The series of devastating famines that gripped the country from 1866-1901 shattered the daydreams of guided development and brought home to the intellectuals the stark poverty of the people and the extent of the economic underdevelopment of the country. In the political field Britain had discarded the slogan of training Indians for self-govt and declared that the political aim of British rule was to establish permanent benevolent despotism. Indians they said were unfit for selfgovt or democracy.
The freedom of the press began to be tampered with .Even elementary civil rights were increasingly violated and restricted. In the post 1857 phase of colonialism the govt resorted to the divisive forces of communalism, casteim and regionalism to maintain their supremacy. The British also abandoned all attempts at social reform and began to ally themselves with the most backward traditional and obscurantist cultural, religious and social forces. The British government spent less than 3% on education. Moreover the Indian intelligentsia suffered from growing unemployment. Even the few who found jobs realised that most of the better paid jobs were reserved for the English middle and upper classes. The discontent was further heightened by the policies of the British Raj under Lytton and Ripon.It cleared the ground for organised nationalist activity.