Indian National Movement – Extremist Period || Important pointers for APSC CCE exam

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At the dawn of the 20th century, a fervent wave of nationalism swept across India, marking the emergence of a more radical faction in the Indian National Movement – the Extremist Period (1905-1920). This phase, distinct from the earlier moderation, witnessed a younger generation of leaders adopting a confrontational stance against British colonial rule.

Background/Causes of the rise of extremism

The failures of moderate leaders to elicit significant concessions from British authorities paved the way for extremism. The controversial partition of Bengal in 1905 served as a catalyst, exposing the true colors of British rule. Lord Curzon’s disdain for Indian sentiments and the fear of Westernized notions shaping the nation further fueled resentment. A revival of national pride, influenced by spiritual nationalism and global events, played a crucial role.

Surat Split

The ideological rift between moderates and extremists culminated in the Surat session of the Indian National Congress (INC) in 1907. The clash over the presidency and differences on key resolutions, including swadeshi and boycott movements, led to a divisive split. The session, marred by physical altercations, highlighted the irreconcilable gap between the two factions.

Methods of Extremist Leaders

Extremist leaders, driven by the goal of ‘swaraj,’ advocated for complete autonomy or Indian control over administration. Unlike moderates, they engaged a wider demographic, employing methods like boycotts, strikes, and burning foreign-made goods. Proudly embracing Indian culture, history, and ancient scriptures, they vehemently opposed British imperialistic policies, urging sacrifice for the motherland.

Extremist Leaders

Prominent figures leading the Extremist cause included Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Aurobindo Ghosh, and others. The trio Lal-Bal-Pal, representing Punjab, Bombay, and Bengal respectively, spearheaded the movement in their regions.

Government Reaction to Extremists

The British government responded vigorously, passing laws such as the Seditious Meetings Act (1907) and Indian Press Act (1910) to curb their activities. Bal Gangadhar Tilak faced imprisonment in Mandalay for supporting revolutionaries involved in the killing of British individuals.

Impact of the Extremist Period

The Extremist Period left an indelible mark on Indian society. Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s initiatives, including organizing Ganpati and Shivaji festivals, promoted the boycott of Westernization, initiating significant social reforms. The slogan “Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it” echoed through society, sparking widespread discussions. The boycott of British goods and national education reshaped the country’s economy, creating employment opportunities. The establishment of National universities, free from government control, signaled a transformative era in Indian education.

Important pointers for APSC CCE exam

1. Lal-Bal-Pal, the triumvirate of Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and Bipin Chandra Pal, ignited the flame of extremism across Punjab, Bombay, and Bengal.

2. Extremist leaders like Tilak and Rai championed ‘swaraj,’ advocating for autonomy and confronting British rule with fervor.

3. Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s famous proclamation, “Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it,” became the rallying cry for the Extremist Period.

4. Extremist leaders, unyielding in their opposition to British imperialism, employed unconventional methods like boycotts and strikes to assert Indian autonomy.

5. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a prominent extremist leader, faced imprisonment in Mandalay for supporting revolutionaries against British rule.

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