Portents of the New India
The year 1905 marks an era in the history of modern India. Before this time the influence of the national movement on public affairs had been peripheral, however important the developments which were going on beneath the surface. The British-Indian ship of state seemed to be pursuing a steady course, with stately deliberation, on a sunlit sea, untroubled by storms or more than a few ripples on the waters of opinion. The foreign captain pursued a charted course without hindrance, his foreign officers confident, his local crew obedient. Portents of trouble were no more than wisps of cloud upon the horizon. From 1905 all was changed. The National Congress came more and more into the center of the stage, and was more and more seen to be part of a national movement which was both transforming and reintegrating the Indian people under manifold influences from both East and West. The government had now to take it into account, and would soon find it its major preoccupation. From 1905 India was no longer something of a hermit kingdom, sealed off from almost all influences except those which came from the West through Britain. Through the nineteenth century the pervasive effect of British sea power made all other powers save Russia seem remote and unimportant. From this time the change in the international scene brought a clearer perception of the state of world affairs. The rise of Germany and the drawing together of the traditional opponents, Russia and Britain, to meet this danger, impressed India with a sense of new forces at work in the world. Above all, the meteoric rise of Japan, her acceptance into the circle of great powers as symbolized by the Anglo-Japanese alliance of 1902, and her sensational defeat of Russia in the war of 1904-5 caused Indian hearts to beat faster and youthful imaginations to kindle. As Lord Curzon himself remarked, "The reverberations of that victory have gone like a thunderclap through the whispering galleries of the east." It was followed
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Publication information: Book title: India: A Modern History. Contributors: Percival Spear - Author. Publisher: University of Michigan Press. Place of publication: Ann Arbor, MI. Publication year: 1961. Page number: 320.
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