What do you mean by sense of collective belongingness and how was it practised in India by the Indians? OR “Nationalism spreads when people begin to believe that they are all part of the same nation.” Support the statement

It means that people began to believe that they were all a part of the same nation and discovered some unity, which bound them together.
1. Figures or images helped create an image with which people could identify the nation.
Devotion to this mother figure came to be seen as evidence of one’s nationalism.

  • It was with the growth of nationalism, that the identity of India was associated with the image oiBharat Mata.
  • This image was first created by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, who wrote the song ‘Vande Mataram in his novel Anandamath.
  • Then Rabindranath Tagore painted the famous image of Bharat Mata. He was moved by the Swadeshi movement.
  • In this painting Bharat Mata is portrayed as an ascetic figure; she is calm, composed divine and spiritual.
  • In subsequent years, the image of Bharat Mata acquired many different forms as it circulated in popular prints and was painted by different artists.
  • Devotion to this mother figure came to be seen as evidence of one’s nationalism.

(ii) Indian folklore:

  • Ideas of nationalism also developed through a movement to revive Indian folklore.
  • Folk tales were sung by bards in the villages, to give a true picture of the traditional culture, which was corrupted and damaged by outside forces.
  • In Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore himself began collecting ballads, nursery rhymes and myths to revive the folk culture.
  • In Madras, Natesa Sastri published a four-volume collection of Tamil folk tales, The Folklore of Southern India.

(iii) Icons and symbols (flag):

  • During the Swadeshi Movement in Bengal, a tricolour flag (red, green and yellow) was designed.
  • It had eight lotuses, representing eight provinces of British India and a crescent moon, representing Hindus and Muslims.
  • By 1921, Mahatma Gandhi designed the swaraj flag.
  • It was also again a tricolour (red, green, white) flag and had a spinning wheel in the centre, representing the Gandhian ideal of self-help.
  • Carrying the flag holding it aloft during marches became a symbol of defiance.

(iv) Reinterpretation of history:

  • The British saw Indians as backward, primitive and incapable of governing themselves.
  • In response, Indians began looking into the past to discover India’s great achievement.
  • They wrote about glorious developments in ancient India in arts and architecture, science and maths, religion and culture, law and philosophy, etc.
  • This glorious time was followed by a history of decline, when India was colonised.