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Causes for the Rise of Extremists

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Causes for the rise of extremists or militant nationalism are very much the same as those responsible for the rise of nationalism in India. Leaders like – Tilak, Ashwini Kumar Dutt etc had been active to propagate militant nationalism since the beginning. The leadership of the Swadeshi Movement transferred from moderates to extremists like Bipin Chandra Pal, Aurobindo Ghosh, Tilak etc. It was due to many factors:

  • Failure of Moderates – Politically conscious nationalists believed that exploitation by British will continue as moderates’ demands were making no effect on British policies. Moderates believed that foreign rule can be reformed, but it was not happening.
  • The anti-congress attitude of Curzon convinced people that Congress will remain an ineffective organization
  • Congress largely gained the status of Zamindars’ and upper-middle-class elite party. Poets like Bankim Chandra called the Congress session as ‘a three-day annual show’
  • Indian Council Act of 1892 was a complete disappointment and it questioned the tactics of the Moderates
  • Defeat of Russia by Japan
  • Defeat of Italian Army by Ethiopians broke the myth of Western Supermacy
  • Revolutionary movement in Russia and Ireland etc inspired Indian nationalists
  • Boer War in South Africa also inspired Indian nationalists
  • Treatment of nationalist leaders – Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh were deported in 1907. KKMitra, Ashwini Kumar Dutt were deported in 1908. Tilak was also given the severe sentence of 6years in 1908
  • Evils of foreign rule were now clearly evident in the death of around 3 crore people in famines from1850 to 1900
  • Official Secrecy Act considerably reduced the freedom of the press. The arrest of Natu Brothers in 1897 and their deportation even without disclosing charges against them infuriated people. In the same year, Tilak and other newspaper editors were sentenced for long sentences for arousing public sentiments
  • Spread of political education made people realize that British rule is not for India’s good and it also led to the rejection of White Man’s burden theory
  • Indians were becoming educated, at the same time more un-employment was also a reality. Educated Indians became the torch-bearers of new militant nationalism
  • New leaders on the bloc aroused the self-respect of people and people now find humiliating to subjugate to alien rule. It led to awareness among masses too which moderates have ignored focusing only on upper middle class. Vivekananda said – ‘The only hope of India is from the masses. The upper classes are physically and morally dead’
  • The police assault on the peaceful delegates in a conference in Barisal emerged as one of the dastardly acts of government which angered people.
  • Immediate Causes
  • During the time of Curzon Bengal Partition happened and it became one of the biggest rallying points in the history of Indian freedom struggle
  • There were other events which lead to a rise in anger of people Municipal Act, DelhiDarbar being a few of them.
  • Burma war Failure of early militant nationalists
  • They failed to give a definitive direction to the movement.
  • They also failed to reach masses
  • Arrest of key leadership left the national movement under militant nationalist rudderless.
  • The key rallying point – the Partition of Bengal was annulled and capital was shifted to Delhi –1911. (However, capital was actually shifted in 1912) MUSLIM LEAGUE (1906)

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