The Marxist historiography of Indian Independence struggle

The Marxist historiography of Indian Independence struggle

Question:- What does the recently developed Marxist historiography say about Indian Independence movement?

Karl Marx advocated dialectical materialism which showed the relationship between social and economic organization and its effects on historical events. The slowly emerging global forces in the second decade of 20th century have given rise to a new historiographical approach. The credit goes to D.D Kosambi for initiating the Marxian concept in Indian historical writings. From Marxist point of view features of Indian Independence movement are as follows:

- Focus on Social history rather than political

The Marxists focused on the society followed by the way a state treated its people. It then turns towards statesmen and human life and lastly to the political life. Marxism made large sections of people the lawful objects of historical inquiry which was overlooked so far.

- Dialectical Materialism

The Marxist school of Indian historiography tried to use primary sources to reconstruct the ancient Indian history following dialectical materialism.

- Interests of Indian people vs. British colonialism

The Marxist historians believed that India’s Freedom Struggle was basically the result of a fundamental contradiction or disagreement between the interests of the Indian people and that of British colonialism. India’s national leaders had a clear idea about this contradiction from the beginning itself. And that they could see in the regressing economy and the process of underdevelopment.

- Scientific analysis of colonialism

In time they were able to evolve a scientific analysis of colonialism. the national leaders based the national movement a clear-cut anti-colonial ideology which was formed taking into consideration the social experience of the Indian people as colonized subjects. They also recognized the common interests of the Indian people against colonialism. This anti- colonial ideology and critique of colonialism were popularized more during the mass phase of the movement.

- Perception of the National Movement

Thus, the national movement is perceived by the leaders both as a product of the process of the nation-in-the-making and as an active agent of the process. The pre-nationalist resistance to colonial rule had failed to understand the twin phenomena of colonialism and the nation in-the-making. This analysis and political consciousness based on it were then taken to the people by intellectuals who played a significant role in arousing the inherent, instinctive, nascent, anti-colonial consciousness of the masses.

At length, the Marxists were people-centric and judged everything on the basis of how it affected the public. Marxism has gained high popularity among the historians over the years.
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