Examine the contribution of moderates in the Indian freedom struggle.

Examine the contribution of moderates in the Indian freedom struggle.

Approach:

  • In introduction mention the formation of INC and moderates were dominant early on
  • Explain the methods and role of political work of moderates
  • Conclude with how they set the stage for the Extremists to take over
Model Answer :

In 1885, various nationalist associations united and formed Indian National Congress under the leadership of AO Hume, Surendranath Banerjee, Anand Mohan Bose, Umesh Chandra Bannerjee etc. Many of the early leaders of INC who dominated the Congress policies during this period were staunch believers in moderate political methods and hence were referred to as the Moderates. Their believed in constitutional agitation within the confines of the law. They tried to generate awareness among the public on various issues and then presented the public demands to the Government through resolutions, petitions, meetings, etc.

Contribution of the moderates:

  1. Economic Critique of British imperialism: Dadabhai Naoroji, RC dutta and D Wacha propagated the economic “drain theory” and exposed the exploitative nature of the British rule.
  2. Constitutional reform and propaganda in legislation: Gradual constitutional reforms ultimately leading to the 1935 GoI Act, Expansion of legislative councils and increase in their powers, Indian membership in executive councils, amendments to the India Council Acts were a result of moderate struggle.
  3. Campaign for general administration reform: Moderates had some success in lobbying for the Indianisation of services, separation of executive from judiciary, increase expenditure on welfare, labour laws etc.
  4. Defence of civil Rights: Some of their most vociferous demands were centered around the civil and political rights, including the right to speech, thought, association and free press, and they had good success in this.

Early moderates represented the most progressive force of that time. They have trained people for political work, spread nationalist sentiment and exposed British exploitative character. However, their success was limited as they had a narrow social base, and their leaders did not have much faith in the masses. But moderates were successful in creating solid base for more vigorous militant mass based national movement which was seen during Swadeshi Movement (post 1905).

Subjects : History and Culture

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