Unit-2 Historical Background

Unit-2 Historical Background - RESPONSES OF INDIAN SOCIETY...

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RESPONSES OF INDIAN SOCIETY Structure 2.0 Objectives 2.1 Introduction 2.2 India and the Colonial Experience 2.3 The World of the Peasantry 2.4 The Tribal Response . 2.5 Middle Class, Intelligentsia and Social Reform 2.5.1 The Ideas and Vision of New Class 2.5.2 Social Reformers and Public Debate 2.6 Reform Movements 2.7 Reform or Revival? 2.8 Social or Political Reform? 2.9 The Intelligentsia, Reforms and the Colonial State 2.10 Critique of Colonialism 2.1 1 Let Us Sum Up 2.12 Some Useful Books 2.13 Answers to Check Your Progress Exercises 2.0 OBJECTIVES This unit is about the responses of Indian society to the arrival colonialism ' in India. After reading this unit, you will be able to understand: The response of the peasantry to the colonial' policies; The reaction of the tribals to it; The reaction of the middle classes and intelligentsia to it; and The context of the rise of the social and cultural movements during the colonial period. INTRODUCTION Colonialism radically changed the face of Indian society. It also resulted in a churning within that society. The society responded to colonialism in multiple ways. The responses were, however, influenced by the context in which people lived, the way they perceived the colonial rule and their vision of a future society. In this unit we shall try and examine these various responses in their proper historical context. This will enable us to view properly the historical development of our society, and the manner in which this society responded to the range of forces it encountered over the past two hundred years or more. \ INDIA AND THE COLONIAL EXPERIENCE You have read in unit 1 that the trading companies from Europe, i.e, Great Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and Holland, entered India during the sixteenth
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Company received the Dewani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, when its armies defeated the combined forces of the Nawabs of Bengal and Oudh and the Mughal prince Shah Alam. By the first decades of the nineteenth century, a mere trading company established its authority over a vast tract of the Indian subcontinent. While on the one hand, colonialism impoverished the society and used political power to exploit it economically, it also unleashed the force of ideas to usher in an entirely new age. The British brought with them the message of the English (1688) and French (1789) revolutions. The notion of freedom, equality and a scientific world-view, derived from the scientific revolution and the enlightenment ideas of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Europe, also travelled to India with the colonial powers. Colonialism, therefore, presented itself as the purveyor of ideas for a radical social reorganisation, even though it changed the economic, political and cultural mosaic of the subcontinent in a fundamental way.
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This note was uploaded on 03/13/2012 for the course IR 101 taught by Professor Harfancoofers during the Spring '12 term at Sunway University College.

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Unit-2 Historical Background - RESPONSES OF INDIAN SOCIETY...

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