- The sudden end of the Non-Cooperation Movement left numerous people disenchanted, leading them to question the fundamental approach of the nationalist leaders. Since they were not attracted to the parliamentary efforts of the Swarajists or the patient and constructive work of the No-changers, these younger nationalists were inclined towards the belief that only violent methods could liberate India. Consequently, there was a revival of Revolutionary terrorism.
Background of Revolutionary Activities During the 1920s
- The frustration stemming from the perceived failure of the early twentieth-century political struggle, combined with government repression, set the stage for the emergence of revolutionary terrorism.
- The Rise of Revolutionary Terrorism: Revolutionary terrorists believed that passive resistance alone could not accomplish nationalist objectives, leading them to adopt a strategy centred around the use of bombs.
- Repression during World War I: The First World War brought about severe repressive measures against Revolutionary terrorists, resulting in a setback for their movement.
- Release of Prisoners: The government released many revolutionary terrorists from prisons in the late 1919 and early 1920s, aiming to create a favourable environment for the Montagu reforms. It was during this time that the Non-Cooperation Movement was initiated in 1920.
- Gandhi’s Influence: Influential figures like Mahatma Gandhi and C.R. Das met with several leaders of revolutionary terrorism, urging them to join the nonviolent mass movement or at least cease their activities.
- Transition and Disappointment: Recognizing the advent of a new political era, many revolutionary leaders attended the National Congress session in Nagpur and aligned themselves with the Congress. However, the abrupt suspension of the Non-Cooperation Movement in early 1922, triggered by the Chauri-Chaura incident, caused disillusionment and discontent among the movement’s young participants.
- Return to Violence: Disillusioned with Gandhi’s leadership and the perceived simplicity of nonviolent strategies, many participants turned back to the idea of violently overthrowing British rule. They drew inspiration from revolutionary movements and uprisings in countries like Russia, Ireland, Turkey, Egypt, and China.
- The Emergence of New Leaders: Alongside the resurrection of older revolutionary organizations, a new generation of leaders emerged from the ranks of enthusiastic non-cooperators, stepping into the role of revolutionary terrorists.
The Emergence of the Second Phase of the Revolutionary Movement:
- During World War I, a significant number of revolutionary terrorists were imprisoned. However, in an attempt to create a more favourable environment for the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, the government granted a general amnesty, leading to the release of most of these individuals.
- Non-Cooperation Movement and its Impact: When the Non-Cooperation Movement (NCM) was launched, Mahatma Gandhi and C.R. Das requested the revolutionary terrorists to suspend their activities and participate in the movement, giving it a chance. In compliance, they halted their actions with the hope of achieving their nationalist goals through nonviolent means. However, the sudden suspension of the NCM shattered their hopes and left them searching for alternative approaches.
- Shift towards Violence: Disillusioned by the failure of the NCM, many revolutionary terrorists became convinced that violent methods were the only path to India’s freedom. This led to the development of two distinct strands of revolutionary terrorism. One emerged in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar, while the other took root in Bengal. These regions became hotspots for revolutionary activities.
Overall, the release of revolutionary terrorists, their involvement in the Non-Cooperation Movement, and the subsequent disappointment caused by its suspension played a crucial role in fueling the rise of the second phase of the revolutionary movement.
Influence on Revolutionary Groups:
- An upsurge of Working Class Trade Unionism: The post-war period witnessed a significant upsurge in working-class trade unionism. Revolutionary groups recognized the revolutionary potential of this new class and saw an opportunity to harness its power for the nationalist revolution. The growing strength and organization of the working class fueled their desire to incorporate it into their movement.
- Russian Revolution and the Success of the Young Socialist State: The Russian Revolution and the subsequent success of the Young Socialist State in consolidating itself had a profound impact on the revolutionary groups in India. They were inspired by the revolutionary zeal and the establishment of a socialist state. The success of the Russian Revolution served as a powerful example for these groups, influencing their ideologies and strategies. They looked to Russia as a model for revolutionary change and drew inspiration from its achievements.
- These two factors, the upsurge of working-class trade unionism and the success of the Russian Revolution, played a significant role in shaping the ideologies and motivations of the revolutionary groups in India during this period.
Q. What are revolutionary activities in the context of UPSC?
Ans. Revolutionary activities, in the context of UPSC (Union Public Service Commission), refer to the political and social movements, actions, and activities carried out by individuals or groups to bring about significant changes or reforms, often in opposition to established authorities.
Q. Why are revolutionary activities important in the UPSC examination?
Ans. Understanding revolutionary activities is essential for UPSC aspirants because it helps them comprehend historical and contemporary events, movements, and leaders that have shaped India and the world. This knowledge is often a part of the General Studies syllabus.
Q. What are some examples of revolutionary activities that UPSC candidates should be familiar with?
Ans. UPSC candidates should be familiar with a wide range of revolutionary activities, including the Indian independence movement, civil rights movements, labor movements, and other social and political movements both in India and globally.
Q. How can I prepare for questions related to revolutionary activities in the UPSC exam?
Ans. To prepare for such questions, you should study history, sociology, and political science topics related to revolutionary movements, prominent leaders, and their impact on society and politics. Reviewing historical documents, books, and documentaries can also be helpful.
Q. Are there any specific revolutionary movements that UPSC aspirants should focus on?
Ans. UPSC aspirants should focus on movements like the Indian independence movement, the French Revolution, the American Civil Rights Movement, and other significant global and national movements that have had a profound impact on society and governance.
Q. How do revolutionary activities relate to the broader understanding of governance and society in the UPSC exam?
Ans. Revolutionary activities often lead to changes in governance, social structures, and policies. Understanding these activities is crucial for UPSC aspirants as they help in comprehending the evolution of political systems, social justice, and governance in India and the world.
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