Summary of Glimpses of the Past
In this article, you will be reading the summary of the chapter Glimpses of the Past. The chapter describes the events and the circumstances that took place in India during the year 1757 to 1857. It starts with the time when the East India Company was very strong in India. The Indian princes and states were busy fighting with each other. They often sought British help and thus British took advantage of this to gain power and establish their rule in India. The social conditions were also not in good shape. Social evils such as child marriages, untouchability, sati pratha, etc. were prevalent in society. Also, the farmers had to pay heavy taxes.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy worked a lot towards reforming society. British also passed many resolutions to ruin India and Indian industries. Lord Macaulay also brought a bill according to which the medium of education could only be English. The main aim of the British was to prepare clerks who can assist them in the administration. By 1856, India had fully become a British colony. However, after the revolt of 1857, the British rule started to shake. The Indians revolted and struggled for freedom until 1947, i.e. till they achieved it.
Glimpses of the Past Summary in English
The chapter starts with the events that were taking place in the year 1757. At this time, the British were in a strong position in India. They had superior arms and ammunitions and also financial resources. On the other hand, the Indian states and the princes were short-sighted and were busy fighting with each other. They lacked unity. They also often sought British help and East India Company took full advantage of this. The British followed the policy of ‘Divide and Rule’ and also subdued the Princes. Some people favoured the British while some did not. However, Tipu Sultan of Mysore fought with the British. But unfortunately, he died in the year 1799 fighting the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War.
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The chapter further describes the social fabric from 1765 to 1836. Evil social practices such as untouchability, child marriages, Sati pratha, etc. were preached by the religious leaders. The British disdained the Indians and, in the process, Indians lost their self-respect also. The British imposed heavy taxes on the farmers. They also cut the thumbs of the expert artisans. However, the imports from England were tax-free. Thus, the main motive of the British was the maximisation of profit and wealth at any cost.
From 1772 to 1833, Raja Ram Mohan Roy started his efforts to reform Indian society. He established Brahmo Samaj for this purpose. He propagated the idea that the main teachings and principals of all religions are the same. Also, he started newspapers in India. He was against evil practices such as Sati pratha, polygamy, child marriages, and the caste system. He played a major role in the abolishment of Sati pratha.
In 1818, the British passed The Third Regulation Act. According to it, an Indian could be sent to jail even without any trial in the court. This was a phase of oppression of the Indians. By 1829, the value of British exports was worth seven crore rupees. While the Indian industries were ruining, the British were prospering.
It seems this was not enough so the British now aimed at preparing clerks for running the administration. Thus, in 1835, Lord Macaulay recommended that the medium of education should be English. This education policy also generated some intellectuals who understood the evils of British Raj and educated the fellow Indians.
By 1856, India had become a fully controlled British Colony. The suppression was at its peak and thus it led to revolts. In 1855, the Santhals rebelled and killed the British as well as their servants. In 1857, the first Sepoy Mutiny started with the execution of Mangal Pandey. The sepoys marched towards Delhi shouting slogans in favour of Bahadur Shah Zafar. The landlords also joined this movement. People circulated chapattis with the message that their native ruler needs their help. Similarly, a lotus flower was distributed among the Indian soldiers.
Many rulers like Hazrat Mahal of Lucknow, Maulvi Ahmadullah of Faizabad, Tatya Tope, and Peshwa Nana Saheb of the Maratha empire and Kunwar Singh of Bihar also joined the revolt. This was the beginning of the Indian freedom struggle.
Conclusion of Glimpses of the Past
This chapter teaches us that ‘United we stand, Divided we fall’. It also teaches us that in order to be successful in anything we do, we need to be organized.