Page No: 52
Write in Brief
1. Write a note on:
(a) What was meant by the ‘civilising mission’ of the colonisers:
The European colonisers such as Britain and France considered themselves as most advanced civilisation. Thus, according to them, it became the duty of the Europeans to introduce these modern ideas to the colony even if this meant destroying local cultures, religions and traditions, because these were seen as outdated and prevented modern development.
(b) Huynh Phu So
Huynh Phu So was the founder of a nationalist movement called Hoa Hao. He performed miracles and helped the poor. His criticism against useless expenditure had a wide appeal. He also opposed the sale of child brides, gambling and the use of alcohol and opium. The French tried to suppress the movement inspired by Huynh Phu So. They declared him mad, called him the Mad Bonze, and put him in a mental asylum. But the doctor, who had to prove him mad, became his follower. Finally, he was exiled to Laos and many of his followers were sent to concentration camps.
2. Explain the following:
(a) Only one-third of the students in Vietnam would pass the school-leaving 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.
(a) Only one-third of the students in Vietnam would pass the school-leaving examinations because the French colonial administration followed a deliberate policy of failing students in their final year examinations so that they could not qualify for better-paid jobs.
(b) France as a colonial power needed supply of natural resources and other essential goods from colonies. Thus, the French began building canals and draining lands in the Mekong delta to increase cultivation. The vast system of irrigation increased the rice production and allowed the export of rice to the international market.
(c) The principal of Saigon Native Girls School expelled a Vietnamese girl student when she refused to vacate the seat for a French student. The angry students protested against this but they too were expelled leading to a further spread of open protests. Seeing the situation getting out of control, the government forced the school to take the students back.
(d) The French part of Hanoi has a well-laid-out sewer system became an ideal and protected breeding ground for rats. The sewers also served as a great transport system, allowing the rats to move around the city without any problem. And rats began to enter the well-cared-for homes of the French through the sewage pipes.
3. Describe the ideas behind the Tonkin Free School. To what extent is it a typical example of colonial ideas in Vietnam?
The ideas behind the Tonkin Free School was to promote western culture and to make it look superior. The school taught science, hygiene and French, other than the common subjects. The students were not only made to attend these classes but also were asked to look modern too. Vietnamese were asked to cut off their long hair and adopt a short haircut which was absolutely against their culture.
This school was a typical example of colonial ideas in Vietnam as it rejected traditional Vietnamese education and lifestyle and promoted the western style of living. Like any other colonisers, the French introduced their so-called modern ideas to the colony even if this meant destroying local cultures, religions and traditions.
4. What was Phan Chu Trinh’s objective for Vietnam? How were his ideas different from those of Phan Boi Chau?
Phan Chu Trinh wanted to overthrow the foreign rule but at the same time, he was not against the setting up of French legal and educational institutions in Vietnam.
Phan Boi Chau wanted to use monarchy to drive out the foreign enemy, France while Phan Chu Trinh disagreed on this term of monarchy as he believed in overthrowing the monarchy to promote popular rights.
1. With reference to what you have read in this chapter, discuss the influence of China on Vietnam’s culture and life.
Vietnam was a part of the powerful empire of China. Even when an independent country was established, its rulers continued to maintain the Chinese system of government as well as Chinese culture.
• The elites in Vietnam were educated in Chinese and Confucianism. A Vietnamese nationalist, Phan Boi Chau’s most influential book, ‘The History of the Loss of Vietnam’ was written under the strong influence and advice of Chinese reformer Qichao.
• In 1911, the monarchy in China was overthrown and a Republic was set up. This inspired Vietnamese students and they organised the Association for the Restoration of Vietnam.
2. What was the role of religious groups in the development of anti-colonial feelings in Vietnam?
Religion had always played a pivotal role in the lives of people in Vietnam. Vietnam’s religious beliefs were a mix of Buddhism, Confucianism and local customs. Christianity, introduced by French
missionaries wanted to correct the beliefs of the Vietnamese regarding supernatural powers.
• In 1868, the Scholars Revolt was led by officials at the imperial court angered by the spread of Catholicism and French power. However, the French crushed the movement but this uprising served to inspire other patriots to rise up against them.
• The Hoa Hoa movement in 1939 gained great popularity in the fertile Mekong delta area which drew on religious ideas popular in anti-French uprisings of the nineteenth century. The French tried to suppress the movement inspired by Huynh Phu and declared him mad. Finally, the French authorities exiled him to Laos and sent many of his followers to concentration camps.
Political parties often drew upon their support from these movements. Thus, these religious movements were successful in gaining the support of anti-colonial feelings in Vietnam.
3. Explain the causes of the US involvement in the war in Vietnam. What effect did this involvement have on life within the US itself?
The US got involved in the war in Vietnam because it was worried about communists gaining
power as National Liberation Front and Ho Chi Minh government in the north made alliance against Ngo Dinh Diem’s regime in the south. US policy-planners also feared that it would start a domino effect means communist governments would be established in other countries in the area. Thus, it decided to intervene decisively, sending in troops and arms.
The effect of the US involvement in the war was felt within the US as well as many saw this war not worthy. When the youth were prepared for the war, the anger spread. Only university graduates were exempt from compulsory service in the army which caused even more anger amongst the minorities and working-class families.
4. Write an evaluation of the Vietnamese war against the US from the point of
(a) a porter on the Ho Chi Minh trail.
(b) a woman soldier.
a) 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) 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 airstrips, 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.
5. What was the role of women in the anti-imperial struggle in Vietnam? Compare this with the role of women in the nationalist struggle in India.
The role of women in the anti-imperial struggle in Vietnam was very important. Firstly, they rebelled against social conventions which led to the emergence of a new woman in Vietnamese society. The women irrespective of age started working selflessly and fighting to save the country. They joined the resistance movement against imperialist powers. They helped in nursing the wounded and constructing underground rooms and tunnels. They served as porters on the Ho Chi Minh trail.
The women participated in large scale in the nationalist struggle in India. They participated in protest marches and picketed foreign cloth and liquor shops. Many went to jail. They began to see service to the nation as a sacred duty of women. However, their role was not very dynamic and did not hold any position of authority.