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The Amritsar Massacre Essay

On one hand the sources suggest the Amritsar Massacre did create hostility among Indians towards the British, with the British government being portrayed as repressive and irresponsible. However, the alternative view presented by the sources is that Indians were not hostile towards the British, but they were in fact appreciative of their help and did not feel that they were repressive. One view presented by the sources is that Indians did not like the British rule. The theme of hostility is presented in Source 11, where Gandhi writes in 1920 that the British are “evilly manned”, using strong words such as “dishonest” and “unscrupulous”, suggesting strong feelings of hostility towards British rule, as Gandhi feels as though the British are almost cheating the Indian people “with no regard to the wishes of the Indian people”, meaning the British are doing what they want without consulting the people they are ruling over.

This source shows that the hostility felt by Indians was in fact widespread because it is written by Gandhi, a man who represented and was supported by a variety of people from all classes. This theme of hostility towards British is corroborated in Source 10 where the British are described as “irresponsible” and, like in Source 11, the Indians feel their “rights of human beings are being denied”, showing that the Indians again felt that the British were doing as they pleased without Indian voices being heard. However, as the source is written by Motilal Nehru, leader of the INC, it is difficult to say from this source that hostility was in fact widespread – Nehru only represents the INC which has the high caste community as a significant majority, and as it is written in 1919, we cannot be sure if the hostility was long-lasting as it is the same year as the massacre itself.

The alternate view presented by the sources is that Indians were not in fact hostile towards the British and actually appreciated British rule. For example, in Source 12 there is no sense of hostility from the Muslims, as they wanted British help: “Without British protection we would be completely oppressed by their (Hindu) majority”. As this is written in 1931, 12 years after the massacre, this supports the view that the Indians were not hostile towards Indians and it was certainly not long lasting – even though there may have been hostile attitudes in the years following the massacre, over 10 years on there is no sense of hostility among the Indians. However, as this source is written by a Muslim, the Indian majority is not represented by this source, as there are many other classes and religions that may have conflicting views.

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