Factors in Growth of Modern Nationalism

Nationalism is based on the fact that one's loyalty and devotion towards nation, comes first than individual or other group-based interests. The nineteenth century saw the growth of modern Nationalism due to increase in religious and social reform movements. These Social and Religious reforms were responsible for a national movement aiming at the independence of the country and reconstruction of the society. In the latter half of the 19th century, Nationalism witnessed an organized form in India.
Factors responsible for the growth of Modern Nationalism in 19th Century
  • People understood that the British rule was the major cause of India's backwardness.
  • Growth in Modern means of transport and communication led people from different regions together. This helped in the unification of Ideas and building consensus for Nationalist cause.
  • English and Western Education made Indians aware about various ethos of Democracy like Liberty, Equality and fraternity. Due to this Indians became aware about their own rights.
  • Press played a key role in spreading the ideas of Nationalism. Raja Rammohan Roy who was a prominent social reformer published Sambad Kaumudi in Bengali and Mirat-UL-Akbar in Persian with nationalistic and progressive orientation.
  • Social and religious reform movements like Arya Samaj, Theosophical Society, Ramkrishna Mission helped in revival of Nationalism in India.
  • Economic Exploitation by the British. All sections of the society experienced the impact of exploitation. Artisans lost their jobs, they were forced to work in plantations, agriculture became non-profitable due to high taxations etc. Drain Theory by Dadabhai Naoroji rightly mentions the Plight of Indians due to drain of Indian wealth.
  • Middle Class became more conscious about its rights. The new middle class was the flag bearer of Patriotism/ Nationalism in India.
  • Global Events like Independence of United States,French Revolution, Unification of Italy and Germany also made Indians to believe that such usurpers can be removed, and freedom can be ensured.
  • Racial Discrimination was widespread. Indians for this were kept out of exclusively European clubs and were often not permitted to travel in same compartment of a train with the European passengers. Ilbert Bill controversy highlighted discrimination issue and thus the conscience of the Indians was shaken.
Reform Movements in 19th Century
  • In the 19th Century magic, animism and superstition were prevalent in Hinduism and priests exercised and unpleasant influence over the common people.
  • People could do anything on religious call.
  • Depressing social conditions were prevalent all where. Women enjoyed very less freedom and birth of a girl child was usually considered unwelcome.
  • Cast consciousness were equally present across all the religions be it Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Sikhs.
Sense of Economic Exploitation and subjugation under a foreign culture gave awakening to the indigenous conscience and kindled the Social and Religious Reforms in India.
Contribution of Raja Rammohan Roy towards growth of Modern Nationalism and Social and Religious Reforms
  • Raja Rammohan Roy (1772-1833) is known as father of Modern India.
  • He was in a favor of a rational and scientific approach and the principle of human dignity and social equality.
  • Polytheism and idol worship, were condemned by Rammohan Roy and he propagated the concept of 'one God of all religions and humanity'.
  • Ram Mohan Roy advised people to read the scriptures themselves and not depend on the intermediary brahmanas and follow a rational approach to religion.
  • He translated ancient Indian works on religion and philosophy from Sanskrit into Bengali so that the influence of intermediary Brahmans can be reduced. Caste system was attacked by Rammohan Roy, further he campaigned to persuade the government to abolish sati and child marriage.
  • He was a staunch advocate of equal rights for women, and he also supported the right of widows to marry and the right of women to property.
Abolition of Sati
Govt abolished Sati system in 1829 in Bengal Presidency and later in 1830, it was extended to the Madras and Bombay Presidencies also. Raja Ram Mohan Roy played a major role in it.
Brahmo Samaj
  • It was established by Raja Rammohan Roy in 1829.
  • Brahmo Samaj propagated the reformist ideas of Raja Rammohan Roy in the field of Women Education, Widow remarriage, Abolition of Sati, Polygamy, prohibition of Child Marriage etc.
  • Dharma Sabha was organized by Raja Radhakant Deb who was supported by orthodox Hindus, which has the aim of countering the propaganda of Brahmo Samaj.
  • In 1833 due to the early demise of Raja Rammohan Roy the Brahmo Samaj became leaderless.
Tattvabodhini Sabha
  • It was established by Debendranath Tagore in 1839 at Calcutta.
  • Its aim was to propagate Raja Ram Mohan Roy's ideas.
Transition in Brahmo Samaj
  • The BrahmoSamaj entered into another phase when Keshab Chandra Sen was made the acharya by Debendranath Tagore in 1858.
  • Later in 1866, Keshabsen along with his followers broke away from Brahmo samaj and established Brahmo Samaj of India . Debendranath Tagore s group was known as the AdiBrahmoSamaj which was more orthodox in its approach.
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
  • He was in support of widow remarriage.
  • Later due to his and other Social Reformer's efforts British passed Widow Remarriage Act,1856.
  • He also fought against Child Marriage and Polygamy.
Paramhansa Mandalis
  • It was established in 1849 in Maharashtra.
  • The founders of these Mandalis believed in one God.
  • Their focus was to break the caste rules.
  • They also supported women education and widow remarriage.
Prathana Samaj
  • Under the guidance of Keshab Chandra Sen, the Prarthana Samaj was established in Bombay by Atmaram Pandurang in 1867.
  • The focus of Prathana Samaj was on disapproval of caste system, women education, raising the age of marriage for both boys and girls, and widow remarriage.
  • Prominent leaders of the Prarthana Samaj were Mahadev Govind Ranade, R.G. Bhandarkar and N.G. Chandravarkar etc.
Dayananda Saraswati
  • Motto of Dayananda Saraswati was 'back to the Vedas' which infused a new confidence in Hindus about their past glory.
  • He condemned the caste system, child marriages and various other maladies which were prevalent in the Hindu society.
  • He started a campaign against superstitions, priesthood, idol-worship and the caste system.
  • Arya Samaj was established by him in 1875 at Bombay.
  • His ideas and philosophy are contained in his work - 'Sathyarth Prakash'.
  • Swami Dayananda started the "Shuddhi" movement to bring back to Hinduism those Hindus who had been converted to Christianity or Islam.
  • Dayanand supported the idea of chaturvarna system in which a person was not born in any caste but was identified as a brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya or shudra according to the occupation the person followed.
  • Swami Dayananda was in staunch opposition of Child Marriage and advocated that the ideal marriage age, for a girl to be between 16 and 24, and for men between 25 and 40.
Arya Samaj
  • Arya Samaj was based upon the infallibility of the Vedas i.e. they consider Vedas are ultimate authority and they are error free.
  • Arya samaj rejected idolatry and supported the cause of Women empowerment.
  • This movement was particularly active in Punjab.
Theosophical Society
  • This movement was founded by Madam H.P. Blavatsky in the Unites States in 1875. Later she was joined by Colonel M.S. Olcott.
  • The society believed in re-incarnation, Karma and draws insight from the philosophy of the Upanishads, Samkhya, yoga and vedanta.
  • In India, the headquarter of Theosophical Society was in Adyar.
Young Bengal Movement
  • Henry Vivian Derozio (1809-1831) was the founder of Young Bengal Movement.
  • The followers of Young Bengal Movement were known as the Derozians.
  • Old traditions and decadent corrupt customs, were attacked through the Movement.
  • It believed in rational thinking.
  • They advocated for women's rights and education.
Swami Vivekananda
  • He Mentioned as the Science is based on the reasoning, in the same way religion should also be based upon sound reasoning in order to justify it.
  • He infused a pride of India's past in the new generation.
Ramakrishna Mission
  • It is a charitable society formed by Swami Vivekananda in 1897 at Belur.
  • The focus of Ramkrishna Mission was on social work through the establishment of schools, colleges, orphanages, hospitals etc.
Jyotirao Phule (1827-90)
  • Phule founded the Satyashodhak Samaj in 1873.
  • Phule made efforts for the complete abolition of the caste system and removal of socio-economic disparities which were prevalent in the society.
  • He also gave his support for widow Remarriage.
The Satyasodhaks of Maharashtra:
  • The social structure of Maharashtra was divided into Brahmans, non-Brahmans and the Brahmans were generally the priests, landowners, estate managers and government servants, and thus concentrated the entire power within themselves.
  • Jyotirao Phule challenged the power of Brahmans. Realizing that even lower castes were also divided, Phule tried to use a strategy in which he depicted all the shudras and Ati-shudras (untouchables) as the forgotten descendants of the heroic race of Kshatriyas of ancient India, led by the mythical deity king Bali.
  • Phule accepted the Aryan race theory as the basis of the Indian caste system in order to unite all lower caste people but inverted it to serve his own radical aims.
  • The Satya Sodhaks under leadership of Mahatma Phule challenged the cultural and religious domination of Brahmans.
  • In the Junnar campaign (1884) of the Satya sodhaks, the service castes refused to visit Brahmins, peasant cultivators (or Kunbis) refused to plough the lands of Brahmin landlords and Brahmans were not invited to conduct marriage ceremonies.
Perceptions of Islamic Reformers
Like Hindu social reformers, the Islamic reformers also perceived indigenous social structure in diverse ways.
Sayyid Ahmed Khan (1817-98)
  • Sayyid Ahmed Khan (1817-98), fascinated with western science, and knowledge felt depressed with the state of decadence of Muslim society in particular and India in general.
  • To overcome this state of indigenous society, he felt that some of the innovative features of English society-its discipline,orders efficiency and high level of literacy along with science and technology-must be adopted by the Muslim community.
  • Sayyid Ahmed addressed himself to the members of ashraf (respectful descendents of past rulers) and stressed the importance of ancestry and social status.
  • He believed that western education and knowledge through institutions like the Mahammadan Anglo-Oriental College of Aligarh (1875) would create a generation of leaders who would unite the depressed Muslims into a single quam, a community no longer divided by sectarian strife, class tensions and issues of language.
Aligarh Movement
  • It was established by Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan for Social and Educational revival of Muslims.
  • He advocated a scientific approach towards religion.
  • This movement in its later stages became anti congress and pro-British.
Deoband Movement
  • Orthodox section among the Muslim Ulemas tried to revive the ideas of Islamism and tried to propagate the pure meaning of Quran and Hadis.
  • As this movement began after the foundation of the Dar-ul-Ulum at Deoband that is why this is known as Deoband Movement.
  • Deoband Movement supported formation of Indian National Congress.
Ahmadia Movement
  • It was established by Mirza Gulam Ahmad at Qadiani in Punjab, towards the end of the 19th century.
  • It is also known as Qadiani movement.
  • The focus of movement was on reforming Islam and defending it against the assault of Christian missionaries and the Arya Samajists.
Reform in Sikh Religion
In the 19th century Religious reform among the Sikhs had started.
  • This movement was founded by Baba Dayal Das (1783-1855).
  • The objective of the movement was revival of Sikhism to its origin and this emphasized on the worship of one God and nirankar, which is formless.
  • Therefore, it rejected idolatry and also prohibited eating meat, lying, cheating, drinking liquor etc.
  • This movement was Founded by Baba Ram Singh (1816-1885) in 1857.
  • It is also known as Kuka Movement.
  • Namdharis accepted the learning taught by Guru Gobind Singh without any influence of other religions and fully relied on Adi Granth and considered it the only true holy book of their religion.
Singh Sabhas
  • Singh Sabha Movement was foccussed on reviving Sikhism.
  • It has much deeper impacts than the Namdhari and Nirankari Movement.
  • Only those things were accepted which were in consonance with the teaching of Gurus.
  • This movement was basically in response to the activities of Arya Smajist, Christian Missionaries, Muslim Maulvis etc.

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