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 Causes and consequences of the rise of nationalism in IndiaFor more than a century, the British exploited the Indian people, creating hatred and hostility toward them. The introduction of Western education opened the eyes of Indians to the colonial rule of the British Raj. Indian nationalism developed as a result of colonial policies and as a reaction to colonial policies. In fact, it would be more accurate to see Indian nationalism as the result of a confluence of factors. This article discusses the main reasons that helped in the rise of Indian Nationalism which will be helpful for preparing for various competitive exams.

Causes and consequences of the rise of nationalism in India

Factors Responsible for the Rise of Indian Nationalism

Politically united people under British rule

  • The people became politically integrated under British hegemony. 
  • There was a rule, an administrative structure, a set of laws, and a set of administrative officials that integrated the people politically.  
  • People came to know that vast India belonged to them, which instilled in them a sense of nationalism.

Development of means of communication and transport

  • Lord Dalhousie made a lasting contribution to the Indians by introducing the railways, the telegraph, and a new postal system. Roads were built from one end of the country to the other.
  • The people of India took advantage of it, despite the fact that it was all to serve imperialist interests. The train compartment represents Akhand Bharat.
  • This bridged the gap between them and gave them the impression that they all belonged to this vast India under the control of the British Raj.

Influence of Western (English) Education

  • The introduction of English education in 1835 marked an important moment in the British administration.
  • Its primary goal was to educate the Indian public so that they could become loyal servants of the British Raj.
  • However, as time passed, English-educated Indians became leaders in the socio-political, economic, and religious reforms of India.
  • Raja Rammohun Roy, Swami Vivekananda, Ferozeshah Mehta, Dadabhai Naoroji, and Surendranath Banerjee all fought for freedom, equality, and humanism.
  • English-educated Indians gradually became the pioneers of Indian nationalism, which instilled national consciousness in the minds of millions of Indians.

India’s glorious past

  • The Indian Renaissance of the nineteenth century opened many avenues in the field of oriental studies.
  • Western scholars like Max Muller, Sir William Jones, Alexander Cunningham, and others translated many ancient Sanskrit texts from this land, thereby establishing India’s glorious cultural heritage before the people.
  • Indian scholars like R.D. Banerjee and R.G. Bhandarkar were inspired by him. The great Mukhopadhyay, Hara Prasad Astir, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and others rediscovered the past glory of India from their histories.
  • This encouraged the people of India, who felt that they were the ancestors of the grand kings of this country and were being ruled by foreigners. This ignited the flames of nationalism.

Movement for socio-religious reform

  • In the nineteenth century, socio-religious reform movements led by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Annie Besant, Syed Ahmed Khan, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, and Vivekananda brought a national awakening to India.
  • The abolition of Sati and the introduction of widow remarriage resulted in social reforms in India.
  • Indians gained an understanding of the concepts of liberty, equality, liberty, and social inequalities.
  • It rekindled the mind of the people and instilled in them the feeling of nationalism.

Development of Vernacular Literature

  • The influence of western education compelled the educated Indians to express the concepts of freedom, independence, and nationalism through local literature.
  • His aim was to incite the people to oppose British rule by filling the feeling of nationalism.
  • Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s Anand Math and Dinabandhu Metra’s play Neel Darpan exerted enormous power over the people and created anti-British sentiments among them.
  • The play Barga Purdah by Bhartendu Harishchandra depicted the plight of the Indian people under British rule.
  • Apart from many famous poets and writers from different languages, such as Rabindranath Tagore in Bengali, Vishnu Shari Chipulunkar in Marathi, and Laminate Bajbarua in Assamese, Mohammad Hussain Azad and Altar Hussain Ali in Urdu, his writings helped to awaken nationalism among the local people.

Role of press

  • Newspapers and magazines were important in inculcating the feeling of nationalism among Indians.
  • Raja Rammohun Roy edited Persian magazines like ‘Mirat-ul-Akhbar’ and the Bengali newspaper ‘Sambad Kaimiudi’.
  • Similarly, many newspapers in Bengali like Hindu Deshbhakt, Bengali, Amrit Bazar Patrika, Sudharani, Sanjeevani; Indu Prakash in Maharashtra, Native Opinion in Punjab, Kesari, Kohinoor, Akhbar-e-Aam and ‘The Tribune’ reflected the British rule and instilled a sense of nationalism among the people.

First War of Independence

  • The memory of the Revolt of 1857 instilled a sense of nationalism among Indians.
  • After becoming aware of the evil intentions of the British, the heroic roles of Rani Lakshmi Bai, Nana Saheb, Taita Tope, and other leaders were refreshed in the minds of the people.
  • This aroused the desire of the people to fight against the British.

Ilbert bill controversy

  • The Ilbert Bill was passed during Lord Ripon’s tenure as Viceroy. It empowered Indian judges to prosecute Europeans.
  • This sparked outrage among Europeans, who pushed for changes to the bill, including a provision requiring an Indian to try a European in the presence of a European witness.
  • This clearly exposed the deceit of the British officers and anticipated their racial animosity.

Conflict between castes

  • The British considered themselves superior to the Indians and never offered them a good job regardless of their ability or intelligence.
  • The Indian Civil Services Examination was held in England, and the age limit was 21.
  • Aurobindo Ghosh passed the written test but was disqualified from riding and did not pass the ICS exam. The British deliberately disqualified him.
  • He believed that Indians were brown and unfit to rule and that it was the responsibility of white people to rule over them. This caused resentment among the people towards British rule.

Economic exploitation

  • As expressed in Dada Bhai Naoroji’s ‘Drain Theory’, the British exploited India economically by draining money from India to Britain.
  • After the Industrial Revolution in England, the British needed raw materials and markets, which were met by shedding raw materials to India and using Indian markets.
  • The landlords guided by the British exploited the Indian people and further exploited the Indian economy.
  • Dadabhai Naoroji, Ranade, and G.V. Joshi’s ‘Drain Theory’ raised awareness about the exploitation of Indian handicrafts, reflecting the exploitative nature of the British toward the Indian economy.
  • It ruined India’s factories, handicrafts, and economy, leaving the Indian people impoverished and filled with resentment towards the British.

Formation of the Indian National Congress

  • The Indian National Congress was established in 1885. It expressed the will of the Indian people before the British.
  • People’s movements and leaders played an important role in the development of the national consciousness of the people.
  • The Indian National Congress enabled Indians to fight an ideological battle against the British, which resulted in India’s independence.
  • Liberals like Dadabhai Naoroji and S.N. Banerjee, as well as extremists like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, and Lala Lajpat Rai, played an important role in instilling a sense of nationalism among Indians.

Partition of Bengal (1905)

  • The British Viceroy Lord Curzon was in charge of the partition of Bengal in 1905.
  • From 1765, Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa were united as one province of British India.
  • By 1900, the province had become so large that no single administration could handle it. East Bengal was ignored in favor of West Bengal and Bihar due to its isolation and poor communication.
  • The Hindus of West Bengal opposed Partition, which controlled much of Bengal’s commerce, professional and rural life. He saw Partition as an attempt to stifle nationalism in Bengal, where it was stronger than elsewhere.
  • As a result, the Indian National Congress transformed from a middle-class pressure group into a nationwide mass movement.

Swadeshi Movement of Bengal

  • The Swadeshi movement originated from the anti-partition movement of Bengal.
  • The decision sparked protests, resulting in the passing of a boycott resolution at a massive meeting held at the Calcutta Town Hall, as well as the formal declaration of the Swadeshi movement.
  • The Swadeshi movement in Bengal was dominated by extremists. Proposed new forms of struggle. The movement mainly advocated the boycott of foreign goods, as well as mass mobilization through public meetings and processions.
  • Emphasis was placed on self-reliance, or ”self-power’ as well as indigenous education and enterprise.
  • Several facilities remained active to ensure mass participation, and songs written by Rabindranath Tagore, Rajinikanth Sen, Dwijendralal Ray, Mukunda Das, and others inspired the masses in the cultural arena.
  • Soon after, the movement spread to other parts of the country, with Tilak in Pune and Bombay, Lala Lajpat Rai in Punjab, Ajit Singh led, Syed Hyder Raza in Delhi, and Chadambaram Pillai in Madras.


     The withdrawal of Indian wealth, stagnation of local industries due to British-made goods, oppression of the masses, high taxation on Indian goods, high taxation on farmers, repressive laws like the Rowlatt Act, etc. paved the way. The rise of nationalism was when people became aware of the imperialist ideas of foreign rule through their able leadership. Understanding the contradictions between Indian and colonial interests, political administration, economic integration, western thought, the role of the press, etc. were the main factors responsible for the development of modern nationalism.

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