UPSC : The Revolutionary Terrorism UPSC Notes | EduRev
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- Revolutionary terrorism was one way of expressing patriotism. The Moderates had failed to achieve much with their constitutional agitation.
- The revolutionaries had no place for compromise; they wanted complete independence and they believed their goal could be achieved only by violent overthrow of an alien government.
- It needs to be pointed out that the Extremists, too, like the Moderates, failed to deliver the goods, and thus made many of the young people take up the terrorist path.
- The Extremists had rightly emphasized the role of the masses and the need to go beyond propaganda and agitation. They had advocated persistent opposition to the Government and put forward a militant programme of passive resistance and boycott of foreign cloth, foreigners’ courts, education, and so on.
- They had demanded self-sacrifice from the youth. They had talked and written about direct action. But they had failed to find forms through which all these ideas could find practical expression.
- They could neither create a viable organization to lead the movement nor could they really define the movement in a way that differed from that of the Moderates.
- They were more militant, their critique of British rule was couched in stronger language, they were willing to make greater sacrifices and undergo greater suffering, but they did not know how to go beyond more vigorous agitation.
- They were not able to put before people new forms of political struggle or mass movements. Consequently, they too had come to a political dead end by the end of 1907.
- Each assassination, and if the assassins were caught, the consequent trial of the revolutionaries involved, would act as ‘propaganda by deed’.
- This form of struggle needed was numbers of young people ready to sacrifice their lives. Inevitably, it appealed to the idealism of the youth; it aroused their latent sense of heroism. A steadily increasing number of young men turned to this form of political struggle.
- The partition of Bengal and the Swadeshi Movement had facilitated the growth of terrorism. Moreover, contemporary international events had made a strong impact on the young patriots.
- The defeat of the Italians at Adowa in 1894 at the hands of the Abyssinians, the victory of Japan over Russia in 1904-5, the rise of the Sinn Fein movement in Ireland as well as the Young Turk revolt, encouraged patriotic Indians to look forward with confidence.
- The young conspirators derived inspiration from the Bhagavad Gita as well as from the lives of Mazzini, Garibaldi and Russian methods of revolutionary activities.
- Revolutionary terrorism gradually petered out. Lacking a mass base, despite remarkable heroism, the individual revolutionaries, organized in small secret groups, could not withstand suppression by the still strong colonial state.
- But despite their small numbers and eventual failure, they made a valuable contribution to the growth of nationalism in India.
- Lala Har Dayal went to U.S.A. in January 1911 and founded the Ghadar Party, on June 2, 1913, in SanFrancisco, for preparing for India’s liberation. He was aided by the Punjabis residing in California and Oregon. Since November 1913, the weekly Ghadar began to be published for spreading revolutionary ideas.
- The name Ghadar reminded the people of the great patriotic Rebellion of 1857. Har Dayal, fearing trial and imprisonment in U.S.A. went to Germany jumping the bail he was granted after being arrested in the U.S.A. under British instigation.
- In 1914 there occurred the Komagata Maru incident. Komagata Maru was a Japanese ocean ship which had been hired by Gurudatt Singh, to transport Punjabis (mostly Sikhs) direct from an Indian port, Calcutta to Canada. The ship reached Vancouver on May 23, 1914.
- But the Canadian authorities refused permission to the ship to land there, although it followed the Canadian rule that such immigrants would be allowed in Canada whose ship came direct from port to port.
- This rule had been made specifically, to put obstacles against the Indians because in going to Canada their ships used to touch Chinese or Japanese ports.
- To get over this Canadian rule, Gurudatt Singh, an Indian businessman of Singapore, had directly come with the immigrants in a Japanese ship without touching any intermediate port on the way. The tired and angry passengers had to return from Vancouver.
- The Indian Government also gave them a rough treatment on return to Calcutta on September 27, 1914. There were nearly 250 Sikhs who got down from the ship and an armed engagement took place with the police at Budge Budge, Calcutta, leading to eighteen deaths, mostly of Sikhs. Two Europeans were also killed and six injured. The embittered Sikhs persecuted by the police spread anger in Punjab.
- Another Japanese ship Tosa Maru, brought another batch of Indians from the U.S.A. many of whom had been indoctrinated with the teachings of the Ghadar Party. In 1914, nearly 8000 Punjabis returned from the U.S.A. and Canada and spread revolutionary feelings among the people. The embittered returnees spread the tales of the cruel and racialist character of imperialism.
- The Ghadar Party had tried to spread revolutionary ideas among Indians living in U.S.A., Canada and Europe. Nearly six to eight thousand (8,000) Indians who were imbued with the Ghadar ideology of armed revolt against the British had returned to the motherland from the West at the time of and during the Great War. Out of them 400 were imprisoned and 2500 were interned in their villages in Punjab and 5000 were kept under police watch. Attempts were also made to spread disaffection in the army under the inspiration of Rash Bihari Bose and V.G. Pingley. 21 February, 1915, was fixed as the day for beginning the revolt but due to the actions of informers the plan was foiled.
- Pingley was executed. The revolutionists had made plans of fomenting revolt in 1915 in the Indian army, specially at Lahore, Rawal Pindi, Ferozepur, Meerut, Kanpur, Lucknow, Allahabad, Benaras and Danapur but their scheme totally failed.
- Neither there was any organization for that nor was the army in any mood to rebel. Nevertheless, the mere thinking along these lines showed that the spirit of 1857 was not dead in the country.
|Leftist Organisations & Parties |
| ||Parties & Organisations ||Founders, year & place |
|1 ||Communist Party of India (CPI) ||M.N. Roy, 1920 at Tashkent officially announced by Satyabhakta in |
|2 ||Labour Kisan Party ||Singaravelu 1923, Madras |
|3 ||Labour Swaraj party later renamed Peasants and Worker's Party ||Muzaffar Ahmmed & Qazi Nazrul 1925 |
|4 ||Kirti Kisan Party ||Sohan Singh Josh (Punjab) |
|5 ||Worker's & Peasants party ||S.S. Mirajkar, K.N. Joglekar & S.V. Ghate, 1927, Bombay |
|6 ||Bihar Socialist party ||Jai Prakash Narayan, Phulan Prasad Verma, 1931 |
|7 ||Congress Socialist Party ||Narendra Dev, Jai Prakash Narayan and Minoo Masani 1934 |
|8 ||Forward Block ||Subhas Chandra Bose, 1939 |
|9 ||Congress Labour Party ||1926, Bombay |
|10 ||The Bolshevik Party of India ||N.D. Mazumdar, 1939 |
|11 ||Revolutionary Socialist Party ||1940 |
|12 ||Radical Democratic party ||M.N. Roy, 1940 |
|13 ||Bolshevik Leninist party ||Indra Sen & Ajit Roy, 1941 |
|14 ||Revolutionary Communist Party ||Saumendranath Tagore, 1942 |
|15 ||Hindustan Socialist Republican Association ||Chandra Shekhar Azad and others, 1928 |
|16 ||Punjab Socialist Party ||1933 |
|17 ||Independence Labour Party ||B.R. Ambedkar |
New Aspects in Revolutionary Ideology
- The Bengal revolutionaries of the 1920s and 1930s had shed some of their earlier Hindu religiosity—they no longer took religious oaths and vows.
- Some of the groups also no longer excluded Muslims—the Chittagong IRA cadre included many Muslims like Sattar, Mir Ahmad, Fakir Ahmad Mian, Tunu Mian and got massive support from Muslim villagers around Chittagong.
- But they still retained elements of social conservatism, nor did they evolve broader socio-economic goals. In particular, those revolutionary terrorists, who worked in the Swaraj party failed to support the cause of Muslim peasantry against the Zamindars.
- A real breakthrough in terms of revolutionary ideology and the goals of revolution and the forms of revolutionary struggle was made by Bhagat Singh and his comrades.
- Bhagat Singh, born in 1907 and a nephew of the famous revolutionary Ajit Singh, was a giant of an intellectual.
- Bhagat Singh and his comrades also made a major advance in broadening the scope and definition of revolution. Revolution was no longer equated with mere militancy or violence. Its first objective was national liberation—the overthrow of imperialism. But it must go beyond and work for a new socialist order.
- Bhagat Singh was a great innovator in two areas of politics. Being fully and consciously secular, he understood, more clearly than many of his contemporaries, the danger that communalism posed to the nation and the national movement.
- He often told his audience that communalism was as big an enemy as colonialism. Bhagat Singh also saw the importance of freeing the people from the mental bondage of religion and superstition.
- A few weeks before his death, he wrote the article ‘Why I am an Atheist’ in which he subjected religion and religious philosophy to a scathing critique.
- The revolutionary movement which became a potent force in Indian politics during the Swadeshi and Civil Disobedience movements, continued sporadically upto 1934. The younger generation was not convinced by Gandhi’s passionate appeal for non-violence.
- The absence of a central revolutionary organisation and the failure to develop a mass base weakened the terrorist movement. But it did not die out in 1934.
- The Reforms of 1935 took away the edge of both the violent and non-violent methods in Indian politics.
- The revolutionary movement was revived again in 1942 and provided inspiration to Subhas Chandra Bose to free the country from British imperialism.
- A process of rethinking in jails and in the Andamans began. A large number of the revolutionaries turned to Marxism and the idea of a socialist revolution by the masses.
- They joined the Communist Party, the Revolutionary Socialist Party, and other Left parties. Many others joined the Gandhian wing of the Congress.
- The politics of the revolutionary terrorists had severe limitations—above all theirs was not the politics of a mass movement; they failed to politically activate the masses or move them into political actions; they could not even establish contact with the masses. All the same, they made an abiding contribution to the freedom movement.