The most significant feature of the Indian History during the second half of nineteenth century was the growth of nationalism. For different factors the sense nationalism develops among the people and in 1885 the Indian National Congress was established.
The Indian National Congress fought for the freedom of the country and India achieved her independence on August 15th 1947. Different factors contributed to the growth of Indian Nationalism.
Political Unification of the Country:
The growth of the sense of unity among the people was the most important factor, responsible for the growth of Nationalism in India. The Britishers conquered the whole of the Indian subcontinent during the period from 1757 to 1857.
India achieved her political and administrative unity under the British rule. The feeling of one nation and one country was strengthened due to the improvement in the means of communication and the introduction of railways. People of one part could come in contact with the people of the other part of the country.
Introduction of Western Education:
In 1835 Lord Bentinck on the basis of the recommendation of Lord Macaulay made English the medium of higher education in India.
The Indian people thus could read the writings of the western political thinker like Burke, Locke, Mill, Rousseau and Voltaire. They could know about Nationalism, democracy and self-government.
They could also know about the Unification of Italy and Germany. So they were encouraged to fight for the liberation of their own country.
Revival of glorious tradition of India:
The European scholars like William Jones. Maxmuller and Indian scholars like Bhandarkar and Haraprasad Sastri made the Indian people aware of their glorious cultural tradition.
William Jones established the Asiatic Society of Bengal to carry on research on ancient Indian culture. The Indian people developed a feeling of pride in their past and faith in future knowing their glorious cultural heritage.
The religious and social reformers like Raja Rammohan Roy. Swami Dayananda Saraswati and Ramkrushna Paramahansa and Swami Vivekananda tried to reform Hindu society and religion.
They also presented before the people the glorious tradition of India’s past Dayananda Saraswti the founder of Arya Samaj was the first man to proclaim India for the Indians.
He also laid emphasis on Swarajya, Swabhasa and Swadharma. Swami Vivekananda proclaimed to the world that Hinduism is one of most ancient religions of the world. Vivekananda presented before the people the value of the vedic culture and philosophy. He taught self confidence to the young people.
Indian Press and Vernacular Literature:
The Indian Press and vernacular literature aroused national consciousness among the people. The Bengal tribune Indian Mirror and the Keshan played the important role in arousing national feeling among the people. Anandamath of Bankim Chandra became the Bible of Bengali nationalism.
The English followed the policy of racial discrimination. All highposts were monopolised by the European. Lord Lytton passed the Vernacular Press Act and suppressed the liberty of the Vernacular press and newspapers. There was famine in some provinces of Western and Southern India.
The condition of people was quite miserable. The Government remained indifferent towards the sufferings of the people Lord Lytton orginised the famous Delhi Durbar to declare Queen Victoria as the Empress of India. This produced wide spread discontentment among the people.
Policy of Economic Exploitation:
England followed the Policy of Economic Exploitation. No attempt was made for the economic improvement of the Indians. All raw-materials of industries were sent form India to England. The British goods w ere sold in India and this led to the decline of the handicraft.
The free trade policy of the British Government was not favourable to India. Cottage industries in India also declined. Above all the British officers who were working in India were a heavy drain on the Indian treasury. The land revenue policy of the Government was also not favourable to the peasants.
All these factors created political consciousness among the people and finally in December 1885 the Indian National Congress was established because of the initiative A.O. Hume.