Indian Nationalism and Indian Independence

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Within the context of the period 1847-1947 to what extent was Indian independence primarily the result of the growth of Indian nationalism? The decision to grant independence to India was not the logical culmination of errors in policy, neither was it as a consequence of a mass revolution forcing the British out of India, but rather, the decision was undertaken voluntarily. Patrick French argues that: “The British left India because they lost control over crucial areas of the administration, and lacked the will and the financial or military ability to recover that control”. Whilst the growth of Indian nationalism put considerable pressure on the Raj, historians offer many interpretations as to the fundamental cause of Independence. Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement and subsequent campaigns meant that nationalism began to appeal to the masses and helped establish a broad based movement for Independence. However, the British were always able to supress the nationalist movements, through reform or by using force, up to the Quit India movement of 1942. British involvement in the Great War and particularly the Second World War placed them in a weaker position economically, whilst the social and political expectations of the Indian people were changing, which strengthened nationalism and discontent. There is a distinct difference between popular Indian nationalism, that is the nation believing in a state independent of Britain, and Indian nationalist movements, for example the Muslim League or the Hindu revivalist movement. These movements fought for independence but were far more religiously orientated and were fighting in their own interests. Although Indian nationalism initially found expression in the Mutiny of 1857, its deve... ... middle of paper ... ...ence in 1947. BIBLIOGRAPHY BOSE, Sugata and JALAL Ayesha. Modern South Asia: history, culture, political economy. London, Routledge, 2011 BROWN, Judith M. Modern India: the Origins of an Asian Democracy. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1985 DALRYMPLE, William. The Last Mughal. London, Bloomsbury, 2006 FRENCH, Patrick. Liberty or Death. London, Penguin Books, 1997 JUDD, Denis. Empire: the British Imperial Experience, from 1765 to the Present. London, 1996 LEADBEATER, Tim. Britain and India 1845-1947. London, Hodder Education, 2008 REES, Rosemary. India 1900-47. Harlow, Heinemann, 2006 Websites www.hisorylearningsite.co.uk: TRUEMAN, Chris & co. India 1900-1947 www.thenagain.info: KOELLER, David. India’s Independence from Britain 1947 www.open.ac.uk: Making Britain: 1947 quit India Movement www.bbc.co.uk: KAUL, Chandrika. History: from empire to Independence

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