The cause of the growth of Extremism (militant nationalism) in Indian politics

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a. Introduction:

The Indian national movement entered into a new phase during the early part of the present century. The leadership of the national movement passed to the extremists or the militant nationalists.

This leaning towards a more radical method was not a sudden incident. The background of this had long been created by the thoughts and teachings of a few saints and intellectuals of India.

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b. Ideological Background:

It has been rightly pointed out by Professor Amales Tripathy that the preachings of Bankimchandra Chatterjee, Swami Vivekananda, Dayananda Saraswati, etc. constituted the ideological background of the rise of Extremism.

Though none of them was a politician, yet their teachings and writings served as an inspiration for developing militant spirit among the Indian youths.

c. True Nature of the British Rule Revealed:

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Another important factor that helped the growth of militant nationalism was the consciousness of the Indians about the true nature of the British rule which was nothing but exploitation of the Indians.

This realization made the Indians believe that unless the British rulers were driven out the economic condition of the country and her people would not be improved.

This desire to free the country from the foreign misrule paved the way for the growth of extremism in Indian politics.

d. Poverty and Frustration:

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Poverty and frustration among the Indians also made them lean towards extremism.

It was being increasingly realized by the Indians that their economic distress could not be ended without an end of the British imperial rule.

This made a group of Indians attract to the radical nationalist politics.

e. Neo-Hinduism:

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The frustration born out of the foreign misrule gradually generated amongst some of the Indians a feeling of hatred towards the Western civilization itself.

They now felt attracted to the glory of India’s past and the idea of neo-Hinduism preached by Bankim Chandra, Vivekananda and others.

f. International Influence:

Contemporary international events also tended to encourage the spirit of militant nationalism. The defeat of Italy and Britain in their struggle against the Afro-Asian Powers exploded the myth of European superiority.

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The Indians were now convinced that a determined united struggle against the British was sure to achieve success. This confidence kindled militant spirit among a section of the Indians.

g. Failure of the Moderates:

It may be said that the failure of the Moderate policy ‘prayer and petition’ also helped the growth of militancy among many of the Indian people.

Particularly the political events and the repressive measures taken by the British between the years 1892 and 1905 disappointed a section of the nationalist leaders and turned them towards militancy.

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