombay on 28 December 1885 . This session was attended by 72 delegates. Among these delegates, Ganga Prasad Verma, Prannath Pandit, Munshi Jwala Prasad, Jankinath Ghosal, Ramkali Chaudhary, Babu Jamunadas, Babu Shiv Prasad Chaudhary and Lala Baijnath represented Uttar Pradesh.
  • The number of delegates from Uttar Pradesh increased to 74 in the second session held in Calcutta. This session was chaired by Dadabhai Naoroji.
    • It was attended by 431 delegates from all over India.
    • In this session, a 17-member committee to discuss issues related to civil services was formed.
      • This committee had five members from Uttar Pradesh– Gangaprasad Verma, Prannath, Maulana Hamid Ali and Nawab Raza Khan of Lucknow and Munshi Kashi Prasad of Prayagraj.
  • The third session in Madras was chaired by Badruddin Taiyab Ali. It included Raja Rampal Singh, Maulvi Hamid Ali, Ramkali Chaudhary and Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya from Uttar Pradesh in the newly declared select committee.
    • A law committee was also constituted in this session to draft the constitution and working of the Party.
      • Ganga Prasad Verma, Vishwa Narayan and Maulana Hamid Ali, from Lucknow, were part of this committee.
  • The fourth session of the Congress was held in Prayagraj (then Allahabad) under the presidency of George Yule. This was the first Congress session in Uttar Pradesh. Auckland Kelvin was the governor of the province at that time. He tried very hard to make the session unsuccessful. The British administration created many obstructions such as denying the Congress any venue to hold the session, as well as hindering the campaigning of the session. When Raja Darbhanga found out about this, he bought Lowther Castle in Prayagraj and gave it to the Congress for its session.
    • Even after several hindrances and negative campaigning, this session was the most successful session so far. It was attended by a total of 1248 representatives. These representatives included 11 Nawabs, 1 Sehzada, 2 Mughal princes, 3 other princes, 388 zamindars, 448 Lawyers, 77 journalists, 143 commissioners, 58 teachers and 10 farmers.
    • Although the Prayagraj session was successful in terms of numbers, its representation was heavily skewed in favour of feudal and the Aristocratic class. This increasingly influence of the feudal elite and the aristocracy led to the softening of the Congress’ stance towards the British. This moderate approach was led by Ranade and Gokhale. This moderate approach also led to the decision of organising the 1892 session of Congress in London. However, later, the venue was changed to Prayagraj.
    • The 1892 session became the second Congress session in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The third Congress session in Uttar Pradesh was held in Lucknow. The Congress constitution was adopted and the decision to constitute state committees was taken in this session.
    • Sir Sayyad Ahmed Khan and then king of Benares Raja Shiv Prasad Sitare Hind opposed this session.
    • Sir Sayyad Ahmad appealed to Indian Muslims to distance themselves from the Congress but the popularity of the Congress kept increasing among the Muslim community. The numbers of Muslims in Congress sessions kept increasing from 2 in 1885 to 33 in 1886 and then 79 in 1887.
    • Seeing the growing influence of the Congress among Muslims, Sir Sayyad founded two organisations named Muhammaden Educational Congress and United Patriotic Association for opposing the Congress.

Swadeshi Movement

  • Against the moderate faction of the Congress, resistance came from within in the form of the extremist faction.
  • This extremist faction was led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Aurobindo Ghosh. Till 1905, both the moderate and extremist factions had significant control over the party. But later, Tilak’s increasing popularity slowly started creating a rift between the two factions.
  • The internal differences of the Congress reached a high over the issue of the division of Bengal in 1905. During the Swadeshi movement against the division of Bengal, the Congress factions had strong differences on the issues of Boycott, Swadeshi and national education.
  • The 21st session of the Congress in Banaras was convened in such an environment. In this session, the first clash between the two factions occurred. The reason for the clash was the resolution for the welcome of the Prince of Wales.
  • The moderates wanted this resolution to be passed but Tilak and others were against it. The differences regarding the Swadeshi movement also resurfaced.
  • The differences between the groups reached their peak and it resulted in the split of the Congress in Surat session of 1907.

Important Congress Sessions in Uttar Pradesh

1888 AD
1899 AD
1905 AD
1910 AD
1892 AD
1925 AD
1935 AD
Allahabad (Prayagraj)
Allahabad (Prayagraj)
Banaras (Varanasi)
Allahabad (Prayagraj)
George Yule
W. C. Banerjee
Romesh Chandra Dutta
Gopal Krishna Gokhale
Sir William Wedurbum
Ambika Charan Majoomdar
Srimati SarojiniNaidu
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru
Acharya J B Kriplani

Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee

  • The first session of the Uttar Pradesh (United Provinces) Congress committee was presided by Pt. Motilal Nehru. Motilal Nehru and Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya, both from Uttar Pradesh, had supported moderates during the Surat session in 1907.
  • The political session of the Provincial Congress restarted in Agra in 1909 AD under the presidency of Motilal Nehru. The organisation of the Congress had spread into many districts of the province by 1910. After the expulsion of the extremists in 1907, the Congress remained under the control of the moderates until the First World War in 1914.
  • The Muslim League had brought some changes in its objective and policies due to the efforts of leaders like MaulanaAbul Kalam Azad, Maulana MuhammadAli and Maulana Shaukat Ali. It recognised the attainment of selfrule in India as an objective and gave up the earlier policy of allegiance to the British.
  • The efforts of Tilak, Annie Besant and Jinnah led to the convening of a joint session of the Congress and the Muslim League in Mumbai in 1915. The joint session of the Congress and the Muslim League was convened once again in 1916 in Lucknow. At that time Jinnah was the leader of the Muslim league. He had already been a member of the Congress since 1904.
    • Ambika Charan Mazumdar was the Congress president in the Lucknow session. Here, the unity of the Congress and the Muslim League was strengthened further. The joint plan was called the Congress-League pact. This session of the Congress was also made special because Tilak was participating for the first time since 1907.
    • Tilak’s popularity had reached so high that the students of Lucknow University pulled his horse-cart instead of the horses, to the venue of the Congress session.

Gandhian Phase and Uttar Pradesh

  • Mahatma Gandhi first got the idea to start a movement against the British in India in Lucknow. Gandhiji had returned to India from South Africa on 9th January 1915.
  • The stories of the success of his movements against the British in South Africa had already reached the people.
  • He got a grand reception in India. Mahatma Gandhi decided to tour various place in India to understand local conditions. He reached Lucknow in December 1916 where he took part in the 31st session of the Congress.
    • This session was held in Lucknow’ from December 26th to the 30th under the presidency of Ambika Charan Majumdar. A farmer of Champaran Rajkumar Shukla met him here and told him about the harassment of Indigo farmers by the British under the Tinkathia system . He requested Gandhiji to come to Champaran.
  • After this, Gandhiji started his first experiment of Satyagraha in India in the Champaran district of Bihar in 1917. This experiment was completely successful and the British had to give up in front of him. This success made him a hero of the entire nation and he received the title of Mahatma from Rabindranath Tagore.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru met Mahatma Gandhi for the first time at the Lucknow railway station. Nehru was extremely fascinated by Mahatma Gandhi. There after, Gandhi came to Lucknow’ several times to create awareness about the freedom struggle among the people.
    • He came to Lucknow on 11 th March 1919, 15th October 1920, 26th February 1921, 8th August 1921, 17th October 1925 and 27th October 1929.
    • He also came Lucknow to attend the 49th Congress session presided by Nehru. The aim of the Congress was decided as socialism in this session. The Congress parliamentary board was also created at this time.

Khilafat Movement (1919-1924AD)

  • Indian Muslims started the Khilafat movement against the treatment given to the Sultan of Turkey by the British after the First World War. The Sultan of Turkey was considered as the Khalifa by the entire Muslim population of the world.
  • Mahatma Gandhi considered this as an opportunity to forge Hindu-Muslim unity and supported the Khilafat movement. A joint meeting of Hindu and Muslim leaders was called in Allahabad on 20th June 1920 where it was decided that both will adopt the policy of non-cooperation against the British.
  • Despite this, unity could not be maintained for long. The Non-cooperation Movement was accepted in a special session of 1920 in Calcutta but many Congressmen including Jinnah, Annie Besant, etc., were opposed to it, and hence, left the Congress. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the new leader of Turkey, abolished the post of Khalifa.

Non-cooperation Movement (1920-1922 AD)

  • The Non-cooperation Movement was started with the demand for Swaraj. It was decided to boycott government services, titles, government educational institutes and foreign goods. The provincial session of the Congress was held in Moradabad in October 1920.
    • This session was chaired by Dr Bhagwan Das. The session was attended by Gandhi, Malviya, Motilal, Jawaharlal, Shraddhanand, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Maulana Muhammad Ali, Maulana Shaukat Ali, etc.
    • This session accepted Gandhi’s proposal. The resolution of non-cooperation was passed with the majority in the Nagpur session of December 1920. The Congress started its involvement for the first time in constructive social works such as the promotion of Khadi, abolition of untouchability, liquor ban and national education.
    • Many students gave up their studies and many government servants resigned from their jobs. The
      Kashi Vidyapeeth in Banaras, Bihar Vidyapeeth in Patna, Gujrat Vidyapeeth in Ahmedabad, Muslim Vidyapeeth in Aligarh and Jamia Millia Islamia ( University) in Aligarh were established for the development of national education.
      • Jamia means University and Millia means national in Urdu. The Jamia Millia was established, on the appeal of Mahatma Gandhi and Muhammad Ali, by those students and teachers who were upset due to the allegiance of Aligarh Muslim University to the British.
  • Prominent lawyers like Motilal Nehru, Deshbandhu Chitranjan Das, Babu Rajendra Prasad, Asaf Ali and Rajagopalachari gave up their practices. Foreign clothes were burned. Gandhi returned the title of Kaisar-e-Hind, the Zulu War Medal and Boer War Medal. The Satyagrahis were arrested in the thousands. At the same time, the British Prince of Wales came to India.
  • In October 1921, the Uttar Pradesh provincial Congress session was held at Agra under the presidency of Maulana Hasrat Mohani. The decision was taken to make the boycott of the British Prince a complete success.
  • Gandhiji decided to launch the mass civil disobedience movement from Bardauli as per the requests made in the all-party meeting convened on January 1922. But, even before the commencement of the movement, an incident occurred at Chauri Chaura in Uttar Pradesh, which gave a new turn to the history of the freedom struggle.

Chauri Chaura Incident

  • A meeting of Satyagrahis was scheduled for the Non-cooperation Movement, on 5th February 1922 at Chauri Chaura in Gorakhpur. People started gathering at the venue from the morning. The Satyagrahis were very enthused. They arranged a procession in the afternoon before the meeting and made slogans against the British government.
  • Some policemen tried to remove the Satyagrahis from the road and misbehaved with them. This angered the Satyagrahis and they attacked the police. The policemen ran for their lives and went inside the nearby Chauri Chaura police station and closed the door. The Satyagrahis surrounded the police station and fired at it. Twenty-two policemen (one Inspectorand 21 Constables) died in this incident.
  • When Gandhiji got the news of this incident, he called the meeting of the Congress working committee on 12th February in Bardauli and called off the Non-cooperation Movement. This decision of Gandhiji left senior Congress leaders and workers in a state of bewilderment and they objected to this decision.
  • Subhas Chandra Bose said that at a time when public morale was at its peak, calling off the movement was no less than a national tragedy. Motilal Nehru said that if a village of Kanyakumari had committed a mistake, why should an innocent village in the Himalayas be punished? Dr Rajendra Prasad wrote that the public was dejected just like a running man who suddenly falls down by a strike.
  • On the other hand, undeterred by criticism, Gandhiji stated that his decision was necessary and totally right. He wrote in Young India that to prevent the movement from becoming violent, he is ready to suffer all kinds of humiliation, all kinds of tormenting boycotts, even death. This way, the Non-cooperation Movement was halted when it was at its peak.

Objective of Purna Swarajaya

  • The British government appointed a commission known as the Simon Commission to review the working ofthe Government of India Act of 1919. All of its members were white. Sir Simon was made the president of the commission.
  • The Congress and other parties decided to oppose it as there was no Indian member in the commission. When the commission arrived in Bombay, protests were organised everywhere with the slogans of Simon Go Back.
  • Once again, the environment of the nation turned as it was during the Non-cooperation Movement.
  • Congress called an all-party meeting in Delhi and decided to boycott the Simon Commission. It constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Motilal Nehru. This committee was given the task of laying down the draft principles of the Indian constitution by 1st July 1928. This draft famously known as the Nehru report was based on the foundations of Dominion Status or Colonial self-government.
  • In this regard, another all party meeting was called in Raja Mahmudabad Mahal of Lucknow, in August 1928. Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose expressed their disagreement with the Nehru report in the meeting.
  • In December 1929, the Congress session was held in Lahore under the presidency of Jawaharlal Nehru. In this session, Purna Swarajaya (complete independence) was declared as the aim of the Congress and the Nehru report was discarded.

Revolutionary Movement

  • Revolutionary strands in India’s freedom struggle started around 1879 AD in Maharashtra when Vasudeva Balwant Phadke organised a peasant group by bringing together Koli, Bhil and Dhangad tribes.
    • They decided to collect money for the freedom movement by looting rich British moneylenders. Phadke organised a group of 200 dedicated revolutionaries. It is considered India’s first revolutionary army.
    • This struggle ended soon. Phadke was captured and was sent to Kalapani, where he died.
  • The real beginning of the revolutionary movement occured with the Swadeshi movement. However, it
    became extensive after the end of the Non-cooperation Movement.
    • Gandhiji, by calling off the Non-cooperation Movement after the Chauri Chaura incident deeply disappointed the poor and middle-class youth of the nation. This class held a deep rage against the British and their repressive policies and wanted to answer them in their style.
    • The end of non-cooperation had deep effects on the morale of the youth and they were attracted towards Revolutionary Militarism .
  • The Kakori train robbery was the first act of revolutionary struggle in the United Province. Sachindranath Sanyal, Ramprasad Bismil and Yogesh Chandra Chatterjee established an organisation named Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) in 1924 in Lucknow.
    • The organisation robbed Number 8 Down Train carrying government treasury on 9th August 1925. The robbery aimed to collect money for the freedom struggle.
    • This incident was done by ten members of HRA. Later, 40 members of theassociation were arrested. Among these 40 members, Pandit Ramprasad Bismil,Ashfaqulla Khan, Rajendra Nath Lahiri and Thakur Roshan Singh were given the death penalty.
      • The case of arrested revolutionaries was fought by a young lawyer named Chandrabhan Gupt. He did not charge any fee for this. He later became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in Independent India.
  • The members of HRA who had escaped arrest met in Firozshah Kotla in a secret meeting. The decision to gather scattered revolutionaries was taken.
    • In this meeting, United Province was represented by Shiv Sharma, Vijay Kumar Sinha and Jaydev Kapoor. Punjab was represented by Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev.
    • It was also decided to create a new organisation with collective leadership, to take forward the revolutionary movement.
    • The new organisation was named Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. Chandrasekhar Azad was made the head of this organisation. A central committee was constituted where Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Shiv Sharma, Vijay Kumar Sinha, Kundanlal and Phanindra Ghosh were appointed as members. The headquarters of the organisation was Agra.
    • During the Simon agitation, Lala Lajpat Rai was beaten with sticks. The injuries led to his death. The HSRA members decided to avenge his brutal killing. Chandrasekhar Azad and his companions avenged this insult by killing a police officer named Saunders on 19th December 1928.
  • The murder of Saunders boosted the morale of the revolutionaries. They decided to act in public instead of undertaking secret revolutionary activities. They planned to throw a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi to stir the public. This responsibility was given to Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt.
    • The two revolutionaries threw the bomb on 9th April 1926 and surrendered immediately. Bhagat Singh and Batukeswar Dutt were assisted in the scheme by United Province’s Shiv Sharma and Jaydev Kapoor.
  • Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt were tried for throwing the bomb. Bhagat Singh was also tried for the murder of Saunders. Shiv Sharma and Jaydev Kapoor were arrested from Saharanpur. Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were hanged on 23 March 1931. The other convicts were given life imprisonment. Chandrasekhar Azad could not be caught till the end. On 27th February 1931 at Alfred Park in Prayagraj, he gave up his life by shooting himself during an encounter with the police.

Second Peasant Movement (1931 AD)

  • Jawaharlal Nehru and his associates launched the No Tax Campaign in Prayagraj and nearby areas in September 1931.
  • Lai Bahadur Shastri and Jay Prakash were his main associates during this campaign. Mahatma Gandhi had already left for the Second Round Table Conference on 29th August 1931.
  • During this time, Jawaharlal Nehru communicated to the British officers about the problems being faced by peasants due to British laws. Purushottam Das Tandon assisted him.
  • The Great Depression had caused a significant reduction in prices of agricultural produces. Despite this, the British government were adamant to increase taxes and rents. The peasants were being tortured for not being able to pay increased taxes.
  • When peasants under Nehru were denied a hearing for their legitimate demands, Nehru was forced to give a call for a peaceful movement. Nehru and other leaders were arrested on 26th December.

Civil Disobedience Movement (1930-1934) and Quit India Movement (1942-1945)

  • The Second Round Table Conference (7th September to 1st December 1931) ended without any fruitful result.
  • After returning to India, Gandhi once again started the Civil Disobedience Movement. This angered the British and they started a severe repression to quell the movement. Approximately 1,20,000 protestors including Gandhi and Sardar Patel were arrested.
  • Later, Congress formed ministries in 1937 under the scheme provided in the Government of India Act of
    1935 in six provinces including the United Province
    . The United Province government was led by Govind Vallabh Pant. Under the Congress government in United Province, Tenancy Act was passed in 1939 which gave hereditary rights of holding to all statutory tenants. The Congress governments enacted pro labour and pro peasants policies. Kishan Sabhas were started in every part of the country. Student and youth movements were encouraged.
  • Communists also enjoyed freedom under provincial Congress governments. The Cripps Mission of March 1942 gave some hopes of freedom to India, but later, all their hopes turned into severe disappointment. After long deliberation and debate, the Congress working committee passed the resolution of Quit India Movement in Wardha on 14th July 1942. Before the formal announcement of the movement, Tilak Divas was celebrated in Prayagraj (then Allahabad ). On this occasion, Pandit Nehru stated that they were going to play with fire. It was a double-edged sword which can harm them as well.
  • The Quit India resolution was ratified in the Congress session held at Gowalia Tank of Mumbai on 8th August 1942. It was also called August Revolution. Gandhi gave the slogan of ‘Do or Die’ at this historic moment.
  • The British arrested many leaders by the next morning under Operation Zero Hour. The Congress was declared unconstitutional and its properties were seized. This angered the public and a countrywide agitation started. A major part of United Province, especially Balia, Banaras, Mirzapur, Jaunpur, Azamgarh, Sultanpur, Faizabad, Gorakhpur, Gazipur and Basti, were severely affected. A temporary National Government was established in Balia under Chittu Pandey. Many police stations were brought under the control of freedom fighters between 13 and 16 August and the prisoners were freed. Many railway stations were burnt.
  • The British were able to re-establish their control in Balia by 22 August. The movement was met with the most brutal repression throughout the country. This led to the complete halt of the movement by 1943. The death of 40 million Indians in Bengal in the same year due to famine also reduced the morale of agitators.
  • In the Second World War, Japan had surrendered on 15th August 1945 to the Allies led by the USA and Britain.
  • The Labour Party came to power in Britain post-Second World War. The new British Prime Minister Atlee declared British policies concerning the transfer of power to India. The interim government of India was established on 2nd September 1946 under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru. Lord Mountbatten was appointed as the new Viceroy of India on 24th March 1947.
  • India attained its Independence on 15th August 1947 but at a heavy price. This price was the division of the country into two-India and Pakistan. The state of Uttar Pradesh has given one president and nine out of fifteen prime ministers to Independent India till date.
    • Shri Ramnath Kovind of Kanpur became the fourteenth President of India on 25th July 2017.
    • The Prime Ministers who won their respective elections from Uttar Pradesh in their sequence of appointment are Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Lai Bahadur Shastri, Srimati Indira Gandhi, Chaudhary Charan Singh, Rajiv Gandhi, Vishwanath Pratap Singh, Chandrasekhar, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi.

Uttar Pradesh: Changes in the Structure

  • Uttar Pradesh got its present name on 24th January 1950 when the United Provinces (Alteration of the name) order 1950 was passed. United Provinces was renamed as Uttar Pradesh under this order. Before that, Uttar Pradesh had been known as United Provinces from 1937 to 1950.
  • The region of Uttar Pradesh was named as North Western Province in 1836 and was under the control of the East India Company. Agra was made the headquarters of the North-Western province. Delhi and Gurgaon were also part of the North-Western province.
  • After the Revolt of 1857, Delhi and Gurgaon Division were separated in 1858. Awadh was also merged with the North-western province in 1858. The capital of the North-western province was also shifted to Allahabad from Agra.
  • The North-western province was renamed as United Provinces of Awadh and Agra in 1902. The capital was shifted to Lucknow from Prayagraj in 1921. In 1937, the name was shortened to United Provinces.
  • The state of Uttaranchal (present name Uttarakhand ) was carved out by separating 13 hill districts from the state of Uttar Pradesh on 9 November 2000.

Places where Revolutionaries were Executed

S. No.RevolutionaryPlace
Ram Prasad Bismil
Ashfaqulla Khan
Rajendra Lahiri
Roshan Singh
Naini (Prayagraj )

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