Day 4 – Q 3.In the public discourse of early nationalism, religion played an important role. However, a distinction has to be made between the two strands that coexisted during this period- one being a revivalist tendency that invoked the sense of an Indian nation based on Hindu religious symbols and history, and the other- a reformist one that attempted to bring changes in Hindu social organisation. Comment.
3. In the public discourse of early nationalism, religion played an important role. However, a distinction has to be made between the two strands that coexisted during this period- one being a revivalist tendency that invoked the sense of an Indian nation based on Hindu religious symbols and history, and the other- a reformist one that attempted to bring changes in Hindu social organisation. Comment.
प्रारंभिक राष्ट्रवाद के सार्वजनिक प्रवचन में, धर्म ने एक महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका निभाई। हालांकि, इस अवधि के दौरान दो स्ट्रैंड्स के बीच अंतर किया जाना चाहिए– एक पुनरुत्थानवादी प्रवृत्ति, जिसने हिंदू धार्मिक प्रतीकों और इतिहास पर आधारित एक भारतीय राष्ट्र की भावना का आह्वान किया और दूसरा– एक सुधारवादी प्रवृत्ति जिसने हिंदू सामाजिक संगठन में परिवर्तन लाने का प्रयास किया। टिपण्णी करें।
The 19th century was the time of emergence of first stages of Indian nationalism, and beginning of mutual interaction between politics and religion. Unlike the notion of Nationalism as it appeared in Europe as a secular doctrine, Indian religion has had important role in nationalism so that this area evidenced the growth of religious nationalist movements.
Revivalist tendency that invoked the sense of an Indian nation based on Hindu religious symbols and history
- The first stirrings of national awakening in India were visible through the religious reform movements of the 19th century such as the Arya Samaj, the Rama Krishna Mission, the Theosophical Society, and others. These Movements directly and indirectly have had important impact on nationalism movement during 19th and 20th centuries.
- Religious symbolism was frequently and effectively used to mobilize peasants to secure their rights through organized struggle. Swami Sahajanand, one of the successful organizers of peasant movements in the 1930s, was a Hindu religious activist who made extensive use of religious symbolism and traditional ties.
- The whole of the Extremist movement was a call to go back to Indian ancient religious and cultural traditions and following the Hindu scriptures as its religious and philosophical weapons to meet the challenge of an alien civilization.
- Mahatma Gandhi looked to religion as a unifying force and used the revivalist method to awaken the people. His motive in appealing to the religious faith of the people was to use this faith as an instrument to national awakening and to give an ethical and moral basis to the political struggle.
However Despite their religious origin or regional source, the spirit and content of some of these tendencies were designed for wider appeal and transcended regional barriers. The significant role of a song like ‘Bande Mataram’ in national mobilization across regions was hard to dispute. The references to historical events or religious symbols in literary works in regional languages often alienated members of particular religious communities. For instance, some historical novels in 19thcentury Bengal, written by nationally prominent authors of Hindu origin were criticized for their bias against Muslim characters or episodes of history.
Reformist tendencies that attempted to bring changes in Hindu social organization
- The Brahmo Samaj: Established in 1828 and Led by Raja Ram Mohan Roy. He tried to interpret the highest elements of Islam, Christianity and modern Rationalism or Humanism and transformed them into a single creed which he discovered in the ancient Upanishadic philosophy of his own community.
- The Prarthana Samaj: Established in Bombay by Dr. Atma Ram Pandurang in 1876 with the objective of rational worship and social reform. The two great members of this Samaj were Shri R.C. Bhandarkar and Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade. They devoted themselves to the work of social reform such as inter-caste dining, intercaste marriage, widow remarriage and improvement of the lot of women and depressed classes. Prarthana Samaj’s central idea was one positive belief in the unity of God.
- Gandhi imparted a powerful symbolism and great depth and diffusion to reform Hindu social organization. He converted large and unresolved issues of Indian society into charismatic symbols. He gave to the vast masses of “untouchables” the name of “Harijans. Besides, Mahatma Gandhi used the concept of ‘Rama-raj’. He relates it to a “higher” utopian goal, namely the transformation of society by religious reform.
Indian nationalist leaders used religion to mobilize the mass against British Empire for gaining independence. Almost all trends used the religion in the line of their goals. It was shown how these leaders used the religious symbols, the religion’s power of solidarity to integration of Hindu mass and consequently achieved coordination and unity against the same enemy.