Flash Card

LAKSHYA-75 [Day-21] Static Flash Cards for IAS Prelims 2020

Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah;Rise of the jotedars during colonial time; Fifth Report of British Parliament; Santhal Rebellion; Cotton Boom in 1860s; Shah Mal; Urban centres during the centuries preceding British rule; First hill stations of colonial urban development; Madras in colonial India; Quit India Movement; Provincial elections of 1937.
By IASToppers
March 27, 2020



The All-India Muslim League failed to form the government in any province in the provincial elections of 1937 during British rule. True OR False.

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Answer: True.

Enrich Your Learning:

The provincial elections of 1937 and the Congress ministries:

  • In 1937, elections to the provincial legislatures were held for the first time. Only about 10 to 12 per cent of the population enjoyed the right to vote.
  • The Congress did well in the elections, winning an absolute majority in five out of eleven provinces and forming governments in seven of them.
  • It did badly in the constituencies reserved for Muslims, but the Muslim League also fared poorly, polling only 4.4 per cent of the total Muslim vote cast in this election.
  • The League failed to win a single seat in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and could capture only two out of 84 reserved constituencies in the Punjab and three out of 33 in Sind.
  • In the United Provinces, the Muslim League wanted to form a joint government with the Congress.
  • The Congress had won an absolute majority in the province, so it rejected the offer. Though popular in the United Provinces, Bombay and Madras, social support for the League was still fairly weak in three of the provinces from which Pakistan was to be carved out just ten years later – Bengal, the NWFP and the Punjab.
  • The Congress ministries also contributed to the widening rift. In the United Provinces, the party had rejected the Muslim League proposal for a coalition government partly.
  • Reason: Because the League tended to support landlordism, which the Congress wished to abolish, although the party had not yet taken any concrete steps in that direction. Nor did the Congress achieve any substantial gains in the “Muslim mass contact” programme it launched.
  • In the end, the secular and radical rhetoric of the Congress merely alarmed conservative Muslims and the Muslim landed elite, without winning over the Muslim masses.
  • While the leading Congress leaders in the late 1930s insisted more than ever before on the need for secularism, these ideas were by no means universally shared lower down in the party hierarchy, or even by all Congress ministers.



What was the impact of the Quit India Movement?

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Impact of the Quit India Movement:

  • It played a crucial role in India’s independence.
  • It kept the Congress Party united through their difficult times.
  • The movement conveyed to the British that India had the support of global leaders, as the then American President Franklin Roosevelt had urged the British administration to consider at least some of the demands put forth by the Indian leaders.
  • Since the movement was responsible in the destruction of many edifices and facilities, the British had to reconstruct many facilities if they were to rule India for a longer period of time.

Enrich Your Learning:

Quit India Movement:

  • The Indian National Congress launched the ‘Quit India Movement’ in August 1942, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, at the Bombay session of Congress Committee.
  • The aim of the movement was to force the British to withdraw from India.

What happened During Quit India Movement?

  • On 8th August 1942, the All India Congress Committee met in Bombay and ratified the ‘Quit India’ resolution.
  • Mahatma Gandhi made a ‘Do or Die’ call in his Quit India speech which was delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan (August Kranti Maidan).
  • However, Gandhi along with other Congress leaders were arrested by the British Government under the Defence of India Rules next day.
  • The Working Committee, the All India Congress Committee and the four Provincial Congress Committees were declared unlawful associations under the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1908.
  • The first half of the movement was peaceful with demonstrations and processions. The peaceful protest was carried till Mahatma Gandhi’s release.
  • The second half of the movement was violent with raids and setting fire at post offices, government buildings and railway stations. Lord Linlithgow adopted the policy of violence.

What led to the Quit India Movement?

  • In 1939, the Congress passed a resolution, which stated that Indian soldiers should not be sent to the war without people’s consultation.
  • But during the Second World War, Indian soldiers were sent to fight by the British against the German troops.
  • In March 1942, the British sent a delegation to India named ‘Cripps mission’ which was failed to address the key demands of the Indians, including their right to form self-government.
  • The failure of ‘Cripps mission’ was one of the key factors contributing towards Gandhi’s decision to call for ‘Bharat Chhodo Andolan’ (Quit India Movement).
  • Another cause of the movement was Gandhi’s fear of a possible Japanese invasion of India and the inability of Britishers to defend the India during such a situation.


  • Chakravarti Rajgopalachari, Allama Mashriqi opposed the movement.
  • Several political groups, such as the ‘Muslim League,’ ‘Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS),’ ‘Hindu Mahasabha,’ and the ‘Communist Party of India’ did not support the movement.
  • Indian businessmen and students also did not support the movement.
  • The Viceroy’s Council of Muslims, Communist Party and Americans supported Britishers.

Suppression of the Movement:

  • By 1944, almost all demonstrations as part of the movement had been suppressed as the British imprisoned Gandhi as well as all the members of ‘Congress Working Committee.’



What was the British settlement called in Madras?

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The British settlement in Madras was called White Town. The area was mainly occupied by the British settlers. On the other hand, the areas that were occupied by Indians were called Black Town.

Enrich Your Learning:

Settlement and segregation in Madras in colonial India (Town Planning and Architecture):

  • In 1639, the British constructed a trading post in Madraspatam and the settlement known as Chenapattanam.
  • The company had purchased the right of settlement from the local Telugu lords, the Nayaks of Kalahasti.
  • Rivalry with French East India Company led the British to fortify Madras.
  • Chintadripet area meant for weavers, the Washermanpet colony of dyers, Royapuram was a settlement for Christian boatmen.
  • The dubashes were Indians who could speak two languages the local language and English.
  • Paraiyars and Vanniyars formed the labouring poor.
  • The Nawab of Arcot settled in nearby Triplicane which became the nucleus of a substantial Muslim settlement.
  • Mylapore and Triplicane were earlier Hindu religious centres that supported a large group of Brahmins.
  • San Thome with its cathedral was the centre Roman Catholics.

White Town Fort St. George:

  • Fort St. George became the nucleus of the White Town where most of the Europeans lived.
  • Colour and religion determined who was allowed to live within the fort.
  • The Company did not permit any marriages with Indians.
  • Other than the English, the Dutch and the Portuguese were allowed to stay because they were European and Christian.

Black Town:

  • The Black Town developed outside the Fort.
  • It was laid out in straight lines, and housed weavers, artisans, etc.
  • Middlemen and interpreters were the person who played a vital role in the company trade



The temperate and cool climate of the Indian hills was seen as a disadvantage since the British associated hot weather with epidemics. True OR False.

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Answer: False.

Correct Statement: The temperate and cool climate of the Indian hills was seen as an advantage since the British associated hot weather with epidemics.

Enrich Your Learning:

First hill stations of colonial urban development:

  • Hill stations were a distinctive feature of colonial urban development. The founding and settling of hill stations was initially connected with the needs of the British army.
  • Shimla was founded during the course of the Gurkha War (1815-16); the Anglo-Maratha War of 1818 led to British interest in Mount Abu; and Darjeeling was wrested from the rulers of Sikkim in 1835. Shimla also became the official residence of the commander-in-chief of the Indian army.
  • Hill stations became strategic places for billeting troops, guarding frontiers and launching campaigns against enemy rulers.
  • These hill stations were also developed as sanitariums, i.e., places where soldiers could be sent for rest and recovery from illnesses.
  • Because the hill stations approximated the cold climates of Europe, they became an attractive destination for the new rulers. It became a practice for viceroys to move to hill stations during the summer months.
  • In the hill stations the British and other Europeans sought to recreate settlements that were reminiscent of home. The buildings were deliberately built in the European style.
  • Social calls, teas, picnics, fetes, races and visits to the theatre became common among colonial officials in the hill stations.
  • The introduction of the railways made hill stations more accessible to a wide range of people including Indians.
  • Upper-and middle-class Indians such as maharajas, lawyers and merchants were drawn to these stations because they afforded them a close proximity to the ruling British elite.
  • Hill stations were important for the colonial economy. With the setting up of tea and coffee plantations in the adjoining areas, an influx of immigrant labour from the plains began. Hill stations no longer remained exclusive racial enclaves for Europeans in India.



Who were assigned territories in different parts of the Mughal empire usually maintained houses in cities?

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Answer: Mansabdars and jagirdars were assigned territories in different parts of the empire usually maintained houses in cities

Enrich Your Learning:

Urban centres during the centuries preceding British rule:

  • During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the towns built by the Mughals were famous for their concentration of populations, their monumental buildings and their imperial grandeur and wealth.
  • The presence of the emperor and noblemen in these centres meant that a wide variety of services had to be provided.
  • Artisans produced exclusive handicrafts for the households of nobles. Grain from the countryside was brought into urban markets for the town dwellers and the army.
  • The treasury was also located in the imperial capital. Thus, the revenues of the kingdom flowed into the capital regularly.
  • The emperor lived in a fortified palace and the town was enclosed by a wall, with entry and exit being regulated by different gates.
  • Within these towns were gardens, mosques, temples, tombs, colleges, bazaars and caravanserais. The focus of the town was oriented towards the palace and the principal mosque.
  • In the towns of South India such as Madurai and Kanchipuram the principal focus was the temple. These towns were also important commercial centres. Religious festivals often coincided with fairs, linking pilgrimage with trade.
  • The ruler was the highest authority and the principal patron of religious institutions. The relationship that he had with other groups and classes determined their place in society and in the town.
  • Medieval towns were places where everybody was expected to know their position in the social order dominated by the ruling elite.
  • In North India, maintaining this order was the work of the imperial officer called the kotwal who oversaw the internal affairs and policing of the town.



The leaders named Shah Mal and Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah contributed to which revolt? a) Wahabi Movement OR b) 1857 Revolt

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Answer: 1857 Revolt

Enrich Your Learning:

Two rebels of 1857:

Shah Mal:

  • In July 1857, at least 3,500 peasants armed with primitive swords and spears led by Shah Mal clashed with British soldiers of the East India Company, represented by the cavalry, infantry and artillery regiments.
  • The lands in the pargana Barout in Uttar Pradesh were irrigated and fertile, with rich dark loam soil. Many of the villagers were prosperous and saw the British land revenue system as oppressive: the revenue demand was high and its collection inflexible.
  • Shah Mal mobilised the headmen and cultivators of chaurasee des, moving at night from village to village, urging people to rebel against the British.
  • As in many other places, the revolt against the British turned into a general rebellion against all signs of oppression and injustice.
  • Cultivators left their fields and plundered the houses of moneylenders and traders. Shah Mal was killed in the battle.

Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah:

  • Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah was one of the many maulvis who played an important part in the revolt of 1857.
  • In 1856, he was seen moving from village to village preaching jehad (religious war) against the British and urging people to rebel.
  • He moved in a palanquin, with drumbeaters in front and followers at the rear. He was therefore popularly called Danka Shah – the maulvi with the drum (danka).
  • He was elected by the mutinous 22nd Native Infantry as their leader. He fought in the famous Battle of Chinhat in which the British forces under Henry Lawrence were defeated.



What was the reason behind the falling of the raw cotton imports from America to Britain in 1860s?

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During the American Civil War (1861–65) cotton supplies to Britain’s textile mills dwindled, causing a boom in production elsewhere in the Empire. The majority of raw cotton supplies came from America, during the American Civil War (1861–65) raw cotton was no longer being grown and shipped. 

Enrich Your Learning:

Cotton Boom in 1860s:

  • Before the 1860s, British cotton manufacturers had for long been worried about dependence on American cotton supplies.
  • In 1857 the Cotton Supply Association was founded in Britain, and in 1859 the Manchester Cotton Company was formed.
  • Their objective was “to encourage cotton production in every part of the world suited for its growth”. India was seen as a country that could supply cotton to Lancashire if the American supply dried up.
  • Due to American Civil War broke out in 1861, raw cotton imports from America fell to Britain. In Bombay, cotton merchants visited the cotton districts to assess supplies and encourage cultivation.
  • As cotton prices soared, export merchants in Bombay were keen to secure as much cotton as possible to meet the British demand. They gave advances to urban sahukars who in turn extended credit to those rural moneylenders who promised to secure the produce.

Impact of Cotton Boom:

  • These developments had a profound impact on the Deccan countryside. The ryots in the Deccan villages suddenly found access to seemingly limitless credit. They were being given Rs 100 as advance for every acre they planted with cotton.
  • Sahukars were more than willing to extend long-term loans. While the American crisis continued, cotton production in the Bombay Deccan expanded.
  • Between 1860 and 1864 cotton acreage doubled. By 1862 over 90 per cent of cotton imports into Britain were coming from India.
  • These boom years did not bring prosperity to all cotton producers. Some rich peasants did gain, but for the large majority, cotton expansion meant heavier debt.



Which was the first peasant revolt that occurred in India during British rule?

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Santhal Rebellion

Enrich Your Learning:

Santhal Rebellion:

  • Santhals are a tribal group concentrated in the state of Jharkhand. They are an ethnic group native to India and Bangladesh.
  • Santals are the largest tribe in the Jharkhand state of India in terms of population and are also found in the states of Assam, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal.
  • The Santhal Revolt took place in 1855-56. The revolt can be attributed to the introduction of the Permanent Land Settlement of 1793.
  • The aforesaid settlement pattern by the British snatched lands that the Santhals had been cultivating for centuries from them.
  • The zamindars, moneylenders, Europeans and the British government officials raised the land tax and exploited farmers. They were so oppressed that they resolved to rebel against the landlords and the government.
  • The Santhals engaged in guerrilla warfare. The Santhals formed their own armies composed of peasants marching against their op­pressors.
  • The Santhal revolt was very effective for a while but it could not succeed against the absolute power of the government and was suppressed. 




The Fifth Report was favourable to the East India Company, a famous document set up in 1810 by the British Parliament to look into the affairs of the east India company. True OR False.

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Answer: True.

Enrich Your Learning:

The Fifth Report:

  • Many of the changes during colonial rules were documented in detail in a report that was submitted to the British Parliament in 1813. It was the fifth of a series of reports on the administration and activities of the East India Company in India.
  • The Fifth Report was about the petitions of zamindars and ryots, reports of collectors from different districts, statistical tables on revenue returns, and notes on the revenue and judicial administration of Bengal and Madras written by officials.
  • The British Parliament passed a series of Acts in the late eighteenth century to regulate and control Company rule in India.
  • It forced the Company to produce regular reports on the administration of India and appointed committees to enquire into the affairs of the Company.
  • The Fifth Report was one such report produced by a Select Committee. It became the basis of intense parliamentary debates on the nature of the East India Company’s rule in India.
  • For over a century and a half, the Fifth Report has shaped our conception of what happened in rural Bengal in the late eighteenth century.
  • The indication of intent on criticising the maladministration of the company, the Fifth Report exaggerated the collapse of traditional zamindari power, as also overestimated the scale on which zamindars were losing their land.



Who were jotedars during colonial time?

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Jotedars were “wealthy peasants” who comprised one layer of social strata in agrarian Bengal during Company rule in India.

Enrich Your Learning:

The rise of the jotedars during colonial time:

  • While many zamindars were facing a crisis at the end of the eighteenth century, a group of rich peasants were consolidating their position in the villages.
  • In Francis Buchanan’s survey of the Dinajpur district in North Bengal, a vivid description of this class of rich peasants known as jotedars.
  • By the early nineteenth century, jotedars had acquired vast areas of land – sometimes as much as several thousand acres. They controlled local trade as well as moneylending, exercising immense power over the poorer cultivators of the region.
  • A large part of their land was cultivated through sharecroppers (adhiyars or bargadars) who brought their own ploughs, laboured in the field, and handed over half the produce to the jotedars after the harvest.
  • Within the villages, the power of jotedars was more effective than that of zamindars. Unlike zamindars who often lived in urban areas, jotedars were located in the villages and exercised direct control over a considerable section of poor villagers.
  • They fiercely resisted efforts by zamindars to increase the jama of the village, prevented zamindari officials from executing their duties, mobilised ryots who were dependent on them, and deliberately delayed payments of revenue to the zamindar.
  • When the estates of the zamindars were auctioned for failure to make revenue payment, jotedars were often amongst the purchasers.
  • The jotedars were most powerful in North Bengal, although rich peasants and village headmen were emerging as commanding figures in the countryside in other parts of Bengal as well.
  • In some places they were called haoladars, elsewhere they were known as gantidars or mandals. Their rise inevitably weakened zamindari authority.
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