Notes on the Techniques and achievements of the Extremists

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The Extremists did not like the methods of prayer, petition and protest of the moderates. The Moderates wanted to work with the existing bureaucratic set-up but the Extremists wanted to put an end to it. The Moderates wanted to cooperate with the British Government where the Extremists wanted non-co­operation with the Government.

The Moderates wanted to improve the existing administrative set-up and on (he other hand, the Extremists wanted complete destruction of it. The Moderates wanted self-government under British patronage whereas the Extremists wanted complete independence. Tikal even went to proclaim ‘Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it.’

Achievements of the Extremists – Swadeshi:

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The anti-partition agitation in Bengal brought Swadeshi movement into forefront. For generating nationalism in the minds of the Indians, the Extremists advocated the idea of Swadeshi. The consumption of Swadeshi products was encouraged by the Extremists for the growth of a self-sufficient national economy.

The English-educated middle class people in India were inspired by the ideology of the Extremists and became the vanguard of propagating the idea of Swadeshi among the Indians.

Boycott:

Swadeshi was followed by boycott of foreign goods. A countrywide campaign was launched by the Extremist leaders. Newspapers like Sandy, Yugantar, Vande Mata ram, Maratha, Kesari, New India etc. reflected the idea of boycott.

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Bonfire was arranged on roadsides and heaps of foreign clothes were thrown into it that showed the vengeance of Indians, regarding foreign rule who boycotted the foreign goods. Women actively took part in this movement. S.N. Banerjee, R.N. Tagore and A.K. Dutt took active part in maintaining Hindu-Muslim unity. Famous Muslim leaders like Liquate Husain, Abdul Rahul and Guava joined hands with the Extremists in popularizing the boycott programmes.

Swaraj:

The Extremists preached the idea of Swaraj which is an inalienable right of every man. To give it a new color Tikal went a step ahead than other leaders. He started Ganapati Festival in order to arouse nationalism in the minds of the Indians.

Attaching priority to self-rule, Eurobond wrote ‘Political freedom is the life-breath of a nation/ Lala Lajpat Rai and Begin Chandra Pal also talked in the same line. They also put emphasis on national education.

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Split in Congress (Surat Session, 1907):

The emergence of the Extremists put the Moderates in trouble. In 1905, two Extremists in Banaras Session of Indian National Congress opposed the move of the Moderates for welcoming the Prince of Wales who had to visit India.

In 1906, in the Calcutta Session, the bitterness was whitewashed outwardly when Dadabhai Naoroji was called back from London to preside over the session. The Extremists were able to pass resolution concerning Swadeshi, boycott, Swaraj and national education.

However, the language of the resolution was ambiguous and both the sides interpreted them in their favour. In 1907 at Surat Congress, the split became inevitable. When the Extremists wanted to endorse the resolutions of Calcutta Session in clear-cut terms, the Moderates opposed it tooth and nail. When Tikal came to deliver his speech, physical assault took place between the two groups and police intervened in the matter in restoring normalcy. The Extremists were stamped out from the Congress.

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Soon, the Extremist movement became weak. In 1908 Tikal was imprisoned at Mandalay. Eurobond left politics and so also Begin Chandra Pal. Lala.Lajpat Rai left the country. However, the Extremists gave a new direction to the Indian politics. The British Government took immediate step to pacify the situation.

Morley-Minot Reforms (1909):

Morley-Minot Reforms of 1909 came as a panacea to the growing discontentment among the Indians. Lord Minot, the Viceroy of India and John Morley, the Secretary of State at London were liberal administrators. They studied the situation in India and accordingly suggested steps which were accepted by the British Parliament. This was famous as Indian Council Act.

Achievements of Extremists – an evaluation:

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Undoubtedly, the role of the Extremists on the freedom struggle of India is commendable. With their rejection of the prayer and petition method of the Moderates, they ushered a new change in the programme of the Congress. This aroused the sentiment of Indian mass through their programmes of Swadeshi, Boycott and Swaraj.

Of course, they could not control the sentiment and failed to mobilize the mass to greater extent. Through their militant anti-imperialistic attitude, they could not win the orthodox sections of Hindu society and Muslim society as well.

The achievements of the Extremists cannot be ignored. They created a potent threat for British imperialism in India. As a result of their active participation in the Swadeshi an. boycott movements, the Morley-Minot reforms came as a panacea to heal the wounds of the Indians.

Tikal and Annie Bezants Home Rule Movement brought home to the British that they should deal with the Indians cordially but not with scorn and contempt. So, during the World War 1, the British Government convinced the people of India Thai constitutional development should be brought to this .country with self-governing institutions.

The activities of Extremists prompted the future leaders of the Congress to be bold and firm in their dealings with the Britishers in India.

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