The early Congressmen were liberal in their views and programmes. This led to the rise of radical nationalists who demanded more forceful action against the British. In this context, discuss the following:
How did Tilak bring a new wave in Indian politics that was distinct from the early Congressmen?
Tilak brought a new wave in Indian politics through his new, radical political beliefs, his scathing criticisms of the British government and in the manner in which he attempted to mobilize the masses and assimilate them into the mainstream of the national movement.
- Tilak’s three-pronged approach to independence was ‘swaraj’, ‘swadeshi’ and ‘boycott’.
- Through his weeklies – ‘Kesari’ and ‘Mahratta’ – he regularly launched offensives against the government in a language that roused the masses.
- In order to revive the Indians’ pride in their ancient civilisation and culture, he began the celebration of the Ganpati festival and Shivjayanti on a large scale. To this effect, he also organised akharas and lathi clubs for the youths.
- In the year 1896, he led a ‘no rent campaign’ and asked the peasants not to pay land revenue to the government.
- He opposed the partition of Bengal and transformed the anti-partition movement into a movement for Swaraj. He was also responsible for launching the Home Rule movement later in the year 1916.
- Through his writings and political strategies, Tilak slowly but surely radicalised the gamut of India’s social, political struggles.