1] Discuss the Dalit perspective on Indian national movement. [2019/10m/150w/5b]
2] National movement in India was anti-imperialist and increasingly radical in its socio-economic and political programmes. Discuss. [2019/20m/250w/6a]
3] The Revolt of 1857 was a ‘sepoy mutiny’ or ‘first war of independence’. Discuss. [2018/10m/150w/5a]
4] Discuss the nature of Peasants Movements during the Indian freedom struggle.
5] Marxist understanding of India’s freedom movement.
Explain how peasant movements promoted nationalist ideas during the struggle for Indian independence.
6] Account for the two trends – secular and religious – in the evolution of Indian nationalism.
7] Analyze the liberal perspective on Indian National Movement.
1] Discuss the Dalit perspective on Indian national movement.
Indian National Movement was a long process, which involved almost entire society of India. However, there is also a voice that the mainstream projection of freedom struggle is a ‘discourse’ and ignores many other ‘micro-narratives’.
Dalit perspective is one such narrative. The nationalist movement concerned itself with expelling British and reviving India as a nation. The conditions of Dalits however, was no better under indigenous government. With entrenched caste system in Indian society, mere Independence would not improved their situation.
Thus we see that prominent Dalit leaders like BR Ambedkar concerned themselves more with Dalit issues rather than national issues. Instead it was urgency for them since ‘impartiality’ of British could be used to ensure Dalit rights.
Dalit perspectives sees national movement as ‘elite’ movement. Ambedkar argued that ‘Gandhi never kept fast to abolish untouchability’. Even the movements in South India like self-respect movement focused more on social issues than national concerns.
It is unfortunate that British oppression policies had created a strong anti-British sentiment amongst Indians, but there was no recognition of Dalit situation to same degree. Dalits had to fight their own nationals to acquire their rights and some leaders were even insecure with British leaving India.
2] National movement in India was anti-imperialist and increasingly radical in its socio-economic and political programmes. Discuss.
Although spread over generations, Indian nationalist movement marks unique continuity in its agenda and methods. It evolved from a moderate constitutional struggle against British rule to an ultimate call for ‘do or die’ in 1942.
The revolt of 1857 can be considered as a new phase of nationalism in India. However, the process was formalized in the form of Indian National Congress (INC) in 1885. In it’s early years, the INC was dominated by ‘moderates’. This was a class of educated Indians, who believed in peaceful constitutional methods. And though, apparently, their methods did not produce quick results, it created political awareness amongst people. The exploitation of British rule was critically presented to people, and it sowed the seeds of nationalism.
From the split of Bengal in 1905, we see new generation of leaders, known as ‘extremists’ leading the anti-British struggle. Their was clear goal of ‘Swaraj’ and methods were anti-British i.e. Swadeshi and boycott. This phase culminated in home rule movement of 1917.
With increasing realization of British stubbornity, the national movement received new energy with arrival of Gandhi. Although non-violent, Gandhi’s methods were highly provocative. Gandhi led successful mass movements in 1919 and 1929 and in 1942 gave an ultimate call for ‘do or die’. Gandhi was a clever politician who adjusted his strategy according to prevailing circumstances.
As a result of this prolonged struggle against British rule, with evolving strategy, India got independence in 1947.
3] The Revolt of 1857 was a ‘sepoy mutiny’ or ‘first war of independence’. Discuss.
The revolt of 1857 marks an important event in Indian history. Although a failure in its ultimate objective, it shook East India Company to its roots and kindled the spirit of new nationalism in the mind of Indians.
However there is a debate over the nature of revolt. Many British historians put it as a mere sepoy mutiny. Nothing more than spontaneous expression of grudge by some soldiers of company. They project it as an act of disobedience to master rather than an endeavour for freedom.
However, for many reasons, the above perspective can be denied. First of all, the revolt was not only limited to sepoys of company. Many independent rulers like queen of Zanshi, Awadh begam, Peshwas from Kanpur participated in revolt. There was also a wide public support for revolt, and many religious leaders helped in creating anti-British sentiments.
After analysing causes of revolt, we also understand that there were many underlying causes for revolt to take place. British East India policies had led to worst off for all classes. Peasants, traders, landlords everybody was affected. There was also a perception of British interfering in religious beliefs of Indians. And overall racial attitude of British officers.
All these factors can also be summarized in a fact that, in fact there was a declaration of independence at Delhi. People cherished the idea of ‘British free’ India. And there was even the establishment of temporary government. Considering all these factors, it would be inadequate to call 1857 revolt as a sepoy mutiny.