Nationalism and Revolution in China and India
This chapter examines the history of nationalist movements and political change in China and India, Asia's two massive, multicultural, agrarian polities. It reviews China's abortive struggle to reform, as Meiji Japan had done, to meet the threat of foreign encroachment. The success of the Russian Revolution in 1917 was a beacon to those working for radical change everywhere, including both China and India. The May Fourth Movement had stressed Western liberal notions of democracy, but especially after the success of the Russian Revolution of 1917, Marxism and Leninism were also appealing. Revolution in China began almost tentatively in the years around 1900, sputtered and apparently died after a few years, and finally broke out in full force only after nearly 50 years of false starts and setbacks. China had first to develop a national political consciousness and a political organization that could pursue revolutionary change rather than just another phase in the dynastic cycle.