DMPQ- Point out the major factors responsible for the growth of modern nationalism in India.

The rise and growth of Indian nationalism has been traditionally explained in terms of Indian response to the stimulus generated by the British Raj through creation of new institutions, new opportunities, resources, etc. In other words, Indian nationalism grew partly as a result of colonial policies and partly as a reaction to colonial policies. In fact, it would be more correct to see Indian nationalism as a product of a mix of various factors:

  • Worldwide upsurge of the concepts of nationalism and right of self-determination initiated by the French Revolution.
  • Indian Renaissance.
  • Offshoot of modernisation initiated by the British in India.
  • Strong reaction to British imperialist policies in India.

People came to realise that colonial rule was the major cause of India’s economic backwardness and that the interests of the Indians involved the interests of all sections and classes— peasants, artisans, handicraftsmen, workers, intellectuals, the educated and the capitalists. The nationalist movement arose to take up the challenge of these contradictions inherent in the character and policies of colonial rule.

The British rule in the Indian subcontinent extended from the Himalayas in the north to the Cape Comorin in the south and from Assam in the east to Khyber Pass in the west. While large areas of India had been brought under a single rule in the past—under the Mauryas or later under the Mughals— the British created a larger state than that of the Mauryas or the great Mughals. While Indian provinces were under ‘direct’ British rule, the princely states were under ‘indirect’ British rule. The British sword imposed political unity in India. A professional civil service, a unified judiciary  and codified civil and criminal laws throughout the length and breadth of the country imparted a new dimension of political unity to the hitherto cultural unity that had existed in India for centuries. The necessities of administrative convenience, considerations of military defence and the urge for economic penetration and commercial exploitation (all in British interests) were the driving  forces behind the planned development of modern means of transport and communication such as railways, roads, electricity and telegraph.

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