The Swadeshi Movement and The Partition of Bengal UPSC Notes | EduRev

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The rise of a new self-reliant and defiant nationalism from 1905 onwards was a conseuence of several factors:

  • the callousness and repression of the Anglo-Indian bureaucracy,
  • frustration and disillusionment among the nationalists at the British attitude in inititating political rerforms,
  • 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.
  • 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—16 October 1905—was declared a day of morning 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 hand 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.’
Extremist and Revolutionary Activities
1897, June 22 The first political murder of an European was committed at Poona by the Chapekar brothers, Damodar & Balkishan. Their target was Mr. Rand, President of the Plague Committee but Lt. Ayerst was shot accidently.
1907, Dec The Bengal revolutionaries made an attempt on the life of Lieutenant governor of Bengal.
1908, April Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki threw a bomb on the carriage of Kingsford the unpopular judge of Muzaffarpur.
1909 Mr. Jackson the D.M. of Nasik was shot dead.
1912 A bomb was thrown at Lord Harding in Chandini Chowk, Delhi, by Rashbehari Bose and Sachindranath Sanyal.
1907 M. L. Dhingra shot dead Col. William Curzon Whyllie, the political advisor of India office in London
1907 Madam Cama, a Parsi revolutionary unfurled the flag of India at Stuttgart congress of 2nd international.
1907 Lala Lajpar Rai and Ajit Singh were deported following riots in Canal colony of Punjab
1908 Tilak was sentenced to six years imprisonment on charges of spreading disaffection against the government.
1908 Dec Nine Bengal leaders including Ashwani Kumar Dutt and Krishna Kumar Mitra were deported.
1925, Aug 9 The U.P. revolutionaries successfully carried out a dacoity on the Kakori bound train to finauce their activities.
1925 Trial of youths in Kakori conspiracy case. 17 were sentenced to long term imprisonment, four were transported for life and four including Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfayulla & Roshan Lal were hanged.
1928, Dec Bhagat Singh, Azad and Raj Guru killed Mr. Saunders A.S.P. of Lahore to avenge the fatal lathi blow on Lala Lajpat Rai.
1929, April 8 Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt threw a bomb in the central legislative assembly to protest against the passing of the ``Public Safety Bill".
1931, March 23 Bhagat Singh, Sukh Dev and Raj Guru were hanged
1929 Jatin was died in Jail after 63 days of fast to protest against the horrible conditions in the jall.
1930 Surya Sen, a revolutionary of Bengal masterminded the raid on Chittagong armoury.
1931, Feb Chandrasekhar Azad was killed in an encounter with the police at Alfred park (Azad park) in Allahabad.

The Role, Demands and Techniues of the Moderates 

The two terms—Moderates and Extremists—began to be used around 1904. Retrospectively, the early Congress leaders like Romesh Chandra Banerjee, Dadabhai Naoroji, Badruddin Tyabji and Rahimatulla Sayani and A. Charlu may be regarded as Moderates.

  • In generating and consolidating political opinion, the Moderate leaders played an effective role. They articulated the demands of the English educated people for increasing share in administration and for economic relief.
  • These early Indian nationalists had firm faith in the British sense of justice. Pherozeshah Mehta and Gokhale even had divine plan in the establishment of the British rule in India because, in their view, it was for the progress of India.
  • The Moderates were gradualists and believed that with the growth of education, local self-government and political consciousness, the British would give increasing instalments of self-government to India.
  • The political demands of the Moderate leaders included:
    •      (i)   Increase in the employment of Indians to civil services.
    •     (ii)   Separation of judicial and executive functions.
    •     (iii)  Extension of trial by jury.
    •     (iv)  Expansion of membership of legislative bodies.
    •     (v)   Repeal of the Sedition Act of 1898.
    •     (vi)  End of the oppression on 2 lakhs of Indians in South Africa (Resolution at the Calcutta Congress, 1901).
    •     (vii)  Expansion of education. Gokhale was, specially, interested in primary education.
    •     (viii)  Grant of commissions in the army and military training to the people.
  • Although ridiculed by the Extremists, for their policy of ‘prayer, petition and please’, the Moderates did use the techniues of negotiation and bargaining in the political game. Prospectively, the techniue of negotiation did have an effective role to play in the series of discussions that took place between Indian nationalists and the British rulers in 1921, 1931 and 1945-1947.
  • Thus, the Moderates made the planting of the roots of a parliamentary democracy in India possible, by the advocacy of compromise and negotiation. The techniues of sending petitions, memorials and memoranda is, certainly, a part of the democratic mechanism and process.
Important organisations & parties
  Parties & organisations Founders, year & place
1 Muslim League Aga Khan, the Nawab of Dacca and Mohsin ul Mulk. (1906 - Dacca)
2 Home Rule League Bal Gangadhar Tilak, (July 1916), Annie Besant (Sept. 1916)
3 Anti-Non-Cooperation Association Purushottam Das Thakurdas (1920-21)
4 Johrat Sarvajanik Sabha Rash behari Ghose (1893, Assam)
5 Raja Mundari Social Reform Association Virsalingam (1878)
6 Anti Circular Society K.K. Mitra
7 Lok Seva Mandal Lala Lajpat Rai, Punjab
8 Independent Congress party Mada n Mohan Malviya, (1926)
9 United India Patroitic Association Sayyid Ahmed Khan
10 British Association of Avadh Raja Shiv Prasad Sahu
11 Liberal Association Sapru, Jayakar & Chintamani
12 Indian Liberal Federation Surendra Nath Banerjee and others (1919)
13 Federation of Indian chambers,commerce and Industry G.D. Birla and Thakurdas, (1927)
14 Hindustan Seva Dal N.G. Hardikar
15 Independece of India league Jawahar Lal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose, (1928)
16 Praja Party Akram Khan, Faziul Hu and Abdur Rahim
17 Hindu Association Annie Besant
18 South India Federation of Peasants & Agricultural Labour N.G. Ranga and Namboodiripad (1935)
19 Unionist Party Fazl Hussain
20 Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh Hedgewar (1925)
21 All India Untouchability league of Harijan Sevak Sangh Gandhiji (1932)
22 Hindu Mahasabha Founded in 1917, Revived by Madan Mohan Malviya in 1925.
23 Jana Sangh Shyama Prasad Mukherjee
24 National Mohammedan Association Amir Ali, 1878, Calcutta
25 Mohammedan Literacy Society Abdul Latif, 1863, Calcutta
26 Deccan Educational Society Tilak and Agarkar, Bombay

The political techniues of the Moderate leaders can be thus summarized:
(i)   Articulation of political consciousness in the literate classes.
(ii)  Petitioning to the authorities and holding meetings.
(iii) Demanding administrative reforms and the termination of anti-popular legislation like the one effectuating the partition of Bengal.
(iv) Using the electoral machinery to get into the Legislative Council.
(v)  Sending delegation to England (for example, in 1890, 1905, 1906 and later) to present the Indian point of view before the members of Parliament and the bar of the British public opinion.
(vi) Taking political steps for stopping the process of economic ‘drain’ and working for a prosperous India.

  • The Moderates had their base in the richer sections, the rising urban middle classes, the professionals, Government servants and the University graduates. They were conscious of the need for the expansion of job opportunities for the intelligentsia.
  • They stressed the economic aspects of political and administrative demands and criticised, at times, the wasteful expenditure and irrational taxation policy of the Government.

The economic demands of the Moderates included:
    (i)   Euitable apportionment of  military expenditure between India and Britain Congress). Reduction of military expenditure.
    (ii)   Reforms of currency
    (iii)   Reduction of home charges 
    (iv)   Adoption of measures for relief of agricultural indebtedness. 
    (v)    Encouragement of technical education and promotion of Indian industries by subsidies and protection.
    (vi)   Favourable exchange ratio.
    (vii)   Abolition of salt tax.
    (viii)  Reduction of land revenue.
    (ix)   Setting up of agricultural banks.
    (x)    Extension of irrigational facilities.

  • With the death of Gokhale on February 19, 1915, of Pherozeshah on November 5, 1915, and the Dadabhai, the grand old Bhishma of Indian politics, on June 30, 1917, Moderatism ceased to be an effective political force. Since the Bombay special session of the Congress in July 1918 the Moderates left the Congress.
  • There was no progrss int eh articulatin and the aggregation of the demands of the masses under the moderstes. As a matter of fact, mass mobilisation is post World War I phenomenon in ndian politics. hence the Moderate Indian leadership need not be asccused of isolationism because they did not appeal to the masses.
  • The Moderates believed in common good, progress, harmony between England and India and the promotion of the general will of the educated Indians. They were neither aggressive fighters nor satyagrahis, but they stood for a sane social and political order. They dominated the Congress from 1885 to 1904 and again from 1908 to 1915. After the Surat split in 1907, the Madras Congress in 1908 formulated the objective of the congress as the realization by constitutional means of a government system “similar to that enjoyed by the self-governing members of the British Empire”. Although in the words of Gokhale, they were conscious of serving the nation more by their failures than by their successes, they did register important advances in the direction of constitutional and jural politics.

The Extremists formulated the four-fold techniues (the Chatuhsutri as Tilak called them) of the New Party.

  • Swadeshi
  • Boycott of foreign goods
  • National education
  • Artbitration 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 aciton.
  • Boycott of British 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 Swadeshism. 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 Naroji, who was later elected.
  • 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:

(a)    With Government encouragement Moderates adopted an uncompromisin of attitude.
(b)    Pandemonium at Surat and session adjourned.

  • Moderates captured the Congress in April, 1908 and adopted a loyalist constituion for the Congress.
  • Extremists eclipsed from national forums.
  • Even Moderates suffered disillusionment and lost popularity with the masses.
     
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