Trace the rise of Extremism in Indian politics?
By the end of the 19th century, the failure of Indian politics was fully revealed. A backlash against this failure began in Congress circles. This trend is referred to as the extremist trend. Extremism mainly developed in Bengal, Maharashtra and Punjab. While there was extremism in other parts of India, his strength was less.
Many reasons are offered to explain the emergence of extremism. According to some historians, factional conflict can be observed at almost every level of organized public life. Brahmo society broke up in Bengal. There was intense rivalry between Bengali and Amritbazar Patrika. Disputes arose between Gokhale and Tilak over the question of control of the Poona General Assembly in Maharashtra. Disruption in Aryan society. It can be said that the sectarian conflict that was going on in the public life of India at this time also infected the Congress. However, the emergence of extremism cannot be explained in light of sectarian conflict alone.
|Causes of Extremism||Effects of Extremism|
|The failure of moderate leaders to secure political reforms from the British.||The rise of violent, militant groups that sought to use force to achieve their political goals.|
|The disillusionment of educated, middle-class Indians with the slow pace of political change.||The polarization of Indian society into extremist and moderate factions, leading to political instability.|
|The impact of the First World War, which increased demands for self-rule and heightened anti-British sentiment.||The emergence of charismatic extremist leaders who mobilized large segments of the population to demand independence.|
The disillusionment with moderate politics was a major factor behind the rise of the extremism backlash. As most of the demands of the moderates are unfulfilled, moderate politics reaches extreme limits. This was surely a major factor behind the emergence of extremism. It was the moderates themselves who created Indian anger against colonial rule; Reveals the character of colonial rule. The last step in this series of Lord Curzon's administrative actions was the partition of Bengal. But, instead of weakening the Congress, these steps worked like a mantra for the Congress, reinvigorating the Congress. This time extremist leaders took over the leadership of the Congress, which was intended to pave the way for more militant organizations with colonial rule.
Swaraj was the goal of the extremists. Different leaders have interpreted Swaraj in different ways. Tilak understood Swaraj to bring the administration under Indian control. Bipin Pal believed that it was impossible for Indians to establish any form of self-rule while under British rule—so, according to Bipin Pal, swaraj was 'full autonomy'. Arvind Ghosh also understood Swarajya as complete freedom. However, to most Swaraj meant self-rule within the British imperial framework. The old application approach is abandoned and resorted to the passive resistance approach. It meant colonialism by violating unjust laws opposition to the regime, boycott of British institutions and goods. Development and development of indigenous products as substitutes for British products etc.
The modernism of the moderates was the western trend. Extremists on the other hand oppose colonial rule. Extremists attempt to construct the Indian nation in terms of distinctive Indian cultural identity—in doing so, they invoke India's glorious past and move towards a religious renaissance. Some extremist leaders like Tilak or Aurobindo believed that the best way to get their message across to ordinary Indians was through the simultaneous use of Hindu-mythology and history. It will also get the support of Indians in the case of extremist politics. Experienced moderate politicians, however, as usual refused to accommodate such new ideas within the Congress policy and programme. The inevitable result of this was the split between the leaders at the Surat session of the Congress in 1907.
Initially, Bengali extremists were more inclined towards adopting constructive programmes. These programs included non-professional enterprises in the manufacture of commodities, national education, arbitration courts and village organizations. From the 1890s, initiatives were being taken to market indigenous products by setting up exhibitions and shops. One such indigenous initiative was the establishment of Bengal Chemical in 1893. The importance of these initiatives rested on non-political constructive programmes. Thus, before the political movement, the self-reliance awakening movement took place.
By 1906, this trend of extremism was criticized by political extremists such as Aurobindo Ghosh, Bipin Chandra Pal or Brahmabandhav Upadhyay. Their argument was that revival of national life is not possible without independence. Since then the Swadeshi movement took a new turn. The aim of the movement was not limited to canceling the partition of Bengal. Its goal became complete independence or swaraj. In Bengal at this stage four levels of agitation can be observed—
- (a) Boycott of British goods and institutions;
- (b) development of indigenous products and educational institutions as alternatives;
- (c) violate other laws; and
- (d) necessary violent agitation against British oppression.
Sumit Sarkar said, among these activities of extremists, Gandhian activities in non-violence can be predicted. Extremists needed public participation in these activities. Like Arvind Ghosh for that purpose leaders choose religion. Thus religious revivalism was the main feature of this new style of politics. Extremists used Hindu religious symbols, especially images of Shakta deities, to mobilize the masses. Barbara Southerv has shown that the use of such symbols resulted in Muslims becoming backward. Extremists failed to mobilize even the lower caste farmers. Because many of these farmers were Vaishnavs.
Associations were another way to draw the masses. Extremists take initiative in various ways to get the public to participate in the movement. To give moral training, to do philanthropic work, to spread the Swadeshi message, to collect Swadeshi industry, to organize Swadeshi education and to provide arbitration courts etc. But, this initiative to mobilize the masses ultimately failed. The boycott movement had little effect on the import of British goods into India due to the failure of the extremists to mobilize the masses. In 1908, of course, political extremism began to weaken. Revolutionary terrorism was born. Another reason behind this state of affairs was of course—the split of the Surat Congress in 1907.
An attempt was made to give a new direction to Congress activities in the Calcutta Congress of 1906. Four resolutions were raised in favor of boycott, Swadeshi, national education and Swaraj. The partition plan was condemned. This is where extremists originate. In 1907, moderate and extremist leaders split in the Surat Congress. Still Tilak wanted to unite the Congress. But Mehta was probably averse to compromise. The political position shown by Bengal in all-India politics was finally canceled. On the other hand extremist politics and its new political institutional form could not take. By the end of 1907, another political trend had emerged. Private actions began against British officials and their Indian collaborators.
An analysis of extremist ideologies and activities proves beyond doubt that the extremists definitely adopted an alternative program in confronting British imperialism. Instead of compromising with imperialism, anti-imperialist struggle was much more desirable for them.