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Indian Nationalism: Strategies & Perspectives.

The Revolt of 1857

The suppressed feelings of India against British East India company were given a sudden vent in 1857. The disputes very soon spiraled into a full blown revolt of Indian soldiers against East India Company. Although unsuccessful in throwing out British, the event remains an important chapter in Indian history.

Different Perspectives.

VD Savarkar wrote a book in 1908 titled Indian War of Independence. He was the first to call the 1857 revolt as the war for independence. He presents following argument in his book

1] The annexation of Oudh and the case of greased cartridges were merely but small excuses to what was already in the process
2] The rupture of local traditions, mockery of Indian customs and religion, not recognizing the adopted rulers (a tradition allowed by Hindu Dharmashastras), the promotion of Christianity – these were the main factors behind rebellion.
3] The unifying feature of the war was the desire for swadharma and swaraj .
4] The presence of secret organizations illustrates that the revolt had plan and a purpose. – these secret cells spread the message, awakening sense of purpose, pride and nationalistic consciousness. It involved a coded communication language, infiltration of garrisons and villages by activists dressed as fakirs, sanyasis, sadhus, maulvis etc. The start of war was signaled by symbolic distribution of chapatis and red lotuses.
5] Further, the restoration of Bahadur Shah was not a retrograde action, but the consequence of nationalist re-awakening. A declaration that the long-standing war between Hindus and Mohammadens has ended (for the greater purpose of defeating British).

Savarkar believed that though the attempt was defeated, the spirit of nationalism has survived and it will lead to another war for independence in future.

For the War of 1857 shall not cease till the revolutionary arrives, striking slavery into dust, elevating liberty to the throne…. The war began on the 10th of May 1857 is not over on the 10th of May 1908, nor shall it cease till a 10th of May-to come sees the destiny accomplished, sees the beautiful India crowned

Savarkar in ‘Oh Martyrs’ speech 1908

Another discourse, calling the uprising to be a mere sepoy mutiny, was led by British Historians.

1] Triggered by few disgruntled soldiers, the revolution was just an act of indiscipline within army. A normal occurrence in course of time for such a large organization.
2] It was sporadic, unplanned and occupied only parts of India.
3] Beyond overthrow of East India Company, the soldiers had no greater vision behind the revolt.
4] There was no unity of purpose, while sepoys wanted to restore Mughal rule, the inhabitants of Oudh wanted their Nawab back and so did the people of Zansi. Peasants, on the other hand, just wanted reduction in their tax rates.
5] There was no central leadership to the revolt. The feudal leaders like queen of Zansi, Tantia Tope, Kunwar Singh – all fought only to restore their former privileges.

India’s freedom struggle was a protracted battle. It included multiple strategies in multiple periods and also variety of actors. In this topic, we will be studying various phases and various actors of Indian freedom struggle from analytical perspective. Please remember that, in Political Science, we give more importance to analysis than historical facts.

1] Constitutionalism (Moderate Phase).

There are different types of political strategies adopted by the politicians or groups to achieve the political aim. Constitutionalism is a political strategy based on the philosophy of liberalism. Liberalism is based on the assumption that man is rational and hence political ends can be achieved by rational dialogue. There is no need of the use of violence in achieving political aims.

Constitutional methods can be called as institutional methods. States can provide different institutions like legislatures, local governments, for representation of people’s demands, involvement of them in administration. Free and fair judicial system for redressal of grievances.

Constitutional methods in India.

The idea of constitutionalism is itself an imported idea. Constitutionalism originated in Britain, it was introduced in India by the colonial masters. Britishers had introduced modern institutions like rule of law, modern judicial system, civil services and assemblies.

Britishers did not rule India only by the use of coercive methods. They tried to build hegemony by doing certain good actions for Indians. To gain the legitimacy of British rule, they incorporated Indians in assemblies as well as in civil services.

Early nationalists employed constitutional methods like bringing resolutions in the assembly, sending memorials, prayers, petitions, appeals to justice and protests.

Thus constitutional methods differ from direct actions like passive resistance, satyagraha, non-cooperation, dharana, haratal, boycott, civil disobedience, rebellions, mutiny, terrorism, criminal actions, aiding foreign invasions, subversion.

Why early nationalists adopted constitutional methods?

1] Ideological reasons – Most of them were educated in western education and impressed with values of liberalism.

Early nationalist believed that British rule is blessing in disguise. They had great faith in British sense of justice. M G Ranade thanked British for introducing rule of law, expressed that British rule in India is a divine intervention to eradicate the evils of misrule of the past.

Surendranath Banerjee appealed to the British to introduce the institutions which are truly British in character so that Indians can rejoice in permanent union with British.

Dadabhai Nauroji held that British are justice loving people. Indians have to communicate their demand to the British in ‘reasonable manner’. Ranade held that British rule is a source of inspiration, hope and confidence. He held that Indians are fortunate that they are ruled by the British.

2] Pragmatic reasons – According to Gokhale, constitutional methods were adopted according to the circumstances. Direct action required immense preparation and Indians were not ready for such action. According to C. Y. Chintamani before introducing direct actions, we have to address internal divisions and disunity.

Criticism of constitutional methods

1] Tilak‘Constitutional methods in front of alien bureaucracy is a political suicide’
2] Aurobindo Ghosh – Constitutional methods reflect ‘intellectual bankruptcy of the leaders’. Aurobindo Ghosh believed that Indians will have to strike at the roots of colonialism. That is – boycotting the foreign goods and adopting Swadeshi.
3] Pandit Nehru – Constitutional methods will not work because India does not have constitutional government.

4] Assessment by Bipin Chandra
a] Direct action is possible only when masses are organized, unified and have common consciousness of the common end. The objective conditions of the colonial rule were bringing Indians together but the subjective consciousness of the common ends was missing.

b] Moderates were ‘leaders as well as learners.’ There was no readymade critique of imperialism available for them to understand. (The first analysis of imperialism as colonialism came with the publication of Lenin’s book IMPERIALISM, THE HIGHESTS STAGE OF CAPITALISM.) At the same time, British did introduced some good practices. All the features of the evil empire were not on surface.

c] Though moderates didn’t carry mass struggle, but they carried struggle at ‘ideological level.’ They led the foundation of the most spectacular mass movement.

Bipin Chandra quotes M.G. Ranade, who held that “the memorials are not addressed to the British, they were addressed to Indians.” He also quotes Gokhale, in the words of Gokhale ‘We are at such a stage that our achievements are bound to be less and our failures too frequent. We must content  ourselves by serving our country by our failures. It is through these failures that the struggle will emerge.’

2] Extremist phase

The second generation of the leaders represented by Lal Bal Pal (Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal) are called as extremists. They were dis-satisfied with the achievements of early nationalists. The use of the term extremists and militants is relative. These leaders appear extremist in their demands and methods in comparison to earlier leaders which now appeared ‘moderates’.

There is not much basic difference between the two in terms of goals. The goal of both remained Swaraj. With the exception of Aurobindo Ghosh, Swaraj even for all extremist leaders was ‘dominion statues’ and self rule.
The only difference was that they were getting impatient. Whatever reforms Britishers have introduced in the name of Indian council acts appeared too little and too late. It failed to meet the aspirations. No effective representation of Indians in law making, Indians only got gradual rights to ask questions on budget and to bring resolutions.

The main difference was in the strategy. Extremists favored direct actions like passive resistance, boycott, Swadeshi, national education, national courts etc. Tilak rejected the method of petition and asserted that Swaraj is the birthright of Indians. Tilak justified prajadroh i.e. the right of the people to resist the government which exploits.

Evaluation of extremists.

Extremists phase was the next logical step. Swadeshi movement can be considered as successful movement led by INC. Extremists could preserve the credibility of INC and created the base for the  launch of Gandhi’s mass movement.

Extremists have given the stronger theory of nationalism based on cultural symbols. Unfortunately it provided opportunity to the British to give communal color to the movement, presenting INC as party of Hindus. To defeat the nationalist consciousness  which emerged because of Swadeshi, Britishers had introduced Morley-Minto reforms of 1909, gave separate electorate to Muslims. Thus led the statutory foundation of the two-nation theory.

3] Strategy of mass movements [Gandhian Phase]

Gandhi led one of the biggest mass movements in the world, successfully.
Mass movements can be categorized into two basic types. 1) Uncontrolled mass movements – French revolution was spontaneous, uncontrolled mass movement. 2) Controlled mass movements – Russian revolution, Chinese revolution, Gandhian movements are examples of planned, directed and controlled mass movements.

We can also categorize mass movements in terms of strategy into two basic types.
1] Marxist – Leninist movement – The characteristic is they are sudden, comprehensive and achieve the immediate overthrow of the system. (Overnight movements.) 

2] Gramscian and Gandhian movements – Gramsci and Gandhi were contemporaries and show unique convergence in context of the strategy. They suggested two-stage revolution in case of ‘opaque states’. (Where it is difficult to understand the exploitative nature’. Hence the movement has to be ‘protracted movement’ known as war of position before arriving at a point of direct action or war of maneuver/frontal attack.

According to Bipin Chandra, Gandhian mass movement was a long, protracted movement with its active and passive phases. Active phases included mass agitation, passive phases included constructive programs. Bipin Chandra calls Gandhi’s strategy As a strategy of S-T-S (Struggle-Truce-Struggle). Gandhian strategy was based on the understanding of mass psychology. Masses have limited capacity to participate. Besides being a psychologist, Gandhi was a master strategist. Gandhi knew when to start the movement, when to call off the movement.

Gandhi’s approach as ‘proactive’ rather than reactive. Gandhian movements are proactive in the sense Gandhi never left ball in the courts of enemy. He forced enemy to respond. It was always initiative of Gandhi. The time and place, issue was all choice of Gandhi. Gandhi was offensive rather than defensive.

A] Non Cooperation movement.

It was first truly Gandhian movement at pan India level. Gandhi started the movement at that time because the political environment was conducive to start the movement. People were looking for action in background of 
1] Rowlett Act and suppression of civil liberties.  2] Extreme pain because of Jallianwala bag tragedy.  3] Extreme disappointment and frustration because of the report of Hunter commission, and the massive support by British public for General Dyer.  4] Economic distress because of 1st WW.  5] Khilafat movement as an opportunity to bring Muslims together.
In Nagpur session of 1920, congress adopted the program of extra-constitutional mass struggle led by Gandhi. Right to refuse cooperation with the ruler who misrules. Gandhi’s promised that such method can deliver Swaraj within a year.

Strategy of non-cooperation.

1] Surrender of titles and honors.
2] Boycott of government schools, colleges and foreign clothes.
3] No tax campaign in case provincial congress committee approves.
4] Opening of national schools, colleges, panchayat courts, promotion of Khadi, maintaining Hindu-Muslim unity, giving up untouchability.
5] Strict adherence to non-violence.
6] Congress to reach to mohalla levels.

Congress described the movement as a peaceful, legitimate protest for attainment of Swaraj, by direct action rather than constitutional means.
However, Gandhi called off the movement abruptly after Chaurichaura incident in February 1922.

Reaction against Gandhi’s decision.

Gandhi came under harsh criticism not only by non-congress leaders but even from congressmen. Even Pandit Nehru questioned the rationale of calling off the movement. Major criticism came from communists. They believed that Gandhi was fearful of masses acquiring power.

Analysis by Bipin Chandra.
The real reason was that Gandhi wanted ‘graceful exit’. By this time, masses were getting exhausted. There were violent incidents in some regions like Mappila revolt in Malabar. Mappila revolt would have taken communal color. Gandhi realized that because of Chaurichaura incident, government will get excuse to use massive force. If government uses force, people will get scared and it will be difficult to rebuild the movement.

Assessment of Non-Cooperation movement.

Movement was failure in terms of stated objectives and the promises made by Gandhi and Congress. However movement was successful in the sense Gandhi got all that he wanted.
Gandhi’s wanted to test the capacity of masses for struggle. He wanted to establish Congress as the party of masses and not representing ‘microscopic minority’. Gandhi wanted national movement to become mass movement. It means multi-class movement rather than just limited to the middle classes.
There were also some visible successes e.g. 1) boycott of the visit of prince of Wales,  2) boycott of foreign goods.

B] Civil Disobedience Movement [CDM] (1930-31)

It is a finest example of Gandhian strategy. Non Cooperation can be considered as mild in comparison to Civil Disobedience, which was more provocative. Civil Disobedience was direct challenge to the authority whereas NCM was just targeting the economic base of colonialism.
NCM was not cooperating with the state, but civil disobedience was ‘willful disobedience’ of the authority. It is like questioning the legitimacy of the state.
CDM was more offensive than NCM. Gandhi wanted Britishers to use force. It would have challenged the myth of ‘benevolent despotism’. In case British state does not use force, it meant ‘collapse of the state’, if it uses force, it meant the collapse of its hegemony.
Since the strategy of CDM has put colonial state in dilemma, expressed by Viceroy as ‘dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.’ It took them time to decide the arrest of Gandhi. This permitted Gandhi to complete his march. Once Gandhi completed his march, similar marches were organized. It became impossible for state not to arrest Gandhi. Arrest of Gandhi led to more rigorous protests. Ultimately government had no option but to release Gandhi. This has shown the victory of Gandhi. CDM ended in Gandhi-Irwin pact 1931, where govt. had accepted almost all of the demands of Gandhi. It strengthened  1) Credibility of Congress  2) It has elevated Congress at a equal footing with govt.
CDM is also an example of Gandhi’s proactive approach. Gandhi started the movement when he realized that the atmosphere is favorable. Atmosphere was surcharged with ‘anti-British’ feelings because of a) economic hardships because of economic depression &  b) Simon commission and death of Lala Lajapatrai.

Gandhi’s demands

There were 11 point demands.
1] Abolition of salt tax.
2] Total prohibition on sale of liquor.
3] Reduction of land revenue by half.
4] Reduction of military expenditure by half.
5] Reduction in the salary of the higher officials.
6] Hike in the tariff of imported goods.
7] Release political prisoners.
8] Abolition of CID.
9] License to use arms in self defense.
10] Rationalization of rupee pound-sterling ratio.
11] Coastal tariff regulation bill.

C] Quit India Movement / August revolution 1942

Known as most un-Gandhian, least controlled & most militant. Gandhi allowed the use of force for self-defense. Gandhi held that use of force is justified against the stronger and well equipped aggressor.
Gandhi called for ‘Do or Die’ but do not remain alive to see the country in the state of slavery. Gandhi held that nations survive when people are ready to die for nation. He mentioned that any delay in freedom will be injurious and humiliating.
He made it clear that he will not call off the movement. He permitted people to take the control of police stations if needed. He refused to condemn the violence by people, justified it in the light of bigger violence by the state.
Congress in its resolution mentioned  a) Congress is not prescribing any restriction.  b) Everyone is free to choose his methods.  c) Don’t bow heads and suffer stroke but pull the sticks and defend yourselves.

QIM is un-Gandhian in the sense that up till now Gandhi was saying to hate the evil and not the evil doer. Now Gandhi made the objective to throw the Britishers out. QIM was the most spontaneous. Once top leadership was arrested, grassroot leadership emerged on its own. Common man became his own leader. This is what Gandhi wanted. QIM reflect ‘class in itself’ converting into ‘class for itself’. It was Gandhi’s ‘war of movement’, the direct attack. Gandhi declared QIM as the last struggle of his life.
Gandhi permitted the use of violence because he knew that any mass movement cannot be free from violence. Gandhi knew that there will be no birth without blood. Non-violence was just a part of Gandhi’s strategy to bring masses within the fold of national movement. According to Francis Hutchins, Gandhi was after all a politician. He was a strategist. Once he could bring masses into the movement, non-violence was no more needed.

Response of other groups towards QIM

Ambedkar called it ‘mad venture of Gandhi’. 
M. N. Roy held that Gandhi will strengthen fascist forces.
Hindu Mahasabha called it ‘injurious to Hindu cause’.
Muslim League opposed it.
Within Congress C Rajagopalachari peered that it will lead to uncontrollable anarchy.

4] Militant and revolutionary movements.

There used to be revolutionary movements in different phases. We cannot ignore the contribution of revolutionaries. Revolutionaries have filled the vacuums whenever mainstream movement was in passive phase. Revolutionaries displayed remarkable heroism, inspired youth to make sacrifices for motherland. They have given the lost pride of manhood to the Indians back.
Revolutionaries could not get the support of INC, they lacked resources, mass base yet they could inspire youth by their individual acts. It is to be noted that even Indian women also played an active role in the revolutionary movements. We can give example of Pritilata Waddedar, Kalpana Datt, Madam Kama etc.
The revolutionaries in India were inspired by 1) Bankimchandra Chatterji’s ANANDMATH.  2) Sanchindranath Sanyal’s BANDI JEEVAN.  3) Bhagawati Charan Vohra’s PHILOSOPHY OF BOMB.  4) Irish nationalist, Russian Nihilists and Russian revolutionaries.

Difference between a revolutionary and a terrorist

Revolutionaries are those who do not go for indiscriminate killing of civilians like terrorists.  Revolutionaries target the oppressors. Hence there is a need to make a difference between the two acts where violence is used. 

5] Peasant Movement

Peasants were one of the worst sufferers of colonialism. Because of 1) British land settlement policies.  2) Britisher’s destroyed Indian handicrafts.
The history of peasant movement / revolts goes prior to the history of national movement. The subaltern school of historiography represented by Ranjit Guha, Gyan Pandey, Prof. Irfan Habib and even Sumit Sarkar have highlighted the role of peasantry. One of the most well known peasant revolt was Indigo rebellion of 1860 documented by Din Bandhu Mitro in his book NEEL DARPAN.
Subaltern historians questioned the nationalist narratives that ‘Gandhi organized peasants’, according to Gyan Pandey peasant insurrection in India was ‘autonomous’ of the intervention of outside leaders. The way mainstream leaders dealt with the concerns of peasantry was just marginal. Indian national congress never made the problems of peasantry as the core issue. According to Ranjit Guha, Indian national movement led by Gandhi was primarily elitist. Gandhi wanted peasantry to make compromises with the oppressors in the name of harmony between classes.

Phases of peasant movements

1st Phase – Up till 1920s.
Congress did not take up the peasants cause. Once Gandhi emerged on the scene, he did bring the issue of peasantry in the agenda of congress but his approach was conciliatory.

2nd Phase – from 1930s onwards.
Congress started organizing peasantry. However Kisan Sabhas and peasant parties were emerging on their own and also because of the role of communists. Thus not entirely dependent on congress.
In 1936 All India Kisan Sabha was formed under the leadership of Swami Sahajananand. The main demand of Kisan Sabhas was land reforms and regulation of rent.

3rd Phase – 1940s.
The two prominent movements of the times were Telangana movement and Tebhaga movement. It was inspired by communists, localized and autonomous in nature.

Overall assessment

Peasantry in India could not play any concrete role either for itself or in the freedom struggle, comparable to peasantry in China. Mao himself was from the peasantry class, the organic intellectual of peasantry. No such leadership emerged in India. Peasantry remained divided on caste and religious lines.
There are many examples of spontaneous, localized revolts but no all India level organized effort. This is also one of the reason behind the failure of land reforms even after independence.

6] Trade Union Movement

Weak movement. Even after independence, there is no strong trade union movement.
Trade unions have been junior partners of political parties, lacking autonomous character. Workers also remained divided on the lines of caste and religion. Their situation has been worse than the peasants.

Chronology of trade union movements in India

Emergence of modern workers in 19th century because of introduction of railways, post and telegrams.
Organized labor movement was started by philanthropists like S S Bengalee and Sasipad Banerjee.
The first trade union / labor organization was formed by Lokhanday known as Bombay Mill hands association.
There was a growth of socialist ideas in India because of Russian revolution. Hence some leaders started taking interest in organizing workers. Lala Lajapat Rai had great concern for the workers. Even Gandhi led the protest of workers in Ahmedabad Textile Mill.
In 1920 AITUC (All India Trade Union Congress) with Lala Lajapat Rai as the first president.
AITUC was infiltrated by communists.
Communists later on formed their own organization. ‘Red flag trade union’.
Communists later on again joined AITUC.
Communist again left during QIM.
Communist again joined AITUC.
Later on Congress left AITUC and formed its own organization INTUC. (Indian National Trade Union Congress).

7] Role of women in freedom movement

The participation of women in politics during freedom movement has emerged a new area of research in historiography. For long, the contribution of women remained neglected. Despite being highly patriarchal society, women participated in the freedom movement in ‘multiple modes’. There are examples where women could successfully protect their states in comparison to male counterparts. We can give the example of Bimbai Holkar who defeated British in guerrilla war. Rani Chenamma could protect the independence of her Kittoor state.  During the revolt of 1857, Rani Laxmibai and Begam Hazarat Mehal played heroic roles.
Women got associated with INC. It was Gandhi who could use women resources in a skillful manner. Women played key role in the constructive programs, especially Khadi/Swadeshi. The prominent women leaders have been Annie Besant, Sarojini Naidu, Bhikaji Kama, Sucheta Kripalani, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur. We can also give the example of Rani Gaindineliu, a Naga women who remained undeterred by colonial excesses and patriarchal barriers.
Besides participation in freedom movements, there were women leaders like Pandit Ramabai, Durgabai Deshmukh, Basanti Devi, Suniti Devi played role in social and economic empowerment of women. The two important women organizations were YWCA (Young Women Christian Association) of 1875, and All India Women Conference of 1927.
Thus women played dual role.

Nationalist ideology and women issues.

According to Sumit Sarkar, Though women movement in India was started by men, women have been active participant in Congress yet the leaders of congress were not full blooded liberals. Women issue was never the core issue.
Gandhi’s movement was more using women as a resource for the mass movement rather than upliftment of women as such. Like the concerns of peasantry, workers, women issues were also on the periphery.
We can see the patriarchal approach of the mainstream leaders on women issues in the form of strong protest against Ambedkar’s Hindu Code Bill even by leaders like Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

[Please add details of important dates, freedom fighters, activities etc. from GS1 (Modern Indian History).]

Perspectives on Indian Nationalism

Imperialist historians and administrators like Lord Curzon, Dufferin always challenged existence of India as a nation and claims of Congress as a representative of nation. According to them, India was nothing more than a geographical expression.

Imperial historians ( Cambridge school scholars like Percival Spear), Louis Neme and Anil Seal suggest that the political activities happening on the subcontinent between 1857 to 1947 cannot be called as nationalist movement. Because nation has to exist before national movement.

They call freedom struggle as communal movement and it’s leaders as power brokers. They were interested in getting the British favour for the members of their community. There was no ‘great’ idea behind political activities. They were guided by animal instincts. It was communal politics and formation of Pakistan is the logical outcome such movement. And the nature of politics in contemporary India has also not changed.

Nationalist Interpretation

Nationalist leaders and scholars reject the imperial discourse. Early nationalists like Surendranath Banerjee accepted that India was not a nation but he also asserted that India was ‘nation in the making’.

Cultural nationalist like Aurobindo Ghosh was not satisfied with mild an defensive approach of early nationalists. He rather established that India was not nation in the making but was a nation from the beginning. He combined nationalism and patriotism to challenge the British discourse.

Nationalist historians like Dr. Tarachand and RC Mujumdar have given following arguments.

1] It is wrong to suggest that the Congress led movement was a nationalist movement.
2] It is also wrong to suggest that the agenda of Congress was exclusive.
3] It is also wrong to suggest that no grand idea was inspiring political leaders at that time.

There was definite desire amongst Indians to emerge as a nation. Congress was a national party and its leadership was nationalist. Survival of India as a nation against all odds and enormous external and internal challenges suggest that we cannot dismiss the existence of India as a nation.

Marxist Interpretation

According to Benedict Anderson, nationalism is a ‘invented tradition’. Nationalism is an instrument of a bourgeoise class.

Marx himself has analysed the Revolt of 1857. Unlike Savarkar, who established 1857 revolt as ‘first war of independence, Marx suggested it to be a revolt by feudal elements.

MN Roy in his book INDIA IN TRANSITION has analysed the political activities under Congress and Gandhi. He suggests that Congress was a bourgeoise party and Gandhi was a bourgeoise leader.  AR Desai in his book SOCIAL BACKGROUND OF INDIAN NATIONALISM and RD Dutt in his book INDIA TODAY have expressed similar opinions.

Sumit Sarkar in his book MODERN INDIA has warned the Marxist scholars for taking a casual approach. According to him, it is true that Congress program was not in the interest of the masses, nor congress struggle benefitted masses, but it is also true that Congress had no conscious or planned strategy against masses. It is also true that Indians were not so sharply divided that they could not be united.

Bipin Chandra, despite being Marxist has suggested that the movement led by Congress can be called as a national movement. It was not only a national movement, but the most spectacular mass movement whose warmth is still felt.

Dalit perspective

Dalit perspective is represented by the works of many Dalit leaders and scholars. We can also call it as a subaltern perspective. One of the earliest expression about the British raj was given by Jyotiba Phule. He was critic of Bramhinism and held that Peshwa raj was worse than British raj. He appreciated British for establishing rule of law for the first time.

Ambedkar was influenced by the ideas of Jyotiba Phule He rejected the idea of India as a nation. He rejected the claim of Congress led movement as national movement. His idea of nationalism was influenced by French revolution. According to him, nation is built on the feeling of fraternity’. He never joined INC nor participated in Congress led programs. He supported Jinnah’s demand, opposed Quit India movement and wanted that British should stay.
We can also bring the perspective of EV Ramaswamy Naikar, popularly known as Periyar. He initially joined INC but eventually left in 1925 on the presumption that Congress was the party of Bramhins, there is no scope for the members of other communities. He joined Justice Party. He initiated self-respect movement against Bramhinism. He supported Jinnah’s demand for separate Pakistan, formed a political party Dravid Khadgam (DK) and even put forward the demand for separate state for Dravidians. Later on leaders like CM Annadurai and EVK Sampat came out of DK and formed DMK. (Dravid Munnetra Kadgam).

Socialist Perspective.

Socialist perspective was influenced by the Russian revolution. Bhagat singh transformed existing .. Into … . Leaders like Nehru, Bose introduced socialism in Congress. Some radical congressmen, also known as Young turks like JP Narayan, Acharya Narendra Dev and Minna Masani, led the foundation of Congress Socialist Party in 1934. They didn’t opposed the Congress but only wanted to radicalise the programme of Congress. They were also influenced by Gandhi.

Radical Humanist Perspective

MN Roy considered that Congress was a bourgeoise party and Gandhi was a bourgeoise leader. He has given the philosophy of Radical Humanism. According to him, nationalism suprreses man, there is a need to build cosmopolitan union of liberated persons.

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Aarti Singh Yadav

in the Gandhi’s demand point no 8 abolition of CID what is CID full form.

Aarti Singh Yadav

sir in the topic perspectives on Indian national movement you have not mentioned perspective of liberals.

Aarti Singh Yadav

sir in perspectives on indian national movement you have not mentioned the perspective of liberals.


Sir u have published the content in website for free.
Then why are you selling it in pdf format
Is there any extra content in pdf format which is available at ₹819.


Is the perspective part of this page sufficient for answering the questions or we need to study from some other resources also??


hello, i just read this page and also saw the previous year paper related to this topic from your previous year question bank .but first question of this topic i cannot identifying this from where this question came even i read this ful page .i m on very initial stage of this preparation so i m not identifying how to relate previous year question to it and make notes at one time so there is no need to get back to this page after make notes from here and understand question from this page.could you please help me regarding this… Read more »


In the section ‘role of women in freedom movement’, you have written ‘Gorilla war’ in the 5th line. It should be Guerrilla War. Your notes are gold, precise and useful. Thank you for this initiative and effort!