The role of colonial policies and structures
Christian Missions and Britsh Imperialism
o Tried to convert people in India
o Their roles were also to manage the religion
o Instituted public structures
The public service and the colonial armed forces
o Modernizing elite formed among the indigenous elite in India
British had a habit of thinking in racialist terms and would divide human beings in terms of
o Also tried to institute a legal system based on that of Britain
Regularly structured courts of law
Law that would be enforced in these courts, which weren't there yet
There were laws, but they weren't formed in a codified way.
Legal language is extremely precise; if it doesn't say exactly what you
mean, then that's not what it means.
If it's not precise, then they are set on precedent
Most legal systems around the world are actually not set up this way
The Indian people were not used to it and found it to be a novelty.
India did not have a printing press or a railroad before British colonialism
The Arya Samaj and mass Hinduism
Has a couple of important characteristics
Founded by Dayananda Saraswati in 1875 who chose to name it the Society of the Aryans
Placed a lot of importance on the Vedas
Believes that castes should be an acquired status, and not something that a person is born
Anglo-Vedic colleges: It is about Vedas, but the language involved is language. It is almost
an extreme novelty.
An invented ritual: shuddhi
Not really something new
o If you were a member of a high cast and did something that was polluting, you would
undergo a purification ceremony
o Used the idea of purification rituals and made them into something like conversion
But who will convert? You are either born Hindu or not
Many Hindu people fall off the right path and should be brought back
Targets are fellow south Asians who are Muslim, low caste Muslims and Sikhs
Believe that everyone in Southeast Asia is Hindu but they have just fallen off
the path. (especially Muslims)
Believe any religion with roots in India are a branch of Hinduism, ie Sikhism,
Jainism, and Buddhism
NOT Islam or Christianity
Conversion does not apply to anybody who isn't Indian
Arya Samaj never got to be that popular
The development of competing communities Christian Missions
o Their role is to go around the world and make sure that people become Christian
o What kind of effect do these have in India?
Mainly elicit a reaction- debates
Indians have to clearly define what their religious identity is in order to have a
Self-conception through contrast and comparison
Sikh identification; from the 16th century, Sikhs knew that they weren't Muslim and
that they were also not Hindu.
o The idea comes into play that the Hindus are a threatened majority. But how can the
majority be threatened?
There are nationalism undertones. The way they are threatened is that they have
any control over their own country.
Has never been clear where Hindu nationalism ends and where Indian
nationalism begins; the distinction between Hindu and Indian isn't being carried
out very clearly here.
Indian nationalism, territory, and internal pluralities
British colonial boundaries: the accident of empire
o British divided India internally into different states and territories
o "princely states": the prince gets to stay in power, but he is operating for the British
Religious identities forming themselves much clearer than before
o States in India divided by and named for the language that is spoken there
o Certain names are associated with certain areas which are associated with specific
The cultural differences?
The range and variability in culture of the people in India who are supposed to be one
nation are significantly more different than the cultural differences in all of Europe.
The Congress Movement (Indian National Congress; founded in 1885)
Its social bases
o Its goal is to make India one single nation
o It includes both Hindus and Muslims and has never stuck to a single religion, and
o It is ruled, however by people in higher castes. It is not exclusive but it is dominant.
o India should be sovereign
All inclusive: not Hindu, Muslim, Jain, Sikh but all of these and more
The example of Mohandas Gandhi
o Middle elite, educated in London, "religiously eclectic"
o Developed ideals that he put into indigenous terms: swaraj, satygraha, brahmacharya
(self-rule, non-violence, asceticism)
o He is not just Hindu The Muslim League
Was congress a Hindu movement in disguise? For many people, not, but for the Muslims yes.
Founded in 1906 by people who were former members of the congress movement
Why did they want their own movement?
o For a long time, there was the idea that among everything, Muslim status had to be
o One of the questions is whether or not Muslims need their own state
Even if the country includes Muslims, if another religion is the majority then that
majority will rule anyway.
The Hindu Mahasabha
Takes a different direction and says that it will be a Hindu rule
Has an explicitly Hindu nationalist vision
o What it means to be Hindu isn't an explicit identity
o Seeks not to use religion as a main identifier.
Means the opposite of secular.
Congress invented this word
o Tries to include all the differences and tries not to identify the nation with just one
It sort of means fundamentalism, etc but we need to understand this term to know what
Indian politics is like.
Congress sees itself as secular- neutrality
o Believes state identity is superior to any religious identity
o Ie, charter of rights in Quebec- says when people wear ostentatious religious clothing
in public institutions, it is violating the state neutrality.
Muslim league, Mahasaba, Akali movement all seen as communalism which is the wrong
way to go
Seen as a contrary movement of what India should be.
Indian Politics after the Nehru Era
India Gandhi is the daughter of Nehru. Their family is a legacy. Family is important because
Nehru had important personal influence in the first few years of Indian independence.
Indira Gandhi and the end of the congress system
o Is not Nehru's direct successor.
o 1966-1971 has consolidation of power under the congress system.
o Weakness of the system is that it has the potential to be challenged by other political
o Tried to surround herself with her own political era (I am the unity of India, etc). Did
this largely by centralizing power, and appealing to the poorer classes. Pursuit of a
relatively planned economy She plays the "Pakistan card"- in the wake of independence of India, and
Pakistan, they have never had good relations. They had a series of wars.
Tried to orient the country as having Pakistan as a challenge and having to
stand up to them.
o Does religious come into play?
She tended to lean towards the Hindu nationalism way of doing things. She saw
India as having a predominantly Hindu identity.
Tended to oppose the Sikhs in Punjab
The State of Emergency and the Janata Dal
1970s are a bad time. One of the reasons Gandhi can stay in power is because she doesn't
have an opposition that is large enough to be able to take her power from her.
Corruption has become a very large problem
Powers get voted and afterwards, people from the opposition try to buy
Socialist program is successful but creates tensions for people who are not
benefitting from it.
Social mobility: Many people living in rural areas although the cities are
The threat of Hindu nationalism
Congress is starting to be seen as a viable option
o State of emergency 1975-1977
Congress system tries to keep itself as the national governing party
o 1977 elections- victory of the Janata Dal coalition
The opposition forms a coalition, runs in the 1977 election and wins.
Led by Morarji Desai, who is a former congress member. Becomes the prime
minister of India due to the coalition victory.
First time in history when the Congress party has not been in power. In a different
period in 1977 than before.
Janata Dal an unstable coalition and the government fell apart after 2 years. By
1980 there is another election, and the