Emergence of Nationalist Movement in India Study Materials


Emergence of Nationalist Movement in India Study Materials


            Event such in the passage of the Vernacular Act in 1878, and the Ilbert Bill of 1882, as well as the lowering of the age limit for the Civil Services exams in 1876,resulted in a wave of opposition from middle-class Indiana Consequently, some of them came together and anumber of small political patties that came out on the streets for protests and rallies. The Indian nationalist movement was the political expression of rational and religious uproar, and social and economic development. It was the result of numerous factors and influences. The following are some of the important factors in the rise of nationalism.

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National Awakening by Socio-religious Reformists

            These socio-religious movements, which brought out the cultural-ideological struggle, were some of the important factors in the evolution of national consciousness. The chief reformist organizations active during that time included: (i) Brahmo Samaj, founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, 1828; (ii) Prarthana Samaj, founded by Atma Ram Panduranga, 1867; (iii) Arya Samaj, founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswati, 1875; (iv) Adhyatma Samaj founded by Annie Besant, 1893; and (v) Ramakrishna Mission, founded by Swami Vivekanand, 1897, These movements were not restricted to the task of mainly reforming religion, but extended to that of reconstructing social institutions and social relations. Thus, these became the first universal expression of national awakening.

English Language and Western Education

            The socio-religious reform movements of the nineteenth century triggered the evolution of the Indian nationalconsciousness. Nineteenth century literary pioneers such as Bankimchandra Chatterjee (1838-1894), whose novels Krishnakanter Will(1878) and (1882) with its famous song Vande Matram, brought a patriotic flavour to Indian literature. This Indian intelligentsia set out to invoke national consciousness among the Indians. They did so in many cases, using the English language as their weapon. From essayists such as social ‘reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833) to poets, such as Michael Madhusudan Dutt (1824-1873), English provided a new and effective way to communicate’ with educated Indians and to carve out a new role for Indian literature which brought out the patriotic emotions among the Indian masses Further, the dissemination of religious knowledge through the translation of religious texts into vernacular languages and the right granted of anybody to interpret scriptures reduced the influence of the caste system.

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            The press is a mould and mirror of all activities of the national and international life. Indians came to know about contemporary events and movements abroad such as the unification of Italy (1861), the Great American Civil War (1861-1865), The unification of Germany (1870), and independence movements in Romania, Montenegro, Serbia and other places. The Indian press advocated the cause of the local people which helped in fuelling political and social reforms and seeding patriotic emotions in the masses. With the active help of the press, despite the imposition of restrictions by the British government, the nationalist groups were able to popularise the idea of representative government, liberty, democratic institutions, home rule, dominion status and even complete independence in the end.

Significance Role Played by the Linguistic-Cultural Communities

         The advent of British capitalism in the colonial form was not only destructive, but also regenerative to the formation of nationalities. At that time, several linguistic-cultural communities were in different stages of growth. The Indian freedom struggle coincided with the period of awakening of these communities and their graduation to nationalities. The rise of these nationalities manifested themselves in the form of agitation for recognitions of their respective vernaculars, separation from advanced nationalities and movement for the formation of unilingual provinces. After independence, these movements gained intensity and demanded greater regional autonomy. Without the inclusion of these sub national currents, any understanding of the making of the Indian would be incomplete.

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