Moderates and Extremists in Indian Independence Struggle

Early phase of Indian National Congress was that of Moderators,They expected that if the problems of’ the nation were brought to light through proper propaganda, the colonial government would take steps to improve matters. Thus in the initial years through lectures, writings in newspapers the nationalists put forward the main problems of the nation and ways in which they could be remedied. They believed in loyalty to the British Crown. They believed that the British Presence in India was a blessing to Indians and they relied on the British to guide the Politics in India. Some of them professed that the British rule has done much good in India by cleansing the Indian society of its ills like the customs of sati, untouchability, child marriage, etc. Moderates also praised the British for introducing in India contemporary development in science and technology.

The prominent moderate leaders were Womesh Chandra Banerjee, Dadabhai Navroji, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Romesh Chunder Dutt, Pherozeshah Mehta, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Sir Surendranath Banerjee, Sir Dinshaw Edulji Wacha, Justice Mahadeo Govind Ranade, Badruddin Tyabji, Sir William Wedderburn.

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.

Main causes of developement of Extremism in Congress were as follows:-

1. Recognition of the True Nature of British Rule. The British rule and its policies were responsible for the economic ruin of India and her deepening poverty. Dadabhai Naoroji, for example, exposed the exploitative nature of British rule in India and proved that Britain was „bleeding India white? and the constant „drain of wealth? from India was directly responsible for India?s economic miseries.
Nationalist leaders like Ananda Charlu, R.N. Mudholkar, D.E. Wacha, G.K. Gokhale, Madan Mohan Malaviya too exposed the exploitative nature of British rule in India. R.C. Dutt and G.V. Joshi, examined thread-bare the true nature of British Land Revenue policy.

2. Reaction to Increasing Westernization. The new leadership felt the stranglehold of excessive Westernization in Indian life, thought and politics—Christianity and utilitarianism (visible in the teachings of Brahma Samaj) were a
challenge to Indian religion and thought.

3.Dissatisfaction with the Achievement of the Congress. The younger elements within the Congress were dissatisfied with the achievements of the Congress during the first 15-20 years and were disgusted with the cold and reactionary
attitude of the Government. They had lost all faith in the British sense of justice and fairplay. They were strongly critical of the methods of peaceful and, constitutional agitation
4. Deteriorating Economic Condition of India. The economic miseries of the closing years of the 19th century provided a congenial atmosphere for the growth of extremism in Indian national activity.
5. Contemporary International Influences. Events outside India exercised a powerful influence on the younger generation. The humiliating treatment metedout to Indians in British colonies, especially in South Africa, created anti- Britishfeelings. Further, nationalist movements in Egypt, Persia, Turkey and Russia gave Indians new hopes and new aspirations.
6. Curzon’s Reactionary Policies. Curzon?s seven-year rule in India which was full of missions, omissions and commissions created a sharp reaction in the Indian mind.
7. The Partition of Bengal. The worst and most-hated aspect of Curzon?s administration was the partition of Bengal into two provinces of Bengal and Eastern Bengal and Assam in 1905.

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