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Lecture 10-Devendra Swarup CPS
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In the tenth talk in this series, Sri Devendra Swarup explored the stirrings of a new nationalist consciousness in the period following 1857 and culminating in 1893.



Sri Swarup began by deliberating on what might be most appropriately termed the next major landmark in modern Indian history after 1857; should it be 1885 or 1893? The former was the year of the founding of the Indian National Congress, which was to later play a crucial role in the struggle for Independence. At that stage, however, Congress was only an association of a few persons. The year 1893 was much more momentous. The developments that occurred in 1893 had a bearing on India’s civilizational journey. In that year, Swami Vivekananda, a young unknown man then, went to the Parliament of Religions at Chicago and mesmerised the gathering with his powerful speech on India’s spiritual message for the world. Overnight, he became a household name.



In the same year, Sri Aurobindo returned home after a long stay in England. He had been sent abroad at the tender age of six by his father, who was determined to make him a complete Englishmen, shorn of every trace of his native culture. But, as Sri Aurobindo himself wrote, no sooner did he reach the shores of India, the motherland reclaimed her son. Sri Aurobindo, rejecting the Congress method of prayer and petition, wrote a series of articles under the title “New Lamps for the Old”.



It was also in 1893 that Lokmanya Tilak made his famous declaration that Swaraj was his birthright and he would have it. He also began the custom of public organisation of Ganesh Festival, which remains with us till today. Till then, Ganesh Puja had been a family affair; Lokmanya Tilak made it a large scale public event and an effective medium of public awakening and mobilisation. The Ganesh Puja festival also became an occasion for recalling our national heritage and unity.



The fourth major occurrence in the year 1893 was the arrival of Annie Besant in India. As leader of the Theosophical Society, she adopted Indian dress and manners, admired Indian cultural thought tradition and declared that India was a superior civilization that had nothing to learn from England.

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