Role of Annie Besant in the Home Rule movement

The Home Rule Movement was started by Tilak and Annie Besant for demanding self-government within the British Empire. Factors that led to the beginning of the Home Rule Movement were

  • The First World War led to inflation which increased the miseries of the poor in the country. Heavy taxes were levied on the people by the government to meet war expenditures.
  • It was realized that the government would not give political concessions to the Indians until they are pressurized into doing so.
  • The British and American governments publicized that they were fighting the war to make the world safe for democracy. However, the British government was denying liberty and democracy to Indians. The Indians thus realized that they have to snatch their freedom from the British.
  • Assertive nationalists believed that Congress had become passive, and thus, it was not possible to launch mass agitations under it.
  • Because of the above factors, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Annie Besant launched the Home Rule Movement as they believed that the government would not listen to their demands until they are pressurized into doing so.

Role of Annie Besant

  • Annie Besant was an Irish by birth who was impressed with Indian culture and philosophy. She was the President of the Theosophical Society in Chennai.
  • She was dissatisfied with the methods used by the Early Nationalists. When she visited England between 1908 and 1913, she was impressed by the Home Rule Movement in Ireland.
  • After joining the Congress in 1914, she began to spread her ideas through her writings in dailies such as Commonweal and New India.
  • In September 1916, she started the Home Rule League Movement at Gokhale Hall in Chennai. She set up about 200 branches of her League all over India. The objective of the Movement was demanding self-government which was to be achieved through promoting political education and holding discussions.
  • She circulated pamphlets, newsletters and collected funds for the movement. The objective of the Home Rule Movement was to attain self-government within the British Empire through constitutional means. The leaders of the movement followed legal and constitutional methods to propagate the ideals of the movement.

Also, Read Role of Jawaharlal Nehru in Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)

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