Indian National Movement (1905-1916)
period from 1905 was known as the era of extremism in the Indian National
Movement. The extremists or the aggressive nationalists believed that success
could be achieved through bold means. The important extremist leaders were Lala
Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh.
Causes for the Rise of Extremism
failure of the Moderates to win any notable success other than the expansion of
the legislative councils by the Indian Councils Act (1892).
famine and plague of 1896-97 which affected the whole country and the suffering
of the masses.
economic conditions of the people became worse.
ill-treatment of Indians in South Africa on the basis of colour of skin.
Russo-Japanese war of 1904-5 in which Japan defeated the European power Russia.
This encouraged Indians to fight against the European nation, Britain.
immediate cause for the rise of extremism was the reactionary rule of Lord
passed the Calcutta Corporation Act, (1899) reducing the Indian control of this
Universities Act (1904) reduced the elected members in the University bodies.
It also reduced the autonomy of the universities and made them government
Sedition Act and the Official Secrets Act reduced the freedoms of all people.
worst measure was the Partition of Bengal (1905).Main Objective of
objective was to attain Swaraj or
complete independence and not just self-government.
Methods of the Extremists
Extremists had no faith in the British sense of justice and fair play. They
pointed out the forceful means by which the British had taken control of India.
They believed that political rights will have to be fought for. They had the
spirit of self-reliance and self-determination.
The methods used by the extremists were:
cooperating with the British Government by boycotting government courts,
schools and colleges.
of Swadeshi and boycott of foreign goods.
and promotion of national education.
Leaders of the Extremists
extremists were led by Bala Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bipinchandra Pal
and Aurobindo Ghosh.
Gangadhar Tilak is regarded as the real founder of the popular anti-British
movement in India. He was known as 'Lokamanya'.
He attacked the British through his weeklies The Mahratta and the Kesari.
He was jailed twice by the British for his nationalist activities and in 1908 deported to Mandalay for six
years. He set up the Home Rule League in 1916 at Poona and declared 'Swaraj is
my birth-right and I will have it.
Lajpat Rai is popularly known as the 'Lion
of Punjab'. He played an important role
in the Swadeshi Movement. He founded the Indian Home Rule League in the US
in 1916. He was deported to Mandalay on the ground of sedition. He received
fatal injuries while leading a procession against the Simon Commission and died
on November 17, 1928.
Chandra Pal began his career as a moderate and turned an extremist. He played
an important role in the Swadeshi Movement. He preached nationalism through the
nook and corner of Indian by his powerful speeches and writings.
Ghosh was another extremist leader and he actively participated in the Swadeshi
Movement. He was also imprisoned. After his release he settled in the French
territory of Pondicherry and concentrated on spiritual activities.
Partition of Bengal and the Rise of Extremism
partition of Bengal in 1905 provided a spark for the rise of extremism in the
Indian National Movement.
Curzon's real motives were:
To break the growing
strength of Bengali nationalism since Bengal was the base of Indian
To divide the Hindus and Muslims in Bengal.
To show the enormous power of the British
Government in doing whatever it liked.
the same day when the partition came into effect, 16 October 1905, the people
of Bengal orgainsed protest meetings and observed a day of mourning. The whole
political life of Bengal underwent a change. Gandhi wrote that the real
awakening in India took place only after the Partition of Bengal.
anti-partition movement culminated into the Swadeshi Movement and spread to
other parts of India.
aggressive nationalists forced Dadabhai Naoroji to speak of Swaraj (which was
not a Moderate demand) in the Calcutta Session of Congress in 1906. They
adopted the resolutions of Boycott and Swadeshi. The Moderate Congressmen were
unhappy. They wanted Swaraj
to be achieved through constitutional methods. The differences led to a split
in the Congress at the Surat session in 1907. This is popularly known as the
famous Surat Split. The extremists
came out of the Congress led by Tilak and others.
The Swadeshi Movement involved programmes like
the boycott of government service, courts, schools and colleges and of foreign
goods, promotion of Swadeshi goods, Promotion of National Education through the
establishment of national schools and colleges. It was both a political and
The Swadeshi Movement was a great success. In
Bengal, even the landlords joined the movement. The women and students took to
picketing. Students refused using books made of foreign paper.
government adopted several tough measures. It passed several Acts to crush the
movement. The Swadeshi volunteers were ram beaten badly. The cry of was forbidden. Schools and
colleges were warned not to allow their students to take part in the movement
or else their, aid would be stopped. Some Indian government employees lost
their jobs. Extremist leaders Bala Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bipin
Chandra Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh were imprisoned and deported.
Achievements of Extremists
achievements of extremists can be summed up as follows:
They were the first to demand Swaraj
as a matter of birth right.
They involved the masses in the
freedom struggle and broadened the social base of the National Movement.
They were the first to organize an
all-India political movement, viz. the Swadeshi Movement.
Formation of the Muslim League (1906)
December 1906, Muslim delegates from all over India met at Dacca for the Muslim
Educational Conference. Taking advantage of this occasion, Nawab Salimullah of Dacca proposed the setting up of an
organisation to look after the Muslim interests. The proposal was accepted. The
All-India Muslim League was finally
set up on December 30, 1906. Like the Indian National Congress, they conducted
annual sessions and put their demands to the British government. Initially,
they enjoyed the support of the British. Their first achievement was the
separate electorates for the Muslims in the Minto-Morley reforms.
The Lucknow Pact (1916)
1916 Congress session at Lucknow two major events occurred. The divided
Congress became united. An understanding for joint action against the British
was reached between the Congress and the Muslim League and it was called the Lucknow Pact. The signing of the
Lucknow Pact by the Congress and the Muslim League in 1916 marked an important
step in the Hindu-Muslim unity.
The Home Rule Movement (1916)
Rule Leagues were established, one by B.G. Tilak at Poona in April 1916 and the
other by Mrs. Annie Besant at Madras in September 1916. The aim of the Movement
was to get self-government for India within the British Empire. It believed
freedom was the natural right of all nations. Moreover, the leaders of the Home
Movement thought that India's resources were not being used for her needs.
The two Leagues cooperated with each other as
well with the Congress and the Muslim League in putting their demand for home
rule. While Tilak's Movement concentrated on Maharashtra, Annie
Besant's Movement covered the rest of the
country. The Home Rule Movement had brought a new life in the national
movement. There was a revival of Swadeshi. Women joined in larger numbers.
August 1917, Montague, the Secretary of State in England, made a declaration in
the Parliament of England on British Government's policy towards future
political reforms in India. He promised the gradual development of
self-governing institutions in India. This August Declaration led to the end of
the Home Rule Movement.
first half of the 20th century, revolutionary groups sprang up mainly in
Bengal, Maharashtra, Punjab and Madras. The revolutionaries were not satisfied
with the methods of both the moderates and extremists. Hence, they started many
revolutionary secret organizations. In Bengal Anusilan Samiti and Jugantar
were established. In Maharashtra Savarkar brothers had set up Abhinava Bharat. In the Madras Presidency, Bharathmatha Association was
started by Nilakanta Bramachari.
Ajit Singh set up a secret society to spread revolutionary ideas among the
youth. In London, at India House, Shyamji Krishna Verma gathered young Indian
nationalists like Madan Lal Dhingra, Savarkar, V.V.S. Iyer and T.S.S.Rajan.
Lala Hardyal set up the 'Ghadar Party'
in USA to organise revolutionary activities from outside India.