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Manabednra Nath Roy told—
Religious nationalism of the orthodox as well as reformed school had begun to come into evidence in the province of Bengal since the first years of the twentieth century. Although its political philosopher and leader were found subsequently in the persons of Aurobindo Ghosh and Bepin Chandra Pal respectively, its fundamental ideology was conceived by a young intellectual. ... Narendra Nath Datta, subsequently known by the religious nomenclature of Swami Vivekananda. While still a student in the University of Calcutta, Datta felt the rebellious spirit affecting the lower middle class intellectuals. It was in the early nineties. He was moved by the sufferings of the common people. Declassed socially, possessing a keen intellect, he made a spectacular plunge into the philosophical depths of Hindu scripture and discovered in his cult of Vedantism (religious Monism of the Hindus) a sort of socialistic, humanitarian religion. He decried scathingly orthodoxy in religion as well as in social customs. He was the picturesque, and tremendously vigorous embodiment of the old trying to readjust itself to the new. Like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Datta was also a prophet of Hindu nationalism. He also was a firm believer in the cultural superiority of the Indian people, and held that on this cultural basis should be built the future Indian nation. But he was not a partisan of orthodoxy in religion : to social conservatism, he was a veritable iconoclast. He had the courageous foresight, or perhaps instinct, which convinced him that if religion was to be saved, it must be given a modern garb; if the priest was still to hold his sway over the millions of Hindu believers, he must modify his old crude way; if the intellectual aristocracy of the fortunate few was to retain its social predominance, spiritual knowledge must be democratized. The reaction of native culture against the intrusion of Western education ran wild, so to say, in the person of Vivekananda and the cult of Universal Religion he formulated in the name of his preceptor, Ramakrishna Paramahansa. He preached that Hinduism, not Indian nationalism, should be aggressive. His nationalism was a spiritual imperialism. He called on Young India to believe in the spiritual mission of India. ...
This romantic vision of conquering the world by spiritual superiority electrified the young intellectuals. ... The British domination stood in the way as the root of all evils. Thus, an intelligently rebellious element... had to give in to national preoccupations, and contribute itself to a movement for the immediate overthrow of foreign rule. ...
- India in Transition, Roy, Manabendra Nath, (1922), pp.192-93
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