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Nationalistic Movements Essay

Nationalism began to appear in Asia and Africa after World War I. It produced such leaders as Kemal Atatürk in Turkey, Saʿd Pasha Zaghūl in Egypt, Ibn Saʿūd in the Arabian peninsula, Mahatma Gandhi in India, and Sun Yat-sen in China. Atatürk succeeded in replacing the medieval structure of the Islāmic monarchy with a revitalized and modernized secular republic in 1923. Demands for Arab unity were frustrated in Africa and Asia by British imperialism and in Africa by French imperialism. Yet Britain may have shown a gift for accommodation with the new forces by helping to create an independent Egypt (1922; completely, 1936) and Iraq (1932) and displayed a similar spirit in India, where the Indian National Congress, founded in 1885 to promote a liberal nationalism inspired by the British model, became more radical after 1918. Japan, influenced by Germany, used modern industrial techniques in the service of a more authoritarian nationalism.

The new nations

The progress of nationalism in Asia and Africa is reflected in the histories of the League of Nations after World War I and of the United Nations after World War II. The Treaty of Versailles, which provided for the constitution of the League of Nations, also reduced the empires of the defeated Central Powers, mainly Germany and Turkey. The league distributed Germany’s African colonies as mandates to Great Britain, France, Belgium, and South Africa, and its Pacific possessions to Japan, Australia, and New Zealand under various classifications according to their expectations of achieving independence. Among the League’s original members, there were only five Asian countries (China, India, Japan, Thailand, and Iran) and two African countries (Liberia and South Africa), and it added only three Asian countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, and Turkey) and two African countries (Egypt and Ethiopia) before it was dissolved in 1946. Of the mandated territories under the League’s control, only Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria achieved independence during its lifetime.

Of the original 51 members of the United Nations in 1945, eight were Asian (China, India, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey) and four were African (the same as in the League). By 1980, 35 years after its founding, the United Nations had added more than 100 member nations, most of them Asian and African. Whereas Asian and African nations had never totalled even one-third of the membership in the League, they came to represent more than one-half of the membership of the United Nations. Of these new Asian and African nations, several had been created, entirely or in part, from mandated territories.

After World War II, India, Pakistan, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Burma, and Malaya (Malaysia) in Asia, and Ghana in Africa achieved independence peacefully from the British Commonwealth, as did the Philippines from the United States. Other territories had to fight hard for their independence in bitter colonial wars, as in French Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) and French North Africa (Tunisia, Algeria). Communism recruited supporters from within the ranks of the new nationalist movements in Asia and Africa, first by helping them in their struggles against Western capitalist powers, and later, after independence was achieved, by competing with Western capitalism in extending financial and technical aid. Chinese nationalism under Chiang Kai-shek during World War II was diminished with the takeover of the Chinese Communists. But Chinese Communism soon began to drift away from supranational Communism, as the European Communist countries had earlier. By the late 1960s Russian and Chinese mutual recriminations revealed a Chinese nationalism in which Mao Tse-tung had risen to share the place of honour with Lenin. As Chinese Communism turned further and further inward, its influence on new Asian and African nations waned.

Political and religious differences

Ambitions among new Asian and African nations clashed. The complex politics of the United Nations illustrated the problems of the new nationalism. The struggle with Dutch colonialism that brought the establishment of Indonesia continued with the UN mediation of the dispute over West Irian (Irian Jaya). In the Suez crisis of 1956, UN forces intervened between those of Egypt and Israel. Continuing troubles in the Middle East, beginning with the establishment of Israel and including inter-Arab state disputes brought on by the establishment of the United Arab Republic, concerned the UN. Other crises involving the UN included: the India-Pakistan dispute over Jammu and Kashmir; the Korean partition and subsequent war; the four-year intervention in the Congo; the struggle of Greece and Turkey over newly independent Cyprus; and Indonesian and Philippine objection to the inclusion of Sarawak and Sabah (North Borneo) in newly formed Malaysia.

Many new nations, all sharing the same pride in independence, faced difficulties. As a result of inadequate preparation for self-rule, the first five years of independence in the Congo passed with no semblance of a stable government. The problem of widely different peoples and languages was exemplified in Nigeria, where an uncounted population included an uncounted number of tribes (at least 150, with three major divisions) that used an uncounted number of languages (more than 100 language and dialect clusters). The question of whether the predominantly Muslim state of Jammu and Kashmir should go with Muslim Pakistan or Hindu India lasted for more than 20 years after the India Independence Act became effective in 1949. Desperate economic competition caused trouble, as in Israel where the much-needed waters of the Jordan River kept it in constant dispute with its water-hungry Arab neighbours.

In Europe the spirit of nationalism appeared to wane after World War II with the establishment of international economic, military, and political organizations such as NATO, the European Coal and Steel Community, Euratom, and the Common Market. But the policies pursued by France under Pres. Charles de Gaulle and the problem of a divided Germany showed that the appeal of the nation-state was still very much alive.

Hans KohnThe Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica

The Nationalist Movements in India were organized as mass movements emphasizing and raising questions concerning the interests of the people of India. In most of these movements, people were themselves encouraged to take action. Due to several factors, these movements failed to win independence for India. However, they did promote a sense of nationalism among the people of the country. The failure of these movements affected many people as they withdrew from Government offices, schools, factories and services. Though they did manage to get a few concessions such as those won by the Salt March in 1930, they did not help India much from the point of view of their objective.

Nizamiyat, the local nawabs of Oudh and Bengal and other smaller powers. Each was a strong regional power influenced by its religious and ethnic identity. However, the East India Company ultimately emerged as the predominant power. One of the results of the social, economic and political changes instituted in the country throughout the greater part of 18th century was the growth of the Indian middle class. Although from different backgrounds and different parts of India, this middle class and its varied political leaderships contributed to a growing "Indian" identity".[1] The realisation and refinement of this concept of national identity fed a rising tide of nationalism in India in the last decades of the 19th century.[2][3][4]

The Swadeshi movement encouraged the Indian people to stop using British products and start using their own handmade products. The original Swadeshi movement emanated from the partition of Bengal in 1905 and continued up to 1908. The Swadeshi movement which was a part of the Indian freedom struggle was a successful economic strategy to remove the British empire and improve economic conditions in India.The Swadeshi movement soon stimulated local enterprise in many areas. Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai, V. O. Chidambaram Pillai, Sri Aurobindo, Surendarnath Banerji, Rabindranath Tagore were some of the prominent leaders of this movement. The trio also known as LAL BAL PAL.The Swadeshi movement was the most successful.The name of Lokmanya began spreading around and people started following him in all parts of the country.

Indian textile industry also played an important role in the freedom struggle of India. The merchandise of the textile industry pioneered the Industrial revolution in India and soon England was producing cotton cloth in such great quantities that the domestic market was saturated and foreign markets were required to sell the production. On the other hand, India was rich in cotton produce and was in a position to supply British mills with the raw material, they required. This was the time when India was under British rule and the East India Company had already established its roots in India. Raw materials went to England at very low rates and cotton cloth of refined quality was brought back to India and sold here at very high prices. This was draining India's economy and the textile industry of India suffered greatly. This led to a great resentment among cotton cultivators and traders.

To add fuel to the fire Lord Curzon announced the partition of Bengal in 1905, and there was a massive opposition from the people of Bengal. Initially the partition plan was opposed through press campaign. The total follower of such techniques led to the boycott of British goods and the people of India pledged to use only swadeshi or Indian goods and to wear only Indian cloth. Imported garments were viewed with hate. At many places, public burnings of foreign cloth were organized. Shops selling foreign cloths were closed. The cotton textile industry is rightly described as swadeshi industry. The period witnessed the growth of swadeshi textile mills. Swadeshi factories came into existence everywhere.

According to Surendranath Banerji, swadeshi movement changed the entire texture of our social and domestic life. The songs composed by Rabindranath Tagore, Rajanikanta Sen and Syed Abu Mohd became the moving spirit for the nationalists. The movement soon spread to the rest of the country and the partition of Bengal had to be firmly inhaled on the first of April, 1912.The people were great.

Result of movements[edit]

The mass movements failed in their primary objective, achieving independence for India, as they were often called off before they naturally concluded. However they sparked nationalist sentiment with the Indian populace, figures like Mahatama Gandhi united a nation behind his non-violent philosophy and undoubtedly put crucial pressure on the British occupation. While in the later years of the Raj economic factors like the reversing trade fortunes between Britain and India and the cost of fielding the Indian armed forces abroad lumped on the British tax payer by the 1935 Government of India act, had mounting implication for British administration, united resistance further drew light on the growing disparity of the British failures to achieve solidarity over India. Indeed, Nationalist Movements in India were merely another notch on Britain's ever scarred grip over its Raj, faced with a magnitude of issues, mass Movements attributed to but were not solely responsible for India's independence in 1947.


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