Sense of Collective Belongings

Visualizing the Nation and Nationalism

  • The growth of Nationalism in India was greatly contributed by symbols, imagestales , folk songs and other cultural traits just like in case of Europe.
  • Nationalism spreads when people started thinking that they are all part of the same nations and to identify themselves as a united nation, culture played a great role.
  • In case of allegory of India, the association of Indian nation with Bharat Mata came in late 19th In 1870, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote “Vande Mataram” as a hymn to the motherland.
  • Inspired by his imagination of Bharat Mata, Abanindranath Tagore painted the famous image of Bharat Mata. Here she was depicted as a calm and spiritual figure.
  • Later, the image of Bharat Mata became a popular allegory of India.
(Bharat Mata by Abanindranath Tagore, source: Wikipedia)
(Bharat Mata by Abanindranath Tagore, source: Wikipedia)
  • Revival of Indian folklore was another contributor to nationalism. In Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore himself collected ballads, nursery poems, and folk tales from various places.
  • In case of Indian flag, during Swadeshi movement, a tricolor flag (red, green and yellow) with 8 lotuses symbolizing British Indian provinces were created.
  • In 1921, Gandhi created a tricolor flag of red, green, and white with a spinning wheel in the middle. It became later a symbol of defiance.

Reinterpreting History

  • The reinterpretation of Indian History played major role in nationalism. By end of 19th century, Indian educated section started creating an Indian narrative glorifying India’s achievements in the past.
  • The glorious developments in culture, science, astronomy, mathematics, art, philosophy, religion were recovered, studied and publicized.
  • The motive was to discard systematically the feeling of inferiority in front of British as primitive and backward civilization.
  • The narrative that the Indian civilization declined after colonization urged Indian people to struggle for independence and restoring of greatness of Indian nation.
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