Pre Independence India
In 1750 India was in effect administered by the East India Company rather than directly by the British Crown. For administrative purposes, the country was divided into three main areas known as the Bengal, Bombay and Madras presidencies. Each presidency had a council to oversee it and had its own army. The East India Company, originally established in 1600, gave its members exclusive trading rights in a vast area that included much of India, gradually became a territorial power, administering India on behalf of the British government.
Stories about the British and Indian confrontation in Delhi in 1857, the Sepoy Mutiny are many. Bahadur Shah Zafar, Tatia Tope of Gwalior, the Rani of Jhansi, all joined in the rebellion. Their war was not for a private kingdom; they were fighting for freedom. This was, technically, India’s first National War of Independence.
Following the Uprising, the British Crown formally took over the responsibility of ruling India from the British East India Company. Meanwhile, in the Indian society, a cultural revolution had been taking place even before the Uprising of 1857. Sati was banned, the Arya Samaj was a new religious alternative, education for women was encouraged and a whole new breed of intellectuals and freedom fighters were making their presence felt. These new breeds of Indians were a power to be reckoned with
With the advent of the Indian Nationalist Movement, came the stalwarts of the Indian freedom movement, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the first nationalist leader, with a deep understanding of India’s grassroots, and a considerable following, voiced the idea of ‘Swadeshi’. Then came Gandhi and the non-cooperation movement and the seeds for an independent India were sown.