NCERT Class 10 History The Nation and its History

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The Nation And Its History Class 10 Social Science NCERT

Class 10 Social Science students should refer to the following NCERT Book chapter The Nation And Its History in standard 10. This NCERT Book for Grade 10 Social Science will be very useful for exams and help you to score good marks

The Nation And Its History NCERT Class 10

The Nation and its History

The history written by colonial historians tended to depict Indians as weak, divided, and dependent on the British. These histories could not satisfy the tastes of the new Indian administrators and intellectuals. Nor did the traditional Puranic stories of the past – peopled by gods and demons, filled with the fantastic and the supernatural – seem convincing to those educated and working under the English system. Such minds wanted a new view of the past that would show that Indians could be independent minded and had been so in history. The novel provided a solution. In it, the nation could be imagined in a past that also featured historical characters, places, events and dates.

In Bengal, many historical novels were about Marathas and Rajputs. These novels produced a sense of a pan-Indian belonging. They imagined the nation to be full of adventure, heroism, romance and sacrifice – qualities that could not be found in the offices and streets of the nineteenth-century world. The novel allowed the colonised to give shape to their desires. Bhudeb Mukhopadhyay’s (1827-94) Anguriya Binimoy (1857) was the first historical novel written in Bengal. Its hero Shivaji engages in many battles against a clever and treacherous Aurangzeb. Man Singh persuades Shivaji to make peace with Aurangzeb. Realising that Aurangzeb intended to confine him as a house prisoner, Shivaji escapes and returns to battle. What gives him courage and tenacity is his belief that he is a nationalist fighting for the freedom of Hindus.

The imagined nation of the novel was so powerful that it could inspire actual political movements. Bankim’s Anandamath (1882) is a novel about a secret Hindu militia that fights Muslims to establish a Hindu kingdom. It was a novel that inspired many kinds of freedom fighters. Many of these novels also reveal the problems of thinking about the nation. Was India to be a nation of only a single religious community? Who had natural claims to belong to the nation?

5.1 The Novel and Nation Making

Imagining a heroic past was one way in which the novel helped in popularising the sense of belonging to a common nation. Another way was to include various classes in the novel so that they could be seen to belong to a shared world. Premchand’s novels, for instance, are filled with all kinds of powerful characters drawn from all levels of society. In his novels you meet aristocrats and landlords, middlelevel peasants and landless labourers, middle-class professionals and people from the margins of society. The women characters are strong individuals, especially those who come from the lower classes and are not modernised. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Premchand rejected the nostalgic obsession with ancient history. Instead, his novels look towards the future without forgetting the importance of the past.

Drawn from various strata of society, Premchand’s characters create a community based on democratic values. The central character of his novel Rangbhoomi (The Arena), Surdas, is a visually impaired beggar from a so-called ‘untouchable’ caste. The very act of choosing such a person as the ‘hero’ of a novel is significant. It makes the lives of the most oppressed section of society as worthy of literary reflection. We see Surdas struggling against the forcible takeover of his land for establishing a tobacco factory. As we read the story we wonder about industrialisation and its impact on society and people.

Who does it serve? Must other ways of living be sacrificed for it? The story of Surdas was inspired by Gandhi’s personality and ideas. Godan (The Gift of Cow), published in 1936, remains Premchand’s best-known work. It is an epic of the Indian peasantry. The novel tells the moving story of Hori and his wife Dhania, a peasant couple. Landlords, moneylenders, priests and colonial bureaucrats – all those who hold power in society – form a network of oppression, rob their land and make them into landless labourers. Yet Hori and Dhania retain their dignity to the end.


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NCERT Class 10 History Print and Censorship
NCERT Class 10 History Print Comes to Europe
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NCERT Class 10 History The Nation and Its Heroes
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NCERT Class 10 History The Nationalist Movement in Indo China
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NCERT Class 10 History The Print Revolution and Its Impact
NCERT Class 10 History The Reading Mania
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