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Q1) In what ways has the Indian independence movement shaped the identity of modern India?


The Indian independence movement was a significant phase in the India’s history that has shaped the identity of modern India in several ways, as discussed below:

  1. Nationalism: The Indian independence movement fostered a sense of nationalism among the people of India. The patriotic sentiment continues to shape the Indian identity today and inspire new generations towards creating a brighter future.
  2. Democracy: The Indian independence movement fought for democratic principles such as consensus-building, peaceful protests, and public participation. These aspects are now deeply ingrained in the Indian political system, making it the world’s largest democracy.
  3. Secularism: The Indian independence movement fought for secular principles and common interest of all classes, categories, and groups across religions. E.g., syncretic community singing of ‘Ishwar Allah Tero Naam’. Today, secularism is reflected in the basic structure of the Indian Constitution.
  4. Diversity: The Indian independence movement was inclusive of all communities, religions, and castes. Linguistic identities were supported well before the linguistic reorganisation of states through provincial Congress Committees that were organized along linguistic lines after the 1920 Nagpur session of the Congress.
  5. Social Justice: Great foresight was shown in giving emphasis to individual rights and freedoms. E.g., in the 1928 Nehru report, Poona Pact, universal adult franchise etc. Social justice and equality continue to be a central aspect of Indian identity and political discourse.
  6. Art and Culture: Art and culture were used to arouse national consciousness. E.g., Ganeshotsav and Shivaji Utsav in Maharashtra by Tilak and the iconography of Bharat Mata by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee remain popular to this day.

While the Indian independence movement has had a lasting impact on shaping the identity of modern India, there are some values that have faded over time, such as:

  1. Gram Swaraj: Nehruvian emphasis on rapid industrialisation through state control of the commanding heights of the economy discarded the Gandhian ideal of self-sufficient village economy.
  2. Non-violence: While non-violent methods were a hallmark of the Indian independence movement, violence has become increasingly prevalent in modern Indian society. E.g., encounters of criminals to pander to public sentiments.
  3. Unity in Diversity: While the Indian independence movement celebrated the diversity of India, there has been a growing trend towards division and polarization. E.g., linguistic chauvinism, xenophobia, and religious polarisation.
  4. Equality: There are still significant disparities in wealth and opportunity in modern India. E.g., as per Oxfam, the top 10% of the Indian population holds 77% of the national wealth.

By reemphasizing the values that inspired the national struggle for independence, India can continue to build on the legacy of the independence movement and create a more just, equitable, and peaceful society.

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