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The Swadeshi Movement & the Partition of Bengal: Morley-Minto Reforms (1909) Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

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THE SWADESHI MOVEMENT AND THE PARTITION OF BENGAL
The rise of a new self-reliant and defiant nationalism from 1905 onwards was a consequence of several factors:

  • The callousness and repression of the Anglo-lndian bureaucracy,
  • Frustration and disillusionment among the nationalists at the British attitude in initiating political reforms,
  • The rising aspirations of the edu­cated class,
  • The growth of discontent in in­dustrial sectors, and
  • A great political idealism, gener­ated by the teachings of Vivekanand, Dayananda, Bankim Chandra, Tilak, Pal, Aurobindo and other leaders and writers.
    The Swadeshi Movement & the Partition of Bengal: Morley-Minto Reforms (1909) Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC
  • With the start of the Swadeshi movement, the Indian National move­ment took a major leap forward.
  • Women, students and a large section of the urban and rural popula­tion of Bengal and other parts of India became actively involved in politics for the first time.
  • The day partition took effect on 16 October 1905 and was declared a day of mourning throughout Bengal. In Calcutta a hartal was declared.
  • People took out processions and bathed in the Ganges in the morning and then paraded the streets singing Bande Mataram.
  • People tied rakhis on each other’s hands as a symbol of unity of the two halves of Bengal. Later in the day Ananda Mohan Bose and S.N. Banerjee addressed two huge mass meetings .
  • The message of Swadeshi and the boycott of foreign goods soon spread to the rest of the country.
  • The INC took up the Swadeshi call and the Banaras Session, 1905, presided by Gokhale, supported the Swadeshi and boycott movement for Bengal .
  • The militant nationalists led by Tilak, Pal and Lajpat Rai were, how­ever, in favour of extending the move­ment to the rest of India and carrying it beyond the programme of just Swadeshi and boycott to a full-fledged political mass struggle.
  • The aim was now Swaraj and the abrogation of partition had become the ‘pettiest and narrowest of all politi­cal objects.

The Political demands of the Mod­erate leaders included:

  • Increase in the employment of Indians to civil services.
  • Separation of judicial and ex­ecutive functions.
  • Extension of trial by jury.
  • Expansion of membership of leg­islative bodies.
  • Repeal of the Sedition Act of 1898.
  • Expansion of education, espe­cially technical education.
  • Grant of commissions in the army and military training to the people.
  • Simultaneous examination for the ICS in England and India.
  • The political techniques of the Mod­erate leaders can be thus summarized as:
  • Articulation of political con­sciousness in the literate classes.
  • Petitioning to the authorities and holding meetings.
  • Demanding administrative re­forms and the termination of anti-popu­lar legislation like the one effectuating the partition of Bengal.
  • Using the electoral machinery to get into the Legislative Council
  • Sending deputation to England to prevent the Indian point of view before the members of Parliament and the bar of the British public opinion.

The Political demands of the Mod­erate leaders included:

  • Equitable apportionment of mili­tary expenditure between India and Brit­ain. Reduction of military expenditure.
  • Reduction of Home charges.
  • Adoption of measures for relief of agricultural indebtedness.
  • Encouragement of technical edu­cation and promotion of Indian indus­tries by subsidies and protection.
  • Abolition of Salt Tax.
  • Reduction of land revenue and income tax.
  • Setting up of agricultural banks and extension of irrigational facilities.
  • Loan for agriculturists.
  • Measures to remove poverty.
  • Revision of Abkari and Excise policy to encourage temperance.
  • With the death of Gokhale on February 19, 1915, of Pherozeshah on November 5, 1915, and the Dadabhai, the grand old man of Indian poli­tics, on June 30, 1917, Moderatism ceased to be an effective political force.
  • Since extremism was an attitude of mind, no definite date can be fixed for its beginning.
  • The Extremist trend began in 1890s and its creed crystallized by 1905.
  • After the famine of 1896 Tilak asked the distressed people not to pay taxes.
  • British Govt. considered his teachings and editorials responsible for creating an atmosphere which led to the murders of Rand and Ayerst in June 1897.
  • Bipin Chandra Pal (1858-1932) and Aurobindo were another important Extremist leaders.
  • The Extremists formulated the four­fold techniques (the Chatusutri as Tilak called them) of the New Party:
  • Swadeshi
  • Boycott of foreign goods
  • National education
  • Arbitration in place of seeking justice in courts established by the for­eign rulers.
  • The methods and tactics used by the Extremists can be summed up as:
  • Use of self-reliant methods.
  • Need for making sacrifices for the country.
  • Condemned political mendi­cancy.
  • Intense hatred for foreign rule, which was held responsible for all evils of Indian society.
  • Faith in mass political action.
  • Boycott of British goods.
  • Use of Swadeshi goods.
  • National Education.
  • Passive resistance.
  • Stages of the Moderates-Extremists tussle can be traced as below:
  • Banaras Congress Session in Dec. 1905: Extremists wanted a strong resolution on Boycott and Swadeshi. Moderates emphasised the use of constitutional methods only.
  • Compromise: Mild resolution on Boycott and Swadeshi.
  • Calcutta Congress Session in Dec. 1906: Extremists wanted Tilak or Lajpat Rai as President, Moderates proposed name of Dadabhai Nauroji, who was elected.

The Swadeshi Movement & the Partition of Bengal: Morley-Minto Reforms (1909) Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

Compromise:
 (i) Swaraj declared goal of Congress.
 (ii) Resolution on Boycott, Swadeshi and National Edu­cation passed.

  • Surat Congress Session in Dec. 1907: Extremists wanted 
    (i) The session at Nagpur 
    (ii) Lajpat Rai as Con­gress President, and 
    (iii) Reiteration of resolutions on Boycott, Swadeshi and National Education. 
  • Moderates wanted:-
    (i) The session at Surat, 
    (ii) Rash Behari Ghosh as President, and 
    (iii) To drop the resolutions on Boycott, Swadeshi and National Education.

Outcome of the Surat split was:

  • With Government encour­agement Moderates adopted an uncom­promising attitude.
  • Pandemonium at Surat and ses­sion adjourned.
  • Moderates captured the Con­gress in April, 1908 and adopted a loyalist constitution for the Congress.
  • Extremists eclipsed from national forums.
  • Even Moderates suffered disillu­sionment and lost popularity with the masses.

Morley-Minto Reforms, 1909

  • Reasons due to which this Act was passed can be summed up as:
  • Indian dissatisfaction with Act of 1892.
  • Extremists in the Congress ad­vocated the policy of pressure to win political rights. The Indian council Act, 1892 did not satisfy even the Moder­ates.
  • Curzon’s reactionary policies and partition of Bengal awoke the latent national consciousness of Indians.
  • Economic distress and famines alienated the people from British rule.
  • Minto’s plan was to placate po­litical unrest by a dose of political re­forms.
     

Facts To Be Remembered

  • Sisir Kumar Ghosh founded the Amrita Bazar Patrika.
  • Bangadarsana was founded by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in 1873.
  • Robert Knight, one of the few English Journalists who had sympathy for Indian cause, was called the “Bayard of India” by the Indian Press.
  • Sir Charles Metcalfe and Lord Macaulay are known as the ‘Liberators of the Indian Press’.
  • Swami Dayanand was the first to use the word “Swaraj”.
  • Dwarakanath Tagore was one of the founder-members of the Land holders society of Calcutta.
  • In 1851 the “Landholders Society” and the “Bengal British India Society” merged themselves into a new one, named the “British Indian Association”.
  • The “Bombay Association” founded in 1852 was the first political association in the Bombay presidency.
  • In 1898 the British passed a law making it an offence to preach Nationalism.
  • Valentine Chirol described Balgangadhar Tilak as the “Father of Indian Unrest”.
  • Aurobindo Ghosh was the first propounder of the Doctrine of Passive Resistance”.
  • “The Congress movement was neither inspired by the people, nor devised or planned by them.”
  • Government’s plan was to use political reforms as a device to drive a wedge between Hindus and Muslims through communal electorates.
  • Important provisions can be summed up as:
  • Legislative Councils both at the Centre and in the provinces were ex­panded.
  • Total strength of Central Legislative Council was raised to 68 (Gover­nor General + 7 Executive Councillors + 60 additional members). Term of ‘ad­ditional’ members was to be 3 years.
  • Regulations provided qualifica­tions both for candidates for election and for voters. Women, minors, per­sons below age of 25 years could not vote.
  • Powers of Central Legislative Councils was enlarged. Members could discuss annual financial statement, pro­pose resolutions, but Budgets as a whole was not subject to vote of Leg­islative Council. Members could ask questions and supplementary questions on matters of public interest.
  • Non-officials were to be in ma­jority in Provincial Legislatures.
  • For the first time, system of class and communal electorates was introduced in Legislative Councils.
  • Number of members of Provin­cial Executive Councils of Bengal, Ma­dras and Bombay was raised to 4 each.
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