The gradual decline of the Mughal Empire in the early 18th century enabled the Sikh Empire to control larger areas until the British East India Company gained ascendancy over the Indian subcontinent .  A rebellion in 1857 called the Sepoy mutiny was the region's major armed struggle against the British Empire and Queen Victoria .  Divergence in the relationship between Hinduism and Islam created a major rift in British India that led to racially motivated religious violence in India .  The language controversy further escalated the tensions between Hindus and Muslims.  The Hindu renaissance witnessed an awakening of intellectualism in traditional Hinduism and saw the emergence of more assertive influence in the social and political spheres in British India.   An intellectual movement to counter the Hindu renaissance was led by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan , who helped found the All-India Muslim League in 1901 and envisioned, as well as advocated for, the two-nation theory .  In contrast to the Indian Congress 's anti-British efforts, the Muslim League was a pro-British movement whose political program inherited the British values that would shape Pakistan's future civil society .  In events during World War I , British Intelligence foiled an anti-English conspiracy involving the nexus of Congress and the German Empire [ citation needed ] . The largely non-violent independence struggle led by the Indian Congress engaged millions of protesters in mass campaigns of civil disobedience in the 1920s and 1930s against the British Empire .