TEXTBOOK QUESTIONS SOLVED
RITE IN BRIEF
Q1. Write a note on:
(a) What was meant by the ‘civilising mission’ of the colonisers?
(b) Huynh Phu So
(a) French colonisation was driven by the idea of a ‘civilising mission’. Like the British in India, the French claimed that they were bringing modern civilisation to the Vietnamese. The French wanted to destroy local cultures, religions and traditions as they believed they were outdated and prevented modern development. So they wanted to educate the ‘native’ to civilise them. This they also did because they required educated local labour force.
(b) Huynh Phu So was the founder of a movement called the Hoa Hao Movement, started in 1939 inthe fertile Mekong delta area. The movement drew on religious ideas popular in anti-French uprisings of the nineteenth century. Phu So performed miracles and helped the poor. He opposed the sale of child brides, gambling and the use of alcohol and opium. The French tried to suppress the movement. They declared Phu So mad, called him the Mad Bonze, and put him in a mental asylum. The French authorities exiled him to Laos and sent many of his followers to concentration camps.
Q2. 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 h d expelled.
(d) Rats were most common in the modern, newly built areas of Hanoi.
(a) It was announced by the French that those who would learn French and accept French culture would be rewarded with French citizenship. However, only a few elite Vietnamese could enroll in the schools, and only a few among those admitted ultimately passed the school-leaving examinations. This was largely because of a deliberate policy of failing students, mainly in the final year, so as to stop them from getting better-paid jobs. Usually, as many as two-third of the students failed and in 1925. out of population of 17 million, less than 400 passed the examination. School textbooks glorified the French and justified colonial rule and represented the Vietnamese as primitive and backward, capable of manual labour only. School children were taught that only French rule could ensure peace in Vietnam.
(b) For the constant supply of natural resources and other essential goods colonies used to annex other countries and the custom was followed by French also. The French in order to expand its territories began building canals and draining lands in the Mekong delta to increase cultivation. The vast system of irrigation works—canals and earthworks—built with forced labour, increased the production of rice and allowed the export of rice to the international market. The area under rice cultivation went up from 274,000 hectares in 1873 to 1.1 million hectares in 1900 and 2.2 million in 1930. By 1931, Vietnam became the third largest exporter of rice in the world.
(c) A major protest began in 1926 in the Saigon Native Girls School, when a Vietnamese girl sitting in one of the front seats was asked to vacate the seat for a local French student and when she refused, she was expelled from the school. When angry students protested, they too were expelled. Now open protests started. To control the situation the students were taken back. By the 1920s, students started forming various political parties, like the Party of Young Annan, and published several nationalist journals such as the Annanese Student. Schools thus became an important place for political and cultural battles. The battle against French colonial education system became part of the larger battle against colonialism and for independence.
(d) Apart from education, deteriorating health and hygiene in the country also agitated Vietnamese and inspired the nationalist feelings among them. When the French set about creating a modern Vietnam, they decided to rebuild Hanoi using modern engineering skills. In 1903, the modern part of Hanoi was struck by bubonic plague. It happened because:
• The French part of Hanoi was built as a beautiful and clean city with wide streets and a well-laidout sewer system, while the ‘native quarter’ was not provided with any modern facilities.
• The waste and rubbish was drained straight out into the river and during heavy rains or floods it would overflow into the streets.
• Thus, what was installed to create a hygienic environment in the French city became the cause of the plague. The large sewers in the modern part of the city, a symbol of modernity, were an ideal breeding ground for rats.
• The sewers served as a medium of transfer of rats into the city.
A rat hunt was started in 1902. Many Vieinani( workers were hired and paid for each rat they , caught. The bounty was paid when a tail was was given as proof that a rat had been killed. So the rat catchers took to just clipping the tails and releasil the rats, so that the process could be repeated, over and over again. Defeated by the resistance of the weak, the French were forced to stop the boullis programme as it did not help to stop the rats invasion. In a way, the rat menace marks the lit of the French power.
Q.3. Describe the ideas behind the Tonkin Free School. to what extent was it a typical example of colonial ‘dew, It Vietnam?
Ans. The Tonkin Free School was started in 1907. It provided a Western style education. Subjects like science, hygici and French were taught. At the same time it wa necessary to look modern. Hence, the school encouraged I the adoption of Western styles such as having a short haircut (it was a tradition in Vietnam to keep long halt ) Many Vietnamese teachers and students opposeditb it They did not blindly follow the curriculum and the , teachers started modifying the text and criticising what was stated about Vietnamese. By the 1920s, student, started forming various political parties, like the Party of Young Annan, and published several nationa journals such as the Annanese Student. Schools !Inc, became an important place for political and cultural battles. The battle against French colonial educal Inn became part of the larger battle against colonialism and or independence.
Q4. What was Phan Chu Trinh’s objective for Vietnam? limo were his ideas different from those of Phan Boi
Ans. In Japan, Phan Boi Chau and Phan Chu Trinli discussed their visions of Vietnamese independeiiii Phan Chu Trinh believed in overthrowing the monarch \ to promote popular rights. While Phau Boi Chan believed that first the foreign enemy should be driven out and after their nation’s independence w,,,, established they could take about other things. His plan was to make use of the monarchy which Phan Chu Trinh opposed. His plan was to raise up the people to end monarchy with which Phan Boi Chau disagreed. Both were pursuing the same goal with different means. Phan Boi Chau (1867-1940) became a major figure in the anti-colonial resistance when he formed the Revolutionary Society (Duy Tan Hoi) in 1903, with Prince Cuong De as the head. His most influential book, The History of the Loss of Vietnam became widely read bestseller in Vietnam and China. Contrary to that Phan Chu Trinh (1871-1926) opposed to the idea of resisting the French with the help of the court. He wished to establish a democratic republic. He was deeply influenced by the democratic ideals of the west and did not want a complete rejection of Western civilisation.
Q1. With reference to what you have read in this chapter, discuss the influence of China on Vietnam’s culture and life.
Ans. Though Vietnam gained formal independence in 1945, before India, but it took three decades to attain the Republic. Nationalism in Indo-China developed in a colonial environment. Indo-China comprises the modern countries of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Its early history shows many different groups of people living in this area under the shadow of powerful empire of China. Even when an indeperWorit country was established in what is now northern and central Vietnam, its rulers kept on maintaining the Chip system of government as well as Chinese culture. Vietnam was well linked to the maritime silk route. The maritime silk route made an important contribution in exchange of goods, people and ideas.
Q2. What was the role of religious groups in the develo, of anti-colonial feeling in Vietnam?
Ans. Religion played an important role in uniting Vietnamese against colonial control. Vietnam’s religious beliefs were a mixture of Buddhism, Confucianism and local practices. The French missionaries introduced Christianity and tried to convert Vietnamese to Christianity. The Scholars Revolt started in 1868 was led by officials at the imperial court. These officials wereangered by the spread of Catholicism and French Power. They led a general uprising in Ngu An and Ha Tien provinces where over a thousand Catholics were killed. The French successfully crushed the movement but this uprising inspired other patriots to rise up against them.
Another movement called the Hoa Hao movement, started in 1939 in the fertile Mekong delta area. It drew on religious ideas popular in anti-French uprisings of the nineteenth century. Its founder was Huynh Phu So. He 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. But when in 1941, even the French doctors declared that he was sane, the French authorities exiled him to Laos.
These movements were of great significance in arousing anti-colonial sentiments in Vietnam.
Q3. 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 policy planners got afraid of the victory of the Ho Chi Minh government. They formed an opinion that this government would start a domino effect, i.e. Communist governments would be established in other countries in the area. The US could not tolerate the spread of Communism and decided to intervene decisively. Soon, it sent troops and arms in Vietnam to crush its power.
But US entry into the war proved costly to the Vietnamese as well as the Americans.
Effects of involvement on life within the US
(i) Even though the US had advanced technology and good medical supplies, casualties were high.
(ii) Several people became critical of the US government for getting involved in a war that they saw as indefensible.
(iii) When the youth were drafted for the war, the anger spread. Compulsory service in the armed forces was waived for university graduates. This meant that many of those sent to fight belonged to working-class families.
Q4. 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) Ho Chi Minh trail was an important link to understand the real nature of war between Vietnam and the US. As a porter on that trail I felt proud because it was the matter of great honour. With a very limited resource the Vietnamese could resist against the US forces. This trail was an immense network of footpaths and roads. It was used to transport men and materials from the north to the south. It had also support bases and hospitals. In some parts supplies were transported in trucks but mostly we, the porters, did these jobs. We used to carry about 25 kilos on our backs or about 70 kilos on our bicycles. The trail was bombed regularly by the US forces in order to disrupt supplies but we were so prompt that we could rebuild the damage very quickly. It was our confidence and devotion to our nation that made us do so and we could fight such a super power.
(b) During US-Vietnam War I was a part of a women troop of Vietnam. We worked selflessly and fought to save our nation. As casualty in the war increased many women joined the struggle. Our prime duty was not only as a fighter but we also nursed the wounded, constructed underground rooms and tunnels. We did everything with complete devotion for the nation.
Q5. 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.
Ans. Women in Vietnam traditionally enjoyed greater equality
in comparison to that in China. They had only limited freedom to determine their future. They enjoyed no public life. But with the growth of nationalist movement the status of women improved. Writers and political thinkers began idealising women who rebelled against social norms. This rebellion against social conventions marked the arrival of the new woman in Vietnamese society. A play was written by the nationalist Phan Boi Chau in 1913 on the lives of the Trung Sisters who had fought against Chinese domination in 39-43 CE. In this play he depicted these sisters as patriots fighting to say( the Vietnamese nation from the Chinese. They were also depicted in paintings, plays and novels as representing, the strong will and the deep patriotism of 1111) Vietnamese.
In the 1960s, women were presented as brave fighters. by magazines and journals. They were portrayed as young, brave and dedicated. Nguyen Thi Xuan was reputed to have shot down a jet with just twenty bullet-) Women were also represented as workers. They were shown with a rifle in one hand and a hammer in the other. They helped in nursing the wounded constructing underground rooms and tunnels and fighting the enemy. Between 1965 and 1975, of flu 17,000 youths worked on the trail, 70 to 80 per cent were women.
Similarly in India during the launch of the Civil Disobedience Movement women participated in it on a large-scale. During Gandhiji’s salt march, thousands 01 women came out of their homes to listen to him. They participated in protest marches and manufactured sail. They picketed foreign cloth and liquor shops. Many weal to jail. They began to see service to the nation as a sacred duty of women.
• Find out about the anti-imperialist movement in any one country in South America. Imagine that a freedom fighter from this country meets a Vitaminh soldier, they become friends and talk about their experiences of the freedom struggles in their countries. Write about the conversation they might have.
Ans. Attempt yourself.