Major Approaches to the History of Modern India
Short notes (prelims perspective)
- Colonial approach-
- I-The history of the colonial countries
- II-Works which were influenced by the colonial ideology of domination
- Certain characteristics common to most of the works of these historians are the following:
(i) ‘Orientalist’ representation of India;
(ii) The opinion that the British brought unity to India;
(iii) The notions of Social Darwinism—the English considered themselves superior to the ‘natives’ and the fittest to rule;
(iv) India viewed as a stagnant society which required guidance from the British (White Man’s burden); and
(v) Establishing Pax Britannica to bring law and order and peace to a bickering society.
- Economists-Dada bhai Naroji, MG Ranade, GV Joshi, RC Dutta.
- Nationalists-Jawaharlal Nehru, GK Gokhale, RC Majumdar, AC mazumdar,Pattabi Sittaramayya
- Contradiction between interests of colonial masters and subject people and also internal contradiction between the subject people
- Rajni Palme Dutta’s –India Today ( first published in 1940 in England, was later published in India in 1947)
- R. Desai’s –Social Background of Indian Nationalism.( was first published in 1948)
- P. Dutt’s-paradigm
Criticism to R.P. Dutta -Sumit Sarkar- considers Dutta’s paradigm as a “simplistic version of the Marxian class approach”. He looks at the nationalist leaders in the light of intelligentsia which acts as a “kind of proxy for as yet passive social forces with which it had little organic connection”.
- Contradiction between interests of elites and subaltern from 1980s.
- Criticizing INC and Nationalist elite leaders
- School of thought began- Ranjit guha
5- Communalist approach-
- Interests were mutually different and antagonistic to each other of permanent hostile groups e.g- Hindus and Muslims
6- Cambridge school-
- Fundamental contradiction under colonial rule was among the Indians themselves.
- It takes the mind or ideals out of human behaviour and reduces nationalism to ‘animal politics’
7- Liberal and neo-liberal interpretations-
- Economic exploitation of the colonies was not beneficial to the British people as a whole.
- India was seen as a source of raw materials and markets so lot of investments in India was done and not in Britain.
- Hence delayed development of new small industries in Britain.
8- Feminists approach-
- Womens role in independence movements. Social atrocities, deniel of ownership
- The High Caste Hindu Woman (1887) by Pandita Ramabai,
- Mother India (1927) by Katherine Mayo