Home Rule Movement:
The Extremists team which had a radical viewpoint in attaining national freedom started a movement. This movement was solely started by B.G. Tilak which created public agitation on a large scale. The people agitatedly came forward for the home rule. The home rule league decided on taking up and adopting a self-government which focussed on Irish Model. The main personalities which gave boost to start this movement were Tilak and Annie Besant. The movement focussed on establishing home rule and a educative programme so that the Indian masses be aroused and a sense of pride towards their motherland gets installed in them. This movement commenced in 1916 and it was at this time that the famous slogan by Tilak gained a lot of popularity- “Swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it”.
The reasons behind the establishment of Home Rule Movement were:
The Indian people were awakened because of the oppression which they were suffering at the hands of the British people and there was a rising political consciousness all over. The people were very angry when they saw that the British started their dominance in every field, namely political, economic and educational policy.
None of the demands laid down by nationalist leaders were satisfied after the passing of Government of India Act, 1909.
Due to the involvement of Indian masses in the First World War, people were pretty unhappy.
There was already a heated atmosphere existing because of the resentment the Indians had against the British because of Ghadar Mutiny and its suppression.
Indian soldiers were fighting along the British against the ottoman empire and the army consisted of both Hindu and Muslim personnel. Fighting against the Muslim caliphs highly displeased them.
The Indian National Congress and Muslim league were reunited, as a result, the association of Indian people grew stronger.
Members who had an active contribution towards the home rule movement were following the constitutional means to achieve the aim of the movement. There was no encouragement of violence and no revolutionary methods were adapted.
The home rule movement had its own importance. The congress got the opportunity to get itself organised. With the help of home rule movement even the concept of self-rule came into being which was widely encouraged and followed by people and leaders in later stages. The home rule movement had laid a very big impact on the Montague Statement and Montague Chelmsford Reforms.
In return, the measures adopted by the British were repressive. A lot of the activities of the agitators were supressed. The youth, that is the students were mainly prohibited from attending the home rule movement. Tilak was prosecuted and his entry in Punjab and Delhi was banned as a whole. In fact, the Indian press also were restricted and prohibited for publishing news and articles which underlined anything malicious about British.
Further, in 1917, a set of statements were published which highlighted the main aims of the British policy in India. These statements solely featured that the policy laid down by the British was to make India a progressive country with a self- government. This caught the attention of a lot of leaders and they started believing it is true. Yet as the time passed by, tilak and Annie Beasant were arrested on a defamation case and ultimately the movement lost its momentum.
It was then that the Indian Home Rule league merged into Indian national congress and before its merger appointed Gandhiji as the presiding president.
This act was passed by the Legislative council in 1919 and is also very popularly known as the black act. This act basically gave more power to the British to rule over the Indians. The movement was pretty regressive in nature and was objected by a lot of Indian leaders including Gandhiji. A movement was started terming this as a Black Act and this eventually led to the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and then later to Non-Cooperation movement.
This act was basically legislated by the British people who actively discouraged the Indians to go against them and deprived the Indians majorly of their rights of liberty and freedom. The main provisions on the basis of which a person can be arrested was if the person can be suspected of sedition and revolt. A person can be arrested if there is a reasonable belief that the person is possessing a treasonable literature, which can be further regarded as a punishable offence. These people were tried by the special tribunals set up. The Printing press was controlled strictly and this act gave powers to the police to search any property on the grounds of just suspicion without any warrant.
It was further seen that the people who got bail from the jail, should possess good behaviour, and should not be a part if any religious procession, educational or political activities. None of the leaders were satisfied with the terms and conditions laid down and took forward a step for civil disobedience movement. During the civil disobedience movement, people came together by suspending business and started to fast and pray.
The act had its own repercussions. The people specially in Punjab, became very aggressive and a lot of telegraph lines, railway lines and communication channels were damaged. The protests were at the peak and it turned the situations in Lahore very aggressive. The main figures who actually were heading the movement, Dr. Satya Pal and Dr. Kitchlew were taken into custody by the police and transported. People who gathered at the residence of the commissioner to demand their release were also fired by the police. As a result, a lot of people were killed. These protests and violence took continuation in Punjab and a lot of government properties were set on fire and damaged.
The hartal took so much momentum that people started to pass resolution on the boycott of Rowlatt act and also demanded the release of the two leaders held captive by the British. It was then that the very next day people gathered at Jallianwala Bagh where the mass genocide took place of the orders of General Dyer directing open firing on the crowd.
After the massacre the Indians thoroughly lost faith in the British government and saddened people because of the large killings. A non-cooperation movement was started which brought forward a lot of young Indian nationalists.
Reportedly in 1922 the chauri chaura incident was withdrawn by Mahatma Gandhi. This le to a lot of disagreements between the different congress leaders in the Congress party. The conflict existed between two groups. One group wanted to continue the non- cooperation movement and the other group wanted to end the legislature and contest elections. This movement included leaders like Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, Rajendra Prasad and so on. A lot of the other leaders wanted to enter the legislative council and obstruct the British government from spreading its roots inside the Indian government and political system.
The main aims of the Swaraj Party were to:
Obtaining the right to start framing the constitution of India.
Obtaining a dominion status.
Establishing ultimate control over bureaucracy.
Getting the right for the Indian people to attain control over government machinery
Attainment of provincial autonomy
Focussing more on the agricultural and industrial labour and their welfare.
Controlling local and municipal bodies for better functioning of the government and its different sectors. Promotion of trade and commerce and hence setting up relevant machinery.
Engaging in constructive programmes laid down by the Congress.
The Swaraj party was a very important factor during the Indian national movement. Its importance extended so much that it was considered as the main game changer which could be used as a tool for putting up a united front in order to reform and regulate the government. The main programme of the Swaraj party was to obstruct the British government from bringing about more additional policies and changes in the Indian land. It aimed at boycotting the British made laws, policies, products, services and the receptions held by them.
In spite of the brilliant attempt to form a government it was not a successful association which was formed. It was mostly because the internal management and struggle was real and went unnoticed and unanswered. The people inside the party were not cooperative and had a clash of opinions. Newspaper was the main source of information provider. Since the party totally relied on it, the obstruction and the influence of British officials in printing press did not aid the committee that well. The policies which were to be followed had its own flaws and limitations. Reportedly when in 1926, the party stood for the elections, they failed. The failure in providing adequate support in Bengal, led to loss of support from the members of the state. Finally, in 1930, the Swaraj party also merged with the CongresCripps Mission: in 1942, during the time of the world war, the British came and had an open talk with the Indians regarding their inclusion in the army after the Britishers suffered heavy losses at the hands of Japanese. The Japanese also conducted air raids on parts of India. It was then at this time Stafford Cripps came to India to talk about the condition with the Indian leaders. This was actually known as the Cripps mission. The talks however, failed. The British had in no way wanted to form a national government and during this time they also tried their best to promote the interest of the princes.
The proposals of the Cripps mission included:
India will be granted its dominion status and would be free to decide its relation with the other commonwealth nations. They would be free to participate in UN and other international bodies.
After the end of the War, they would be allowed to draft the constitution. Members of this committee would be elected by the provincial assemblies through representation and partly by the princes.
The British government would actively accept the new constitution on the following conditions: a) any province who does not want to be a part of the Union can have a separate constitution and form a separate union. B) the new constitution making body and British government would negotiate on few terms to bring an effect of transfer of power and to safeguard the interest of the people.
The post of the governor general would remain the same and defence of the Indian territory would still be under the control of British.
In spite of placing all the terms and conditions, Cripps had to come back with a frustration since the Indian people had said a direct no in their inclusion and support to the British government during the second world war. The Indians clearly said that they sympathise with the conditions and situation which has built up because of this aggression but since India has already been facing intolerable treatment at their hands, the time for final assault on the British imperialism has come into being.