Table of Contents
The partition of Bengal added fuel to the burning fire of discontent and unrest.
Due to this, a storm broke out in Bengal, which soon spread throughout the country.
Then, in the period of turmoil that began, the foundation of the boycott and Swadeshi movement was laid.
Swadeshi goods means one’s own country.
Its objective was to encourage local industries.
Along with the use of indigenous goods, foreign goods were also boycotted.
Swadeshi movement started under the leadership of Surendranath Banerjee.
Large protest meetings were held and boycott of foreign goods started.
Picketing started at shops selling foreign goods and bonfires of foreign clothes were burnt.
This partition was opposed by both Hindus and Muslims of Bengal.
Mourning day was observed that day in Bengal.
Meetings and demonstrations were held in various cities.
To end the partition, groups started roaming around singing Bande Mataram.
The leaders of both the extremist and moderate parties together opposed the partition.
Anger had spread throughout the country.
The wave of Swadeshi movement reached Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, the revolutionaries also launched an armed movement.
The Swadeshi movement was supported in the sessions of 1905 and 1906.
Students played a major role in Swadeshi propaganda and foreign boycott movement.
Thus, 1905 is considered the dividing point of the Indian freedom struggle.
Lala Lajpat Rai –
Lala Lajpat Rai considered Swadeshi as the means for the liberation of the country.
He said that the Swadeshi movement would inculcate the feeling of self-respect, self-reliance, self-confidence and manliness among the people.
He believed that the Swadeshi movement would give us the knowledge as to how we can utilize our capital,
our resources, our labor and our energy and talent without any discrimination on the basis of religion, color or caste.
His view was that Swadeshi should become the common religion of United India.
Regarding the boycott movement, Lala Lajpat Rai said that
“The prestige of the government is the main thing and the foreign boycott movement attacks the very roots of that prestige.”
In his words, “That elusive thing they call prestige is more powerful than power and we want to attack it by boycott.
We want to turn our backs on government buildings and turn them towards the slums of the people.”
Meanwhile the government resorted to repression.
The recognition of those schools was taken away and aid was stopped.
Where students participated in the boycott movement.
Lathi charge started on the processions. Meetings were banned.
Efforts were made to spread terror among the public through various means.
Singing the national anthem Bande Mataram composed by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was also declared a crime.
National newspapers were banned and their editors punished.
Many leaders were put in jail.
At the same time, Tilak had written – “Repression is just oppression,
if it is the law then we will oppose it peacefully.
If it is illegal then it will be dealt with illegally.”
He gave the slogan to the Congress, “Swarajya is my birthright and I will have it.”
Moderate (moderate) and Extremist (extremist).
Even before the Swadeshi movement, there were already two parties in the Congress – the Moderates and the Extremists.
The Congress leaders wanted their demands to be fulfilled in a peaceful and legal manner.
Such people were called supporters of the moderate party.
Among these leaders were Dadabhai Naoroji, Firozshah Mehta, Surendra Nath Banerjee, Gopalkrishna Gokhale etc.
On the contrary, in the second category (youth category) Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai and Vipin Chandra Pal were prominent.
Arabinda Ghosh and Khudiram Bose were also supporters of the Garam Dal.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak –
Bal Gangadhar Tilak received 18 months of rigorous imprisonment for his seditious writings and speeches.
This nationalist brought out a newspaper named Kesari in Marathi for the purpose of propaganda work and started reorganizing Ganpati and Shivaji festivals to awaken national sentiments.
He called on Indians to unite through religious events.
In this sequence, people in Bengal started the practice of Kali Puja.
There was a lot of difference between moderates and extremists in the methods of gaining political rights.
Tilak’s view in this regard was, “One has to fight for one’s political rights.
Moderates think that rights can be obtained by influencing the government with words.
Whereas we understand that these can be achieved only by exerting enormous pressure.”
The moderates brought the people, especially the youth, forward for the struggle.
This was their main contribution.
The leadership of Congress remained in the hands of the moderate party.
In 1907, the Congress session was held in Surat.
There the moderates and extremists clashed with each other.
As a result, till 1916, the extremists continued running their programs separately.
That year both parties again decided to work together.