Early Resistance To British Na Essay

3268 words - 13 pages

Since the French Revolution, the idea of self-determination has spread all around the world, unifying peoples inside nations, starting new revolutions, erasing empires, freeing colonies and scaring modern states. There are few models explaining the emergence of nationalism and the definitions of this phenomenon vary from an author to another. Anthony D. Smith says it is an ideological movement aiming at reaching self-determination and independence in the name of a nation. He also says that humanity is naturally divided into nations. But this concept is rather revealing the nationalist way of thinking because a quick look in the past is enough to show that the independence process is not instinctive. Many writers like Boyd Shafer and Louis Snyder have studied the subject since World War I in order to explain the subject but - as says Arthur Waldron - enclosing nationalism in a theory has proved to be a difficult task.An historical case of the nationalism problem is the nationalist movement in India. Indians celebrated 50 years of independence from British rule in August 1997. The end of the empire in India was a massive blow to British imperialism.This term paper first studies the steps of the western intrusion into India and then tries to describe how the Indian nationalism was born.II. Main part A. The Western Intrusion 1. European Imperialism When the European community began to expand in India, a new way of life entered cities. It was copied by the indigenous people who were seduced by western techniques. Occidental education was the main vector of acculturation since young Indians were very receptive to the European message. So the new Indian generation quickly became nationalist, socialist, and democrat. Masters like Cavour or Mazzini were the new heroes for the young students. That is why the British government prohibited the study of British History of the XIXth century in Indian schools. But it was already too late. The process could not be stopped at that stage. Indians had acquired a better knowledge of European culture and it was not received without critique. European authors who were keen on criticizing Europe - Tolstoi, for example - influenced India.So it seems that the introduction of western ideas and their critiques contributed to the emergence of nationalism. The initiation of the indigenous elite to Western History would have founded their quest for independence, following a nationalist scheme transmitted by occidental education. A complex of inferiority began to spread among Indians, mostly because of the British racist attitude. Europeans were neglecting the Indian society. From the 1830s, racist movements began to make British people feel superior. They considered Indians as physically and morally challenged. This inferiority was attested by the failure of traditional revolts like the Mutiny in 1857. Tara Chand1 says that Indians were impressed by the evident superiority of their colons in war, in administration, and in...

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