Q.3 (b) Discuss the extent to which the Indian Renaissance Movement contributed towards the rise of nationalist consciousness.
Indian Renaissance Movement was the 19th century social and religious reform movement which gave birth not only to various socio-religious movements but affected every aspects of Indian life.
This movement had impact on political sphere also and contributed to the rise of national consciousness, though indirectly.
Extent of the contribution of Renaissance Movement towards the rise of national consciousness can be explained by the following points:
(1) Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda, Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar etc were great patriots. They revived the glory of ancient India, created faith among people in their religion and culture and thus, gave message to self-respect, self-confidence in the face of imperialistic disintegration of Indian society and culture. They provided a cultural defence against the assault of colonial culture. These were useful in later national movements.
(2) They had shown and taught love to the motherland and to the people of India.
(3) Swami Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of Arya Samaj, exercised great nationalising influence upon his followers. He wss the first who used the word ‘Swaraj’ and declared Hindi as the national language. According to Annie Besant: ” It wad Dayanand Saraswati who proclaimed India for the Indians.”
(4) According to sister Nivedita, “Swami Vivekanand was also a great patriot and the queen of his adoration was his motherland.”
(5) Reform movements were country wide movement influencing people everywhere and not just in isolated areas. Reformers tackled all social evils on a national basis. This led to feeling of one nationality among Indians. The reform attacked on institutions like caste which hampered social unity and created a sense of oneness in people.
(6) The reform movement helped many Indians to come to terms with modern world. Many Indians began to acquire a modern, secular and national outlook in place of narrow outlook dominated by consideration of caste and religion.
(7) These movements were not an isolated phenomenon. The ideas and activities of reformers were indirectly related to task of nation building and formed the preclude to national consciousness.
As J. Nehru puts it “The rising middle class were politically inclined and were not so much in search of religion; but they wanted some cultural roots to cling on to; something that gave than assurance of their own worth; something that would reduce his sense of frustration and humiliation that foreign conquest and rule had produced. The religious reform movement after all transformed India into a nation in the making.”