Subaltern approach to the Indian Independence movement

Subaltern approach to the Indian Independence movement

Question:- How did the subaltern approach not differ much from the imperialist approach to the Indian independence struggle?

A few historians started a new approach. Dismissed the earlier historiographies calling them 'elite', and claimed to replace this old, ‘bunkered’ schools with a promise of a new people’s or subaltern approach.

Between two social strata

Their theory is that the basic contradiction in Indian society in the colonial epoch was between the elite, both Indian and foreign, on the one hand, and the 'subaltern' groups, on the other, and not between Colonialism and the Indian people.

Two-streamed movement

They, too, deny the existence of any anti-imperialist unity among the Indian people and, thus, that there was nothing like an Indian national movement. Their conclusion is that there were two distinct movement flows, the real anti-imperialist one of the subalterns and the fake national movement of the 'elite'. The latter was led by the Indian National Congress, was a disguise for the struggle for power among the elites.

Sad resemblance with the imperialist and neo-imperialist schools

Sadly the subaltern school’s interpretation of the national movement resembles to the imperialist and neo-imperialist interpretations of the national movement to a great extent. The only difference is that while the imperialist and neo-imperialist historiography do not split the movement into two kinds but calls the entire national movement a sham, ‘subaltern’ historiography divides the movement into two and for elite stream, it takes the neo-imperialist characterization.

Non-recognition of nationalists' efforts

It also advocates a general ahistorical glorification of all forms of popular militancy and consciousness and advocates an equally ahistorical contempt for all forms of initiative and activity the intelligentsia, organized Party leaderships and other ‘elites’.

In conclusion, it too almost denies to recognize the genuineness of the actual, historical anti-colonial struggle that the Indian people had spiritedly upraised.
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