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The Making of the National Movement
Indian history is excessively rich. One event that played a major role in the independence of the country was the National Movement of India. The commencement of the National Movement was not an overnight thing. Started in the year 1947, it was a process that took several years to bear fruits. There were several reasons that contributed to ‘The Making of the National Movement’ in India. Here, let’s discuss some of them.
Onset of Nationalism in India
India as a nation has witnessed an increase in nationalistic feelings somewhere in the latter half of the 19th century. Prior to that, there were mini battles here and there but nothing much at the national level as such. We may say that with the onset of the Indian National Congress, this nation saw a surge of patriotism and a desire to fight against the oppression of British rule collectively with an organized means.
Causes of the National Movement
For any movement to take roots there are several causes that lead up to the final culmination point. Similarly, the making of the National Movement is a result of many things that eventually led to the creation of the Indian National Congress. Some of these reasons are briefly listed here.
British came up with several educational institutes in the nation to ensure that their local subjects could understand their language. The motive behind this was to enable the subjects to serve the Raj better. However, things didn’t go as planned.
The language helped the educated Indians to better understand the world. It instilled in their ideas of liberty and equality that were propagated by many European liberal thinkers. This helped to unite India in a common goal.
Unity through Language
Since the educated elite of India came from all parts of the country, so the language could often become a barrier, but with the introduction of the English language, the thinkers from across the nation found a common language to communicate their ideas, surpassing the barriers of language.
These same people would take their knowledge and spread it across to other parts of the country by propagating them in their respective languages, thereby spreading the revolutionary ideas far and wide.
Some revolutionary thinkers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy challenged the conventional and biased orders of the society and enlightened people about the various social evils plaguing our nation. With the rise of knowledge in this department, the nation witnessed the rise of evolving new generation of revolutionaries.
An interesting fact to know is that Indian women never had to bring about a suffragette separately like the USA or France and other developed nations. The fight for the equality of women was a part of the freedom struggle. Many prominent Indian women were part of the freedom movement and were an example of empowered women.
British Economic Policies
The economic policies propounded by the British resulted in widespread poverty and hunger in India. Famines were a constant occurrence leading to lakhs dying. This instilled a feeling of deep-seated resentment against the British, which in turn led to the national movement.
Building of Infrastructure
British built infrastructure such as roads, railways, and telegraph systems in order to improve trade within the country. This, however, helped in connecting the nation. People could easily move from one place to another and also communicate with each other through means of a telegraph, which helped to propagate the idea of nationalism far and wide.
Introduction to Press
With the presence of the press, Indians found a way of circulating their angst against the British Monarch by nationalistic journals in vernacular language and circulating it.
Policies of Lord Lytton
Lord Lytton, the viceroy of India from 1876 to 1880 is credited with one of the biggest famines in south India which claimed the lives of over 10 million people. At the time when India was reeling with the shortage of food and dying of hunger, he would conduct Dilli Durbar in the year 1877, spending obnoxiously on such luxuries.
He is also credited with passing the Vernacular Press Act of 1878 under which all the press material was confiscated as ‘seditious material’. He also is responsible for passing the Arms Act which prohibited Indians from carrying arms. All these arbitrary laws led to excessive anger in Indians which eventually led to the national movement.
Ilbert Bill Controversy
The Ilbert bill introduced in 1883 gave Indian judges a right to try Europeans in Indian Courts. This was widely protested against by the British and exhibited the deep-seated prejudice against Indians.
What was the reason for dissatisfaction against the British Rule in India?
The dissatisfaction with the British Rule was the result of arbitrary policies introduced by the British Government and the oppressive treatment meted out to the Indians by British officials. Further, several acts and polities too attributed to this. These were:
- Armst Act: It prohibited Indians from carrying weapons.
- Vernacular Press Act: It led to shutting down of press and confiscation of national journals, citing them as seditious materials”.
- Lytton’s Policies: Lord Lytton’s indifference towards the growing hunger and famines in the country and exorbitant expenditure on the Dilli Durbar led to frustration among Indians. Thus, creating a sense of dissatisfaction with the British Rule.