- Indian nationalism
Indian nationalism refers to the consciousness and expression of political, social, religious and ethnic influences that help mould
Indian national consciousness.
Indian Nationalism describes the many underlying forces that moulded the
Indian independence movement, and strongly continue to influence the politics of India, as well as being the heart of many contrasting ideologies that have caused ethnic and religious conflict in Indian society. It should be noted that Indian nationalism often imbibes the consciousness of Indians that prior to 1947, India embodied the broader Indian subcontinentand influenced a part of Asia, known as Greater India.
National consciousness in India
India has been unified under many emperors and governments in history. Ancient texts mention India under
emperor Bharataand Akhand Bharat, these regions roughly form the entities of modern day greater India. Ashokan India began from the eastern heart of modern India, stretched into modern Bangladeshand Pakistan. In addition, India has also been unified under a central governmentby empires, such as the Mughal empireand the British Raj.
Conception of Pan-South Asianism
India's concept of nationhood is based not merely on territorial extent of its sovereignty. Nationalistic sentiments and expression encompass that India's ancient historyFact|date=February 2008, as the birthplace of the
Indus Valley Civilization, and of four major world religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainismand Sikhism. Indian nationalists see India stretching along these lines across the Indian subcontinent.
Ages of war and invasion
India today celebrates many kings and queens for combating foreign invasion and dominationFact|date=February 2008, such as
Shivajiof the Maratha Empire, Rani Laxmibaiof Jhansi, Kittur Chennamma, Maharana Pratapof Rajputana, Prithviraj Chauhan, who combated the Mahmud of Ghazniand Tipu Sultanwho fought the British. The kings of ancient India, such as Chandragupta Maurya and Emperor Ashoka of the Magadha Empire, are also remembered for their military genius, incredible conquests and remarkable religious tolerance.
Muslim kings are also a part of Indian prideFact|date=February 2008.
Akbarwas a powerful Mughal emperor who sought to resolve religious differences, and was known to have a good relationship with the Roman Catholic Church as well as with his subjects - Hindus, Buddhists Sikhs and Jains. He forged familial and political bonds with Hindu Rajputkings. Although previous Sultans had been more or less tolerant, Akbar took religious intermingling to new level of exploration. He developed for the first time in Islamic India an environment of complete religious freedom. Akbar undid most forms of religious discrimination, and invited the participation of wise Hindu ministers and kings, and even religious scholars to debate in his court.
Indian Independence Movement, Indian rebellion of 1857, Indian National Congress - Freedom Era"In the Indian rebellion of 1857, Indian soldiers and regional kings fought the forces allied with the British Empirein different parts of India. This event laid the foundation not only for a nationwide expression, but also future nationalism and conflict on religious and ethnic termsFact|date=February 2008.
The Indian desire for complete freedom, or "Swaraj", was born with
Bal Gangadhar Tilak, whose followers were the first to express the desire for complete independence, an idea that did not catch on until after World War I. When the Amritsar Massacreof hundreds of unarmed and innocent civilians by British forces took place in the same year, the Indian public was outraged and most of India's political leaders turned against the British.
The Gandhian era
Mohandas Gandhipioneered the art of " Satyagraha", typified with a strict adherence to ahimsa(non-violence), and civil disobedience. This permitted common individuals to engage the British in revolution, without employing violence or other distasteful means. Gandhi's equally strict adherence to democracy, religious and ethnic equality and brotherhood, as well as activist rejection of caste-based discrimination and untouchabilityunited people across these demographic lines for the first time in India's history. The masses could participate in India's freedom struggle for the first time, and the membership of the Congress grew over tens of millions by the 1930s. In addition, Gandhi's victories in the Champaran and Kheda Satyagrahain 1918-19, gave confidence to a rising younger generation of Indians that the British hegemony could be defeated. National leaders like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Azad, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, Mohandas Gandhi, Rajendra Prasadand Badshah Khanbrought together generations of Indians across regions and demographics, and provided a strong leadership base giving the country political direction.
More than just "Indian"
Demographics of India"
Indian nationalism is as much a diverse blend of nationalistic sentiments as its people are ethnically and religiously diverse. Thus the most influential undercurrents are more than just "Indian" in nature. The most controversial and emotionally-charged fiber in the fabric of Indian nationalism is religion. Religion forms a major, and in many cases, the central element of Indian life. Ethnic communities are diverse in terms of linguistics, social traditions and history across India.
An important influence upon Hindu consciousness arises from the time of
Islamic empires in India, during which many Hindu temples were destroyed and Hindus forcibly converted to Islam, and thousands killed by Muslim invaders. Entering the 20th century, Hindus formed over 75% of the population and thus unsurprisingly the backbone and platform of the nationalist movement. Modern Hindu thinking desired to unite Hindu society across the boundaries of caste, lingustic groups and ethnicity. In 1925, K.B. Hedgewarfounded the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sanghin Nagpur, Maharashtra, which grew into the largest civil organization in the country, and more potent, mainstream base of Hindu nationalism. Vinayak Damodar Savarkarcoined the term " Hindutva" for his ideology that described India as a " Hindu Rashtra", a Hindu nation. This ideology has become the cornerstone of the political and religious agendas of modern Hindu nationalist bodies like the Bharatiya Janata Partyand the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Hindutva political demands include revoking Article 370 of the Constitution that grants a special semi-autonomous status to the Muslim-majority state of Kashmir, adopting a uniform civil code, thus ending a special legal framework for Muslims. These particular demands are based upon ending laws that Hindu nationalists consider as offering special treatment to Muslims. Demands like banning cow slaughter and building a Ram Janmabhoomitemple in Ayodhya.
In 1906-1907, the
All India Muslim Leaguewas founded, created due to the suspicion of Muslim intellectuals and religious leaders with the Indian National Congress, which was perceived as dominated by Hindu membership and opinions. However, Mahatma Gandhi's leadership attracted a wide array of Muslims to the freedom struggle and the Congress Party. The Aligarh Muslim Universityand the Jamia Millia Islamiastand apart - the former was averse to the freedom struggle, while the JMI was founded to promote Muslim education and consciousness upon nationalistic and Gandhian values and thought.
While prominent Muslims like
Allama Iqbaland Muhammad Ali Jinnahembraced the notion that Hindus and Muslims were distinct nations, other major leaders like Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, Maulana Azad, Badshah Khan, Hakim Ajmal Khanstrongly backed the leadership of Mahatma Gandhiand the Indian freedom struggle, opposing any notion of Muslim separatism. This school of Muslim nationalism did not enjoy much support in the provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan and Bengal, where the Muslim Leagueenjoyed extensive political power, and where Pakistan was ultimately formed. Zakir Hussain, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmedand A.P.J. Abdul Kalamwere all Muslims, and holders of the Presidency of the Republic. Actors Shah Rukh Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, Aamir Khan, music legends Zakir Hussain, Amjad Ali Khanand cricketers Syed Kirmani, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Mushtaq Aliand Mohammad Azharuddinare icons to the Indian public.
Nationalism and politics
Politics of India"The political identity of the Indian National Congress, India's largest political party and one which controlled government for over 45 years, is reliant on the connection to Mahatma Gandhiand Jawaharlal Nehru, and the Nehru-Gandhi familywhich has controlled the Congress since independence. The Congress Party's fortunes up till the 1970s were single-handedly propelled by its legacy as the flagship of India's Independence Movement, and the core platform of the party today evokes that past strongly, considering itself to be the guardian of India's freedom, democracy and unity. Muslims have remained loyal voters of the Congress Party, seen as defender of Nehruvian secularismFact|date=February 2008. Small religious parties have arisen, and Muslim frustrations with communal violence and the aggressive attitudes of Hindu nationalists might lead to the development of a party solely on Islamic religious lines. In contrast, the Bharatiya Janata Partyemploys a more aggressively nationalistic expression. The BJP seeks to defend the culture and heritage of India and the majority of its people, the Hindupopulation. It ties nationalism with the aggressive defence of India's borders and interests against archrivals Chinaand Pakistan, with the defence of the majority's right to be a majority.
Religious nationalist parties include the
Shiromani Akali Dal, which is closely identified with the creation of a Sikh-majority state in Punjab and includes many Sikh religious leaders in its organization. In Maharashtra, the Shiv Senauses the legacy of the independent Marathakingdom under heroes like Shivajito stir up support, and has adopted Hindutvaas well. In Assam, the Asom Gana Parishadis a more state-focused party, arising after the frustration of the ULFAas a benevolent expression of Assamese nationalism. In Tamil Naducame the first of such parties, the DMK. Today the DMK stands for a collection of partiesFact|date=February 2008, with the DMK, the AIADMK, the PMKand the MDMK. Caste-based politics invite the participation of the Bahujan Samaj Partyand the party of Laloo Prasad Yadav, who build upon the support of poor low-caste and dalit Hindusin the northern, and most populated states of India like Uttar Pradeshand Bihar. Almost every Indian state has a regional party devoted solely to the culture of the native people of that state.
Nationalism and military conflicts
Indo-Pakistani Wars, Military History of India"
Military history, both past and present, serves as a source of nationalist sentiment in IndiaFact|date=February 2008.
Jonah Blank"Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God"
* J. N. Dixit "India and Pakistan in War and Peace"
* Katherine Frank "Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi"
* M.K. Gandhi "My Autobiography, or the Story of my Experiments with Truth"
Rajmohan Gandhi"Patel: A Life"
Jawaharlal Nehru"Discovery of India"
Stanley Wolpert"A New History of India"
BusinessWeek"; August 12, 2005; "Chindia": "China and India special feature"
* Haug, Martin and Basu, Major B. D. (1974). "The Aitareya Brahmanam of the Rigveda, Containing the Earliest Speculations of the Brahmans on the Meaning of the Sacrificial Prayers". ISBN 0-404-57848-9
* Thurston, Hugh (1994). "Early Astronomy". Springer-Verlag, New York. ISBN 0-387-94107-X
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