Major Events Pre-1950


Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920) was a freedom fighter whose famous call "Swaraj is my birthright" inspired generations of Indians. He was popularly known as Lokmanya Tilak, as shown (in Devanagiri) in the attached postage stamp, which was released in 1956.

Editor's note: This article originally appeared in BAL GANGADHAR TILAK: HIS WRITINGS AND SPEECHES,  Appreciation by BABU AUROBINDO GHOSE, Third Edition, Ganesh & Co., Madras, 1922. The entire book is attached as three pdf files.

The full speech by Tilak at Ahmednagar on 31 May, 1916 is reproduced below. The editor has broken the speech into many more paragraphs than appear in the original text.

Gentlemen,-Before saying a few words to you it is my first duty to thank you very much. It is my first duty to thank you for the honour you have done me and for the address you have presented to me.

Read more: Swarajya

Leaving (?) pre-Partition Ludhiana

Khawaja Nazir Ahmad

I was born in Ludhiana on 19 April, 1943, though my recorded date of birth is 11 July, 1942. After India's Partition, I was raised and educated in Lahore. I studied at Forman Christian College, Lahore and University of the Punjab. In 1964, I was selected to join the Pakistan Air Force's (PAF) College of Aeronautical Engineering. I served in the PAF for 27 years, retiring voluntarily in 1991 as a Group Captain. My services were recognized with a National Award. I was told at the time of my retirement that if I did not retire, I was sure to get promoted to Air Commodore, with the strong possibility of another promotion to the rank of Air Vice Marshal. I cannot say what made me give up my career at its prime. The only reason that comes to my mind is that I was looking for "Fresh air". In my post retirement life I got what I was looking for, and have since lived a satisfied life.

I belong to a Muslim family that migrated from Kashmir to Ludhiana perhaps in the beginning of 19th century.

Read more: Leaving (?) pre-Partition Ludhiana

The Argument against Sati

Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772 - 1833) was a religious, social, and educational reformer. He challenged some aspects of traditional Hindu culture, such as sati.

Editor's note: This is a chapter from a book entitled TRANSLATION OF SEVERAL PRINCIPAL BOOKS, PASSAGES, AND TEXTS of THE VEDS, and SOME CONTROVERSIAL WORKS of BRAHMUNICAL THEOLOGY  written by RAJAH RAMMOHUN ROY, Second edition, 1832. The book has four chapters related to women, all of which are available in the attached pdf file. One of the chapters is reproduced below. Footnotes in the original text have been brought into the main text, written in this manner {original footnote text}.

SEVERAL Essays, Tracts, and Letters, written in defence of or against the practice of burning Hindoo widows alive, have for some years past attracted the attention of the public.

Read more: The Argument against Sati

Cabinet Mission Plan May 1946

Editor’s note:  A high-powered British parliamentary delegation consisting of three Cabinet Ministers, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and Mr A B Alexander, arrived in India on March 23, 1946. They announced their suggested plan for India’s future on May 16, 1946. Their report, available at, is attached as a pdf file. Key exceprts are reproduced below.

Read more: Cabinet Mission Plan May 1946

Rationale for banning Sati 1829

William Beninck

Under the East India Company, Lord William Bentinck was the Governor of Madras 1803-1807, and the Governor-General of India 1828-1835.

Editor's note: This document was written in November 1829.The source is SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS ON INDIAN POLICY 1750-1921, ed. A. Berriedale Keith, Vol. I

WHETHER the question be to continue or to discontinue the practice of sati, the decision is equally surrounded by an awful responsibility.

Read more: Rationale for banning Sati 1829