- The Home Rule League Movement emerged as a more effective and less emotionally charged response from India to the First World War compared to the actions of Indians residing abroad, who embarked on the adventurous Ghadr movement. Between 1916 and 1918, the Home Rule League Movement, led by prominent figures like Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Annie Besant, gained significant momentum within the Indian independence movement. This coalition, known as the All India Home Rule League, resembled the Irish Home Rule League in its objectives. The primary aim of the Home Rule Movement was to secure home rule or dominion status within the framework of the British Empire, similar to the status of Canada and Australia. The movement operated through two distinct home rule leagues.
Home Rule League Movement – Background
- The Government of India Act of 1909 failed to meet the expectations of the Indian population.
- The national movement faced a setback when the Congress Party split in 1907 and the influential leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak was imprisoned from 1908 to 1914.
- However, the release of Tilak and the arrival of Annie Besant marked a resurgence of the national movement.
- Annie Besant, an Irish socialist, author, and speaker, who had been advocating for Irish and Indian independence, arrived in India in 1893.
- There was a division among Indian authorities regarding whether to support Britain in the war.
- Tilak recognized the need for a revitalization of the nationalist movement in India upon his return from exile in Mandalay.
- He also acknowledged the growing significance of the Congress Party in India’s political landscape and aimed to rejoin the party.
- Under the influence of Annie Besant, the extremists were allowed to rejoin the Congress Party during the December 1915 Congress session.
- Besant understood the importance of Congress’s acceptance and the active involvement of the radicals in the national struggle.
- However, Besant and Tilak were unsuccessful in convincing Congress to endorse their plan of establishing home rule leagues.
- Besant managed to persuade Congress to focus on educational propaganda and the formation of local groups. It was also agreed that if these demands were not met by September 1916, Besant would be free to establish her own home rule league.
- Consequently, in September 1916, she formed her own Home Rule League.
- On the other hand, Tilak was not bound by any such condition and had established his league in April 1916.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What was the Home Rule League movement?
A: The Home Rule League movement was a political campaign in British India during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, advocating for self-governance or “Home Rule” for India within the British Empire. It aimed to achieve constitutional reforms that would grant Indians a larger role in governing their own affairs.
2. Who were the key leaders of the Home Rule League movement?
A: The movement was primarily led by two prominent figures, Annie Besant and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Annie Besant, an Irish activist, played a crucial role in popularizing the Home Rule idea, while Tilak, an influential Indian nationalist, championed the cause for self-governance and mobilized public support.
3. When did the Home Rule League movement gain momentum?
A: The Home Rule League movement gained momentum in the early 20th century. The All-India Home Rule League was formally launched in 1916 by Annie Besant and Tilak, marking a significant step in the movement’s efforts to garner widespread support for constitutional reforms.
4. What were the objectives of this movement?
A: The primary objectives of the this movement were to attain self-governance for India, secure greater representation for Indians in legislative bodies, and advocate for constitutional reforms that would grant autonomy while remaining within the British Empire.
5. Did the Home Rule League movement achieve its goals?
A: While the Home Rule League movement did not immediately achieve its goal of self-governance, it did contribute significantly to the larger Indian independence movement. The demand for Home Rule laid the groundwork for later constitutional reforms and ultimately played a role in India’s path to independence in 1947.
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