Rise of Nationalism in India

The rise of nationalism in India is connected with the anti-colonial movement in India. The different groups of people in India shared a sense of bond with each other due to the oppression faced by all of them under colonialism. This article will share interesting insights on the various events which gave rise to nationalism in India.

Rise of Nationalism in India – Under Moderates and Radicals.

In the first 20 years, the Indian National Congress (INC) was moderate in its approach. They began by demanding a greater voice for Indians in the administration and government. By the 1890s, Lala Lajpat Rai in Punjab, Bipin Chandra Pal in Bengal, and Bal Gangadhar Tilak in Maharashtra were unhappy with the political style of Congress. Radicals wanted people to fight for their swaraj by relying on their own strength and not based on the good intentions of the British government.

Rise of Nationalism – Leadership of Mahatma Gandhi

The Indian National Congress (INC) under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi brought all the different groups together under one movement. Although there were conflicts and disagreements between different groups about the path to be taken to attain freedom, all of them were driven by one single objective, i.e. independence.

Mahatma Gandhi led the Dandi March, Satyagraha, Civil Disobedience Movement, Non-cooperation Movement, and Quit India Movement against the British. All these led to the rise of nationalism among the Indians.

Civil Disobedience Movement – Launched by Mahatma Gandhi

On 31 January 1930, Mahatma Gandhi sent a letter to Viceroy Irwin stating and imposing eleven demands. Among all the demands, the most stirring of all the demands was to abolish the salt tax that is consumed by the rich and the poor.

Non-Cooperation Movement

Different Social Groups participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement initiated by Mahatma Gandhi. The Non-Cooperation Movement was successfully launched by Mahatma Gandhi on 31st August 1920. The Non-Cooperation Movement was a truly national movement because this movement saw the participation of middle-Class, tribals, workers in plantations, and peasants in the countryside. Each social group had diverse aspirations and their involvement in Non-Cooperation was motivated by varied reasons. Non-Cooperation Movement involved:

  • Work for the eradication of untouchability from society.
  • Adopt swadeshi habits including hand spinning & weaving.
  • Adopt swadeshi principles.
  • The effects of non-cooperation on the economic front were more dramatised.
  • Foreign goods were boycotted and eliminated from the markets.
  • In a large number of places, merchants, peasants and traders refused completely to trade in foreign goods or finance foreign trade.
  • The council elections were boycotted in almost all provinces except Madras.
  • Thousands of students left government-controlled schools and colleges, headmasters and teachers resigned and lawyers gave up their legal practices.

Salt Satyagraha – Dandi March

  • Gandhi led a large group of people from Sabarmati Ashram on 12th March 1930 to Dandi, a coastal village in Gujarat, to break the salt law by producing salt from seawater.
  • The Salt Satyagraha march lasted for 24 days from 12th March 1930 to 5th April 1930.
  • When Mahatma Gandhi started the Salt Satyagraha, he was accompanied by 80 satyagrahis, all of whom were inmates of his ashram.
  • On 6th April, Mahatma Gandhi reached Dandi, ceremonially violated the law, and started manufacturing salt by boiling seawater. This movement marked the beginning of the Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • Civil Disobedience Movement was the first nationwide movement while all others were restricted to urban areas.
  • People in rural areas also had an opportunity to register their participation.
  • The participation of women was in large numbers.
  • Non-violence was the motto of this movement.
  • Different sections of people in the Civil Disobedience Movement had their own aspirations, hence the struggle was not united and there was discontent among the participants.

Related Links

Quit India Movement – 1942 (Modern Indian History NCERT Notes)

Salt Satyagraha – History, Facts & Cause Of Salt March

Non-Cooperation Movement (1920) – Indian Freedom Struggle

Difference Between Moderates and Extremists

Gandhi-Irwin Pact – Modern Indian History NCERT Notes for UPSC

India’s Struggle for Independence – Revolt of 1857 to Quit India Movement

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What was the main reason for the rise of Indian nationalism?

The rise of nationalism in India was connected with the anti-colonial movement in India. The different groups of people in India shared a sense of bond with each other due to the oppression faced by all of them under colonialism.

What is the rise of nationalism?

There was emergence of the nation-state in place of the multi-national dynastic empires of Europe during the 19th century. Nationalism was a force which brought about sweeping changes in the political and mental world of Europe.

Who were the first nationalists in India?

The moderates of the Indian National Congress in 1885 were the first nationalists in India. However, their approach was criticised by some people which led to the rise of radicals in congress who sought complete swaraj based on their own strength and self-reliance and constructive work.

What are the factors that led to the rise of national consciousness?

Economic factors, social factors, political factors and most importantly the oppression of all sections of society under the British colonialism led to the rise of national consciousness.

Who is the father of Indian nationalism?

Surendranath Banerjee is known as the father of Indian nationalism.