The Split in the Congress: Surat 1907

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The Split in the Congress: Surat 1907

  • Moderates were successful to some extent.
  • Moderates failed in many aspects. Why?
    • They could not acquire any roots among common people.
    • They believed that they could persuade the rulers to change their policies. However, their achievement in this regard was meager.
    • They could not keep pace with the events. They failed to meet the demands of the new stage of the national movement.
  • The British were keen on finishing the Congress because:
    • However moderate the leaders were, they were still nationalists and propagators of anti-colonialist ideas.
    • The British felt that moderates led congress could be finished off easily because it did not have a popular base
  • In the swadeshi movement, all sections of INC united in opposing the Partition
    • However, there was much difference between the moderates and the extremists about the methods and scope of the movement
    • The extremists wanted to extend the Swadeshi and Boycott movement from Bengal to the rest of the country and to boycott every form of association with the colonial government
    • The moderates wanted to confine the boycott movement to Bengal and even there to limit it to the boycott of foreign goods
  • After the Swadeshi movement the British adopted a three pronged approach to deal with congress. Repression-conciliation-suppression.
    • The extremists were reppressed
    • The moderates were conciliated thus giving them an impression that their further demands would be met if they disassociated from the extremists. The idea was to isolate the extremists.
    • Once the moderates and extremists were separate the extremists could be suppressed through the use of state force while the moderates could later be ignored.
  • The congress session was held on December 26, 1907 at Surat, on the banks of the river Tapti.
    • The extremists wanted a guarantee that the four Calcutta resolutions will be passed.
    • They objected to the duly elected president of the year, Rash Behari Ghose.
    • There was a confrontation with hurling of chairs and shoes.
  • The government launched a massive attack on the extremists. Newspapers were suppressed. Tilak was sent to Mandalay jail for six years.
  • The extremists were not able to organize an effective alternative party or to sustain the movement.
  • After 1908 the national movement as a whole declined.
  • The moderates and the country as a whole were disappointed by the 1909 Minto-Morley reforms
    • The number of indirectly elected members of the Imperial and provincial legislative councils was increased.
    • Separate electorates for Muslims were introduced.
  • With the split of Congress revolutionary terrorism rose.
  • In 1904 V D Savarkar organized Abhinav Bharat as a secret society of revolutionaries
  • In April 1908, Prafulla Chaki and Khudiram Bose threw a bomb at a carriage which they believed was occupied by Kingsford the unpopular judge at Muzzafarpur.
  • Anushilan Samity and Jugantar were two most important revolutionary groups.
  • An assessment of the split
    • The split did not prove useful to either party
    • The British played the game of divide and rule
    • To placate the moderates they announced the Morley-Minto reforms which did not satisfy the demands of the nationalists. They also annulled the partition of Bengal in 1911.

 

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