The story of India’s colonialisation began with the arrival of the East India Company to the country in 1600s. The merchants who came to trade in India, soon started to exercise military and administrative control. Due to their massive military strength, they started to overpower and suppress the local kingdoms, and ruled some parts of the country. By 1757, they had established their foothold in many parts of the country.
The unfair rule led to widespread resentment among the country men, and local populace began to revolt against them. The first organised revolt took place against the British rule in 1857. A group of Indian soldiers rebelled against British rank in Meerut. Referred to as the Great Struggle of 1857 or the Sepoy Mutiny, this marked the beginning of a new era in the country’s freedom movement.
The very next year, the British Crown in London took over the direct control of India. From 1858 to 1947, the country was governed by Britishers with representatives in the forms of governor-generals and viceroys posted in almost every state. With humongous discrimination towards Indians in their homeland, the situation kept on getting worse.
On 13th April 1919, Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as Amritsar massacre took place. People had gathered at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab, to protest non-violently against the arrest and deportment of two national leaders, Satya Pal and Dr Saifuddin Kitchlew, along with Baisakhi pilgrims. Many of them had come from outside the city and were unaware of the imposition of martial law that prohibited gatherings at public places. However, General Reginald Dyer ordered troops to fire machine guns into a crowd of Indian protesters and killed more than a thousand people. This led to Non-Cooperation movement spearheaded by Mahatma Gandhi to protest against the incident. Protestors refused to buy British goods and decided to purchase local handicrafts and picket liquor shops.
Such tragic incidents continued, including the Bengal famine of 1943, which claimed up to five million lives. This disparity towards Indians further strengthened the struggle to gain complete independence.
Indian leaders and revolutionaries such as Bhagat Singh, Lala Lajpat Rai, Subhas Chandra Bose, Vijayalaxmi Pandit, Chandrasekhar Azad, Sukhdev, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Sarojini Naidu, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and many more took part is the freedom struggle against Britishers over different time periods, which ultimately led to India’s freedom from foreign rule.