Nationalism is an ideology which involves an individual’s devotion and love as well as loyalty towards his country. This love surpasses all other interests and concerns of that individual or group.
Nationalism is a modern movement which has been experienced globally for freedom and uplifting society. People are attached to their native soil and country, and this feeling remains even if the person goes to a foreign country to work or study. It is a part of one’s traditions, and the feeling of nationalism has been recognized to a huge extent since the middle of the 18th century. This sentiment has since then molded private as well as public life to a great extent.
It has a dynamic vitality and an all-pervading character and is considered to be a permanent factor in politics. Apart from India, there has been freedom revolutions in America, France as well as Russia which were powerful examples of nationalism.
During the Indian independence movement, nationalism flourished in India. This movement was led by several brave soldiers of freedom and Mahatma Gandhi. He showed the path of non-violence and patience to get freedom and hence he is called as the father of the nation. The freedom fighters fought against the British Raj or the colonial and oppressive rule of the Britishers. There was a national consciousness present in India at all times, or broadly you can call it the Indian subcontinent even though it was not articulated in actual modern terms.
Factors that contributed to the growth of Indian nationalism:
- Political and Administrative Unity: The oppression of the Britishers led to the creation of a centralized state in India. Earlier India was divided by rules of different kings and feudal, but with British rule, there came political and administrative unity to fight for the nation.
- English Language and Western Education: As people got educated and came to know about the education system of the west, they became liberal in their thoughts. This education was imparted by progressive Indians, Christian missionaries as well as the British government.
- Development of Transport and Means of Communication: Modern and faster means of communication and transport brought people closer to each other and exchange of information became quick and efficient.
- The emergence of Modern Press: Printing press was introduced in India and Raja Ram Mohan Roy founded the nationalist press in the country. This led to an exchange of ideas on a massive scale.
- Economic Exploitation: There was huge economic exploitation done by the Britishers and Indian industries, and small-scale businesses were destroyed by the British rulers.
- The revival of Glorious Indian Heritage: Some western scholars revived the glorious history of India and removed the inferiority complex from the minds of Indian people. As a result, they were motivated for freedom fight.
- Impact of International Events: American and French revolution as well as freedom movements in other countries of the world, had a huge impact on the Indian freedom movement.
- Other notable reasons include Social and Religious Reform Movements. Repressive policies and Racial Arrogance of the British and the Emergence of Conscious Middle Class in India.
Indian nationalism can be considered as an example of territorial nationalism in which almost all of its people participated in spite of their ethnic, religious and cultural diversities. Even to date, the Indian national movement influences the politics of India to a great extent, and it reflects opposition to the division by sects such as Muslim nationalism and Hindu nationalism. Only a feeling of nationalism can keep us united.