India's nation-state is widely inhomogeneous throughout history between both male and female social status in society. In order to fathom the extent of gender inequalities, a chronological view over three distinct phases ensues. The Women's Movements; Nineteenth Century Social Reform Movement, Twentieth Century Freedom Movement and Women's Rights Movement in post 1975 period, have brought to the forefront a wide range of gender relations. The focused Nationalist Movement was a step forward for women through infinite policies, however it is evident that positive change can only be achieved through such practicalities. Within this essay the extent of change will be realized, yet limited to continued male empowering traditions. These traditions will be exemplified and contrasted to successes as a result of the movement, portraying whether the amount of change outweighs the continued inequalities in Modern India.
To understand a change in gender relations, women's preliminary societal positions must be underlined. Ironically, women in ancient India were held in high esteem. Old writings within the ‘Vedas and the Upanishads' label women as ‘maata (mother) or Devi (goddess)', denoting worth and preciousness for women.1 It was male responsibility to look after women, brothers and husbands would look after their women by any means. Numerous scholars also attribute women as being intellectuals, with vast females being educated. Ancient Indian Grammarians, such as ‘Patanjali and Katyayana' write that women were educated in many ways early in the Vedic period.2 This education coincided to women having a voice, the power of important decision-making, including free will to choose their husband. The ancient system of “Swayamyara” amplifies the right of free choice for a female, portraying equilibrium of sorts between man and woman. However, with all various forms of prestige for women, men were distinctly superior. Women had to figEssays Related to The Indian Nationalist Movement and Gender Relations
In the rise of nationalist movements and modern nation-states in the 20th century, women are actively participating in the movement for liberation. Throughout the world, much of the liberation of former European colonies and creation of new states stemmed from the active role women took in the struggle for independence.
The documents included in this question relate to how the role of women has changed and how it has stayed the same. In the documents, women of different nations individually speak out on issues such as equality, social responsibility, and the traditional cultural views on women.
One group of documents - #1, #4 – relates the view that the participation of women in their country’s liberation enables them to achieve equality in their standing with men. According to “An Indian Freedom Fighter Recalls Her Life,” (#1) Manmohini Zutshi Saghal recalls that the satyagraha, the nonviolent resistance approach developed by Gandhi, included women and thus allowed them to participate in processions and Congressional meetings. Teodora Ignacia Gomes (#4) of the African Party for Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde in 1974 makes clear that women need to participate in the national struggle for independence in order to achieve their self liberation.
Manmohini, a participant in the Indian struggle for independence, portrays the role of Indian women as restricted before the movement of 1930 – 1932. The success of the satyagraha lay in the fact that Indian women were allowed to participate in the liberation movement of India. The traditional cultural gender role of women was to stay home, except to visit relatives or attend religious festivals. For women, the opportunity to “leave their homes and walk in a procession was a big step forward.”
Teodora Ignacia Gomes argues the point that women need to participate in constructing a society free of exploitation so that they are liberated from the bonds tradit.
nationalistic movements. (1969, December 31). In MegaEssays.com. Retrieved 10:06, July 25, 2016, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/14749.html
MegaEssays. "nationalistic movements." MegaEssays.com. MegaEssays.com, (December 31, 1969). Web. 25 Jul. 2016.
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CHRONOLOGY 1880 1947
1885 Founding of Indian National Congress (INC); moderate phase of Nationalism
1890s Dissension Movement
1893 Cow Protection Movement
1905 Partition of Bengal on 10th October; swadeshi' (own country) movement boycotts foreign products; radical nationalism; British suppression of leaders 1906 Foundation of All India Muslim League (AML)
1907 Split in Congress at Surat session
1908 Morely-Minto Reforms modest political reforms giving Indians slightly more representation on legislative councils; Indian Councils Act 1911 Reunification of Bengal
1914 Start of World War One (WW1) Indian soldiers fight for British 1915 Mohandas Gandhi
returns from South Africa
1916 Jinnah becomes President of AIML INC and AIML united against British 1917 Chelmsford-Montague Reforms promised limited representative democracy Split between AIML and INC 1919 India Act, Rowlatt Satyagraha beginning of mass politics 1920-22 Non-cooperation-Khilafat Movement under Gandhi; introduction of Satyagrapha policy and non-violence; Hindu-Muslim unity; ended because of rising violence 1920 Jinnah leaves Congress
1928 Landless labourers resisted dominant peasants in Bardoli 1929 Congress formally accepts goal of purna swarah (complete self-rule) 1930-31 Second Civil Disobedience Movement; Salt March (1930) 1931 Civil Disobedience halted; Gandhi takes part in meetings with the Viceroy and attends Second Round Table Conference 1932-34 Civil Disobedience resumed but called off as a result of violence 1935 Government of India Act signed
1942 Cripps Mission; August: Quit India Resolution; Gandhi arrested 1945 End of World War II; Labour party elected to power in Britain promise of independence for India 1946 Muslim Communal Violence
1947 14th August: Pakistani Independence; 15th August: Indian Independence
Indian nationalism developed from the 1880s towards independence in 1947. During India's journey towards independence there were two specific challenges that needed to be overcome. The first major obstacle was the internal divisions. These internal divisions could be roughly classified into three areas: religious, regional and class differences. The second major obstacle was the British in India. The latter challenge, however, contributed greatly to the earlier. British manipulation of Indian internal differences was a key element in the maintenance of British control over India.
To get a clear understanding, one must first define nationalism. In an Indian context there were two broad strands of nationalism developing simultaneously. Firstly, there was a communal nationalism promoting a sense of identity between people of the same religion, caste or linguistic group. For example, during the Cow protection movement of 1893 people identifying themselves as Hindu moved against those who identified as Muslim. On the other hand, Secular nationalism promotes identity across a broader range, therefore, people identified as Indians not as Tamil or Bengali (regional) or as Muslim or Hindu (religious). The idea was to carry a concept of self-determination irrespective of colour, creed or class.
The main divide in Indian society was between the Hindu majority and the large Muslim minority. When the British first conquered India, the British viewed the community they had supplanted (the Muslim community) as their natural enemy. The Hindu majority took advantage of the foreigner's pro-Hindu tendencies and by the 1880s the middle class was predominantly Hindu. When the Indian National Congress (INC) was founded in 1885, it consisted mainly of Hindu professionals and moderate elites. Although the INC was not specifically Hindu, many Muslims felt excluded. The lack of response by the INC to the Cow protection riots of 1893 may have contributed to Muslim feelings of exclusion. However, this did motivate Muslim to create the All India Muslin League (AIML) in 1906.
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Indian Nationalsim Essay, Research Paper
Indian nationalism was not a simple unification of Indians against colonial rule. There were many complexities involved in forming an organization that sought to speak on behalf of the people, and many of these challenges were posed to the Indian National Congress because their leadership consisted of the Hindu elite.
In 1885, the Indian National Congress was formed through the initiative of Allen Octavian Hume, and it quickly became the chief organization representing the will of the common people and sought to lead the Indians in their struggle for freedom.
The major drawbacks of the early nationalists was that the movement was confined to educated Indians and the middle class, while their method of functioning was within the law and slow. As Indian leaders gradually became disillusioned with the British Government, the new leaders began to assert for the attainment of Swaraj, which could be achieved only by working among the masses and their participation in political protests– such as the boycott of British goods, called Swadeshi.
As seen in the movie, Home and the World, this type of protest was much easier for those of the upper and middle classes. Since British goods were cheaper and of a better quality than Indian goods, they were vital to peasant life. Most were unable to simply give up British goods, and consequently, class tensions developed. There was increasing violence and riots erupted between peasants and wealthy landowners. At the same time, religious tensions increased, as many of the peasants affected by these changes were also Muslims. At this point, we begin to have questions arise over whether the Congress is truly acting on behalf of all the people in India. There begins the idea that Muslims must rally together to ensure that their needs are not overlooked by the Congress.
On October 16, 1905, Lord Curzon partitioned Bengal on the pretext of it being too big to administer. Instead of dividing it based on areas not considered part of Bengal, they based the division on Hindus and Muslims. The British thought that through the partition, they would succeed in dividing Hindu politicians of western and eastern Bengal and increase Hindu- Muslim tensions. The tremor of partition was felt throughout India and many regarded it as an insult and challenge to Indian Nationalism. Consequently, the moderates of the Congress launched movements and the protests, Swadeshi and Swaraj, became the slogan of the common man and the whole of India was drawn into the Nationalist movement in one way or another.
For many Muslims, the only way to respond to the British and the Congress was through the formation of the All India Muslim League in 1906. This acted as a direct challenge to the National Congress’ authority to speak on behalf of the nation. The Congress was also facing challenges because they continually tried to depolitisize the internal social problems of India, and focus on the problems of British Raj. While the Congress called for mass action they were also implying elite control, and more peasants were becoming worried that their concerns would not be addressed.
The Congress was now faced with the problem of not only addressing the peasants concerns, but also securing them as members of the movement. Up until this point they had systematically called for the peasants to subsume to the interests of their landlords, with the idea that once they attained Swaraj, all problems would be solved. Nevertheless, these ideas were still predicated on the fact that the rich would remain in control.
It is not until the Congress is lead by Mahandas Gandhi in 1920 that steps are taken to unify the movement and face the challenges poised by the peasants and Muslims. Under the leadership of Gandhi, the Non-cooperation movement was launched, beginning with renunciation of honorary titles like “Sir” given by the British. Thereafter it was followed by the boycott of legislatures, elections and other Government works. Foreign clothes were burnt and Khadi became a symbol of freedom. His 1930 Dandi march, in protest of the salt tax shows how he could take an issue that affected the peasants, turn it into a source of strength, and idealize the simplistic, virtuous life of the peasant. The movement was a great success despite firing and arrests, and for the first time really appealed to the peasants. His emphasis on the individual, and the desire of the “self” in seeking change of one’s conditions appealed to many, as his messages of moral purity helped ease tensions between Hindus and Muslims.
Nevertheless, it was still hard to unify India under the Nationalist movement, because it assumed that all Indians shared a common idea of nationalism. Unfortunately, this was not as clear as they thought, as the people of India defined themselves along many different categorical lines. While most may have wanted Swaraj, complications arise as to who can best serve those needs, and who has the right to rule. These were the fundamental reasons why the Indian National Congress was faced with so many challenges.
Manmohini, a participant in the Indian struggle for independence, portrays the role of Indian women as restricted before the movement of 1930 - 1932. The success of the satyagraha lay in the fact that Indian women were allowed to participate in the liberation movement of India. The traditional cultural gender role of women was to stay home, except to visit relatives or attend religious festivals. For women, the opportunity to "leave their homes and walk in a procession was a big step forward.aE
Teodora Ignacia Gomes argues the point that women need to participate in constructing a society free of exploitation so that they are liberated from the bonds traditional gender roles have confined them to. She repetitiously reminds her audience that women need perform the same work as men to ensure the independence of their country. In doing so, these women will have convinced their country fellowmen of their potential in hopes of being treated as equals.
The opposing argument outlined in documents - 2, 5 - states that in the aftermath of liberated nation-states, the role of women reverts back to that of inequality in social and political standing. In 1944, Huda Shaarawi (2), Egyptian
Bipan Chandra characterizes the freedom struck or the national movement or the national liberation movement as,
“…undoubtedly one of the biggest mass movements modern society has ever seen. It was a movement which galvanized millions of people of all classes and ideologies into political action and brought to its knees a mighty colonial empire”.
Indian national movement is as relevant and significant as the modern revolutions which had the motto of altering the existing political and social structure and to establish a new politico-socio-economic system based on equality, social justice, rule of law and democratic outlook.
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The importance of the Indian national movement lies in the fact that it was the only available historical example where semi-democratic traditional and mostly illiterate social groups were motivated by an urge to free themselves from the colonial exploitation by writing and forging a common agenda forgetting their age-old social, economic and cultural moorings. Undoubtedly, the Indian national movement is the best example of mobilization of all segments of population having divergent political and ideological interests with a common goal of liberation or freedom from the foreign yoke.
The objective of this national movement was not the single point of replacing the colonial rule of the British but a total transformation of the socio-politico-economic cultural mosaic of India with new values as engines of the driving force. The new values that inspired, influenced and provided the necessary moral strength and courage were democratic, civil libertarian and secular outlook based on a self-reliant, egalitarian social order and an independent foreign policy.
As such the national movement of India had an ideology that is the most suitable for a multicultural, multi-linguistic and multi-layered pluralistic society of India. The fathers of this national movement are fully aware that ‘India, was the nation in making’ and hence they followed a strategy that could unite people based on the concept of ‘unity in diversity’.
Though, since time immemorial Indians living the different parts of India are aware of their ‘geographical fundamental unity’ as expressed in their daily prayer and cultural unity through pilgrimage centres and worship of rivers, mountains and nature, the most prevalent deep-rooted feeling was devotion to the head of the clan, the guru and the local ruler but not to the concept of a nation based on one religion, one culture, one language and territorial and geographical boundaries as we perceive nationalism today.
As such it is to be admitted with a sense of hurt pride that the concept of nationalism was of modern phenomena. It was perceived by different scholars in different ways. Encyclopedia Britannica describes nationalism “as a state of mind in which the supreme loyalty of the individual is to the nation state”.
Palmer and Perkins explain it as a desire “to exalt a state, and to add to its prestige drives men into carrying their flag, their culture, their language and their institutions into poor and backward regions of the world; and it compels the governments to justify, defend and champion the economic ventures of their nationals in foreign lands, especially weak ones”.
It is further observed that nationalism strives to unite the members into one nation, politically and territorially in a stage organization, when strong power exploits the weakness of the occupied political power rather than it becomes alive and opposes the imperialist tendencies. There is a view that the emergence of nationalism in India was the legacy of the British rule and prior to the rule of the British, India was never a nation. Percival Spear holds the view: “In looking for the roots of Indian nationalism we can begin with an emotion and a tradition. The emotion was dislike of the foreigner which in India for many ages had gone along with a tolerance of his presence.
The tradition was that of Hinduism deeply rooted in the basis of what has been called the fundamental unity of India. But xenophobia and pride in tradition was not a sufficient foundation for a new movement to produce secular nationalism. It would require some sort of stimulus from outside.” Spear locates the external stimuli in literature.
Spear writes, “The ideas which were imbibed from the ruler’s literature and attitudes were nationalism, civil liberties and constitutional self-government”. Many British and the Indian scholars echoed his view. Ishwari Prasad observes: “the consciousness of the French that their troubles were due to the Bourbons led to the French Revolution, of the English that their troubles were due to the unrestrained prerogatives of the crown led to the civil war, and of the Indians that their troubles were due to the British rule led to the formation of the Indian National Congress in 1885, whose object was to secure India’s liberation”.
A.R. Desai remarks, “Nationalism came into being during the British period as a result of the action and reaction of numerous subjective and objective forces and factors which developed within the Indian society under the conditions of the British rule and the impact of world forces”. But this view is contested by the Indian historians who argue it would be wrong to assert that nationalism in India was solely the contribution of the British.
S.L. Sikri rightly points, “Some of these factors sowed the seed; some nurtured into growth; some moulded its form; and some influenced its ideology and technique. Hence, the causes responsible for the origin, growth and rapid development of the Indian national movement were various and manifold”. The origin and the growth of nationalism in India can be traced to the stimuli of internal and external factors.
Impact of the Western Culture and Discovery of the Past Pride of India:
The foremost cause for the growth of Indian nationalism and national movement was India’s contact with the nationalistic and political liberalism of the west through initiation into English language and literature. This initiation opened up their minds to the events of Italian and German unification in the last quarter of the 19th century and also provided common language to all the Indians to transact and express their views with one and the other.
Further, orientalists like William Jones, James Princep, Max Muller and Ferguson and archaeologists like Alexander Cunningham enabled Indians to be aware of their pride in their past glories. This revelation of common heritage of a great culture and rich historical tradition imbued the natives of India with an idea of glorious common nationality.
The revisiting of India’s past, supplemented by the bond of a common religion, acted as a bond to bring them together and English served as lingua franca to strengthen the unity. In the view of R.C. Majumdar, “Nationalism was thus founded on the bedrock of common religion, culture and historical tradition. But this gave it a Hindu character which it has retained, consciously or unconsciously, ever since”. This view of R.C. Majumdar is partially true to some extent but not the whole truth.
Undoubtedly, the socio-cultural renaissance movement played an important role in emergence, nurturing, shaping and moulding of the nationalist spirit in India. They consciously promoted a sense of self-respect, unity and patriotism and made the Indians realize the need for internal introspection and to get rid of the social evils that divided the Indian society. This can be explained by quoting Vivekananda and Gandhi who observed that religion is of no avail when it cannot wipe the tears of a widow and we cannot feed a hungry man with preaching about God.
Colonialism and Discriminating Treatment:
In the preceding pages, it is explained how the economic policies of the British East India Company ruined the economy of India by draining away the resources of India. Early nationalist leaders of India like Dadabhai Naoroji, the grand old man of India, Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade and Ramesh Chandra Dutt by their economic critique of the colonial policy educated the public of India as well as the British with their writings about the economic havoc caused by colonial policy.
Bipan Chandra aptly remarks “of all the national movements in colonial countries, the Indian national movement was the most deeply and firmly rooted in an understanding of the nature and character of colonial economic domination and exploitation.
Its early leaders known as Moderates were the first in the 19th century to develop an economic critique of colonialism. This critique was also, perhaps their most important contribution to the development of the national movement in India and the themes built around it were later popularized on a massive scale and formed the very pith and marrow of the nationalist agitation, through popular lectures, pamphlets, dramas, songs and prabhat pheris”.
Besides ruination of peasantry and artisan groups, de-industrialization, the wanton discrimination shown by the British towards the Indians for more than a century also seriously hurt the feelings of Indians and made them hate the white man and his government.
Improved Transport and Communication Facilities:
The British indirectly promoted the growth of nationalism in India by providing an elaborate communication system network which enabled people of different parts to meet, discuss and exchange their grievances and chalk out plans and programmes of action. Thus, the network of communications and transport facilities helped in the growth of nationalism to a great extent.
Role of the Press:
The role of the English and vernacular press in raising the level of consciousness of the Indians by explaining the misdeeds, and injustices perpetuated by the government is really commendable. Fearless reporting in newspapers of the misrule of the governmental agencies created national awakening which in turn led to the emergence of the spirit of nationalism.
By 1875, there were no less than 478 newspapers in the country kindling the spirit of nationalism. The pen of Dinabandhu Hemachandra Banerjee, Navin Chandra Sen, Ravindranath Tagore and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee influenced innumerable people of India as freedom lovers. The influence and impact of Bankim was so great that his novel Anadamath and ‘Vandemataram’ song had become the Bible of Bengali patriotism.
Repressive Policy of Lord Lytton:
In the history of colonial India the period from 1876 to 1884 had been aptly described “the seed time of Indian nationalism”. The callous, indifferent and arrogant attitude of Lytton in organizing Delhi Darbar in 1877 very lavishly when many people perished due to the famine and his war against the Afghans, the notorious Vernacular Press Act and the Arms Act of 1878 accelerated the growth of nationalism in India.
Even the British criticized the Vernacular Press Act as “a retrograde and ill-conceived measure injurious to the future progress of India” and Surendranath Banerjee observed that the Arms Act “Imposed upon us a badge of racial inferiority”. Sprinkling salt on the injury, the Albert Bill controversy added fuel to the fire of Indian nationalism. This controversy convinced the Indians that unless they too resorted to agitation process, there was no salvation to the humiliation experienced by them.
Besides the above narrated episodes, the happenings outside India in America, France, Italy, Germany, China and Japan inspired the Indians to become united to free themselves from continuous humiliation of the white race. Thus, the emergence and the growth of the national movement in India was the cumulative effect of both internal and external factors. This nationalist spirit or urge lead to the formation of Indian National Congress in 1885, which spearheaded the liberation or freedom struggle in India from 1885 to 1947.
Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, ed.Nationalist Movement in India: A Reader. Delhi: Oxford University Press. 2009. xliii + 389 pp. $50.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-19-569881-7.
Reviewed by John Pincince (Loyola University Chicago)
Published on H-Nationalism (November, 2011)
Commissioned by Paul Quigley
Over the last fifty years, writings on Indian nationalist historiography have been one of the more dynamic aspects in the field of Indian history. From the work of Anil Seal (The Emergence of Indian Nationalism ) to Partha Chatterjee (The Nation and Its Fragments ) and more recently Manu Goswami (Producing India: From Colonial Economy to National Space ), histories of Indian nationalisms and national identities have contributed to the vibrancy of Indian historiography. Sekhar Bandyopadhyay has collected a representative sampling of writings on Indian nationalism in his edited volume Nationalist Movement in India .
The volume contains twenty-one essays by twenty contributors--Sumit Sarkar offers two separate essays. This is not a primary source reader but instead a collection of essays abridged from the original (most from previously published journal articles and some from monographs). The selected essays, which cover the period from the latter half of the nineteenth century to the moments prior to independence in 1947, were originally written as far back as 1966 (excerpt from Bipan Chandra’s The Rise and Growth of Economic Nationalism in India ) to the most recent essay published in 1999 (excerpt from Sanjay Seth, “Rewriting Histories of Nationalism”).
The twenty-one essays are divided into eight parts. Part 1 examines the role of educated elite and the development of nationalism from the late nineteenth century. Parts 2 and 3 trace the impact of Mahatma Gandhi in the direction of the nationalist movement and the role of peasant mass mobilization from the 1920s, while part 4 is entitled “Muslim Identity and Political Participation.” Part 5 investigates alternative imaginings of the nation and caste identity, and part 6 appraises the roles of women and the limits to women’s participation in the nationalist struggle. Part 7 reveals the links between labor, industrial capitalists, and the Indian National Congress. And lastly, part 8 analyzes anticolonial resistance in the last years of British rule in India.
The strongest aspect, and the section I most recommend, is Bandyopadhyay’s introduction, in which he provides a useful overview of the history and historiography of modern Indian nationalism from the late nineteenth century. He makes it clear that scholars and historical figures alike are at odds with the origins of nationalism: does it lie in some ancient past or did it emerge in tandem with colonial modernity? After briefly considering arguments that support the long history of ethno-cultural identities, in particular his discussion of the writings of Anthony Smith and C. A. Bayly’s view on precolonial forms of nationality, Bandyopadhyay concentrates his analysis of nationalism in its more fully articulated modern formation. In the case of colonial India, it was not until the late nineteenth century that, according to Bandyopadhyay, we see the “growing sense of self-hood” and demand by an increasing number of Indians for a “greater share of governance” (p. xxxviii). Furthermore, Indian nationalisms and national identities are set apart from European histories of national consciousness by the heterogeneous, plural, and fragmented historical imaginings and articulations of the nationalist movement. Such notions of difference establish the foundation for the purpose of the volume as Bandyopadhyay sets forth to “highlight the pluralist nature of the Indian nation and its struggle for independence” (p. xxxv).
The limitations to the usefulness of this volume are multiple. Published as a “reader,” The Nationalist Movement in India is certainly unsuited for most introductory or survey courses on South Asian/Indian history. Since most of the essays are directed to an advanced or specialized readership in their original forms, the excerpted and abridged versions of all of the essays only make matters worse. At times, it feels as though one has parachuted into unknown territory--for instance, in the last chapter, Anirudh Deshpande’s “Sailors and the Crowd: Popular Protest in Karachi, 1946,” on the impact of the insurrection of the Royal Indian Navy in 1946. One of the glaring absences in this volume is the insertion of editor’s footnotes to place most if not all of the essay topics in historical context. The Deshpande selection cuts off the introductory paragraphs to the original essay, leaving the reader at a loss of context, broadly and specifically situated historically. This lack of historical context would have best been featured in introductions to each of the eight parts or in the form of extended footnotes.
The other element of significant annoyance, and this might not bother all readers, is the fact that all of the essays are abridged excerpts. The ellipses break up the flow and structure to the original full versions--I would prefer to simply access the journal articles or book chapters from elsewhere. In fact, many of the essays are each worthy of reading independently and in full, whether that of Chatterjee’s chapter, “Whose Imagined Community?” or the excerpt from Shahid Amin’s “Gandhi as Mahatma.” Both essays would make ideal readings for students but are best read in their full versions.
The inclusion of a glossary is another fundamental element missing from the volume. In Rajat Kanta Ray’s excerpt, “Masses in Politics,” the “Reader” could have helped the nonspecialist reader by providing translations for Hindi, Bangla, Urdu, and other unfamiliar non-English words. For instance, it would be a simple task provide the meaning of khidmatgar (a servant or waiter), khalasi (sailor), and serang (or, sarang/sarhang, also a sailor). The lack of maps and images also further diminishes the value of this volume.
Nationalist Movement in India is unfortunately a work I cannot recommend. Despite the strength of Bandyopadhyay’s introduction, the weaknesses of nearly every other aspect limit its worthiness as a “Reader.”
the history of
It is possible to say that it was a rising feeling of nationalism that led to the change in relations between Britain and India which is what led to the ultimate end of the British Empire since it came to a point where India was ungovernable. John Keay states that “India was convulsed by a crescendo of satyagrahas, swadeshi boycotts; strikes and disturbances in the great display of mass non-cooperation.(Keay pg. 477).This shows that India refused to be controlled by the British and did everything in their power to drive British rule out. Another possible reason why there was a change in relations was due to the fact that the British realized that India was not worth the fight anymore. India became more or less a burden to the British since during the war and after, post war constructions were too much along with other parts of the empire struggling for independence made them give up control.
The labor and liberal parties were willing to give India its independence and at one point Lord Montagu said there’d be a “responsible Government in India” in 1917. Although, there were more conservative British officials that didn’t want to let go of the empire in India such as Winston Churchill. Therefore the British took apart any and all forms of resistance to the empire. Copeland states that “the British felt compelled to stay in India to honor their various commitments they had made”. (Copland pg. 19) The main aims of Indian nationalism were to make India ungovernable so that the British would leave. Ian Copeland states that “Both war and depression fuelled the rise of nationalism in India”.
The Amritsar Massacre was a very important part of the nationalist battle against India since it made many prominent Pro British Indian figures to finally stand up and say the British are done. Punjab became a completely revolutionary area and became enemies of the empire. Many isolated mutinies occurred during this time and were mainly blamed on the radical Ghadar party. 5000 of them were arrested at the beginning of World war one to stop a revolution in Punjab. The Amritsar Massacre also led to the rise of Ghandi and his non cooperation movement. He gave up any and all reformist views and asked for complete independence for India. Tagore have up his knighthood and Motilal Nehru father of Jawaharlal Nehru send him to Cambridge university and Even after all this burned all his suits to show his hatred for the British.
Tagore said after the Amritsar massacre that “the late events have conclusively proved that our true salvation lies in our own hand”.( Reese pg. 85) Gandhi and his movement called for children to be pulled out of schools and businessmen to stop selling foreign food and asked the police to be more kind and polite. To these aims of creating an independent India the Muslims also joined the battle for independence but the Molaph riots show that they weren’t so united after all since 600 Hindus were killed showing the fact that they couldn’t work together. It is also possible to argue that these non cooperation movements weren’t working fast enough since for two years it was highly impractical to pull children out of school when they were putting at risk their own people.
The main cause of the failure of the movement however is the fact that it was not ready yet to survive on its own. After the failure of the Non cooperation movement came the Salt satyagrahas which again had similar goals to the previous movement. It started of a plea to the Raj that the taxes on salt were absolutely high which a movement became for four years during which Gandhi was arrested which outraged people. Gandhi’s arrest though did lead to the signing of the Gandhi-Irwin pact which led to some restrictions being relaxed but it had a very small effect as a whole since the Muslim community refused to take part in the riots and kept buying salt from the British giving them the chance to suppress the Indians easily since they were also lacking leaders as most of them were arrested.
Then came the Quit India campaign and Gandhi’s famous speech asking for India’s complete independence which in turn led to the passing of the Quit India resolution by Congress which was their way of saving that they weren’t going to settle for anything less than total independence. During this time there were many violent protests but to no avail. The British managed to silence even these protests and continuously suppress them and carry on which goes to show that India gained independence by earning its rights to self govern through all the concessions it forced the British to make and not by making it Ungovernable. Even though many previous events were suppressed by the British in every possible way they did have to make certain concessions to please the Indians which all gradually built its way to India being self governed by itself.
The main reason these reforms were given were because of the massive uprising by the Bengal partitioning. The Morley Minto reforms of 1909 did in fact lead to Indians being able to be elected to legislative councils. These concessions however weren’t given with the thought of Indian Independence in mind but to give them just enough to end the rebellions. Even with other events up until the massacre all the people wanted were reforms and it was not until the Amritsar Massacre that they wanted more. The entire reason behind the protest of Amritsar was to fight the Rowlatt Act introduced where an Indian could be imprisoned for two years with no trial if he or she is suspected of terrorism. This led to the massacre which in turn led to the British giving more than just a few reforms. The Government of India Act was introduced giving an expanded reach for Indians over the government along with the hopes of being a self governed country.
Many believed this wasn’t enough and that the British could’ve done better since they weren’t sure the British would just break this promise just as easy. Saying that, this Act did give more voting power to much more Indians. This act was indeed a step forward for India but it was made sure that the viceroy still was able to make most of the important decisions himself. The Indians still boycotted the first elections under this act and this showed that they were fighting for full independence nothing else. Rees has stated that “it had become clear that politically active Indians could, in certain circumstances, sway the masses behind them”. The INC was started by Alan Hume who a British civil servant was showing how they were never intent on giving India its independence.
Unlike previous reforms the number of people voting went from 7 million people to 35 million people and more Indians were voted into positions such as the provincial assemblies. There were also countless backchannel addendums added to these reforms that acted as loopholes for the British to manipulate. Robert Horne said that the British had “put into this bill many safeguards”. This was another way of saying the Brits were still very much in control. The viceroy still had majority power over military and foreign affairs. This shows that it may not have been nationalism that led to Independence but the choice of the British to let go of their empire which was a cause of the labor party victory in England since conservatives like Churchill did not want to let go.
Another possible cause why India Gained independence was because the British changed their views on India much earlier on deciding to let it go on their own accord. This point is arguable because even though the Indian empire was being very costly to keep up and also due to the rise of nationalism and revolts and figures like Gandhi leading the charge against British rule they could’ve easily stayed on as seen by the way they repress and push Back any form of resistance put up by its people. And also even after the Great depression and other financial troubles the British had in the 1920s and further on they still had a firm grip over the empire till after world war two which makes it possible to say they left on their own accord.
Also after the labor party’s victory in Britain wanted out as soon as possible and also Lord Mountbatten’s rapid level of decolonization shows they wanted to get out. India in fact wanted Britain to stay even after they had won their independence and it did to a certain extent since Indian tea industry belonged to the UK even after independence was achieved. Mayors of certain cities stayed on in their posts for a long time showing that they weren’t in fact driven because if they were there would have been no remnants of British Rule making it more than likely that it was British attitudes that changed and led to the change in relations.
Another reason for the change in relations between India and Britain seems to be economic pressures that were there for the British. Back then during the peak of the empire before the war India was Britain’s largest overseas client and increased its revenue substantially. India made the British economy spin and made it the superpower it was in the 19th Century. Britain also provided 60% of its import and Britain also loaned a large sum of money for the first Great War, around 100 million pounds. It can be understood why Britain did not want to lose India since its initial investment in India was 160 million pounds. As time went by Britain’s hold over other countries got worse and it lost several export clients after the war. That coupled with the Great Depression led to Britain’s market crashing completely. All this was made so much worse with the boycotting and the revolts in India during the 1920s. The British then at one point let India set its own tariffs.
By the end of the Second World War India was owed 1300 million pounds by the British for the Indian Army for Imperial Defense. Also the population in India was rising heavily and there was pressure placed on natural resources and supplies therefore Britain seeing India as nothing more than a burden decided to let it go. Therefore we see that in reality the real change in British relations with India came about was because of the changes in British attitudes. We see on more than one occasion that Britain could’ve kept their empire in India.
As strong as feelings of nationalism were and as brave as leaders like Gandhi were they couldn’t have driven the British out by making India ungovernable because the British knew they couldn’t be driven out by force or otherwise. It is clear that they left of their own accord due to financial political reasons or otherwise. Although it is also worth mentioning that Nationalism did play a huge role in the change in relations since it did indeed spark the match to the road to independence which led to reforms and other such important changes in India but ultimately it came down of the choice of Britain.
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