In this article, you can read about the role of the Indian National Congress (INC) on national integration and the idea of India. This is an important topic for the UPSC exam, especially for the GS I and essay papers.
It is important to understand the idea of India, on the basis of which the freedom struggle was fought. Also, the challenges in India, which we had partly inherited from our own past, and partly from our colonial past is important. The Congress movement (late 19th and early 20th century), and the role of the political leaders (both in the INC and the opposition) is important. The subtopics that will be covered under this topic are as under:
- The idea of India on the basis of which the freedom struggle was fought
- The Congress Movement
- The role played by the political leaders (both within INC and opposition)
- The Constitution of India itself and its contribution to the idea of India
- The uniform civil/army/judicial administration which we inherited from the British
- Role of Planning and Finance Commission
- Railways and Communication
- Education System
- Entertainment, Sports, Literature
- Middle class, Intellectuals, Labour class
- Press/Media/Multinational Companies, etc.
When we look at the time period before and just after independence, there were certain factors that kept India united. The idea of India with Diversity itself wasn’t a reason for conflict. Diveristy in India has been seen in her religion, language, culture, and region- and it was believed that diversity was something that we should cherish and be proud of. Despite of this variant diversity, a common bond has been felt between the people from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, and from Arunachal Pradesh to Gujarat. The people of India, despite their cultural, linguistic, etc. diversities, have a shared history, have common mythologies, folk heroes. Their food, dresses, local customs may be slightly varied from each other but, yet, are not completely different. Apart from being endowed with great diversity, the people of India have also had to content with great disparities- such as that of gender, class, caste, etc. It is because of these disparities, that many people began to doubt the idea of India, as they believed that a country with so many inherent contradictions wouldn’t be able to stay united for long. The constitution of India, has safeguarded the interests of all our diverse groups- be it religion, language, etc. and has also attempted to reduce the gaps between different classes, castes, and genders. In the area of reducing gender discrimination, various state governments have implemented schemes to uplift the status of women, most notably, Kerala.
The Congress Movement both before the advent of Gandhi and after, played a key role in shaping the idea of India. The earliest Congress leaders, i.e. the moderate leaders, held the INC sessions from Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and Allahabad. And, if we look at these four sessions, what we observe is that they were held in four different corners of India- meaning that the INC right from the first day believed in the idea of pan-India. And the very name, Indian National Congress was based on the idea of entire India. With the advent of Gandhi, the idea of India spread in rural areas. The following movements provided great impetus to the idea of India:
- Swadeshi Movement
- Khilafat Movement
- Non- Cooperation Movement
- Civil Disobedience Movement
- Quit India Movement
- Various Gandhian Programmes
The Gandhian Programmes played a major role in the areas of Khadi development, promoting Hindu-Muslim unity, village development, reintegrating untouchables with the mainstream of Indian society. Other leaders like B.R. Ambedkar, Jyotiba Phule, played a significant role in bringing the marginalized sections into the mainstream of Indian society through various social-reform movements, educational programmes, etc.
Thus, the collective effort, from the late 19th century onwards, translated into a movement, which wasn’t restricted to one individual alone, or one party. The communists, other regional organizations, played a key role in mobilizing local farmers and industrial workers, who moved beyond their regional affiliations towards a larger national interest. The leaders who led this movement had an all-Indian perspective. Leaders like Gandhi, Nehru, Maulana Azad, and others, were often born, but brought up in different parts of the country and in some instances, even outside the Indian subcontinent, reflected their outlook towards an idea of India which did not focus on any particular region, but was inclusive in carrying forward the collective aspirations of all her people.
For example, Gandhiji, who was from Gujarat, spent almost 20 years of his life in South Africa. Nehru, a Kashmiri Pandit, lived in Allahabad and in Delhi. Maulana Azad was born in Mecca, but lived in Calcutta and in Delhi. They were married to the idea of India. So, was the case of B.R. Ambedkar, Ram Manohar Lohia, and Jayaprakash Narayan, and many others. Their all-Indian perspective helped in shaping up the future of India as one nation.
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FAQ about National Integration Idea Of India And Role Of Inc
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|NCERT Notes: Indian National Congress Sessions||NCERT Notes: Mahatma Gandhi’s Early Movements|
|Salt Satyagraha||Non-Cooperation Movement|