Rise of Nationalism in India Study Materials

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Rise of Nationalism in India Study Materials

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AWAKENING OF NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS

            The early nationalists felt that India could not exist as a nation or a united country until there was a revolution in the fields of transport and communication. In the words of the Bengali nationalist Bipin Chandra Pal in 1916. Our language has no word corresponding to the English word nation. And the reason is that our social synthesis practically stopped with the race-idea. We never had, therefore, this nationalist aspiration before.

Before this period Indians mostly lived in remote and scattered villages. Their viewpoints hardly stretched beyond 30 km. Even intellectuals living in the urban areas, did not have any sense of identity with even other urban people in India. The only link that had anything common wits that the British administration which controlled and ruled as semi-hegemonic and semi-authoritarian colonial state. The nature and working of the colonial state forced the Indian masses to participate in the Indian National Movement and it made them have a sense of identity with other Indians. They did not completely reject the constitutional validity of the British system. Rather, they used it effectively in combination with the, non-constitutional struggle to make changes in the existingstructure.

EMERGENCE OF NATIONALIST MOVEMENT

            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.

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.

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