Biography of Bal Gangadhar Tikal and the Home Rule Movement

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Back from jail in 1914, Tikal watched the situation. In 1916 he started the Home Rule Movement. The British Government demanded a show cause notice from Tikal and wanted to come on his way. Tikal won the case in the court and continued his works through the Home Rule League in Maharashtra. Annie Besant’s Home Rule movement also gave inspiration to Tikal.

By Home Rule, Tikal meant a representative government. Tikal conveyed this massage to the people. A wider publicity to this idea was given through newspapers, posters, vernacular pamphlets etc. Gradually leaders like M.M. Malaria. Motile! Nehru. Tejbahadur Sapura etc. were attracted towards this movement and came forward to popularize it.

Though from the very beginning Tikal and Annie Besant wanted to achieve their goal separately but later on, they joined their hands for a single cause. They convinced the people that as India had contributed a lot in terms of men and money to the British, it is the duty of the British to hand over the administration to the Indians. The Indians through self-government would be better governed.

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The Russian Revolution of 1917 and Woodrow Wilson’s Declaration made the Home Rule Movement stronger which vehemently opposed the British for not granting self-government to the Indians. On the other hand, Tikal and Annie Besant wanted to capture power in the Congress and the latter was also elected as president of the Congress in 1917. This put the British government in trouble.

When the Home Rule movement was gaining ground under Tikal and Annie Besant, the Muslims, Anglo-Indians and non-Brahmins of the South vehemently criticized the activities of the Home Rule Leagues. Annie Besant who was in charge of popularizing the movement throughout the country except Maharashtra, Central Province, Berar and Karnataka (Bombay was excluded) was arrested. However, she was released by the declaration of Montague.

In spite of the best efforts of Tikal and Annie Besant, the Home Rule Movement got a set-back. The growth of communal tension among the Hindus and Muslims obstructed its progress. The organizers of this movement were never united. There were differences among the workers belonging to Tikal’s Home Rule League and that of Annie Besant. The diplomacy of the British government helped a lot in suppressing the Movement. Montague-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919 came, as a result, to pacify the anger of the public. The Moderates also never wanted to see Tikal succeeding in his mission for championing the cause of extremism.

However, though the movement failed, it created avenue to whitewash the bitter memories between the Extremists and the Moderates affecting their reunion in the Lucknow Session of Indian National Congress in 1916.

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