a. Moderates:

The leaders of the early phase of the Congress were called the Moderates. For, they believed in the British sense of justice and expected that they would remove the grievances of the Indians once they were aware of these.

Thus the Moderates raised the hopes and aspirations of the Indians in the resolutions adopted in different sessions and meetings of the Congress.

b. Extremists:


On the failure of the Moderates’ method of agitation their emerged a group within Congress whose demands were more vigorous. Also their method of agitation extreme.

They believed that boldness and self-sacrifice alone could fulfil the aspirations of the Indian people. Leaders with such ideas came to be known as the Extremists.

The Moderates has immense faith in the British sense of justice. They believed if the British were convinced about the justness of the demands, then they would concede to that.

But the Moderates and the Extremists differed widely regarding the meaning of the term Swaraj. While the Moderates explained it as self-rule remaining within the British Empire the Extremists understood it in a different way.


To the Extremists Swaraj meant total independence from the foreign rule. This difference of opinion took a serious turn in 1907.

c. The Surat Split:

It was not possible to delay the formal split between the Moderates and Extremists any further. The proposal for change in the Surat Congress of the explanation of ‘Swaraj’ and ‘boycott’ created an uproar in the meeting.

Ultimately the Extremists came out of the meeting-place. The Congress now came to be fully dominated by the Moderates. This came to be known as the Surat Split.