Home Rule League Movement

The Home Rule League 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

Beginning of the Home Rule Movement

  • The First World War led to inflation which increased the misery 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.

The decline of the Home Rule League Movement

  • The British government during the war years appeased the early Nationalists with the Declaration of August 1917 in which it promised to gradually give the people self-governance. The movement thus died down.
  • The Early reformers were pacified with the promise of reforms.
  • The scheme of reforms announced by the government in July 1917 divided the nationalists. While some were in favour of supporting it, others wanted to reject these demands.
  • By the end of 1917, Tilak went to England, and in his absence, Annie Besant was not able to provide the revolt with firm leadership. As a result, the movement declined.

Impact of the Home Rule League Movement

  • As Congress became weak, the Home Rule Movement infused the spirit of nationalism among the masses.
  • It transformed the national movement into a people’s movement.
  • It provided training to many people who later became the architects of the Indian National Movement.
  • It pressurized the government to give self-government to the country. It was due to the wide appeal of the movement that the government announced the gradual development of self-governing institutions in India.

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