The Home Rule League movement
The Home Rule League movement is an important event in Modern Indian History and has been an area which has frequently featured in the Civil Services (Mains) and Civil Services (Prelims) Examination over many years now. In this article, we attempt at outlining the important headings under which this topic can be asked in the Civil Services Examination.
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1. From 1907-1915/1916, the Indian National Congress (INC) was dominated by the moderates. It was in a formative stage and was dominated by the politics of Annie Besant, and some moderate leaders like G.K. Gokhale and Pheroze Shah Mehta.
2. Tilak was released from jail in 1914. But the release of Tilak was in no way an automatic reentry of Tilak into the INC, because of the firm opposition from Pheroze Shah Mehta and Gopal Krishna Gokhale. But, the death of G.K. Gokhale, and Pheroze Shah Mehta in 1915, gave a possibility of the entry of Tilak into the INC. With Annie Besant’s help, Tilak was able to reenter the INC.
Factors that Contributed to the establishment of Home Rule League:
1. This was the high-time of the First World War.
2. Unification of extremists and moderates
3. Unification of INC and Muslim League These factors created great enthusiasm in the Indian National Movement. Thus, Annie Besant and Tilak were very positive towards political reforms in India. The Home Rule league was ‘self-government’ based on the Irish model. Annie Besant and Tilak started this movement.
Comparison between Tilak’s Home Rule League and Annie Besant’s Home Rule League:
1. Annie Besant started the Home Rule League in September 1916, and Tilak started it in April 1916.
2. Tilak’s movement was confined to Maharashtra and Karnataka. And Annie Besant movement spread to other parts of India.
3. But as far as organization skill is concerned, Tilak’s Home Rule League movement was more organized, and there were many volunteers who worked for Tilak.
4. Thus, the number of people who took part in Tilak’s movement was much more compared to Annie Besant. Mohammed Ali Jinnah also had the first experience of participating in politics in India by taking part in the Home Rule League of Annie Besant.
5. Annie Besant tried to mobilize participation through the publication of her two newspapers: a) New India b) Commonweal However, Tilak continued writing in ‘Kesari’, ‘Mahratta’, and Young India to spread the message of the Home Rule League.
Thus the activity of Tilak and Annie Besant were very important to Indian Nationalism. This period marks the transition from the moderate, or deliberate phase of Indian National politics to the agitational phase started by M.K. Gandhi. Thus, it had a great impact. Bal Gangadhar Tilak got the title of ‘Loknayak’ during the Home Rule League itself.
The decline of the Home Rule League:
1. In 1918, the Home Rule League declined due to many factors.
2. In 1917: Montford reforms was presented before the British Parliament. The Montford reforms promised responsible Government in India.
3. It was the Montford reforms that turned Annie Besant ‘pro-British’.
4. Bal Gangadhar Tilak went to England to file a legal suit against Valentine Chirol. Valentine Chirol had published, a book, “Father of Indian Unrest”, in which the Tilak featured as the hero of the title. He blamed Tilak for being responsible for the agitational politics that came to India. Thus Tilak became busy with filing the legal suit against Valentine Chirol.
5. The advent of Gandhi who actively took part in Indian politics, gave an opportunity to the Indian youth to get integrated into Gandhian politics, contributed to the decline of the Home Rule League. Nonetheless, it was the Home Rule League that marked the transitional phase between the deliberative and dormant phase of the INC to the mass-based politics of the Gandhian agitation.
Frequently Asked Questions on Home Rule League Movement
Q 1. Who started the Home Rule League in 1916?
Q 2. What is the Home Rule Movement?
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