Nationalism in India

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Introduction: Allegories, songs and past had played a great role in the rise of nationalism in Europe. Similarly, in India the struggle against oppressive colonial rule brought the people close from where they visualised themselves as a part of great nation, i.e., India. World War I, Khilafat and Non-Cooperation: World War I came to an end in 1919. There was a new political and economic situation in India. Defence budget was increased and forced recruitment of peasants in army took place. Crop failure resulted in food shortage. There was an influenza epidemic too. The idea of Satyagraha: In January 1915, Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from S. Africa. There he had successfully fought against the racism practiced by the Britishers. He adopted methods of mass protest called Satyagraha. The Rowlatt Act In 1919, the Imperial Legislative Council amid strong opposition by the Indians passed the Rowlatt Act. It empowered the government particularly police to repress the political activities in India. A political prisoner could be detained for two years without trial. Why Non-Cooperation?: Gandhiji pointed out that British rule existed in India only because of the cooperation of Indians. Therefore, Indians should not cooperate with the British to force them to vacate India so that Swaraj (self rule) could come.

Differing Strands within the Movement: In 1921, Non-Cooperation movement began with the objective of attaining Swaraj. This term ‘Swaraj’ had different meanings for different people. The Movement in the Towns: It began with the participation of middle class. Students boycotted schools and colleges while teachers and lawyers resigned. Elections to the councils were boycotted. Foreign goods were also boycotted and liquor shops were picketed. Movement in cities was short-lived because of lack of alternative replacements for the goods and services. Rebellion in the Countryside: The movement was equally echoed from the countryside, where...
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