First world war and indian nationalism

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first world war and indian nationalism

Indian Nationalism: The Essential Writings by Irfan Habib

How do we define nationalism?
Who is a good nationalist? Do you become anti-national if you criticize the government? These are questions that overwhelm most debates today, but these discussions are not new. And while the loudest voices would have us believe that Indian nationalism is (and has always been) a narrow, parochial, xenophobic one, our finest political leaders, thinkers, scientists and writers have been debating the concept since the early nineteenth century and come to a different conclusion.
Nationalism as we understand it today first came into being more than a hundred years ago. Studied by historians, political scientists and sociologists for its role in world history, it remains one of the strongest driving forces in politics and also the most malleable one. A double-edged sword, it can be a binding force or a deeply divisive instrument used to cause strife around political, cultural, linguistic or, more importantly, religious identities.
In this anthology, historian S. Irfan Habib traces the growth and development of nationalism in India from the late nineteenth century through its various stages: liberal, religion-centric, revolutionary, cosmopolitan, syncretic, eclectic, right liberal…The views of our most important thinkers and leaders—Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, C. Rajajgopalachari, Bhagat Singh, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Sarojini Naidu, B. R. Ambedkar, Rabindranath Tagore, M. N. Roy, Maulana Azad, Jayaprakash Narayan and others—remind us what nationalism should mean and the kind of inclusive, free and humanistic nation that we should continue to build.
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Independence movements in the 20th Century - World History - Khan Academy

The First World War had lasting consequences that extended far beyond Europe. The UK has a particular responsibility to construct an inclusive history of the experience of the First World War.
Irfan Habib

Indian nationalism

Indian nationalism developed as a concept during the Indian independence movement fought against the colonial British Raj. Indian nationalism is an instance of territorial nationalism , inclusive of all its people, despite their diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. It continues to strongly influence the politics of India and reflects an opposition to the sectarian strands of Hindu nationalism and Muslim nationalism. 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.

The Indian Independence movement was a series of activities with the ultimate aim of ending the British rule in India. The movement spanned total of 90 years — The first nationalistic revolutionary movement emerged from Bengal present day West Bengal and Bangladesh , but they later took root in the newly formed Indian National Congress with prominent moderate leaders seeking only their basic right to appear for Indian Civil Service British India examinations, as well as more rights, economic in nature, for the people of the soil.
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The outbreak of the First World War in gave a new lease of life to the nationalist movement which had been dormant since the heady days of the Swadeshi Movement. The Ghadarites attempted a violent overthrow of British rule, while the Home Rule Leaguers launched a nation-wide agitation for securing Home Rule or Swaraj. The West Coast of North America had, since , become home to a steadily increasing number of Punjabi immigrants.

Although India was not a theatre of war, World War I produced a major inflexion in a historical trajectory that had been marked since by a certain degree of insulation from the ebb and flow of the rivalries of the great powers. Given the growing scholarly interest in the global aspects of World War I, the role of India in the conflict is receiving closer attention. In spite of the continuous increase in the body of literature devoted to India in World War I, there remain gaps in our understanding of the impact of the conflict on the subcontinent. Since the end of the Franco-British conflict of the late 18 th and early 19 th century in which it had been involved quite directly both as a theatre of war and as a base for British naval expeditions, India had not been embroiled in any large-scale foreign wars outside of its immediate neighbourhood, as in the case of the two Afghan wars of and and the three Burmese wars of , and Only the sepoys native soldiers and their immediate entourage as well as a few military contractors had been involved in these expeditions. As a result, the war was to modify the trajectory of Indian history in a way no event since the Great Revolt of had done.

4 thoughts on “Indian Nationalism: The Essential Writings by Irfan Habib

  1. Centenary celebrations of the First World War have seen renewed interest in the experience of Indian troops.

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