In fact the Indian agriculture and handicraft industries were destroyed during the 19th century and the peasants, artisans and other classes, severely suffered due to deindustrialization, commercialization of agriculture, etc.
Solid background was provided by the Socio-religious Reform Movements of the period that led to the rise of National Consciousness in the country.
The leading intellectuals of the 19th century contributed to the awakening of National Consciousness by bringing to light the achievements of Indians in art, architecture, literature, philosophy and science.
This enquiry into the history led to a new consciousness which intended to reform Indian society by getting rid of the evil practices prevalent in the society.
Apart from the above some other factors that contributed to the spread of National Consciousness among people includes political unification of India by the British, introduction of uniform system of administration, introduction, development and spread of modern means of communications like post and telegraph services, Railways etc.
People living at distant places got chance to interact with each-other and discuss their problems and add to their overall consciousness. Expansion of printing press simplified the transmission of ideas and learning.
The introduction and spread of English language further did away with the problems associated with communicating with people of different linguistic region.
Moreover, the new education system introduced by British familiarized the educated class with ideas of liberty, equality and nationalism.
Initially the English educated class supported the Government but their belief in the English tradition of liberal thought and institutions received setbacks as a result of various Government measures like enactment of draconian press law like the
Vernacular Press Act of 1878 (to check the freedom of press) along with others like the Arms Act 1879 which were apparently discriminatory and anti-Indian in nature.
The disillusionment advanced further when the Ilbert Bill to abolish ‘judicial discrimination based on racial distinction’ had to be virtually dropped on accounts of fierce opposition by the European community and the Civil Service.
Indians learned the lesson in time. The understanding of these hard facts by the educated Indians generated nationalistic feelings amongst them.
They became torchbearers of the nationalistic movements in India and made maximum use of the English language, which was really a very valuable asset in the spread of Indian Nationalism.
The language soon took the place of an all-India language and became lingua franca of educated Indians from all parts of the country, who discussed the problems and grievances of the people.
Although, British did not aim at the rise of the Indian Nationalism, but it naturally helped in the process through various political, economic and social developments of the period.
That the foundation of various organizations was laid during the second half of 19th century on the above mentioned factors. It in fact culminated into foundation of Indian National Congress in 1885.