(GIST OF YOJANA) Bhakti and National Movement

(GIST OF YOJANA) Bhakti and National Movement


Bhakti and National Movement


  • The rise of nationalist sentiment in Bengal revolved around Chaitra Mela, established in 1867. Educated Bengalis sought nationalistic inspiration from the glorious chapters of ancient Indian scriptures and started celebrating the staging of Sanskrit dramas in Bengali translation in their theatres instead of Shakespearean plays. 
  • In the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the Bhakti sect of Hindu nationalism was far more influential than the political sect of neo-nationalism.

Significant personalities:

  • Rajnarayan Basu had first attempted to theorise this newborn nationalistic passion and brought it under an organisational framework. The most significant of Rajnarayan’s proposals was the introduction of a trifold education system of imparting moral lessons, the inculcation of benevolence for the nation, and promoting mutual love, all through inspirational music.
  • Though Bankim Chandra’s ‘Anand Math’ talked about the militant form of nationalism, the root of that nationalism lies in Bhaktism.  
  1. He has given the national struggle a well-organised orderly form. 
  2. The Song ‘Vande Mataram’ had become a group identity, the great hymn of liberation, the strength and courage for the Sanyasis.
  3. The Sanyasi group and their activities in ‘Anand Math’ were actually comparable to the arrangements for revolutionary upheaval. 
  4. Through this novel, for the first time in the canon of Bengali novels, an ‘all-encompassing and active nationalism’ appeared in a very distinct and more intense form through Bhakti and shakti, the freedom movement. 
  • Setting ground for revolutionary movements in Bengal had started as far back as 1902. Aurobindo Ghosh planted the idea of creating ‘secret societies’ to enlighten the youth. A small booklet was published with the same intent, namely, ‘Bhavani Mandir’. 
  • The second method of the functional approach was Bhakti. 
  • The Bhakti cult preached by Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had taken the social environment of Bengal by storm. 
  • Staged in 1881, Ravana Badha by Girish Chandra left the audience overwhelmed with the Bhakti Rasa. 
  • In the 1880s and 90s, Girish Chandra kept Bengalis immersed in the Bhakti Rasa by writing and performing plays like Chaitanya Leda, Prahlad Charitra, Bilwamangal Thakur, Jana, etc. 
  • Since Bankim Chandra comprehended the relevance of the Bhakti Rasa in ‘Anand Math’, he directed extremist armed revolution hand-in-hand with the frills of Bhaktism and the devotional pursuit of an all-sacrificing monk. 


Apart from its dignity as a song, ‘Vande Mataram’ had become the only slogan for the mainstream national movements of Bengal as well as India, right since the time of the Partition of Bengal. It slowly became an acceptable mantra for protesting and rousing patriotism even at the pan-national level.



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Courtesy: Yojana