Chapter 39 The Indian National Movement: The Ideological Dimension The Indian national movement, in fact, provides the only actual historical example of a semi-democratic or democratic type of political structure being successfully replaced or transformed. The Indian national movement is also an example of how the constitutional space offered by the existing structure could be used without getting co-opted by it. The Indian national movement is perhaps one of the best examples of the creation of an extremely wide movement with a common aim in which diverse political and ideological currents could exist and work and simultaneously continue to contend for overall ideological political hegemony over it. While intense debate on all basic Issues was allowed, the diversity and tension did not weaken the cohesion and striking power of the movement; on the contrary, this diversity and atmosphere of freedom and debate became a major source of its strength. Today, over forty years after independence, we are still close enough to the freedom struggle to feel its warmth and yet far enough to be able to analyze it coolly, and with the advantage of hindsight. Analyze it we must, for our past, present and future are inextricably linked to it.
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Chapter 39 The Indian National Movement: The Ideological Dimension The Indian national movement, in fact, provides the only actual historical example of a semi-democratic or democratic type of political structure being successfully replaced or transformed. The Indian national movement is also an example of how the constitutional space offered by the existing structure could be used without getting co-opted by it.
The Indian national movement is perhaps one of the best examples of the creation of an extremely wide movement with a common aim in which diverse political and ideological currents could exist and work and simultaneously continue to contend for overall ideological political hegemony over it.
While intense debate on all basic Issues was allowed, the diversity and tension did not weaken the cohesion and striking power of the movement; on the contrary, this diversity and atmosphere of freedom and debate became a major source of its strength.
Today, over forty years after independence, we are still close enough to the freedom struggle to feel its warmth and yet far enough to be able to analyze it coolly, and with the advantage of hindsight. Analyze it we must, for our past, present and future are inextricably linked to it. Men and women in every age and society make their own history, but they do not make it in a historical vacuum, de novo.
Their efforts, however innovative, at finding solutions to their problems in the present and charting out their future, are guided and circumscribed, moulded and conditioned, by their respective histories, their inherited economic, political and ideological structures.
To make myself clearer, the path that India has followed since has deep roots in the struggle for independence. What are the outstanding features of the freedom struggle?
A major aspect is the values and modern ideals on which the movement itself was based and the broad socio-economic and political vision of its leadership this vision was that of a democratic, civil libertarian and secular India, based on a self- reliant, egalitarian social order and an independent foreign policy.
The movement popularized democratic ideas and institutions in India. The nationalists fought for the introduction of a representative government on the basis of popular elections and demanded that elections be based on adult franchise. The Indian National Congress was organized on a democratic basis and in the form of a parliament. It not only permitted but encouraged free expression of opinion within the party and the movement; some of the most important decisions in its history were taken after heated debates and on the basis of open voting.
From the beginning the nationalists fought against attacks by the State on the freedoms of the Press, expression and association, and made the struggle for these freedoms an integral part of the national movement. During their brief spell in power, from , the Congress ministries greatly extended the scope of civil liberties. The defence of civil liberties was not narrowly conceived in terms of one political group, but was extended to include the defence of other groups whose views were politically and ideologically different.
The Moderates defended Tilak, the Extremist, and non-violent Congressmen passionately defended revolutionary terrorists and communists alike during their trials. It was this strong civil libertarian and democratic tradition of the national movement which was reflected in the Constitution of independent India.
The freedom struggle was also a struggle for economic development. In time an economic ideology developed which was to dominate the views of independent India.
The national movement accepted, with near unanimity, the need to develop India on the basis of industrialization which in turn was to be independent of foreign capital and was to rely on the indigenous capital goods sector.
From the initial stages, the movement adopted a pro-poor orientation which was strengthened with the advent of Gandhi and the rise of the leftists who struggled to make the movement adopt a socialist outlook. The movement also increasingly moved towards a programme of radical agrarian reform. However, socialism did not, at any stage, become the official goal of the Indian National Congress though there was a great deal of debate around it within the national movement and the Indian National Congress during the s and s.
For various reasons, despite the existence of a powerful leftist trend within the nationalist mainstream, the dominant vision within the Congress did not transcend the parameters of a capitalist conception of society. The national movement was, from its early days, fully committed to secularism. Its leadership fought hard to inculcate secular values among the people and opposed the growth of communalism. And, despite the partition of India and the accompanying communal holocaust, it did succeed in enshrining secularism in the Constitution of free India.
It was never inward looking. Since the days of Raja Rammohan Roy, Indian leaders had developed a broad international outlook. Over the years, they evolved a policy of opposition to imperialism on a world-wide scale and solidarity with anti-colonial movements in other parts of the world. They established the principle that Indians should hate British imperialism but not the British people. Consequently, they were supported by a large number of English men, women and political groups.
They maintained close links with the progressive, anti-colonial and anti-capitalist forces of the world. A non-racist, anti-imperialist outlook, which continues to characterize Indian foreign policy, was thus part of the legacy of the anti-imperialist struggle.
This volume has been written within a broad framework that the authors, their colleagues and students have evolved and are in the process of evolving through ongoing research on and study of the Indian national movement.
We have in the preparation of this volume extensively used existing published and unpublished monographs, archival material, private papers, and newspapers. Our understanding also owes a great deal to our recorded interviews with over 1, men and women who participated in the movement from onwards.
However, references to these sources have, for the ease of the reader and due to constraints of space, been kept to the minimum and, in fact, have been confined mostly to citations of quoted statements and to works readily available in a good library. For the same reason, though the Indian national movement has so far been viewed from a wide variety of historiographic perspectives ranging from the hard-core imperialist to the Marxist, and though various stereotypes and shibboleths about it exist, we have generally avoided entering into a debate with those whose positions and analyses differ from our own — except occasionally, as in the case of Chapter 4, on the origin of the Indian National Congress, which counters the hoary perennial theory of the Congress being founded as a safety valve.
In all fairness to the reader, we have only briefly delineated the basic contours of major historiographical trends, indicated our differences with them, and outlined the alternative framework within which this volume has been written. We differ widely from the imperialist approach which first emerged in the official pronouncements of the Viceroys, Lords Dufferin, Curzon and Minto, and the Secretary of State, George Hamilton. It was first cogently put forward by V.
It was theorized, for the first time, by Bruce T. McCully, an American scholar, in Gallagher and their students and followers after Since the liberal version is no longer fashionable in academic circles, we will ignore it here due to shortage of space.
The conservative colonial administrators and the imperialist school of historians, popularly known as the Cambridge School, deny the existence of colonialism as an economic, political, social and cultural structure in India. Colonialism is seen by them primarily as foreign rule. They either do not see or vehemently deny that the economic, social, cultural and political development of India required the overthrow of colonialism. Thus, their analysis of the national movement is based on the denial of the basic contradiction between the interests of the Indian people and of British colonialism and causative role this contradiction played in the rise of the national movement.
Consequently, they implicitly or explicitly deny that the Indian national movement represented the Indian side of this contradiction or that it was anti-imperialist that is, it opposed British imperialism in India. The imperialist writers deny that India was in the process of becoming a nation and believe that what is called India in fact consisted of religions, castes, communities and interests.
Thus, the grouping of Indian politics around the concept of an Indian nation or an Indian people or social classes is not recognized by them. There were instead, they said, pre-existing Hindu-Muslim, Brahmin, Non-Brahmin, Aryan, Bhadralok cultured people and other similar identities.
They say that these prescriptive groups based on caste and religion are the real basis of political organization and, as such, caste and religion-based politics are primary and nationalism a mere cover. If the Indian national movement did not express the interests of the Indian people vis-a-vis imperialism, then whose interests did it represent?
Once again the main lines of the answer and argument were worked out by late 19 th century and early 20th century officials and imperialist spokesmen. Thus, the elite groups, and their needs and interests, provide the origin as well as the driving force of the idea, ideology and movement of nationalism.
These groups were sometimes formed around religious or caste identities and sometimes through political connections built around patronage. But, in each case, these groups had a narrow, selfish interest in opposing British rule or each other. Nationalism, then, is seen primarily as a mere ideology which these elite groups used to legitimize their narrow ambitions and to mobilize public support.
The national movement was merely an instrument used by the elite groups to mobilize the masses and to satisfy their own interests. Gallagher, Seal and their students have added to this viewpoint. The main British contribution to the rise and growth of the national movement, then, was that British rule sharpened mutual jealousies and struggles among Indians and created new fields and institutions for their mutual rivalry.
Seal, Gallagher and their students also extended the basis on which the elite groups were formed. They followed and added to the viewpoint of the British historian Lewis Namier and contended that these groups were formed on the basis of patron- client relationships.
They theorize that, as the British extended administrative, economic and political power to the localities and provinces, local potentates started organizing politics by acquiring clients and patrons whose interests they served, and who in turn served their interests. Indian politics began to be formed through the links of this patron-client chain.
Gradually, bigger leaders emerged who undertook to act as brokers to link together the politics of the local potentates, and eventually, because British rule encompassed the whole of India, all-India brokers emerged. To operate successfully, these all-India brokers needed province level brokers at the lower levels, and needed to involve clients in the national movement. The second level leaders are also described as sub-contractors. Seal says the chief political brokers were Gandhi, Nehru, and Patel.
And according to these historians, the people themselves, those whose fortunes were affected by all this power brokering, came in only in After that, we are told, their existential grievances such as war, inflation, disease, drought or depression — which had nothing to do with colonialism — were cleverly used to bamboozle them into participating in this factional struggle of the potentates.
Thus, this school of historians treats the Indian national movement as a cloak for the struggle for power between various sections of the Indian elite, and between them and the foreign elite, thus effectively denying its existence and legitimacy as a movement of the Indian people fr the overthrow of imperialism and for the establishment of an indep1ident nation state.
Categories of nation, class, mobilization, ideology, etc. This view not only denies the existence of colonial exploitation and underdevelopment, and The central contradiction, but also any idealism on the part of those who sacrificed their lives for the anti-imperialist cause.
Moreover, it denies any intelligent or active role to the mass of workers, peasant lower middle class and women in the anti-imperialist Struggle. They are treated as a child-people or dumb creatures who had no perception of their needs and interests. One wonders why the colonial rulers did not succeed in mobilizing them behind their own politics! For them, the basic contradiction in Indian society in the colonial epoch was between the elite, both Indian and foreign, on the one hand, and the subaltern groups, on the other, and not between Colonialism and the Indian people.
They believe that the Indian people were never united in a common anti-imperialist struggle, that there was no such entity as the Indian national movement.
Instead, they assert that there were two distinct movements or streams, the real anti-imperialist stream of the subalterns and the bogus national movement of the elite. Consequently, it too denies the legitimacy of the actual, historical anti- colonial struggle that the Indian people waged.
The other major approach is nationalist historiography. In the colonial period, this school was represented by political activists such as Lajpat Rai, A. Mazumdar, R. Andrews, and Girija Mukerji. More recently, B. Nanda, Bisheshwar Prasad and Amles Tripathi have made distinguished contributions within the framework of this approach. The nationalist historians, especially the more recent ones, show an awareness of the exploitative character of colonialism, but on the whole they feel that the national movement was the result of the spread and realization of the idea or spirit of nationalism or liberty.
They also take full cognizance of the process of India becoming a nation, and see the national movement as a movement of the people. Their major weakness, however, is that they tend to ignore or, at least, underplay the inner contradictions of Indian society both in terms of class and caste.
They tend to ignore the fact that while the national movement represented the interests of the people or nation as a whole that is, of all classes vis-a-vis colonialism it only did so from a particular class perspective, and that, consequently, there was a constant struggle between different social, ideological perspectives for hegemony over the movement.
They also usually take up the position adopted by the right wing of the national movement and equate it with the movement as a whole. Their treatment of the strategic and ideological dimensions of the movement is also inadequate.
Indias Struggle For Independence By Bipan Chandra Book PDF
Indian freedom struggle is one of the most important parts of its history. A lot has been written and said about it, but there still remains a gap. Rarely do we get to hear accounts of the independence from the entire country and not just one region at one place. This book fits in perfectly in this gap and also provides a narration on the impact this movement had on the people. It is one of the most accurate books which have been painstakingly written after thorough research based on legal and valid verbal and written sources. This book includes all the independence movements and fights, irrespective of their size and impact, covering India in its entirety.
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Radhakrishnan, called him one of the "makers of Modern India," One of his most influential works is the book Satyarth Prakash, which contributed to the Indian independence movement. They became more and more dissatisfied with the British rule. Many of these people, and some Englishmen who supported them, came together in and formed the Indian National Congress. Founders of Indian National Congress included A. Hume,Dadabhai Naoroji and Dinshaw Wacha. Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee was the first president and A. Hume was General Secretary.
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