Rise of Nationalism and freedom movement in India

The Period of 19th played an important role in the development of national consciousness all around the country and spread the idea of nationalism in each and every section of the society. Reformers such as Raja Ram Mohun Roy, Mahatma Gandhi, etc. played an important role in the transformation of the society in the 19th Century in the country. Although, the British are said to be the foster parents of the Indian Nationalism, it is an established fact that the Congress was the natural and inevitable product of various political, economic and social forces of the 19th Century. It built solidarity and friendship among the people, strengthened the feeling of national unity and integrity, educated and demonstrated people’s right and led Nationalist Movement.

The failure of the Indian Independence Struggle in the 1857 also saw the rapid increase in the growth of nationalism in the country and the common people felt aggrieved and frustrated because of the British Rule in India and so they decided that it’s time to unite against the British Rule in India and so they decided that it’s time to unite against the British discriminatory policies and the mental and emotional torture that were suffered among the common people against the Britishers and hence it resulted in the development of nationalism in India. The uniform system of administration, development of post and telegraph, railways, printing press and educational institutions created by the British were instrumental in providing favorable conditions for the rise and growth of national movement. Though their main objective was to enable an effective administration .


  • Antagonism of the Indian People towards British Rule

British used to torture and suppress the Indians in the best possible way in terms of political, social, cultural, military, economically, etc. The Indian People had became habituated of the exploitation and suppression which were done upon them by the Britishers but at one point of time they became saturated and so they decided to take an action against the suppression of the British Rule in the Country and so it led to the growth of nationalism in the country and hatred against the British Rule in India became favorable for the growth of national movement in the country.

  • Political and Administrative Unification

By 1818, the British stood as paramount over the whole of India. After suppression of the Revolt of 1857, the country came under the direct control of the British. So the British had the direct advantage of exploitation in the country in terms of political power. The Indians were given the lowest positions in the government works and the army. There, they were exploited in the worst possible and hence their self-dignity and respect were lost. So the feeling of hatred and unification of army among these people grew stronger. Also the laws which were made by the Britishers in the country were made uniform and the equality before law became an important factor for unifying the country. So, a common system of administration and uniformity of laws throughout the country promoted the feelings of commonness and unity among in different sections of the society and hence it created the feeling and rise of nationalism in India.

  • Economic Exploitation- Economic Exploitation can be explained widely and deeply because it includes long list of economic things which created the feeling of nationalism among the common citizens of the country. The growth of telephone, railways, factories, postal offices, fax etc helped in the economic way of creating the feeling of growth of nationalism in the country.

The economic changes led to growing interdependence between different parts of the country and making life easier for the common people. But the actual motive behind these developments was necessities of administrative convenience, considerations of military defense, and the urge for economic penetration and commercial exploitation. Dadabhai Nauroji in his book, Poverty and Un-British Rule in India made poverty his special area of research and proved that British Policies were responsible for the drain of wealth from India. But, from Nationalist point view, this process of unification has two fold effects, which are as follows-

Economic Fate of the People of different regions got linked together. Modern means of transport and communications brought leaders from different regions together. This facilitated the mobilization of political and economic issues and public opinion.


The spread of modern education was an important tool in the rise of nationalism in India and to fight against the British. The British objective of introduction of English was limited. They needed Indians with English Education to work at the lower levels of administration.

Indian leaders like Raja Ram Mohun Roy welcomed this step for different reasons. They thought that spread of education would bring advanced knowledge of the world to the people of India.

In the second half of the 19th century, the educated Indians became familiar with the literature in European languages as well as with the happenings elsewhere in the world. They were aware about American and French Revolutions. They got the essence of democracy, equality and nationalism. There they saw the working of modern political institutions in a free country and compared that system with the Indian situation where even basic rights were denied to the citizens.


The role of pressure and literature played a very important role in the development of the nationalism in India. Newspapers published in Vernaculars, Hindi and English were spread to all the parts of the country. With the helped of fax and print, the newspapers were given the boost in India as they were provided at door to door and the people could know the daily happenings and events that were happening around the country. With proper printing and information these newspapers were published and were a great source of information for the common people around the country as the people became aware of the daily happenings around the country. The role of press had two folds, one criticizing the official policies and two, urge the people to fight against the oppressive British Rule in India and to unite. It helped to spread the modern ideas of self-government, democracy, civil rights and industrialization. It also helped in exchange of the ideas of nationalist’s leaders from different regions. Indian newspaper grew rapidly in late 19th Century; papers like Amrita Bazaar Patrika and the Hindu became powerful tools to address the grievances of Common People. Newspapers such as Dainik Bhaskar, Punjab Kesari etc also became most important source of information for the common people in India and it really helped them being aware of the day to day outings in the country. Freedom Fighters used it as a tool to fight against the oppressive of British Rule in India and spread the spirit of freedom and justice for all the sections of the people in the country and to remove the British Rule in India.


The Historical Research of European and Indian Scholars created an entirely new picture of India’s past. This picture of India’s past was characterized by

. Well developed economic, political and social institutions.

. Flourishing trade with the outside world

. Rich heritage in arts and culture

. Importance of numerous cities of India

It must be noted, that a new theory is put forward by European Scholar, which claims that Indo-Aryans belonged to the same ethnic group. This theory gave psychological boost to the educated Indians. Thus, self-respect and confidence gained by nationalists helped to demolish colonial myths.


Socio-Religious Reform Movements played a very crucial role in promoting awareness of the problems of Indian Society and a sense of unity among people. Efforts to remove social evils and inequalities in society and condemnation of superstitious and narrowness of outlook also helped people become aware of their political right. Swadesi Movement 1905- The movemrent which started during India’s struggle for freedom focused on removing the British Empire from power by becoming Swadesh that is self sufficient. A lot of Indians came forward in support of the movement and boycotted foreign goods. They burnt all the imported clothes they had, boycotted British products and revived the production of domestic commodities. It gave people to power to speak against the authority and the courage to express their views. Satyagraha- Probably one of the most noted movements in Indian History, Satyagraha brought thousands of people together in a peaceful way. The non-vio;lence movement started by Mahatma Gandhi to send the British back to their country and leave India free of foreign rule did eventually taste success. Save Silent Movement- A social movement aimed at the protection of Silent Valley, an evergreen tropical forest in the Palakkad district of Kerala, started in 1973 brought many activists and people together. The protest was focused on stopping the valley from being flooded by a hydroelectric project. The controversy surrounding the valley still exists and people are still waiting for the final result.


The innovations in the field of economy and administration gave rise to a new urban middle class in towns. They had varied backgrounds but common foreground of ideas, knowledge and values. The middle class was a minority in Indian Society. But this minority was a dynamic minority. They had a sense of unity of unity and hope. It must be noted here that, the leadership to the INC in all stages of growth was provided by this class.

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