Nationalism In India

 

Relevancy

  • GS Mains paper III
  • History optional
  • Factors to nationalism

Introduction

  • The British exploitation of Indian mass for a century and more created hatred and animosity in the mind of the latter towards the former.
  • The introduction of western education was an eye-opener for the Indians towards the colonial rule of the Britishraj.
  • Besides, several other factors contributed for the growth of nationalism in the minds of Indians.

 

Other Factors

  • Political and Administrative Unity:
    • The British authority established a centralized state structure in India with a uniform reign of law.
    • They enacted and codified laws which were applicable to every citizen of the state.
    • These laws were enforced by a hierarchically graded system of tribunals.
    • The public services brought about the administrative unification of the country.
    • The establishment of uniform currency system, common administration, common laws and judicial structure contributed to India’s unification which ultimately helped the rise of national consciousness.

·         English Language and Western Education:

  • Three main agencies were responsible for the spread of modem education in India.
  • They were the foreign Christian missionaries, the British Government and the progressive Indians.
  • With the intension of spreading Christianity among the Indians, the Christian missionaries did extensive work in the spread of modern education.
  • British established a network of schools and colleges in India which turned out a number of educated Indians well versed in modern knowledge.
  • Some progressive Indians like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar etc. were the pioneers of western education in India.
  • English educated Indians like Raja Ram Mohan, Vivekananda, Gokhale, Dadabhai Naroji, Feroz Shah Mehta, Surendra Nath Banerjee etc. who led the social, religious and political movements in India were all English educated.

·         Development of Transport and Means of Communication:

  • In India the establishment of railways, construction of roads, canals and organisation of postal, telegraph and wireless services all over India contributed in forging the people into a nation.
  • It promoted the organisation and functioning of a number of political organisations like Indian National Congress, All India Kishan Sabha, Youth League, All India Trade Union Congress etc.
  • Railways made it possible for the people of different towns, villages, districts and provinces to meet, to exchange views and to decide upon programmes for the nationalist movements.

·         Emergence of Modern Press:

  • Raja Ram Mohan Roywas the founder of nationalist press in India.
  • His ‘Sambad Kaumudi’ in Bengali published in 1821 and ‘Mirat-UL-Akbar’ in Persian published in 1822, were the first publications with a distinct nationalist and democratic progressive orientation.
  • The emergence of a number of nationalist and vernacular newspapers also played a very vital role in mobilizing public opinion and awakening national consciousness.
  • The press also brought the news of the international world which made the people conscious of their own position in India.
  • The Nationalists in India were very much eager to protect the independence of the press.
  • Raja Ram Mohan Roy was the first fighter who filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Calcutta along with some enlightened nationalist Indians such as Dwarkanath Tagore, Harchandra Ghose, Chandra Kumar Tagore, Prasanna Kumar Tagore etc. for this purpose.
  • The struggle for the freedom of the press has been an integral part of the national movement in India.

·         Economic Exploitation:

  • The worst feature of the British rule in India was the economic exploitation of all classes.
  • Britishers came to India as traders and their primary motive was how to gain financial benefit.
  • The industrial revolution in Britain necessitated the import of raw materials from different foreign countries and to search extensive market for its goods outside.
  • India provided both to them.
  • The British government maintained its civil service and military force at the cost of India.
  • While heavy import duties were put on Indian goods to restrict their entry into British market, there was free trade policy for the transactions of the raw materials or British goods in India.

·         Revival of Glorious Indian Heritage:

  • When Indians were developing a sense of inferiority complex being exploited under the colonial rule, the glorious heritage of India was revived by some western scholars like Max Muller, William Jones, and Charles Wilkins etc.
  • They translated some Sanskrit texts into English and attempted to prove the supremacy of ancient Indian culture, its heritage and philosophy.
  • Some Indian scholars like R.G. Bhandarkar, H.P. Shastri etc. also helped in reviving the past glory of India.
  • All these helped in regenerating a sense of self confidence and patriotism among the people.

·         Impact of International Events:

  • Several movements and events in foreign countries also helped in awakening national consciousness.
  • The Declaration of Independence by U.S.A. in 1776, the French Revolution of 1789, the unification of Italy and Germany in 1870, defeat of Russia by Japan in 1904 etc. inspired the Indians.
  • They became confident that it would be possible to fight against the mighty British authority for their right of self-determination.
  • World events thus, motivated Indians and promoted the rise of nationalism.

·         Social and Religious Reform Movements:

  • A number of organisations like Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj, Rama Krishna Mission, Theosophical society etc. helped in bringing movements of reformation and renaissance in India.
  • They sought to establish equal rights of all individuals irrespective of their caste or sex.
  • In this way, the national democratic awakening found expression in all fields of national life.
  • In politics, it gave birth to the movement of administrative reform, self-government, Home Rule and finally independence.

·         Repressive policies and Racial Arrogance of the British:

  • The British Government did not allow the educated Indians to avail any opportunity to serve in higher administrative posts.
  • The age limit for Indian Civil Service examination was reduced from twenty one to nineteen years and the examination was held in Britain.
  • Enactment of a number of laws further created widespread discontent among the Indians.
  • The Vernacular Press Act curbed the liberty of the Indian press.
  • The Arms Act prohibited the Indians from keeping arms without license.
  • Abolition of import tax on foreign cotton cloth harmed the Indian textile industry.

·         Emergence of Conscious Middle Class:

  • Bipan Chandrais of the opinion that the foundations of the Indian national movement were laid by the emerging group of the modern intelligentsia.
  • These groups had taken a leading role in developing a sense of patriotism among the people.
  • The consciousness of this neo-social class found expression in the formation of a number of associations prior to the founding of All India National Congress.
  • Ultimately the Indian National Congress emerged as a platform for the organisation of national movement.

 

Conclusion

  • All these factors jointly, had promoted the growth of nationalism in India.
  • Indian nationalism was not the hand maid of a particular class, but the result of a common consciousness among all classes of India.
  • From 1885, the Indian National Congress helped in widening and consolidating the growth process of nationalism.
  • Ultimately, it had brought independence in India.

 

 

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