The Home Rule Movement was started by Lokmanya Tilak and Annie Besant for demanding self-government within the British Empire. Factors which 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 Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak
- Lokmanya Tilak urged the people to support the British government during the First World War in the hope that the latter would grant them self-government. However, the negative attitude of the British towards the Indian demands made him a staunch opponent of the British.
- He supported the Home Rule League Movement started by Annie Besant. He started this movement in Pune and extended it to all of Maharashtra and the central provinces. During this movement, he gave the slogan, ‘Swaraj is my birthright and I will have it’.
- He published his ideas in several pamphlets which were published in various vernacular languages.
- He popularized the Home Rule League Movement by touring Maharashtra and by Bal Gangadhar Tilak supported the Home Rule League Movement started by Annie Besant. giving fiery nationalist speeches. He linked the concept of swaraj with the movement. He preached the movement through two newspapers—Kesari in Marathi and Mahratta in English.