Factors Responsible for the Growth of Nationalism in India

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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.

Political unification:

India became politically unified under British hegemoy. It also brought administrative unity inside the country. Under one rule, one administrative framework, one set of law, judicial court, administrative officers, etc. became same anywhere and everywhere inside the country. It created awareness among Indians that this vast united India belongs to them and by the way, created nationalism within them.

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Development in the means of communication and transport:

Lord Dalhousie made a lasting contribution for Indians by introducing railways, telegraph and new mode of postal system. Roads were connected with India from one end to the other.

Though, all these were meant to serve imperial interest, the people of India capitalised it. The railway compartment reflected a united India. All persons, from North to South and East to West, rich and poor and master and servant – all were found inside it. It narrowed down gap among them and gave them the feeling that they all belonged to this vast India which was under the grip the Britishraj.

Impact of Western Education:

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The introduction of English education in 1835 was a milestone in the British administration. It was primarily meant to create an educated Indian mass who would be faithful servants to the Britishraj. However, with the gradual march of time, the English educated Indians became the pioneers in the socio-politico-economical and religious reforms in India.

Raja Rammohan Roy, Swami Vivekananda, Feroz Shah Mehta, Dadabhai Nairobi, Surrender Nat Banerjee championed the cause of liberty, equality humanitarianism etc. The role of Mazzini, Garibaldi and Cavour in the unification of Italy, the unification of Germany by Bismarck, the French Revolution, American War of Independence, etc. influenced” their mind.

Thus, gradually, the English educated Indians became the torch-bearers of Indian nationalism and aroused national consciousness in the minds of millions of Indians.

Rediscovery of India’s glorious past:

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The nineteenth century Indian Renaissance created several avenues in the field of oriental studies. Western scholars like Max Muller, Sir William Jones, Alexander Cunningham, etc. translated several ancient Sanskrit texts of this land and established before the people the glorious cultural heritage of India.

Inspired by them, the Indian scholars like R.D. Banerjee, R.G. Bhandarkar. Mahan Mahopadhyaya Hara Prasad Astir, Ball Gangadhar Tikal etc. rediscovered India’s past glory from the history of this land. This encouraged the people of India who felt that they were the ancestors of grand monarchs of this country and ruled by foreigners. This flared up the fire of nationalism.

Socio-religious reform movements:

The national awakening in the nineteenth century was largely due to the socio-religious movements launched by Raja Rammohan Roy, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Vivekananda, Slayed Ahmad Khan, Annie Besant etc. These reformers championed the causes of human equality, individual liberty, abolition of social disparity and so on. This reformed the minds of Indians and awoke them from centuries of thralldom.

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Growth of vernacular literature:

The influence of western education prompted the educated Indians to reflect the idea of liberty, freedom and nationalism through the vernacular literature. They aimed at arousing the mass to oppose British rule being surcharged by the spirit of nationalism.

Bunkum Chandra Chatterer’s Anand Math (which contained the song Vanda Mata ram) and Dinabandhu Metra’s play Nil Darlan extorted tremendous influence upon the people and created anti-British feelings among them. Bharatendu Harish Chandra’s play Baraga Purdahs reflected the miserable condition of Indian mass under British rule.

Besides several eminent poets and writers in different languages, e.g. Rabindranath Tagore in Bengali, Vishnu Shari Chipulunkar in Marathi, Laminate Bazbarua in Assamese, Mohammad Husain Azad and Altar Husain Ali in Urdu etc. contributed a lot to rouse nationalism among the local people through their writings.

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Press and newspapers:

Press and magazines played a dominant role in injecting national feelings in the minds of Indians. Raja Rammohan Roy was the pioneer of Indian press and journalism. He edited Sambaed Kumauni in Bengali and MiratuI Akbar in Persian.

Gradually, several newspapers were edited in different parts of the country in several languages. To mention a few notable ones, The Amritbazar Patria, Hindu Patriot, Indian Mirror, Bengalese, Sanjivani, Saharan, in Bengali, the Maratha Kesari, Native Opinion, Indus Prakash in Maharashtra; The Hindu, Kerala Patria, Andhra Prakashiks in Madras; The Tribune, Akbar-i-Am, Koh-i-Noor in Punjab etc. were the important publications that reflected the colonial rule of the Bruisers and aroused nationalism in the minds of Indian people.

Economic exploitation of the Britishers:

A nation of shop-keepers, the Britishers, paralyzed Indian economy by draining wealth from this country. The industrial revolution in England helped in the productive process and she needed markets all over the world for selling its products and also needed raw-materials for its factories.

India was robbed away in both the ways i.e. by providing market for the British goods and supplying raw materials for the factories of England. The creation of absentee landlords by the Britishers and in association with them the local money-lenders exploited the Indian mass and made them poorer and poorer.

The adverse effects of British exploitation were reflected in Indian economy. Dadabhai Naoroji with his theory of agricultural decay; G. V. josh and Ranade with their charges against the ruin of Indian handicrafts brought before the people the exploitative policy of the Britishers which ruined the Indian economy, factory, handicrafts etc. and brought untold miseries to the people and made them poor. The hungry bellies became angry against the Britishers.

Racial antagonism:

The Englishmen considered themselves as superior in all respects than the Indians. They never wanted to offer the Indians higher jobs even though they were qualified and intelligent. The age limit for Indian Civil Service examination was kept at twenty-one and the examination was held at England.

Aurobindo Ghosh was declared disqualified in horse-riding and could not get through that examination, even if he had qualified the written examination. Thus, the colonial rule was well apparent before the educated Indians who became the vanguard in spreading discontent against the British rule among the Indian mass.

The atrocities of Lord Lytton:

The administration of Lord Lytton discharged venom in the minds of Indian people. He celebrated a ceremony at Delhi Durbar when Queen Victoria assumed the title Kaiser-e Hind (the Empress of India) when the country was famine-stricken. He imposed heavy tax on the people of India and spent a large chunk of money in the Afghan war. During his time, the Arms Act was passed which prohibited the Indians from keeping arms without licence. His Vernacular Press Act infuriated Indians.

The Albert Bill controversy:

During the period of Lord Ripon as Viceroy, the Albert Bill was passed. It empowered the Indian judges to try the Europeans. It created hue and cry among the Europeans and their pressure led to reform the bill inserting a clause that an Indian would try a European in the presence of an European witness. This clearly exposed the malafide intention of the British authority and clearly projected their racial antagonism.

The memory of the Revolt of 1857:

When nationalism was flaring up in the minds of Indian people, the memory of the Great Revolt of 1857 flashed back before them. The heroic action of Nana Sahib, Tata Tope, Rani Lama Bay and other leaders of the Revolt became fresh in their mind. It inspired the people to cherish with their memory ant’ to give a toe fight to the Britishers.

The birth of Indian National Congress:

The birth of Indian National Congress in 1885 gave a final spark to the growth of national consciousness among the Indians. Soon, the National Congress gained momentum in the nook and corner of India. It expressed the desires of the people before the British authorities. Through many mass movements and their important leaders the courses became able to give an ideological fight to the Britishraj and bring freedom to India.

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