NCERT Class 10 History Summary – Chapters 1 to 8 YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Summary for NCERT Class 10 History
World Map

Chapter 1: The Rise of Nationalism in Europe

Concept of Nation State - common identity and shared history developed & was result of struggle, action of leaders and common people

French Revolution

1st expression of nationalism in 1789

Transfer from monarchy to body of French citizens – people constitute the nation and shape the destiny

The ideas of la patrie (the fatherland) and le citoyen (the citizen) emphasized the notion of a united community enjoying equal rights

New French tricolor flag to replace former royal standard

Estates General was elected and renamed as National Assembly

Centralized administrative system with uniform laws for citizens within territory

Abolish internal custom duties and dues

Formulate uniform system of weights and measures

French became a common language and regional dialects were discouraged

Aim to liberate people of Europe from despotism

Establishment of Jacobin clubs – French army moved into Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy in 1970՚s

Developments under Napoleon – Civil Code of 1804 (Napoleonic Code) did away with privileges based on birth, established equality and secured right to property. He abolished feudal system and freed peasants from serfdom. He removed guild restriction and improved transportation.


Unification of Germany – Bismarck – constitution, freedom of press and freedom of association

Unification of Italy – Mazzini, later Garibaldi

Mazzini formed Young Italy in Marseilles & Young Europe in Berne (1833) .

Developments in Balkan state – ethnic diversity

Habsburg Empire (Austria-Hungary) - many different regions and peoples. It includes:

Alpine regions – Tyrol, Austria and the Sudetenland

Bohemia - German-speaking

Italian-speaking provinces of Lombardy and Venetia

Hungary – half population spoke Magyar & others regional dialects

Polish speaking people in Galicia

Liberal Nationalism – liberalism (Latin – liber means free) means freedom for individual and equality of all before law.

It stood as end of autocracy and clerical privileges & stressed inviolability of private property

Universal suffrage – France – initially only property owned man had right to vote. Under Jacobins, right was given to all adult males. Under Napoleon, righted were limited and reduced for women. Later opposition movements began.

In 1834, a customs union or zollverein was formed at the initiative of Prussia and joined by most of the German states. The union abolished tariff barriers and reduced the number of currencies from more than 30 to 2. I

Conservatism after 1815 - Conservatism is a philosophy that stresses on tradition, customs and prefers gradual change

  • They believed modernization can strengthen traditional institutions like monarchy making state more effective
  • Modern army, efficient bureaucracy, dynamic economy, abolition of feudalism and serfdom could strengthen autocratic monarchies of Europe
  • In 1815, Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria who collectively defeated Napoleon met at Vienna under Congress hosted by Austrian Chancellor Duke Metternich to draw Treaty of Vienna. Idea was to undo changes that happened under Napoleonic wars & keep check on expansion of French territory

Age of Revolutions: 1830 - 1848

  • Revolutionaries were educated middle class elite, professors, school teachers, clerks and commercial middle classes.
  • France upheaval in 1830 – Bourbon kings restored to power were overthrown by liberal Louis Phillippe
  • Metternich said ‘When France sneezes, the rest of Europe catches cold.’
  • July Revolution sparked uprising in Brussels that led to Belgium breaking away from UK of Netherlands.
  • Greek war of independence – Treaty of Constantinople of 1832 recognized Greece as an independent nation.

Imagination & National Feeling

  • Nationalism came across by idea of culture (poetry, story and music) along with wars and territorial expansion.
  • Romanticism – criticized glorification of reason and science & focused on emotions, intuition and mystical feelings. Idea was to share collective heritage, common cultural past and basis of nation.
  • Paintings
  • Johann Gottfried Herder, German – discover German culture among common man (das volk) – by folk songs and dances spirit of nation (volksgeist) was popularized
  • Collection of vernacular language and folklore to carry message to illiterate audiences
  • Operas and music
  • Folk tales

Hunger, Hardship & Popular Revolt

1830՚s – years of economic hardships in Europe

1848: Revolution of Liberals

Brought abdication of monarch and republic based on universal male suffrage

Germany, Italy, Poland, the Austro-Hungarian Empire – men and women of the liberal middle classes combined their demands for constitutionalism with national unification – constitution, freedom of press and freedom of association

In Germany, German National Assembly was formed on 18th May, 1848 with 831 elected representatives. They drafted a constitution for German nations to be headed by monarchy. Friedrich Wilhelm IV, King of Prussia, rejected it and joined other monarchs to oppose the elected assembly.

Women formed political associations, founded newspapers and took part in political meetings but were denied suffrage rights.

Louise Otto-Peters (1819 - 95) was a political activist who founded a women՚s journal and subsequently a feminist political association (awareness of women rights and interests)

Serfdom and bonded labor were abolished both in Habsburg dominions and in Russia. Habsburg rulers granted more autonomy to the Hungarians in 1867.

Making of Germany & Italy

Liberal initiative to nation-building in Germany was repressed by monarchy and military & supported by the large landowners (called Junkers) of Prussia.

Prussia took leadership for national unification with Otto von Bismarck as the architect. 3 wars over 7 years with Austria, Denmark and France ended in Prussian victory & unification.

In January 1871, the Prussian king, William I, was proclaimed German Emperor in a ceremony in Hall of Mirrors, at Versailles

New state emphasized modernization of currency, banking, legal and judicial systems in Germany

Italy Unified

  • Italy had scattered dynasties and Habsburg Empire. In mid-19th century – it was divided in 7 states of which Sardinia-Piedmont was ruled by Italian princely house.
  • Garibaldi was sailor. In 1860, Garibaldi led the Expedition of the Thousand to South Italy. Volunteers joined and were known as Red Shirts. In 1867, Garibaldi led an army of volunteers to Rome to fight the last obstacle to the unification of Italy, the Papal States where a French garrison was stationed. I

Case of Britain

  • Nation state formation was not sudden but a long drawn out process. Prior to 18th century there were ethnic groups like English, Welsh, Scot or Irish with their own culture and traditions. As it grew in wealth and power, influence extended to other nations.
  • English parliament seized power from the monarchy in 1688
  • Act of Union (1707) between England and Scotland resulted in the formation of ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’ - England was able to impose its influence on Scotland
  • British parliament was dominated by English members and Scotland՚s culture was suppressed. Catholics from Scotland suffered repression. Scottish Highlanders were forbidden to speak their Gaelic language or wear their national dress, and large numbers were forcibly driven out of their homeland.
  • Ireland was divided between Catholics and Protestants. English helped Protestants to establish power over Catholic nation. Catholics were suppressed. After failed revolt led by Wolfe Tone and his United Irishmen (1798) , Ireland was forcibly incorporated into UK in 1801.
  • Symbols of the New Britain: British flag (Union Jack) , the national anthem (God Save Our Noble King) , the English language were actively promoted
  • Nations were portrayed as females. Female figure became an allegory (abstract idea expressed through person or things) of the nation.
  • In France she was christened Marianne.
  • Germania became the allegory of the German nation.
  • Balkans - geographical and ethnic variation included Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro - people called as Slavs. Majority of Balkans was under Ottoman Empire. Spread of romantic nationalism & disintegration of Ottoman Empire made this region very explosive.

Chapter 2: The Nationalist Movement in Indo-China

Indo-China included Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Map of Indo-China

After Franco-Chinese war, French assumed control over Tonkin and Anaam & French Indo-China was formed in 1887.

French considered colonies necessary to supply natural resources and essential goods.

Canals were built to increase cultivation

Trans Indo-China rail network was made to connect south and north Vietnam and China

Plantation crops included rice and rubber owned by French & small Vietnamese elite.

Education & Dilemma – To privileged few

Tonkin Free School was started in 1907 to provide a Western style education included science, hygiene and French (these classes were held in the evening and had to be paid for separately) and adoption of short haircut (traditionally Vietnamese have long hair)

By 1920՚s students formed political parties (like Party of Young Annan) & published journals like Annanese Student.

Schools became center for political and cultural battles.

Students inspired by happenings in Japan during revolt with Russia

1930: Ho Chi Minh forms the Vietnamese Communist Party.

Ho Chi Minh in North & Bao Dai in South Vietnam

Plague affected Hanoi - Bounty program was scrapped.

From 18th century – many religious movements were hostile to Western presence. Early movement against French control and spread of Christianity was Scholars Revolt in 1868 (against Catholicism and French power)

Hao Hao movement in 1939 in Mekong delta – It drew on religious ideas popular in anti-French uprisings of the 19th century. Its founder was Huynh Phu – mental asylum

Resistance to French domination was led by Confucian Phan Boi Chau – formed Revolutionary Society (Duy Tan Hoi) in 1903, with Prince Cuong De as the head.

Phan Chu Trinh - intensely hostile to the monarchy and opposed to the idea of resisting the French, aimed to establish democratic republic

Go East Movement - drive away French from Vietnam, overthrow puppet rule & establish Nguyen dynasty

Bao Dai was overthrown by Ngo Dinh Diem (repressive & authoritarian – those who opposed were called communist and killed) . Diem retained ordinance 10, French law that permitted Christianity & was opposed by National Liberation Front (NLF)

NLF fought for unification of nation. US watched for alliance and was worried over unification and communist gaining so sent troops

Dominion status of nation – US worried

Minh became an active member of Commintern

Ho Chi Minh Trail

Women were portrayed brave and dedicated.

Chapter 3: Nationalism in India

Gandhi՚s return from South Africa

1916 – Champaran, Bihar against oppressive plantation

1917 – Kheda, Gujarat – crop failure and plague – relaxation on revenue collection

1918 – Organize Ahmedabad textile mill workers

Rowlatt Act (1919) – Nationwide protest against it. Passed by Imperial Legislative Council despite united opposition. It gave the government enormous powers to repress political activities, and allowed detention of political prisoners without trial for two years.

Jallianwalla Bagh Incidence

Khilafat issue - harsh treaty on Khalifa (Ottoman emperor) .

Surrender of titles, boycott of civil services, army, police, court, legislative council, schools and foreign goods

Non-Cooperation-Khilafat Movement began in Jan. 1921 – call of Swaraj

Khadi concept

Awadh (Baba Ramchandra – sanyasi who earlier had been to Fiji as indentured labourer) – against talukdars and landlords who were demanding high rents, begar (forced laborer without payment)

Gudem Hills of Andhra Pradesh – militant guerilla movement started in 1920՚s - led by Alluri Sitaram Raju

Inland Emigration Act of 1859, plantation workers were not permitted to leave the tea gardens without permission

After Chauri Chaura incident in Gorakhpur – Gandhi called off Non Cooperation movement

CR Das & Motilal Nehru formed Swaraj Party – to argue for return to council politics

Factors affecting Indian Politics late 1920՚s

Effect of worldwide economic depression, agricultural prices fell from 1926 & collapsed after 1930. Peasants found hard to sell harvest and pay revenue

Tory government in Britain constituted Statutory Commission under Sir John Simon – functioning of constitutional system & no single Indian in the commission – in 1928 was greeted with “Go Back Simon”

1929 - Bhagat Singh and Batukeswar Dutta threw a bomb in the Legislative Assembly & also attempt to blow the train in which Irwin was travelling – idea was “Inquilab Zindabad”

31 Jan 1930 – Letter to Irwin with 11 demands – bringing all classes under united campaign – demand to abolish salt tax (monopoly over salt production by Britisher was most oppressive face of British rule)

If demands are not fulfilled, Congress would launch

Civil Disobedience Movement

  • Salt March – with 78 volunteers for 240 miles from Sabarmati to Dandi – 24 days and walked 10 miles a day
  • Not only refuse cooperation but also break laws
  • Movement called off and Gandhi entered Irwin pact on March 1931
  • Untouchables or Dalits or oppressed were not moved by abstract ideas of swaraj
  • BR Ambedkar – organized dalits into Depressed Classes Association in 1930 – clashed with Gandhi at 2nd Round Table Conference for a separate electorate for dalits.
  • Muslims felt alienated and from mid-1920՚s Congress came to be openly associated with Hindus like Hindu Mahasabha – led to worsened relations between Hindus and Muslims – provoked communal riots
  • Muslim League and Congress tried to renegotiate an alliance and in 1927 it appeared that such unity could be forged – differences were over representation in future assemblies that were to be elected
  • Jinnah (leader of Muslim League) - willing to give up the demand for separate electorates, if Muslims were assured reserved seats in the Central Assembly and representation in proportion to population in the Muslim-dominated provinces (Bengal and Punjab) .
  • Hope to resolve issue disappeared when MR Jayakar of Hindu Mahasabha opposed to compromise


  • Nation symbolized as figure or image – identity of India as Bharat Mata (image 1st by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay – he later wrote Vande Mataram & novel Anandmath)
  • During Swadeshi movement in Bengal, a tricolour flag (red, green and yellow) was designed.
  • By 1921, Gandhi had designed the Swaraj flag.
  • Reinterpretation of history
  • Idea was to resolve difference and ensure demand of one group did not alienate another

Chapter 4: The Making of a Global World

  • Silk route – silk, goods, cargo, pottery, print and paper, gold and silver, later religion and ideologies
  • Food
  • Noodles travelled from west to China & became spaghetti
  • Arab traders took pasta to 5th century Sicily
  • Foods like potatoes, soya, groundnuts, maize, tomatoes, chilies, sweet potatoes were not known to our ancestors five centuries ago – introduced after Columbus accidently discovered Americas
  • Portuguese and Spanish conquest and colonization of America – under by mid-16th century – conquest not by firepower but by germs of smallpox
  • From 15th century – China restricted overseas contacts and retreated into isolation. China՚s reduced role and rising importance of America moved center of world trade westwards & Europe became center of world trade
  • 3 trade – flow of trade, labor and movement of capital for short term and long term investments – affected people more deeply (labor migration was restricted than goods and capital flows)
  • Canal colonies (area irrigated by new canals) – settled by peasants from other parts of Punjab
  • Between 1820 and 1914 world trade is estimated to have multiplied 25 to 40 times
  • Trade in meat – till 1870՚s animals were shipped live from America to Europe & then slaughtered –
  • Colonialism
  • Rinderpest (cattle plague) spread
  • Indentured labor (bonded laborer under contract to work for an employer for a specific amount of time, to pay off his passage to a new country or home)
  • Protest religion of Rastafarianism (made famous by the Jamaican reggae star Bob Marley) is also said to reflect social and cultural links with Indian migrants to the Caribbean.
  • ‘Chutney music’ , popular in Trinidad and Guyana, is another creative contemporary expression of the post-indenture experience
  • Entrepreneurs
  • There was need to protect local industries and restrict cotton imports & tariff imposed on imported cloth from Britain.

Inter-War Economy

  • 1st WW was mainly fought in Europe but impacts felt across the world – lasted for over 4 years, started in 1914
  • War was Allies (Britain, France and Russia, later joined by the US) versus Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Ottoman Turkey)
  • US transformed from international debtor to creditor while Britain was under external debt
  • In US recovery was quicker with strong growth in 1920՚s was due to mass production
  • Ford - “best cost cutting decision”
  • Great Depression – 1930՚s - by 1933 over 4,000 banks had closed and between 1929 and 1932 about 110,000 companies had collapsed
  • India՚s export and imports halved between 1928 and 1934 & wheat prices fell by 50 %
  • 2nd WW – after 2 decades of WW I – between Axis powers (mainly Nazi Germany, Japan and Italy) and the Allies (Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the US) for 6 years on land, sea and air – 60 million people were killed (3 % of world population) – many civilians died due to war related causes - cities destroyed, economic devastation and social disruption occurred
  • Two crucial influences shaped post-war reconstruction.
    • US՚s emergence as the dominant economic, political and military power in the Western world.
    • Dominance of the Soviet Union - It had made huge sacrifices to defeat Nazi Germany, and transformed itself from a backward agricultural country into a world power

Lessons from Inter-War Period

  • Industrial society based on mass production cannot survive unless there is mass consumption (which requires high and stable income and stable employment)
  • Government must step in to minimize fluctuations in price, output and employment
  • Goal of full employment could only be achieved if governments had power to control flows of goods, capital and labor.
  • Bretton Woods Conference established IMF – to deal with external surplus and deficit of member nations
  • International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (or World Bank as was known) was set up to finance postwar reconstruction
  • IMF & World Bank were called Bretton Woods Twins
  • Developing nations organized themselves into group of 77 nations or G-77 for New International Economic Order (NIEO)
  • Fixed and floating exchange rates
  • Rise of MNCs - spread

Chapter 5: The Age of Industrialization

Before factories there was proto-industrialization

Richard Arkwright created the cotton mill

Most dynamic industries were cotton and metals. Cotton was leading industrial sector till 1840՚s. Iron & steel demand increased with expansion of railways from 1840՚s in Britain and 1860՚s in colonies. By 1873, Britain exported iron of Pound 77 billion which was double that of cotton

New industries could not displace traditional industries – by end of 19th century – less than 20 % in advanced industrial sectors. Textile was dynamic sector and majority produced in domestic units

Pace of change in the ‘traditional’ industries was not set by steam-powered cotton or metal industries. Small innovations were basis of growth in non-mechanized sectors

Steam engine: James Watt improved steam engine produced by Newcomen

In Victorian Britain, upper classes – aristocrats and bourgeoisie – preferred things produced by hand.

Life of Workers - Some stayed in Night Refuges that were set up by private individuals; others went to the Casual Wards maintained by the Poor Law authorities

Seasonality in work

Surat on the Gujarat coast connected India to the Gulf and Red Sea Ports; Masulipatam on the Coromandel coast and Hoogly in Bengal had trade links with Southeast Asian ports

New ports like Bombay and Calcutta grew – it was indicator of strengthening colonial powers

Once East India Company established political power it could assert monopoly right to trade – develop management to eliminate competition, control cost and ensure regular supply of cotton and silk

It appointed a paid servant called gomastha to supervise weavers

By end of 18th century there was no import of cotton in India, rose to 31 % by 1850 and 50 % by 1870՚s in terms of value of imports

In Bengal, Dwarkanath Tagore made his fortune in the China

In Bombay, Parsis like Dinshaw Petit and Jamsetjee Nusserwanjee Tata

Indian merchants were barred from trading with Europe in manufactured goods, and had to export mostly raw materials and food grains – raw cotton, opium, wheat and indigo – required by the British

Number seeking work were always more than jobs available. Entry to mill was restricted and they employed jobber (old and trusted worker – became person with authority) to get new recruits

After 1906, exports to China declined was they started their own mills. In India, it registered a shift from yarn to cloth

Weavers used looms with fly shuttle (device for weaving by ropes and pullies) – led to higher productivity per worker, higher production and reduced labor demand – mainly in Travancore, Madras, Mysore, Cochin & Bengal

Indian weavers resisted colonial control, demanded tariff protection, created their own space and extended market for produce – swadeshi goods

Chapter 6: Work, Life and Leisure

  • In 1880, Durgacharan Ray wrote a novel, Debganer Martye Aagaman (The Gods Visit Earth)
  • Cities like Nippur and Mohenjodaro were larger in scale than other settlements
  • Cites were often the centres of political power, administrative network, trade and industry, religious institutions, and intellectual activity
  • London – In 1750,1 of 9 people of England and Wales lived in London. Colossal city with 6.75 lakh population which shot up to 4 million in 1880

Crime Grew

  • Women lost job with technology
  • Children in low paid work
  • Only after passage of the Compulsory Elementary Education Act in 1870 & factory acts beginning from 1902, that children were kept out of industrial work.
  • Temperance movement (middle class led social reforms) developed to fight against evils of drinking and drunkenness on streets
  • Town planning in London – Social revolution
  • Demands for new lungs for city – bridge between city and countryside by Green Belts around London
  • Ebenezer Howard developed idea of Garden City
  • Following Howard՚s ideas Raymond Unwin and Barry Parker designed the garden city of New Earswick.
  • City encouraged individualism (independent action of individual) & freedom from collective values of smaller rural communities. Public space became male dominated and domestic was female dominated
  • Music halls & cinemas
  • Libraries, art galleries and museums
  • Sea beaches
  • Taverns – night stay – place to exchange ideas and news
  • Haussmanisation of Paris under Napoleon III


  • Early 20th century – 11 % Indians were in cities
  • Large proportion of urban dwellers were in 3 Presidency cities (Bombay, Bengal and Madras) which were multi-functional with major ports, warehouses, educational institutions.
  • Till 20th century – Bombay dominated maritime trade. Located at junction of two railways (encouraged higher migration)
  • 1888 - 89 – Kutch famine drove people to Bombay
  • Flood of migrants created panic and plague epidemic spread in 1898 where 30,000 people were sent back in 1902
  • Bombay was crowded
  • Parsis, Muslims and upper caste traders had spacious bungalows while 70 % lived in chawls
  • Town planning in Bombay was due to fear of plague
  • Rent Act was passed to keep rents reasonable
  • Bombay developed by reclamation projects
  • Bombay as “mayapuri” or city of dreams
  • Natural features were flattened for demand of housing
  • Refuse and waste product polluted air and water and noise pollution became an issue
  • Use of coal in homes created serious problems
  • Kolkata - Smoke Abatement Acts of 1847 and 1853, as they were called, did not always work to clear the air

High Amount of Ash in Indian Coal Was a Problem

Singapore planning - Under Lee Kuan Yew it became independent nation in 1965 – housing and development program on every inch of land - void decks′ or empty floors were provided in all buildings for community activities & reduced crime

Chapter 7: Print Culture and the Modern World

Print culture started in China

Started with civil service exams in China

Spread to common people

Rise of industrialization and individualism

Handprinting in Japan by Buddhist missionaries from China in 768 - 770 AD

Kitagawa Utamaro – art form ukiyo ( ‘pictures of the floating world’ ) or depiction of ordinary human experiences

Paper made possible manuscripts written by scribes (skilled handwriters)

Luxury editions were handwritten on velum (parchment made from animal skin) for aristocratic and rich monastic libraries

Gutenburg & Printing Press

  • Gutenberg was son of merchant who grew on agricultural estate seeing olive and wine presses
  • Movement from oral to written culture

Circulation of Ideas

  • In 1517, religious reformer Martin Luther wrote Ninety Five Theses criticizing many of the practices and rituals of the Roman Catholic Church – posted on church door in Wittenberg – it was immediately reproduced and led to division within Church and beginning of Protestant Reformation.
  • 16th century – Menocchio, a miller in Italy could read books – reinterpreted Bible and formulated a view of God and Creation that enraged the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Almanacs, calendars, folktales; chapbooks (pocket sized books) sold for penny in England;
  • In France, were “Biliotheque Bleue” , which were low-priced small books printed on poor quality paper, and bound in cheap blue covers
  • Conditions created in French revolution by Print Culture
    • Books meant for spreading progress and enlightenment – change and liberate society from despotism and intellect could rule and bring in public opinion
    • Popularized ideas of enlightenment thinkers – argued for rule of reason and judgment to be done on rationality; authority of Church was attacked
    • Created culture of dialogue and debate – reevaluation of norms, values and institutions – new ideas of social revolution
    • By 1780՚s literature mocked royal culture and criticized morality – cartoons suggested that monarchy was absorbed in sensual pleasures and common man suffered hardships
    • Spread of ideas – reinterpretation of things in their own way – it did not shape the mind but opened possibility to think differently

Women novelists - Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, George Elio – defined new type of women as person with will, strength, determination and power to think

Late 19th century – offset print was developed – could print 6 colors at a time

20th century - electrically operated presses accelerated printing operations

Methods of feeding paper improved, the quality of plates became better, automatic paper reels and photoelectric controls of the color register were introduced

18th century - Gita Govinda by Jayadev - palm-leaf handwritten manuscript in accordion format

14th century poet - Hafiz collected works are known as Diwan.

By 1710, Dutch Protestant missionaries had printed 32 Tamil texts

Late 17th Century – English East India Company began to import press

From 1780, James Augustus Hickey began to edit the Bengal Gazette, a weekly magazine

Rammohan Roy published Sambad Kaumudi from 1821

Hindu orthodoxy commissioned the Samachar Chandrika to oppose his opinions of Raja Rammohan Roy

1822: Two Persian newspapers were published, Jam-i-Jahan Nama and Shamsul Akhbar

1822: Gujarati newspaper, Bombay Samachar started

In north India – Ulama (legal scholars of Islam) were worried about collapse of Muslim dynasty

1867 – Deoband Seminary published thousands of fatwas

From the 1880՚s, Naval Kishore Press at Lucknow and the Shri Venkateshwar Press in Bombay published numerous religious texts in vernaculars

19th century – In East Bengal Rashsundari Debi – Amar Jiban

1860՚s in Bengal - Kailashbashini Debi wrote books highlighting the experiences of women

1880՚s – In Maharashtra, Tarabai Shinde and Pandita Ramabai wrote with passionate anger about miserable lives of upper-caste Hindu women, especially widows

1870՚s – Serious beginning for Hindi printing – education, remarriage, national movement

Ram Chaddha published fast-selling Istri Dharm Vichar to teach women how to be obedient wives. Central Calcutta area Battala

Jyotiba Phule, Maratha pioneer of ‘low caste’ protest movements, wrote about injustices of the caste system in his Gulamgiri (1871)

In 20th century, B. R. Ambedkar in Maharashtra and E. V. Ramaswamy Naicker (Periyar) in Madras

Kashibaba, a Kanpur millworker, wrote and published Chhote Aur Bade Ka Sawal in 1938

The poems of another Kanpur millworker, who wrote under the name of Sudarshan Chakr between 1935 and 1955, were brought together and published in a collection called Sacchi Kavitayan.

Thomas Macaulay (liberal colonial official) formulated new rules that restored the earlier freedoms

Vernacular press became nationalist, government brought stringent measures

1878 – Vernacular Press Act was passed modelled on Irish Press Laws

When Punjab revolutionaries were deported in 1907, Balgangadhar Tilak wrote with great sympathy about them in his Kesari. This led to his imprisonment in 1908, provoking in turn widespread protests all over India.

Chapter 8: Novels, Society and History

  • Novels created flexibility in writing forms
  • Walter Scott – collected popular Scottish ballads which he used in his historical novels about the wars between Scottish clans.
  • Epistolary novel (series of letters) used the private and personal form of letters to tell its story.
  • 1740 – started circulating libraries
  • Why novels were popular?
    • Novels were absorbing, believable and real
    • Could transport you to another person՚s world of thought
    • Looked at life as it was experienced by characters of novel
    • Pleasure and joy of reading and discussing stories
    • Rural areas – people collected and one would hear them aloud
  • George Eliot (1819 - 1880) was the pen-name of Mary Ann Evans - very popular novelist, she believed that novels gave women a special opportunity to express themselves freely.
  • Bharatendu Harishchandra – pioneer of Hindi Literature encouraged writers and creators to translate novels from other languages
  • Colonial administrators found ‘vernacular’ novels a valuable source of information on native life and customs
  • Expressed dressing, religious worship, beliefs and practices
  • Criticize defects in the society and suggest remedies for the same
  • Helps to establish relation with the past
  • Created collective belonging based on one՚s language
  • The way characters spoke in a novel began to indicate their region, class or caste
Table of Author, Novel and Date
Emile ZolaGerminal1885
Life of a young miner in France explores in harsh detail grim conditions of miners′ lives. It ends on a note of despair: strike the hero leads fails, his co-workers turn against him, and hopes are shattered.
HardyMayor of Casterbridge1886
About Michael Henchard, a successful grain merchant, who becomes the mayor of the farming town of Casterbridge. He is an independent-minded man who follows his own style in conducting business. He can also be both unpredictably generous and cruel with his employees. Consequently, he is no match for his manager and rival Donald Farfrae (runs his business on efficient managerial lines, is smooth and even-tempered) . We can see that Hardy mourns the loss of the more personalized world that is disappearing, even as he is aware of its problems and the advantages of the new order.

Novels used vernacular (language of common man) – created shared world within diverse population – combined classical language with language of streets.

R. L. StevensonTreasure Island1883
Rudyard KiplingJungle Book1894
Powerful, assertive, independent and daring – full of adventure - heroic and honorable
G. A. HentyDrake′s Flag1883
Historical adventure novels for boys -excitement and adventure of conquering strange lands. They were set in Mexico, Alexandria, Siberia and many other countries. About young boys who witness grand historical events, get involved in some military action and show what they called ‘English’ courage.

Two young Elizabethan adventurers face their apparently approaching death, but still remember to assert their Englishness

Helen Hunt JacksonRamona1884
Sarah Chauncey Woolsey (pen name Susan Coolidge)What Katy Did1872
Love stories in USA
Daniel DefoeRobinson Crusoe1719
The hero is an adventurer and slave trader. Shipwrecked on an island, Crusoe treats colored people not as human beings equal to him, but as inferior creatures. He rescues a ‘native’ and makes him his slave and gives him the name “Friday” – this was unacceptable behavior as most writers saw colonialism as natural
Baba PadmanjiYamuna Paryatan1857
The earliest novel in Marathi was which used a simple style of storytelling to speak about the plight of widows.
Lakshman Moreshwar HalbeMuktamala1861
It was not a realistic novel; it presented an imaginary ‘romance’ narrative with a moral purpose.
Naro Sadashiv RisbudManjughosha1868
Used a highly ornamental style in his Marathi novel filled with amazing events
O. Chandu MenonIndulekha1889
A subjudge from Malabar, tried to translate English novel called Henrietta Temple written by Benjamin Disraeli into Malayalam – but people in Kerala found their clothes, speaking etc. as boring. He wrote a story in Malayalam in the ‘manner of English novel books’ . This delightful novel called Indulekha, was the first modern novel in Malayalam.
Kandukuri Viresalingam (1848 - 1919)Rajasekhara Caritamu1878
From Andhra Pradesh began translating Oliver Goldsmith′s Vicar of Wakefield into Telugu. He abandoned this plan for similar reasons and instead wrote an original Telugu novel called Rajasekhara Caritamu in 1878.
Srinivas DasPariksha-Guru (Master Examiner)1882
First proper modern novel was written by Srinivas Das of Delhi. His novel cautioned young men of well-to-do families against the dangerous influences of bad company and consequent loose morals – reflect inner and outer world of emerging middle class – adopt colonized society and preserve cultural identity

Teach right way to live – take new agricultural technology, modernize trading practice, change use of Indian languages & transmit Western Sciences and Indian wisdom – all this must be achieved without sacrificing the traditional values of the middle-class household

Devaki Nandan KhatriChandrakanta
A romance with dazzling elements of fantasy – is believed to have contributed immensely in popularizing the Hindi language & Nagari script among the educated classes of those times.
PremchandSewasadan (The Abode of Service)1916
Premchand started in Urdu and then in Hindi – in art of kissa-goi (story-telling) . His novel lifted the Hindi novel from the realm of fantasy, moralizing and simple entertainment to a serious reflection on the lives of ordinary people and social issues – dealt with poor conditions of women in society, child marriage and dowry
Rajanikanta BardoloiManomati1900
He wrote the first major historical novel in Assam. It is set in the Burmese invasion, stories of which the author had probably heard from old soldiers who had fought in the 1819 campaign. It is a tale of two lovers belonging to two hostile families who are separated by the war and finally reunited.
Bankim Chandra ChattopadhyayDurgeshnandini1865
He would host a jatra in the courtyard where members of the family would be gathered. In Bankim՚s room, however, a group of literary friends would collect to read, discuss and judge literary works. Bankim read out Durgeshnandini, his first novel, to such a gathering of people who were stunned to realize that the Bengali novel had achieved excellence so quickly.

Prose style in novels, initially it was colloquial style and used meyeli (language associated with women՚s speech) – the style was replaced by Bankim՚s prose which was Sanskritized.

By 20th century, power of telling stories in simple language made Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay (1876 - 1938) the most popular novelist in Bengal and probably in the rest of India.

Rokeya Hossein (1880 - 1932)Sultana՚s Dream1905
Was a reformer who, after she was widowed, started a girl՚s school in Calcutta. She wrote a satiric (criticism of society in witty manner) fantasy in English which shows a topsy-turvy world in which women take the place of men. Her novel Padmarag also showed the need for women to reform their condition by their own actions
Gulavadi Venkata RaoIndirabai1899
The heroine is given away in marriage at a very young age to an elderly man. Her husband dies soon after, and she is forced to lead the life of a widow. In spite of opposition from her family and society, Indirabai succeeds in continuing her education

Central dilemma faced by colonial subjects - how to be modern without rejecting tradition, how to accept ideas coming from the West without losing one՚s identity

Chandu MenonIndulekh
A love story. Nambuthiri, the foolish landlord who comes to marry Indulekha, is the focus of much satire in the novel. The intelligent heroine rejects him and chooses Madhavan, the educated and handsome Nayar as her husband, and the young couple move to Madras, where Madhavan joins the civil service.

Concerned the marriage practices of upper-caste Hindus in Kerala, especially the Nambuthiri Brahmins and the Nayars. Nambuthiris were also major landlords in Kerala at that time; and a large section of the Nayars were their tenants. Young generation of Nayars occupied property and wealth and argued against Nambuthiri alliances with Nayar women.

Chandu Menon portrayed Indulekha as a woman of breathtaking beauty, high intellectual abilities, artistic talent, and with an education in English and Sanskrit. Madhavan, the hero of the novel, was also presented in ideal colours. He was a member of the newly English-educated class of Nayars from the University of Madras. He was also a ‘first-rate Sanskrit scholar’ . He dressed in Western clothes. But, at the same time, he kept a long tuft of hair, according to the Nayar custom.

Jane AustenPride and Prejudice
19th century Britain - give us a glimpse of the world of women in genteel rural society – look for good marriages and find wealthy husbands – “single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”
Charlotte BronteJane Eyre1847
Dealt with women who broke existing norms

Young Jane is shown as independent and assertive. While girls of her time were expected to be quiet and well behaved, Jane at the age of ten protests against the hypocrisy of her elders with startling bluntness; against her aunt and calls her deceitful

Ramashankar RaySaudamani1877 - 78
A dramatist, began serializing the first Oriya novel, Saudamani but could not complete it.
Fakir Mohon Senapati (1843 - 1918)Chaa Mana Atha Guntha1902
Orissa produced a major novelist. It translates as six acres and thirty-two decimals of land. It announces a new kind of novel that will deal with the question of land and its possession. It is the story of Ramchandra Mangaraj, a landlord՚s manager who cheats his idle and drunken master and then eyes the plot of fertile land owned by Bhagia and Shariya, a childless weaver couple.
Charles DickensHard Times1854
Against industrialization in his novel describes Coketown, a fictitious industrial town, as a grim place full of machinery, smoking chimneys, rivers polluted purple and buildings that all looked the same. Workers are known as ‘hands’ , as if they had no identity other than as operators of machines. Humans were reduced to simple instruments.
Charles DickensOliver Twist1838
Explained terrible condition of urban life under capitalism - tale of a poor orphan who lived in a world of petty criminals and beggars. Brought up in a cruel workhouse, Oliver was finally adopted by a wealthy man and lived happily ever after
Hannah MullensKaruna o Phulmonir Bibaran1852
A Christian missionary, reputedly the first novel in Bengali, tells her readers that she wrote in secret.
Advaita Malla Burman՚s (1914 - 51)Titash Ekti Nadir Naam1956
It is an epic about Mallas, a community of fisherfolk who live off fishing in river Titash. The novel is about three generations of the Mallas, about their recurring tragedies and the story of Ananta, a child born of parents who were tragically separated after their wedding night. He leaves community to get educated in the city – as river dries the community dies.
Potheri KunjambuSaraswativijayam1892
A ‘lower-caste’ writer from north Kerala mounted a strong attack on caste oppression. This novel shows a young man from an ‘untouchable’ caste, leaving his village to escape the cruelty of his Brahmin landlord. He converts to Christianity and gets education. Explains education of upliftment of lower castes.
Vaikkom Muhammad Basheer (1908 - 94)
Was one of the early Muslim writers to gain wide renown as a novelist in Malayalam. He didn՚t had much formal education and most works were based on rich personal experience. He took part in Salt Satyagarha and he wrote short novels and stories. Brought in his writings – poverty, insanity and life in prisons.
Bhudeb Mukhopadhyay (1827 - 94)Anguriya Binimoy1857
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. Realizing 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.
Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai (1912 - 99) ,Chemmeen (Shrimp)1956
It is set in fishing community in Kerala, and characters speak a variety of Malayalam used by fisherfolk in the region. The film Chemmeen, directed by Ramu Kariat, was made in 1965.
It 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.
PremchandRangbhoomi (The Arena)
It has characters that create a community based on democratic values. Central character, 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.

His novels are filled with all kinds of powerful characters drawn from all levels of society. He rejected nostalgic obsession with history. His novels look towards the future without forgetting the importance of the past.

PremchandGodan (gift of Cow)1936
It is his best known work. It is an epic of the Indian peasantry. 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 laborers. Yet Hori and Dhania retain their dignity to the end.
Rabindranath TagoreGhare Baire1916
It were historical and later based on domestic relationships and focused on women and nationalism. Concerns are featured in his Ghare Baire (1916) translated in 1919 as The Home and the World. The story is about Bimala, wife of Nikhilesh, a liberal landlord who believes that he can save his country by patiently bettering the lives of its poor and marginal sections. But Bimala is attracted to Sandip, her husband՚s friend and a firebrand extremist. Sandip is so completely dedicated to throwing out the British that he does not mind if the poor ‘low’ castes suffer and Muslims are made to feel like outsiders. By becoming a part of Sandip՚s group, Bimala gets a sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Bimala may be admired by the young males of the group but she cannot influence their decisions. Indeed, she is used by Sandip to acquire funds for the movement. Tagore՚s novels make us rethink both man-woman relationships and nationalism.

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