By the 1890s, many Indians began to question the style of the Congress. New leaders emerged who began to explore more radical objectives and methods. Bepin Chandra Pal, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai were among the radical leaders. They criticized the Moderates for their “policy of prayers”. They argued that people should not believe on the so called good intentions of the government and must fight for swaraj. Tilak raised the famous slogan, “Freedom is my birthright and I shall have it”.
Bengal was partitioned in 1905 by Viceroy Curzon. At that time, Bengal was the largest province of British India. It included Bihar and parts of Orissa. Administrative convenience was cited as the reason for the partition of Bengal. Most of the analysts believe that the partition was done to reduce the influence of Bengali politician and to split the Bengali people.
Effects of Partition of Bengal: People all over India were angry with the partition of Bengal. All sections of the Congress opposed it. Large public meetings and demonstrations were held to protest the decision. The struggle against the partition of Bengal came to be known as the Swadeshi Movement. It was strongest in Bengal but was felt in other parts of the country as well. It was known as the Vandemataram Movement in Andhra.
Muslim League: The All India Muslim League was formed at Dacca in 1906; by a group of Muslim landlords and nawabs. The League supported the partition of Bengal. Some seats in the council were reserved for the Muslims. The League wanted the representatives for those seats to be elected by Muslim voters. This demand was willingly conceded by the government in 1909.
Split in Congress: There was a split in the Congress in 1907. The Moderates were opposed to the use of any kind of violence. After the split, the Congress came to be dominated by the Moderates. However, the two groups reunited in December 1915. In 1916, the Congress and the Muslim League signed the historic Lucknow Pact. They decided to work together for representative government in the country.
The First World War changed the economic and political situation in India. There was a sharp price rise which increased the problems of the common people.
The business groups reaped huge profits because the war increased the demand for all kinds of goods. Reduced imports meant that the new demand was being met by the Indian business houses. The business groups now began to demand more opportunities for development.
Many people from the villages were forced to serve in the British army during the war. Exposure to the alien lands helped them in understanding the exploitation being done by the colonial powers in other parts of the world.
The Russian Revolution took place in 197. News about peasants’ and workers’ struggle and ideas of socialism also reached to the nationalists in India.
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