Describe how nationalism led to independence in India
While the concept of India as a single unified nation can be found as far back as the Mauryan Empire, the modern Indian Nationalist movement was based on territorial nationalism and grew in opposition to the British Raj. Territorial nationalism includes all people of a defined area regardless of their individual religious, ethnic, or linguistic background. The people of the Indian subcontinent have long a sense of a shared past and pan south asianism.
During the late nineteenth century, an emerging Indian middle class frequently found their economic, social, and political interests thwarted by the British Raj. This opposition to the Raj led to the emergence of Indian nationalistic institutions which sought to increase the influence Indians over the institutions that governed them. The moderate Indian National Congress was formed in 1885 which sought to negotiate with the Raj for greater autonomy.
The Raj also came under attack by radical nationalist who sought to use violence to drive the British from India. While earlier nationalist movements had been fragmented on religious, class, and ethnic lines, Mohandas Gandhi’s rejection of these divisions and appeals to a common Indian identity allowed for greater unification of the nationalistic movement.
This popularity of the independence movement under Gandhi’s leadership, led to the Indian Act of Independence in 1947 which formed the modern state of India.
After the external threat to Indians that the British represented was removed by independence, internal division along religious lines reemerged and the British Raj was divided into two countries. The largely Hindu areas became India, whereas the largely Muslim areas became Pakistan.