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PSIR 1B-1.2 Perspectives on Indian National Movement – Previous Year Questions – Solved

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] Analyse the Marxist perspective of the nature of Indian National Movement. [2021/10m/150w/5d]

The Marxist perspective on the nature of the Indian National Movement provides a socio-economic interpretation of the movement and its goals.

Marxists argue that the Indian National Movement was led by the bourgeoisie, which comprised the industrialists, merchants, and landlords who sought to gain political power and establish a capitalist system in India. They desired an end to British colonial rule, as it restricted their economic and political dominance. The bourgeoisie aimed to create a conducive environment for capitalist growth and accumulation of wealth.

Marxists emphasize the role of the working class in the Indian National Movement. They argue that the working class provided support and participated in the movement but was not its primary driving force. Marxist leaders, such as M.N. Roy and S.A. Dange, sought to mobilize the working class and advocate for socialist ideas, aiming to align the labour movement with the broader struggle for independence.

The Marxist perspective also acknowledges the significance of peasant movements within the Indian National Movement.

It is important to note that while the Marxist perspective offers insights into the class dynamics and capitalist interests within the Indian National Movement, it is one among several interpretations of the movement’s nature. Other perspectives emphasize the role of non-bourgeois classes, regional and cultural identities, and the contributions of various leaders and social groups in shaping the movement. [223 words]

2] Discuss the role of socialists in Indian National Movement. [2020/10m/150w/5a]

Socialists had a huge impact on the Indian National Movement. In India, socialist leaders were influenced by the Russian Revolution. Leaders like Nehru and Bose introduced socialism in Congress. Some radical congressmen, known as “Young Turks,” like JP Narayan, Acharya Narendra Dev, and Minna Masani, founded the Congress Socialist Party in 1934. Bhagat Singh and Lala Lajpat Rai were other prominent socialist leaders.

The socialists were not opposed to the Congress. Instead, they wanted to radicalise the movement led by the Congress. They motivated several revolutionary groups from within as well as abroad.

Post-1919, several working-class struggles broke out in India, especially in working-class centres such as Calcutta, Bombay, and Ahmedabad. The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) was established in 1920. Besides, armed Telangana peasant struggles in the late 1940s led to the abolition of landlordism in independent India.

Thus, it can be said that socialism had a profound impact on India’s freedom struggle. And we see that many of independent India’s policies were also influenced by socialistic ideas. [170 words]

3] Discuss the Dalit perspective on Indian national movement. [2019/10m/150w/5b]

There exists a narrative that suggests that while Indian National Movement as led by Congress is a metanarrative, and it ignores the contribution of peasants, communists, tribals, Dalits etc.

The nationalist movement concerned itself with expelling the British and reviving India as a nation. However, as many Dalit leaders felt, with an entrenched caste system the conditions of Dalits could be no better under indigenous government.

Thus we see that prominent Dalit leaders like BR Ambedkar concerned themselves more with Dalit issues than mainstream priorities. Rather, it was more urgent for them since the ‘impartiality’ of the British could be used to ensure Dalit rights.

Dalit perspectives sees the national movement as an ‘elite’ movement. Ambedkar argued that ‘Gandhi never kept fast to abolish untouchability’. Even other movements in South India like the self-respect movement focused more on social issues than national concerns.

It is unfortunate that although British oppression policies had created a nationalist sentiment amongst Indians, there was no recognition of the Dalit situation. Dalits had to fight their own nationals to acquire their rights and some leaders even felt insecure about the British leaving India. [188 words]

The post contains answers to the last 6-year papers i.e. (2023-2018). Answers to the previous year questions from 2013-2017 are a part of our book PSIR Optional Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2022)

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