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GSN Aishwarya (EP10B009) M Siva Kumar(CH10B036)

Devika A (HS10H008) M Venugopal (CH10B041)

T Ujwala Raj(CE10B059) K Sravan (CE10B030)


This essay examines Amilcar Cabrals essay on National Liberation and Culture from his book Return to the source and Cultures importance in Indian National Struggle for freedom.

Introduction on Amilcar Cabral Liberation Movement Concept of Culture Objectives of National Liberation Movement

Features of Liberation Movements Overview of Amilcar Cabrals views Cultural Nationalism National Liberalism and culture in Indian context Drawbacks of Indian Nationalism

Amlcar Lopes da Costa Cabral (1924 1973) was a Guinea-Bissauan and Cape Verdean agricultural engineer, writer, and a nationalist thinker and politician. Also known by his nom de guerre Abel Djassi, Cabral led the nationalist movement of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde Islands and the ensuing war of independence in Guinea-Bissau. He founded the Partido Africana da Independencia da Guinee e Cabo Verde (PAIGC) in 1956, and remained the head of the Party until he was tragically shot dead by Kani Inocencio, a corrupted former PAIGC comrade, in Conakry, 20 January 1973. He was assassinated on 20 January 1973, about 8 months before Guinea-Bissau's unilateral declaration of independence. The voice of Amilcar Cabral continues to speak to revolutionaries around the world and especially in Africa.He was a leader of the national liberation movement of Guinea Bissau. He was assassinated by the Portuguese colonial power in 1973 on the eve of national independence. Cabral distinguished himself among modern revolutionaries by the long and careful preparation, both theoretical and practical, which he undertook before launching the revolutionary struggle, and, in the course of the preparation, became one of the worlds outstanding theoreticians of antiimperialist struggle. He defined culture as The more or less dynamic expression of the kinds of relationships which prevail in that society, on the one hand between man (considered individually or collectively and nature, and, on the other hand, among individuals, groups of individuals, social strata or classes His speech on National Liberation and Culture, delivered in 1970, provides us an insight into the importance of national culture in the liberation struggle.

Liberation Movement :
A liberation movement is an organization leading a rebellion against a colonial power or national government, often seeking independence based on a nationalist identity and an anti-imperialist outlook. For Cabral, Nazis- are the most tragic expression of imperialism and has a thirst for domination. History teaches us that, in certain circumstances, it is very easy for the foreigner to impose his domination on a people. But it also teaches us that, whatever may be the material aspects of this domination, it can be maintained only by the permanent, organized control of the cultural life of the people concerned. This foreign domination can be assured definitively only by physical liquidation of a significant part of the dominated population. By forcing the people with arms to destroy, or at least to neutralize, to paralyze cultural life was one of the ways to dominate people.this way was above all. Cultural resistance may take on new forms in political, economic or armed in order fully to contest against foreign domination. The main idea of foreign domination would be to choose; either to liquidate practically all the population of the dominated country, thereby eliminating the possibilities for cultural resistance; or to succeed in imposing itself without damage to the culture of the dominated people-that is, to harmonize economic and political domination of these people with their cultural personality. The first hypothesis tells us that destruction of native population creates a void which empties foreign domination of its content and its object; the dominated people. The second hypothesis has not,

until now, been confirmed by history. The broad experience of mankind allows us to postulate that it doesnt work practically, as it is not possible to harmonize the economic and political domination of a people, whatever may be the degree of their social development, with the preservation of their cultural personality. Other theories state that in order to escape this choice-which may be called the dilemma of cultural resistance-imperialist colonial domination has tried to create theories, which are only gross formulations of racism. 1) This is the case with the theory of progressive assimilation, which has a violent attempt to refuse the, this paved way for failure of this theory. 2) This is also the case with the so-called theory of apartheid, which was created, applied and developed on the basis of the economic and political domination of the people of Southern Africa by racist minority. The practice of this theory of apartheid takes the form of unrestrained exploitation of the labour force of the African masses. These practical examples give a measure of the drama of foreign imperialist domination as it confronts the cultural reality of the dominated people. They also suggest the strong,dependent and reciprocal relationships existing between the cultural situation and the economic (and political) situation in the behaviour of human societies.

In fact, culture is always in the life of a society. The value of culture as an element of resistance to foreign domination lies in the fact that culture is the vigorous manifestation on the ideological or idealist plane of the physical and historical reality of the society that is dominated or to be dominated. Culture is simultaneously the fruit of a people's history and a determinant of history, by the positive or negative influence which it exerts on the evolution of relationships between man and his environment, among men or groups of men within a society, as well as among different societies. Ignorance of this fact may explain the failure of several attempts at foreign domination-as well as the failure of some international liberation movements. Now let us examine the nature of national liberation- consider this historical phenomenon in its contemporary context, that is, national liberation in opposition to imperialist domination. The principal characteristic, common to every kind of imperialist domination, is the negation of the historical process of the dominated people by means of violently usurping the free operation of the process of development of the productive forces. Now, in any given society the level of development of the productive forces and the system for social utilization of these forces (the ownership system) determine the mode of production. For every society, for every group of people, considered as an evolving entity, the level of the productive forces indicates the stage of development of the society. It indicates and conditions the type of material relationships (expressed objectively or subjectively) which exists among the various elements or groups constituting the society in question.

Comparison of culture with fruit:

Culture is, perhaps, the product of this history just as the flower is the product of a plant. Like history, or because it is history, culture has as its material base the level of the productive forces and the mode of production. Culture plunges its roots into the physical reality of the environmental humus in which it develops, and it reflects the organic nature of the society, which may be more or less influenced by external factors. Just as happens with the flower in a plant, in culture there lays the capacity (or the responsibility) for forming and fertilizing the seedling which will assure the continuity of history, at the same time assuring the prospects for evolution and progress of the society. Thus

it is understood that imperialist domination, by denying the historical development of the dominated people, necessarily also denies their cultural development. It is also understood why imperialist domination, like all other foreign domination, for its own security, requires cultural oppression (exercising power harshly and unjustly) and the attempt at direct or indirect liquidation of the essential elements of the culture of the dominated people. Building national liberation movement on cultural lines: The study of the history of national liberation movements shows that generally these struggles are preceded by an increase in expression of culture, consolidated progressively into a successful or unsuccessful attempt to affirm the cultural personality of the dominated people. It is generally within the culture that we find the seed of opposition, which leads to the structuring and development of the liberation movement. The foundation for national liberation rests in the inalienable right of every people to have their own history Objective of national liberation: The objective of national liberation is therefore, to reclaim the right, usurped by imperialist domination, namely: the liberation of the process of development of national productive forces. National liberation is said be achieved when the land is free of all kinds of foreign domination. Returning to the society with its capacity to create its own progress. If imperialist domination has the vital need to practice cultural oppression, national liberation is necessarily an act of culture.

National liberation movement with cultural interference:

National liberation is the organized political expression of culture of the people who are undertaking the struggle. The time is past when, in an effort to preserve the domination of people, culture was considered an attribute of privileged peoples or nations, and when, out of either ignorance or hatred, culture was confused with technical power. The liberation movement must furthermore embody the mass character. Each group in society have a place of prime importance. The attitude of each social group with respect to national liberation varies Culture plays a major role in a nation like India with huge horizontal and vertical distribution of levels of culture. Differences in social structure illustrate once more the close relationship between culture and economy, and also explain differences in the involvement. It is vital not to lose sight of the importance of national struggle, when class structure has to appear to be in embryonic stages of development. Loop holes with cultural interference are that National liberation movement may bring about individual struggle of unconverted people while Political leaders even the most famous may be culturally alienated people. It can Change the nature of privileged groups towards the masses. Recognizing this reality, the colonizer who represses or inhibits significant cultural activity on the part of the masses at the base of the social pyramid, strengthens and protects the prestige and the cultural influence of the ruling class at the summit But irrespective of all this, there is no guarantee that individuals of this class dont join the national liberation movement but their activity may not be less effective. The individuals of this category see national liberation movement the only valid means to over throw the colonial oppression using the sacrifices of the masses and take over the complete political and cultural domination of the people.

Some Important features of Liberation Movements for Cambral:

1. The colonizer who represses or inhibits the cultural activity of the masses at the base of the social pyramid, strengthens and protects the prestige and the cultural influence of the

ruling class. 2. The colonizer installs chiefs who support him and who are accepted by the masses. 3. The colonizer guarantees economic and social privileges to the ruling class or the Chiefs. 4. In the ruling class, there may be individuals or groups of individuals who may join the liberation movement less frequent than the petite bourgeoisie who are the urban working rural middle class. 5. Traditional and religious leaders also join the struggle with a liberal outlook 6. Among the oppressor's loyal allies some high officials and intellectuals with liberal thought may assimilate people, and also a significant number of representatives of the ruling class from rural areas. 7. The high offiicial or the assimilated intellectual, characterized by total cultural alienation, identifies himself by political choice with the traditional or religious leader who has experienced no significant foreign cultural influences. 8. The liberation movement base its action in popular culture, culturally and politically irrespective of diversity of levels of cultures in the country. 9. The first phase of the liberation movement is the phase of cultural combat against colonial domination. 10. The movement must be able to preserve the positive cultural values of every well-defined social group. the liberation struggle is a struggle both for the preservation and survival of the cultural values of the people. This unity is achieved by total identification with the environmental reality and with the fundamental problems and aspirations of the people 11. The liberation struggle must bring diverse interests into harmony, resolve contradictions and define common objectives in the search for liberty and progress 12. History proves that it is much less difficult to dominate and to continue dominating a people whose culture is similar or analogous to that of the conqueror. Cambral give the example of Napoleans conquests which were unsuccessful since his conquered lands not so very different from the culture of France. 13. He also points out to the serious error of Portuguese where their views on African culture is more primitive and their underestimation of the cultural strength of Africa. Therefore,Culture reflects at every moment the material and spiritual reality of society faced with conflicts which set them against nature and the exigencies of common life. The leaders of the liberation movement, drawn generally from the Petite bourgeoisie, who are intellectuals, clerks or urban working class came to know people better by living day by day with the various peasant groups in the heart of the rural populations. The leaders realized from masses, who were considered incompetent by the colonizer and even by some nationals: the richness of spirit, the capacity for reasoned discussion and clear exposition of ideas and the facility for understanding and assimilating concepts on the part of populations groups.The leaders thus enrich their cultures and developed personally their capacity to serve the movement in the service of the people. On their side, the working masses and, in particular, the peasants, in contact with other groups lose the complexes which constrained them in their relationships with other ethnic and social groups and realized their need for them in struggle.They strengthen their political awareness by breaking the bonds of the village universe to integrate progressively into the country and the world. This help in acquiring an infinite amount of new knowledge, useful for their immediate and future activity within the framework of the struggle. And also in assimilating the principles of national and social revolution postulated by the struggle. By this way, masses become more able to play the decisive role of providing the principal force behind the liberation movement.

The armed liberation struggle requires

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

The mobilization and organization of a significant majority of the population, which is the quality of mass movement. The political and moral unity of the various social classes. The efficient use of modern arms and of other means of war, like satyagraha, ahimsa followed by Gandhi. The progressive liquidation of the remnants of tribal mentality, The rejection of social and religious rules and taboos, which inhibit development of the struggle. Like gerontocracies, nepotism, social inferiority of women, rites.

The struggle brings about other profound modifications in the life of populations. This armed liberation helped them in their cultural progress. Other features found inherent in an armed liberation struggle are the practice of democracy, Criticism and self-criticism, increasing responsibility of populations for the direction of their lives, literacy works and creation of schools and health services.By seeing these features one can say that, armed liberation struggle is not only a product of culture but also a determinant of culture.

Overview of Amilcar Cabrals views:

In the framework of the conquest of national independence and in the perspective of developing the economic and social progress of the people, the objectives must be at least the following:

Development of a popular culture and of all positive indigenous cultural values; development Of a national culture based upon the history and the achievements of the struggle itself; Constant promotion of the political and moral awareness of the people (of all social groups) as well as patriotism, of the spirit of sacrifice and devotion to the cause of independence, of justice, and of progress; Development of a technical, technological, and scientific culture, compatible with the requirements for progress; Development, on the basis of a critical assimilation of man's achievements in the domains of art, science, literature, etc., of a universal culture for perfect integration into the contemporary world, in the perspectives of its evolution; Constant and generalized promotion of feelings of humanism, of solidarity, of respect and disinterested devotion to human beings.

The achievement of these objectives is indeed possible, because the armed struggle for liberation, in the concrete conditions of life of African peoples, confronted with the imperialist challenge, is an act of insemination upon history-the major expression of our culture and of our African essence. In the moment of victory, it must be translated into a significant leap forward of the culture of the people who are liberating themselves. If that does not happen, then the efforts and sacrifices accepted during the struggle will have been made In vain. The struggle will have failed to achieve its objectives and the people will have missed an opportunity for progress and the general framework of history.

Cultural Nationalism:

It is a form of nationalism in which the nation is defined by a shared culture. It is an intermediate position between ethnic nationalism on one hand and liberal nationalism on the other. Cultural nationalism will thus focus on a national identity shaped by cultural traditions and by language, but not on the concepts of common ancestry or race."Cultural nationalism" does not tend to manifest itself in independent movements, but is a moderate position within a larger spectrum of nationalist ideology. Thus, moderate positions in Flemish, Hindu[dubious discuss nationalisms can be "cultural nationalism" while these same movements also include forms of ethnic nationalism and national mysticism. There are two types of cultural Nationalism

Exclusive Cultural nationalism: Nations are defined by a shared heritage, which usually includes a common language, a common faith, and a common ethnic ancestry.It also includes ideas of a culture shared between members of the group, and with their ancestors, and usually a shared language

Inclusive Cultural Nationalism: It consists of all those who subscribe to its political creed regardless of ethnicity or race, colour, religion, gender, language. It is in principle a community of equal, rights bearing citizens united in patriotic attachment to a shared set of political practices and values.It is democratic in the sense that it vests sovereignty in all citizens. For instance, the role of Gandhi and Indian National Congress in the Indias National Movement.

National Liberalism and culture in Indian context:

Indian independence movement encompasses a wide area of political organisations, philosophies, and movements which had the common aim of ending first British East India Company rule, and then British imperial authority, in parts of South Asia. The independence movement saw various national and regional campaigns, agitations and efforts, some nonviolent and others not so. During the first quarter of the 19th century, Rammohan Roy introduced modern education into India. Swami Vivekananda was the chief architect who profoundly projected the rich culture of India to the west at the end of 19th century. Many of the country's political leaders of the 19th and 20th century, including Mohandas K. Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose, were influenced by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. As per Amilcar Cabral National Liberation struggle should base on Popular Culture and Positive contribution from Elite Culture should be taken into account. Our Elite culture played a major part in Indian Liberation movement be it supporting the small groups of revolutionaries financially or funding large organisations like the Indian National Congress. We could also find a strand of British Encouraged Elite culture. Some of the examples include Asiatic society of Bengal, where its founder Sir William Jones (1746-1794) began his work with a dream, that visualised a centre for Asian studies including almost everything concerning man and nature within the geographical limits of the continent. Attempts were made to solve the mysteries of this land, like its old inscriptions in Brahmi. Several Englishmen read and translated Sanskrit into English. These contributions of the representatives of the ruling class or the loyal allies of Britain helped in preserving the positive features of Indias rich culture and set a stage where majority of the Indians felt the pride of our culture. In India, later part of Indian National Movement was mostly based on the shared culture. Poets including Rabindranath Tagore used literature, poetry and speech as a tool for political awareness.

The period of the Second World War saw the peak of the campaigns by the Quit India movement led by "Mahatma" Gandhi and the Indian National Army (INA) movement led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and others, eventually resulting in the withdrawal of the British.

Drawbacks of Indian Nationalism:

The Indian independence movement was a mass-based movement that encompassed various sections of society. It also underwent a process of constant ideological evolution. Although the basic ideology of the movement was anti-colonial, it was supported by a vision of independent capitalist economic development coupled with a secular, democratic, republican, and civil-libertarian political structure. After the 1930s, the movement took on a strong socialist orientation, due to the increasing influence of left-wing elements in the INC as well as the rise and growth of the Communist Party of India. On the other hand, due to the INC's policies, the All-India Muslim League was formed in 1906 to protect the rights of Muslims in the Indian Sub-continent against the INC and to present a Muslim voice to the British government. It was based on English Liberalism or Elite Culture and the popular culture wasnt taken seriously. Communists took popular culture seriously for the first time in 1920s, it couldnt get a move as the communists were banned. Even though Moderate Nationalists did not believe in the power of masses, but they believed in strong movements against the British. Indian National struggle for freedom got momentum as a result of movements by the aggressive groups and ultimately the battle lines were drawn against the British Rule. Without this division and injection of a mood of aggressive struggle the history of our national struggle would have been written in a different way. The mobilization and organization of a significant majority of the population lacked during the early nationalism but was later brought about Mahatma Gandhi.