Indian nationalism refers to the many underlying forces that molded 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. Indian nationalism often imbibes the consciousness of Indians that prior to 1947, India embodied the broader Indian subcontinent and 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 Bharata and Akhand Bharat, these regions roughly form the entities of modern day greater India. Mauryan Empire was the first to unite all of India, South Asia, and much of Persia. In addition, much of India has also been unified under a central government by empires, such as the Gupta Empire, Rashtrakuta Empire, Pala Empire, Mughal Empire, Indian Empire etc. Ages of war and invasion
India today celebrates many kings and queens for combating foreign invasion and domination, such as Shivaji of the Maratha Empire, Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, Kittur Chennamma, Maharana Pratap of Rajputana, Prithviraj Chauhan, who combated the Mahmud of Ghazni and Tipu Sultan who fought the British. The kings of Ancient India, such as Chandragupta Maurya and Emperor Ashoka the Great 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 pride. Akbar the Great was 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 Rajput kings. 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. Swaraj
n the Indian rebellion of 1857, Indian soldiers and regional kings fought the forces allied with the British Empire in 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 terms. 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 Massacre of 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 Gandhi pioneered 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 untouchability united 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 Satyagraha in 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...