Birth and Growth of Indianï¿½Nationalism
The birth and growth of the Indian nationalism, as in everyï¿½other country like India, have been the result of numerousï¿½factors. Some factors sowed it seeds, while others nurturedï¿½its growth: some moulded its form while others influenced itsï¿½objects and techniques. Thus, the causes responsible for theï¿½birth and growth of the India nationalism were manifold andï¿½can be studied as under.
(i) The socio-religious reform movements during theï¿½19thï¿½ï¿½century India played a significant role in preparingï¿½grounds for the growth of nationalism in the country.ï¿½These movements were basically the attempts to eradiateï¿½social evils emanating from the religions as introducedï¿½through religious practised in India. The Atmiya Sabhaï¿½(1815), the Brahmo Samaj (1828) by Rammohan Roy, theï¿½Dharma Sabha (1829) by Radhakant Dev, the Tattvabodhiniï¿½Sabha (1839) by Debendranath Tagore (all these wereï¿½founded in Calcutta), though Keshab Chandra Sen andï¿½Anand Mohan Bose established, the Brahmo Samaj ofï¿½India and the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj in 1866 and 1878ï¿½respectively in Calcutta. The Nirankaris and the Namdhariesï¿½came up by Dayal Das and Ram Singh in 1840 andï¿½1857 in Punjab. The Manav Dharma Sabha was foundedï¿½by Durgaram Mancharam in Surat in the year 1844. Inï¿½Bomaby, the Paramhansa Mandali, the Prarthna Samaj, the Aryaï¿½Samaj were founded by Dadoba Pandurang, Atmaramï¿½Pandurang, Swami Dayanand Saraswati in 1849, 1867ï¿½and 1875 respectively. The Veda Samaj was established inï¿½Madras in 1864 by Sridharalu Naidu. Darul-ul-Ulam wasï¿½established in 1866 at Deoband. Though the Theosophicalï¿½Society was founded in New York by Madam H.P.ï¿½Blavatsky and Col. H.S. Olcott in 1875 , it became popularï¿½in India as well. The Poona Deccan Education Society came upï¿½in 1884 by G.G. Agarkar. In Aligarh, the Aligarh movementï¿½became popular by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in 1886 whileï¿½in Lucknow, the Lucknow Nadwah-ul-Ulama was foundedï¿½by Maulana Shibli Numani in 1894 . In 1887 Shivnarayanï¿½Agnihotri founded the Lahore Deva Samaj in Lahoreï¿½while Ramakrishna Mission was established by Swamiï¿½Vivekanand in 1897. These movements helped in oneï¿½way or the other to regenerate India’s past, eradicateï¿½the social evils, spread education, relieve the practisedï¿½religions of their dogmatic rituals, and went a longï¿½way to create an awakening among the Indians whichï¿½did a lot in the growth of nationalism in the country.
Impact of Socio-religious Movements
- Creating national awakening among the masses;
- Building a tolerant and a national religious system;
- Attack on the indignities committed on women andï¿½on oppressed sections of society;
- Arousing the feelings of sacrifice, service andï¿½rationalism;
- Universalisation of education, equality of maleï¿½female education;
- Condemning the hereditary nature of rigidities,ï¿½especially attack on the caste system of India; and
- Sense of equality and co-existence of cultures andï¿½religions.
(ii) The historical researches into the history of ourï¿½country’s past also gave an impetus to the dawningï¿½sense of our nationalism. The works of scholars likeï¿½Princep Bothilingk, of excavators and archaeologists likeï¿½Alexander Cunningham and Marshall, of the studentsï¿½of literature like Sir William Jones, Max Muller, Jacobi,ï¿½Coolbrook, Roth and A.B. Keith, opened up the annalsï¿½of political, social and cultural past of India’s grandeurï¿½and this made the Indians feel proud of belonging toï¿½such a great civilization that India was in the past. Theï¿½revelation made out by the European scholars stirredï¿½deeply the hearts of the Indians and imbued in them aï¿½spirit of nationalism.
(iii) The spread of Western Education through the Englishï¿½language also fostered the spirit of nationalism amongï¿½the Indians. It eradicated the ravages of ignorantï¿½customs and pernicious superstitions; it dealt a blowï¿½to the prevailing prejudices; it stimulated thought andï¿½emancipated the spirit, it gave to India a commonï¿½language for political thinking and action. Accordingï¿½to K.M. Panikkar, “the uniform system of educationï¿½throughout India through a single language producedï¿½among Indians the like-mindedness, the communityï¿½of thought, feeling and ideas”. All this, in combination,ï¿½contributed greatly to the Indian unity and to theï¿½emergence of a new sense of nationalism.
The study of English literature implanted into Indianï¿½minds the love of liberty. The passionate lyrics ofï¿½Byron singing praises of love, liberty and freedom,ï¿½the thought-provoking sonnets of Wordsworthï¿½upholding the dignity of mankind and the impressiveï¿½odes of Shelley preaching revolt against tyranny ofï¿½priesthood and despotism, awakened the Indiansï¿½from their age-long torpor and inspired them withï¿½new ideas and aspirations. The slogans of liberty andï¿½fraternity-so common in the history of English andï¿½French literatureï¿½_provided them with a spirit whichï¿½went direct into their heads.
The English language enabled the Indians toï¿½learn western political thought and philosophy.ï¿½They acquired knowledge of modern political conceptsï¿½such as nationalism, nationality, patriotism andï¿½political rights. The political theory of the West,ï¿½especially of Locke and Spencer, and writings of Mill,ï¿½Macaulay and Burke had a profound effect on theirï¿½political thinking.
The English also provided opportunity for the Indiansï¿½to know about Europe and the new world. They readï¿½through this medium the history of France, Germany,ï¿½Italy, America, Greece and many other countries. Theyï¿½studies the accounts of thrilling events like the Frenchï¿½Revolution, the Greek War of Independence and theï¿½American Revolution. They also learnt about the variousï¿½ways of fighting the struggles of independence, all thisï¿½infused a new confidence and courage among the Indiansï¿½and made them bold, brave and patriotic.
The English proved useful to the cause of nationalismï¿½in another way also. It provided the Indians withï¿½a lingua franca (common language) necessitated forï¿½the exchange of ideas, concerted action and nationalï¿½unity.
The English educations, thus, gave the Indians a senseï¿½of freedom, leavened their minds with regard to senseï¿½of justice and imparted in them an English tone ofï¿½revulsion against oppression. It also welded the nativesï¿½into one political mass with a community of feelings onï¿½Indian subjects. All this gave a new life and vigour to theï¿½growing Indian nationalism.ï¿½(iv) The British administrators, in India, were determinedï¿½to exploit the economic resources of India to theirï¿½full advantage. They had, therefore, made our countryï¿½a market for the sale of the British goods and aï¿½supplier of the raw material. They traded in favourableï¿½circumstances, manipulated the tariff to their ownï¿½advantage and hindered the growth of Indian industriesï¿½by unreasonable restrictions. They also charged excessiveï¿½land revenue from the peasants. Their policies led toï¿½enormous drain of wealth from India to Britain andï¿½made our country the poorest in the course of a century.ï¿½In consequence, more than three-fourths of the peopleï¿½could not secure two square meals a day and almostï¿½perpetually lived in a semi-starving conditions. Toï¿½aggravate the situation, some six appalling famines andï¿½a few minor draughts caused uncommon devastation.ï¿½These unbearable conditions created a great discontentï¿½and disaffection which were further intensified by theï¿½British policy of keeping India in perpetual subjection.ï¿½The British statesmen openly declared: “India has beenï¿½conquered by the sword and shall be maintained by theï¿½sword”.
(v) The Englishmen were very arrogant and oppressiveï¿½in their dealings with the Indian subjects. They didï¿½not scruple to denounce them as despised barbariansï¿½with hardly any culture and civilization. The averageï¿½Englishman kept the natives at arm’s length and thoughtï¿½it below his dignity to have any relation with the latter.ï¿½The doors of the English clubs in India were barredï¿½against the anglicized Indians. This social exclusiveness,ï¿½not unnaturally, wounded the susceptibilities of theï¿½Indians. Worse still, the Englishmen often openlyï¿½insulted and even assaulted the Indians of high rank.ï¿½The ordinary Indians (particularly the servants of theï¿½Englishmen) were administered kicks and beating whichï¿½sometimes led to their death. This arrogance and crueltyï¿½on the part of the English created a strong revulsionï¿½against the British oppression and fostered the growthï¿½of national unity.
Written by princy