Thursday, 15 November 2012

Class X - The Nationalist Movement in Indo-China


Q.1. Write a note on what was meant by the ‘civilising mission’ of the colonisers.
Ans. Unlike other colonisers, the French colonisers did not only aim for economic exploitation of their colonies. The French colonising mission was also driven by the idea of a ‘civilising mission’. Just as the British had done in India, the French claimed that they would introduce modern, civilised life to the Vietnamese. The French believed that like all the Europeans it was their duty to civilise the colonies even if this meant destruction of local cultures, religion and traditions.

Q.2. Explain the following —
(a) Only one-thirds of the students in Vietnam would pass the school level examinations.
(b) The French began building canals and draining lands in the Mekong delta.
(c) The Government made the Saigon Native Girls School take back the students it had expelled.
(d) Rats were most common in the modern, newly built areas of Hanoi.
Ans. (a) Just about one-thirds of the students in Vietnam would pass the school examinations. This happened mainly as a well-planned policy was followed to fail the final year students. This meant they could never qualify for the white collar jobs. On an average 2/3rd of the students were failed.
(b) The French began building canals and draining lands in the Mekong delta. They did this to gain increase in cultivation especially of the rice crop. By doing this, they would be able to sell rice in the international market and earn a lot of money.
(c) At Saigon Native Girls the School, a problem came up in 1926. A Vietnamese girl refused to vacate her front seat for a local French student. For this, she and later her supporting students were expelled from the school. Soon the agitation spread and protests began.
When the situation became pretty serious the French government forced the school authorities to reinstate the girls in the school.
(d) The French wanted to modernise Vietnam. They modernised a part of Hanoi city with beautiful architecture and clean, wide roads. They planned a good sewage system for the area. But the other part of Hanoi was filthy and unattended to. The rats from the filthy areas soon reached the clean part of the city through sewage systems and soon modern Hanoi was suffering from rats everywhere and the accompanying plague.

Q.3. Describe the ideas behind the Tonkin Free School. To what extent is it a typical example of colonial ideas in Vietnam?
Ans. Like other colonisers, the French also thought that they were on a civilising mission. Thus the Tonkin Free School was opened to give Western education. The school taught science, hygiene and French, other than the common subjects. For these three subjects the students had to attend evening classes and also pay separately. The students were not only made to attend these classes but they were asked to sport modern looks too. A typical example of this was that Vietnamese were asked to cut off their long hair and adopt a short hair cut which was absolutely against their culture.

Q.4. What was Phan Chu Trinh’s objective for Vietnam? How were his ideas different from those of Phan Boi Chau?
Ans. The objectives of the two nationalists, Phan Chu Trinh and Phan Boi Chau, were different from each other.
Phan Chu Trinh (1871 – 1926) did not want to resist the French with  the aid of monarchy. He was influenced by the Western idea of democracy and wanted to set up a democratic republic of Vietnam.
Phan Boi Chau (1867 – 1940) went on to form a revolutionary society with Prince Cuong De. So we can say that Phan Boi Chau favoured monarchy and Phan Chu Trinh favoured a republic.
Q.5. With reference to what you have read in this chapter, discuss the influence of China on Vietnam’s culture and life.
Ans. China was a large and close neighbour of Vietnam. It was obvious that the former would influence the latter. There were strong trade links due to sea trade as all trade between any part of Asia and China had to pass through Vietnamese ports. The two countries shared the same religious beliefs, namely Buddhism and Confucianism. The ideas spread by Confucius, a great Chinese thinker, religious leader and philosopher had deeply influenced the social and cultural aspects of Vietnam.
When the trans-Indo-China rail and road network developed, the imperialist power wanted it as a link between North and South Vietnam and China. This brought the countries even more close. They were under imperialist rules for long making them share cultural, religious, historical and economic commoners.

Q.6. What was the role of religious groups in the development of anti-colonial feelings in Vietnam?
Ans. Religion had always played a pivotal role in the lives of people in Vietnam. This fact was used well by the imperialists to aid in their control over the colonies. Thinking this, the imperialists imposed their religion on the Vietnamese locals. Thus anti-imperialist feelings arose in Vietnam against the French imperialist forces. Vietnam followed Buddhism and Confucianism.
The French wanted to convert the Vietnamese to Christianity. The Vietnamese revolted against this French intention in 1868. This revolt was called the ‘Scholars Revolt’, which was followed by the killing of about one thousand Catholics. Huynh Phu So began a movement called Hoa Hao, but he was declared mad by the French. Followers of Huynh Phu So were sent to concentration camps. All those actions of French could still not suppress nationalism in Vietnam.

Q.7. Explain the causes of US involvement in the war in Vietnam. What effect did this involvement have on life within the US itself?
Ans. The struggle for freedom by Vietnamese people was a long-drawn one. They faced the French, the Japanese and the USA. Many causes led the US to get involved in the Vietnam war. The US government was afraid that communism would find a stronghold in Vietnam. The US feared this would endanger the other capitalist countries. With these thoughts, the US was always ready to fight communist strongholds in any part of the world. The rise of communism in Vietnam was seen as a threat and US stepped in to intervene.
France had been facing insulting revolts from Vietnam. France being a capitalist country, the US felt it had to step in to save French honour, as one of the capitalist brethren. Moreover, the French had been an ally of US in the Second World War.

Q.8. Write an evaluation of the Vietnamese war against the US from the point of view of a
(a) porter on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Ans. From 1965 to 1972, the US-Vietnam War continued and caused losses to both US and Vietnam.
The Vietnamese people suffered human and property losses, yet they never stopped their struggle for freedom. Here it is important to mention the role played by the porters in getting freedom and unity of Vietnam. The porters set out without fear on the Ho Chi Minh Trail which was a great expansive network of roads and footpaths. The heroic porters carried as much as 25 kg to 70 kg of weight on their backs or bicycles. They did not fear that they might fall over in the deep valleys. They bravely walked on the narrow, dangerous roads that marked the treacherous routes. They also did not feel afraid of being shot down by aircraft guns. They put all their fears aside and walked on to maintain the supply line. This fact showed that the porters were heroic and patriotic.
(b) a woman soldier.

Ans. The Vietnamese women played an important role in the US-Vietnam War. They were both warriors and workers. As warriors and soldiers, the Vietnamese women constructed six air strips, they neutralised thousands of bombs and went on to shoot down fifteen planes. There were 1.5 million Vietnamese women in the regular army, the militia, the local forces and professional teams. The women workers were also engaged as porters, nurses and construction workers.

Q.9.What was the role of women in the anti-imperialist struggle in Vietnam? Compare this
with the role of women in the national struggle in India. [Textual Question]
Ans. We have read that Vietnamese women contributed to the resistance movement as workers as
well as warriors. They were employed as porters carrying 25 kg of food and war materials on
their delicate backs.
They served as nurses to the wounded. They even went on to dig tunnels so that the imperialist
attacks could be thwarted by hiding Vietnamese army in the tunnels. They worked bravely to
neutralise thousands of bombs and shooting down the enemy planes. Nearly 1.5 million women
workers were in the army. They helped in keeping strategic roads clear and even guarded the
key points. It is difficult to imagine the state of the Vietnamese freedom struggle with the
active role of Vietnamese women.
Women in Vietnam showed same valour and patriotism as Indian women had shown during
India’s freedom struggle. Aruna Asaf Ali, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, Indira Gandhi, Rani
Lakshmibai — all had contributed in their own way to the freedom struggle of India. In
Nagaland, 13-years-old Rani Gaidiliu stood up in revolt against the British forces. She was
caught and imprisoned for life in 1932. She spent the years 1932 to 1947 in dark cells of
various jails in Assam. She was freed in 1947 when India gained freedom.

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