Emergence of Indian Renaissance

British Impact (Positive side)

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British Impact (Positive side)


Every “no-moon” has its positive side to show at some or other time. And the impact of Western thought is no exception. It gave momentum to the renaissance movement in India. English education enabled Indian mind for the first time to have a closer view of Western culture. As a result of which the mental outlook of the educated Indian mind was broadened. Indian people now could understand and appreciate the ideological forces that were the living force for the West. They also felt the direct impact of a great industrial, scientific and technical civilization which was in a process; to change the shape of the world, it also engendered in them a new critical and reflective attitude and they became more conscious of the shortcomings of their own society. Moreover, they could be conscious of evils that had entered Indian society through the ages and had almost depri­ved it of its dynamism and creative vigour.


The Indian thinkers were now determined to reform society and purge it of all its evils. Infanticide, child marriage, Sati, enforced widowhood, purdah, Devadasi, untouchability, caste system and prohibition of foreign travel appeared to them as the plagues of Hindu society which were to be rooted out altogether. Above all, the Indian thinkers and reformers of this period condemned and discouraged the tendency of some English edu­cated people to entertain blind and uncritical admiration for everything Western and cherish hostility towards their own cul­ture and civilization.



Some reformers and leaders of this century aroused in people a sense of patriotism and greater admiration and respect for its rich cultural tradition. To this effect they also got considerable support from a section of Western indologists, orientalists and some other Western friends and well wishers of India.


Translations of Sanskrit texts into English created sensation in the Indian mind and made English-educated people to realize the greatness and depth of Indian culture and civilization. The names of some of the great Western indologists and orientalists to be particularly mentioned here are Sir William Jones, Sir Charles Wilkins, Colebrooke, Wilson, Muir, Monier Williams, Max Mueller, James Fergusson, Dr. Buffler, Dr. Fleet and Havel.


That is how the many-faceted contribution of Britishraj is recognised for the birth of Indian Renaissance Movement. But some scholars like Sri Aurobindo would not like to recognise the British impact, rather would bestow the credit on Indian spirituality or the inherent Sakti. At best British impact might have had indirect effect in a secondary level. So in what follows, we shall discuss how the Indian spirit is responsible for Indian renaissance.


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