To what extent can India be described as a nation between 1880 – 1914?
The Thus, India, in my opinion, can only be described as a nation in terms of an emerging political commonality of opinion in reference to British colonial rule. Or, in other words, as a shared set of political ideas concerning to a ‘national’ development. Ideas that would grow throughout the period to eventually in the mid 20th century link the despondent social groups, religious sects, geographical divides throughout India. What, therefore, I shall argue in his essay is that the extent to which India can be considered a nation lies as a purely ideational concept within the body politic of the higher caste intelligentsia. That practically India consisted of a plethora of cultural, social, and economic communities lacking the commonality of tradition, culture, homogeneity and personal belief in their connectivity to be considered a nation. To argue this my argument shall be broken down into three sections. Firstly, looking at the concept of a ‘nation’: to present an argument for what constitutes one. Next examining the politico-economic position and ideas of higher caste Indian nationalists who claimed to represent the masses: showing that the Indian Nation, in this period, existed purely as a normative idea. Finally I shall summarise the differences in Indian Society at this time, to show how, and nation, cannot be constituted fully as one in this period; that to call India a The history of Nations can be traced as one of development, for before nations came communities living through tribal, slave and feudal phases of social existence. In light of this, as correctly noted by Desai, it is only at a certain stage of social, economic and cultural development that nations came into being. For the organic welding of members to the state is necessary for nationhood; and this happens through, as Hroch notes, the formation of objective relationships (economic, political, linguistic, cultural, religious, geographical, historical), and their consciousness establishing Mill’s ‘Common Sympathies’. But that importantly this homogenization of factors is underpinned by Ersnt Renan’s singular conclusion: that each person has exercised their individual choice to live together. For as Anderson shows the nation is an imagined community. Imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know their fellow members, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion. Having developed a working model for what constitutes a nation, it is now important to elucidate the link between nationalism and belonging to a nation. As obviously for one to exist within a prerequisite would be the individual choice to hold nationalistic tendencies as part of a shared community. It is this that highlights a noticeable split within Indian Society. A split between the English educated intelligentsia and emerging bourgeoisie capitalist middle class, who held a commonality of