Chapter : 3. Nationalism in India

The Sense Of Collective Belonging

The Sense Of Collective Belonging
The sense of collective belonging came partly through the experience of united struggles. But there were also a variety of cultural processes through which nationalism captured people’s imagination. History and fiction, folklore and songs, popular prints and symbols all played a part in the making of nationalism.
(a) Image of Bharat Mata :
The identity of India came to be visually associated with the image of Bharat Mata. The image was first created by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. In the 1870s he wrote ‘Vande Mataram’ as a hymn to the motherland. Later it was included in his novel Anandamath and widely sung during the Swadeshi movement in Bengal. Ravindranath Tagore also painted image of Bharat Mata.
(b) Revival of Indian Folklore :
Idea of nationalism also developed through a movement to revive Indian folklore. In late 19th century India, nationalists began recording folk tales sung by bards and they toured village to village together folk songs and legends Natesa Sastri published a massive four volume collection of Tamil folk tales, “The Folklore of Southern India”. He believed the folklore was national literature.
(c) Icons & Symbols :
As the national movement developed, nationalist leaders became more and more aware of such icons and symbols in unifying people and inspiring in them a feeling of nationalism. During the Swadeshi movement in Bengal, a tricolour flag was designed. It had eight lotuses representing eight provinces of British India and a crescent moon, representing Hindus and Muslims. By 1921, Gandhiji had designed the Swaraj Flag. It was a tricolour with a spinning wheel in the centre.
(d) Reinterpretation of History :
By the end of 19th century many Indians began feeling that to instill a sense of pride in the nation, Indian history had to be thought about differently. Indians began looking in the past to discover India’s great achievements.

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