How did vernacular press influence the rise of nationalism in India?

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a. The Role of the Press:

Evidences are not very rare to show that the newspapers played a very important role in fostering national consciousness among the educated people of the country.

In India, too, the growth of the press during the nineteenth century played an important role in awakening the national consciousness among the Indian people.

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In the late eighteenth century, newspapers edited by the British were first published in the three cities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras.

Bengal Gazette edited by Augustus Hicky, published in Calcutta in 1780, was the first English weekly newspaper of India. Within a short time Madras Courier and Bombay Herald were published in Madras and Bombay respectively.

It must, however, be remembered that the emergence of newspapers with national outlook was not possible till they were published under the Indian initiative.

b. The Role of Vivekananda:

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Another high-priest of Indian nationalism was Swami Vivekananda who was a disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahansadeva. After Ramakrishna’s death Vivekananda carried the message of his guru all over the world.

He proclaimed to the world the superiority of the Hindu culture and civilization, the greatness of India’s past and the hopes for her future. Vivekananda’s programme for the regeneration of the Indian people began with his speech delivered to the Parliament of Religion convened at Chicago (in U.S.A. ) in 1893.

Through his speech delivered there Vivekananda introduced the spirituality of Indian faith to the West, and restored Indian’s past glory.

After returning to India Vivekananda devoted himself to the task of regenerating his people. He was strongly opposed to the social inequality and religious bickering prevalent amongst the Indian people.

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Vivekananda sincerely believed that the misfortune of India was primarily due to the lack of unity in her people.

That is why Vivekananda’s programme of reform aimed at establishing a new social order based on freedom and equality.

His image of a classless society helped the process of unity amongst the Indian people.

Vivekananda’s keen sense of patriotism is evident in his writings.

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Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission in 1897 to provide a platform to the disciples of the Sri Ramakrishna for practising religious life along with working for a national awakening, social reform and service.

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