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Suntharalingam, Ramanathan (1966) Politics and Change in the Madras Presidency, 1884-1894: A Regional Study of Indian Nationalism. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The purpose of this thesis is to describe the process of political change in South India during the decade following the establishment of the Madras Mahajana Sabha in May 1884. Although the inchoate manifestations of early political consciousness could be traced to the 1830's when the Hindus protested against the proselytizing operations of the Christian missionaries and their official allies, a protest which during the early 'fifties crystallized to give birth to the Madras Native Association, it was not until the formation of the Madras Mahajana Sabha that political activity in South India found its organized and self-sustaining momentum. The thesis attempts to reconstruct the events that led to the establishment of the Madras Mahajana Sabha against the background of political convulsions caused partly by the unpopular rule of Grant Duff and partly by Anglo-Indian opposition to Ripon's policies. The ferment that these events produced also precipitated the foundation of the Congress in 1885, though no attempt is made here at any exhaustive discussion of the origins of this body. However, the impact of the Congress on Madras politics is examined in some detail, especially in the light of attempts by the local Congress leaders to unify within the aegis of this organization the various communal and factional groups in the Presidency. The framework of political unity erected at the Madras Congress of 1887, as the closing chapters attempt to show, largely collapsed under the weight of successive crises that overtook the Congress during the early 'nineties. If communal suspicions and separatist tendencies led to the withdrawal of the Eurasians, Muslims and Panchamas, controversies arising from the Cross Bill and the Age of Consent Bill estranged the conservative Hindus and divided the inner circle of the Congress leadership in Madras. The thesis ends by assessing briefly the impact of these divisive factors on the nationalist movement in South India.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:22

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