Both the socalled vernacular and the English
welfare, besides popularising modern ideas of self-government, democracy,
etc. Nationalist literature in the form of novels, essays, and patriotic poetry
also played an important role in arousing national consciousness.
Socio-religious Reform Movements Reformers like Raja Rammohan Roy,
Swami Vivekananda, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, etc. by pointing to the rich
cultural heritage of India, created among the Indians self-confidence in
themselves and respect for their own religions and culture. In this way they
were able to counter the British propaganda that the Indians had never been
able to rule themselves in the past, that Hindus and Muslims had always
fought one another, and that Indians were destined to be ruled by foreigners.
Swami Dayanand, for instance, was the first to use the word, swaraj. Many
Arya Samajis were in the fore-front of the national movement, and were
primarily responsible for the rise of extremism in the Indian National
Congress. The work of the Theosophical Society was also responsible for
restoring self-confidence and self-respect among the Indians.
Racial Superiority of the British and their Practice of Social
Exclusiveness Racial discrimination came to be practised quite openly in
each and every respect in eligibility to public posts, in the administration of
justice, in payments to the employees, and even in personal matters. All these
practices and happenings were given wide publicity in the Indian newspapers,
which in turn created a feeling of national humiliation among the Indians.
Thus the feelings of Indians were inflamed against the British, facilitating the
growth of national consciousness.
Reactionary Regime of Lord Lytton (1876–80) and the IIbert Bill
Controversy (1883) The former gave Indian Nationalism a visible form,
while the latter gave it an organised form. Lord Lytton’s regime is notorious
for the Vernacular Press Act which curbed the liberty of the Indian press, the
Arms Act which disarmed the Indians on a large scale, the second Afghan
War which affected the economy of India badly, holding of the Imperial
Durbar in Delhi at a time of terrible famine in India. The abolition of import
duties on British textiles, the reduction in the maximum age limit for the ICS
examination thus reducing the chances for Indian further, etc. All these
events fed the smouldering discontent against British rule, while the Ilbert
Bill Controversy provided the necessary spark.