Indian National Movement

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSLS2HS1014

Semester and Year Offered: Winter Semester

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr. Shailaja Menon

Email of course coordinator: shailaja[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: None

Aim: The aim of the course is to introduce to the students the Indian national movement as an important building bloc in the making of modern India. Through a survey of the course the students will be sensitized to the complex process through which modern politics was introduced in India. The national movement was a crucial element in the transformation of the Indian society and polity. A study of the movement will therefore enable them to appreciate the complex nature of this transformation.

The Indian Nationalist Movement as a phenomenon was stretched over many decades. It also has a rich and comprehensive historiography. Therefore it has to be taught in a manner that is selective rather than exhaustive. In order to do justice to it in a four- credit course, we will have to adopt a thematic approach instead of a chronological one. The course will therefore focus on the basic attributes of the national movement. The idea is to treat it as an important building block in the making of India. The chosen themes of the course would be geared towards this end.

The rich historiography on the national movement has thrown up multiple and often conflicting perspectives. Therefore all the major themes will be discussed in the light of different perspectives that have developed on and around the national movement. The richness of historical data and the plurality of perspectives would be reflected in the teaching of the course.

Course Outcomes: On successful completion of the course, it will

  1. Help students to engage critically on thematic issues rather than on personalities in relation to Indian national movement.
  2. Help the students to get acquainted on latest readings on the national movement through the perspectives of gender, caste and community
  3. Help to improve their reading and writing abilities through both oral and written assignments.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Background and Setting

(A general theoretical overview of nationalism; the context of 19th century India; making of a nation of Indian people; early expressions of nationalism in the realm of culture; economic nationalism; formation of the Indian National Congress)

Indian Nationalist Movement: Essential Attributes

(Basic components of the movement and the changes that came about in the trajectory of the national movement – political objectives, strategy, ideological orientation, leaders and the masses, social base and class character, long-term dynamics)

Range of Activities

  • Agitational Politics – Swadeshi (1905), Non-cooperation movement (1920-22), civil disobedience (1930-34), Individual Satyagraha (1940) and Quit India (1942).
  • Constructive Programme
  • Constitutionalism (Moderate politics, Swarajism, Nehru Report, Congress governments in provinces, Cabinet Mission)
  • Ideological Spectrum Within (Left-Right divide within Congress, potentialities of an ideological transformation of Congress and of the National Movement in a leftist direction; The range of the nationalist spectrum (revolutionary terrorists – Communists and Socialists – mainstream Congress leadership – Liberals)

Social Dimensions and Legacies

  • National Movement and the Classes – Workers, peasants, landlords and the capitalists.
  • Entanglement with questions of caste, gender, language and religion
  • National Movement and the minority question
  • Shortcomings and weaknesses
  • Legacies (Secularism, foreign policy, civil liberties, making of the nation, pluralism, democracy, developmental perspective, etc.
  • A.K.Gupta (ed.), Myth and Reality: Struggle for Freedom in India, 1945-47, New Delhi, 1987.

Assessment Details with weights:

  1. Take home assignment- 30% 2) In class presentation- 20% 3) class participation 10% 4) end semester exam- 40%

Reading List:

  1. A.R.Desai, Social Background of Indian Nationalism, Mumbai, 1948.
  2. Amales Tripathi, Indian National Congress and the Struggle for Freedom, OUP, 2014
  3. Anil Seal, The Emergence of Indian Nationalism, Competition and Collaboration in the Later Nineteenth Century, Cambridge, 1968.
  4. Bipan Chandra, India’s Struggle for Independence, 1857-1947, New Delhi, 1988.
  5. Bipan Chandra, Indian National Movement: The Long-term Dynamics, New Delhi, 1988.
  6. Bipan Chandra, Nationalism and Colonialism in Modern India, New Delhi, 1987.
  7. C.A.Bayly, Origins of Nationality in South Asia: Patriotism and Ethical Government in the Making of Modern India, OUP, 1998
  8. D.A.Low (ed.), Congress and the Raj: Facets of Indian Struggle.
  9. D.A.Low, Britain and Indian Nationalism: The Imprint of Ambiguity
  10. D.A.Low, Rearguard Action: Selected Essays on Late Colonial Indian History
  11. J.Gallaghar, G.Johnson, A.Seal, Locality, Province and Nation: Essays on Indian Politics, Cambridge, 1973.
  12. R.P.Dutt, India Today, New Delhi, 1947.
  13. Partha Chaterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories, OUP, 1993
  14. Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, Indian Nationalist Movement: A Reader.
  15. S.R.Mehrotra, Emergence of Indian National Congress, Delhi, 1971.
  16. Sumit Sarkar, Swadeshi Movement in India.
  17. Sumit Sarkar, Modern India, 1885-1947, New Delhi, 1983.
  18. Sumit Sarkar, Critique of Colonial India.

ADDITIONAL REFERENCE: Chapters from Books and articles, both soft and hard copies will be provided in class apart from audio-visual material.