. The background to the two movements was provided by a series of events after the First World War which belied all hopes of the government’s generosity towards the Indian subjects. The year 1919, in particular, saw a strong feeling of discontent among all sections of Indians for various reasons:
- The economic situation of the country in the post- War years had become alarming with a rise in prices of commodities, decrease in production of Indian industries, increase in burden of taxes and rents etc. Almost all sections of society suffered economic hardship due to the war and this strengthened the anti-British attitude.
- The Rowlatt Act, the imposition of martial law in Punjab and the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre exposed the brutal and uncivilised face of the foreign rule.
- The Hunter Committee on the Punjab atrocities proved to be an eyewash. In fact, the House of Lords (of the British Parliament) endorsed General Dyer’s action and the British public showed solidarity with General Dyer by helping The Morning Post collect 30,000 pounds for him.
- The Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms with their ill- conceived scheme of dyarchy failed to satisfy the rising demand of the Indians for self-government.
The post-First World War period also saw the preparation of the ground for common political action by Hindus and Muslims—(i) the Lucknow Pact (1916) had stimulated Congress-Muslim League cooperation; (ii) the Rowlatt Act agitation brought Hindus and Muslims, and also other sections of the society, together; and (iii) radical nationalist Muslims like Mohammad Ali, Abul Kalam Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan and Hasan Imam had now become more influential than the conservative Aligarh school elements who had dominated the League earlier. The younger elements advocated militant nationalism and active participation in the nationalist movement. They had strong anti-imperialist sentiments.