- INDIAN NATIONAL MOVEMENT – 01
ACCEPTANCE OF THE BRITISH RULE
INDIAN NATIONAL MOVEMENT – 01
The National Movement in India actually started during the second half of the 19th century. However, isolated attempts in various parts of the country for driving out the British from India had started about a century earlier. The unscrupulous methods adopted by the British traders and their deliberate attempts to destroy Indian industry and handicrafts generated hatred towards them. After the grant of Diwani in 1765 by emperor Shah-Alam, the officers of the East India Company extorted revenue from the cultivators with utmost severity. This aggravated agrarian misery and discontent. Moreover the idea of domination which is inherent in foreign rule, imposes some basic hardships on the free development of the subject nations and builds up stresses and strains which no policy however enlightened, can palliate. The paradoxical feature of the freedom movement was that the people of Bengal-where the transference of authority to the British was effected generally showed to hostility against the British. The effect of centuries of misrule by a medieval theocracy had sapped the vitality of the Hindus in Bengal, which explained their indifference to the foreign conquerors. The address presented by the pundits of Bengal to Warren Hastings reflected in a certain measure the sense of happiness of the Hindus.
DWARKA NATH TAGORE
expressed his conviction that the happiness of India lay in the hands of England. The liberal character of British administration and the way in which the Company’s affairs came in for criticism in England by Edmund Burke and Richard Sheridan made a profound impression upon the upper classes and the intelligentsia among the Hindus. By 1857, the people of Bengal had grown friendly even devoted to their British rules, which accounts for their passive attitude to the Government during the Revolt of 1857.
ACCEPTANCE OF THE BRITISH RULE
Strange as it may appear, there was open acceptance of the British rule by the Hindu intelligentsia of Bengal. Eventually, it led to the ushering in of a period of renaissance of India. Several factors produced this result. It was initiated by the fall of Muslim power and the establishment of direct administration by the East Indian Company in Bengal as early as 1765. An educated middle class and a Vigorous Press began to flourish as a concomitant factor of British rule. Bengal also had an early start in the matter of direct impact of western ideas on its intelligentsia through English education. This period synchronized with the epoch of the French Revolution and the revolutionary era that followed it in Europe. Tremendous impact was felt in all fields of Social, Religious And Political Activity. With the spread of English education, there was a distinct yearning for freedom and a desire for political reforms as a first step towards this goal. This was followed by the development of that sense of nationality and patriotism and conceptions of social justice and political rights which were imported from the West along with English education.