Role of Extremists

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  • Topic: Indian independence movement, Indian National Congress, India House
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  • Published : February 3, 2013
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During the 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)

Two Home 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 selfgovernment 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. On 20 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. Revolutionary Movements

In the 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. In Punjab 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.

Indian National Movement (1905 – 1916)

The 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

The failure of the Moderates to win any notable success other than the expansion of the legislative councils by the Indian Councils Act (1892). The famine and plague of 1896-97 which affected the whole country and the suffering of the masses. The economic conditions of the people became worse.

The ill-treatment of Indians in South Africa on the basis of colour of skin. The Russo-Japanese war of 1904 – 05 in which Japan defeated the European power Russia. This encouraged Indians to fight against the European nation, Britain. The immediate cause for the rise of extremism was the reactionary rule of Lord Curzon:

He passed the Calcutta Corporation Act, (1899) reducing the Indian control of this local body. The Universities Act (1904) reduced the elected members in the University bodies. It also reduced the autonomy of the universities and made them government departments. The Sedition Act and the Official Secrets Act reduced the freedoms of all people. His worst measure was the Partition of Bengal (1905).

Main Objective of Extremists

Their main objective was to attain Swaraj or complete independence and not just self-government. Methods of the Extremists

The...
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