What were the opinions of Swami Vivekananda on British rule in India? How did socio-religious movements like this help the freedom struggle?

By Sunil Kumar

Swami Vivekananda aka Naren Dutta was a man with a keen intellect; who was quite well-read. Like other Bengalis of the time; he joined the Brahmo Samaj; an organization which worked for social upliftment; but disagreed with it as it believed that British rule was a blessing. He detected the clever packaging of British colonialism as benevolent for the natives; with its real reason being economic.

English: Photo of Swami Vivekananda at Jaipur ...

Visit sunil-kumar.co.in English: Photo of Swami Vivekananda at Jaipur ( between 1885 – 1895 ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here are some quotes that reflect his opinions;

‘The conquest of India by England is not a conquest of Jesus or Bible as we are often asked to believe….Behind the name of the Lord Jesus, the Bible….there is always the virtual presence of England whose war flag is the factory chimney, whose troops are the merchantmen, whose battlefields are the market places of the world, whose Empress is the shining Goddess of Fortune herself.’

He criticised the Brahmo Samaj and Arya Samaj and other sects as ‘useless mixtures…voices of apology to English masters’. Impressed by Bankim Chandra’s “Anandmath”; he travelled the length and breadth of the country; meeting princes in power who were a mix of civility, world-famous opulence and corrupt power brokers.

Criticizing the lackadaisical attitude of Indians he held the people responsible for the state of the country.

Another Vivekananda quote; ‘You have well-nigh thrown the country into ruin by crying, It is impossible, it is impossible! What cannot human effort achieve?’

English: Memorial for Swami Vivekananda, offsh...

Visit sunil-kumar.co.in English: Memorial for Swami Vivekananda, offshore, Kanyakumari, India. July 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Urging Indians to stand up he said; ‘Your country requires heroes, be heroes, stand like rocks… What India wants is a new electric fire to stir up fresh vigour in the national vein. Be brave, man dies but once.”

It is not easy to assess what impact his words had on the entire population and the freedom struggle; but they definitely stirred the soul of a few patriots; and before some present-day Indians think this is chest-thumping; Vivekananda is still respected around the world due to his insightful philosophical works; humanitarian approach and fiery calls to action.


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