This Blog Article on “Nationalism in India and National Awakening”; is written by Ms. Ipshita Goyal. She is Chief Editor Legal Thirst.
Western countries had been carrying profitable trade with India. European countries were always in a need of slaves, gold and have a craving for spices in food. The outbreak of the Industrial Revolution resulted in discoveries, exploration, navigation; and invention as the British had extended their power in India. A gradual feeling of resentment grew in the minds of Indians; which was based on the perception that the Britishers were responsible for the overall hardships. After the 1857 revolt feeling of nationalism grew.
What is Nationalism
“Nationalism can be defined as the spirit, an element force which derived its inspiration from the natural desire of man to be free; and expressing itself in political institutions and political activities.”
According to Aurobindo Ghosh–
Nationalism is a religion that has come from God. It is an attitude of heart, of the soul. On the whole, nationalism is a political sentiment whereas for the people in India it is both religion and creed.
Implications of Nationalism
- It creates a feeling of unity among the people of the country. They ignore their diversity and feel as politically one.
- Nationalism gives birth to the idea that people should look upon their country as their mother.
- It created the feeling that India belongs to Indians and they alone have the right to rule over it.
- It also created a feeling of pride in a country’s culture and civilization.
- Nationalism emphasized a nation’s development from all angles wise, religion, economy social life, art, and literature
Factors responsible for the growth of nationalism
- Centralization of political power was the first and foremost factor.
- British centralized Indian territory for smooth running but this proved to be a boon for Indians as it brought them closer to each other.
- The introduction of the telegraph (1852) and the Railway (1853) brought different countries closer; and broke the age of isolation of Indian villages.
Role of Trade and Commerce
Promotion of trade and commerce and social and intellectual intercourse provided Indians a common platform; and purpose to unite together as a nation.
Role of Education
- The spread of English education and new emerging well-educated class brought growth in national feeling.
- Slogans like equality, liberty, fraternity, and democracy were gifts of English education.
- The newly educated Indian class was very much impressed with the French Revolution, Russian Revolution, the American war of independence.
- The revolt of 1857 or the first war of independence help them in raising the nationalist outlook; despite the defeat of Indian revolutionaries, the flame of nationalism burnt ceaseless among them.
Role of Literature
- Literature in the form of novels, plays, poems, and stories also helps them in national awakening.
- Bande Mataram of Bankim Chandra became a source of inspiration for nationalists when for the first time; it was sung at the annual session of the Indian National Congress.
- Novels wrote by Munshi Premchand, depicting the miserable conditions of Indian villages and the British administration responsible for this plight of people.
Role of Media
- Some nationalist newspapers like Hindu, Amrit Bazaar Patrika, The Indian National Herald; played a significant role in promoting and propagating the views of Indian nationalist leaders against the evils of British administration.
- Some social leaders also introduced magazines and newspapers like Tatvabhodini Magazine, Indian Mirror, Bang Datta, and Sambad Komudi.
The socio-religious moment like Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj, Theosophical society could not be ignored. These reforms taught Indians self-confidence along with faith in our civilization and culture.
Economic Exploitation by Britishers
Economic exploitation was the worst of all the evils of the British administration. Britishers imposed the policy of one-way free trade in India. There was no import duty on goods from Britain so they were cheap which resulted in the dumping of the Indian Market with Foreign cheap machine-made goods; but they imposed heavy export duties on Indian handicrafts due to which Indian handicraft and cottage industry suffered from a major setback. They drained out Indian wealth to Europe this resulted in that craftsman became out of work and landlord became landless.
The next bone of contention for the Indians was Civil Services; the highest service of the state which was a legitimate desire of educated Indians. They demanded Indianization of the services as it was financed from Indian revenue.
Queen proclamation (1858) promised equality of treatment but the promise remains unfulfilled. The Indian Civil Services Act (1861) provided an open competition to be held in London every year. Terms and Conditions for the maximum age from 22 years were reduced to 19 years. The journey from India to England was not only expensive but also frowned upon by orthodox Hindus to study the English language; and to compete with them was a hard task for Indians.
Introduction of Political Parties
The foundation of the Indian National Congress in 1855 was the beginning of organized political activity in India; that further contributed to a systematic struggle for nationalism.
Thus it is observed that as soon as the British established a firm foot in India, counter-movement in the name of nationalism began with great zeal. On the one hand, the Britishers were trying to suppress the Indians from all the corners; so that they could have a stronghold over them on the other hand nationalism; became rampant to dilute the negative efforts of the British. Finally, it was the result of this moment that India got Independence in 1947.
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