INDIAN HOME RULE SOCIETY
- DIVIDE AND RULE POLICY
DELHI DURBAR (1901)
MODERN HISTORY – 11
THE DACCA CONSPIRACY CASE
The arrest the deportation of the Punjab leaders, LAJPAT RAI and AJIT SINGH, IN 1907, and the passing of the unpopular Punjab Colonization Bill led to riots at Lahore, Rawalpindi and Lyallpur. Endeavors were even made to incite the troops at Ferozepore and Lyallpur to revolt. In Madras, disturbances followed after a series of public lectures by BIPIN CHANDRA PAL AND CHIDAMBARAM PILLAI.
INDIAN HOME RULE SOCIETY
IN JUNE 1911, ASHE,
The District Magistrate of Tirunelveli (then Tinnevelly) was shot dead by a YOUNG BRAHMANA VANCHI AIYAR. The killing of Sir William Curzon Wyllie by Madan Lal Dhingra (1909) was attributed to the revolutionary activities of SHYAMJI KRISHNA VERMA AND VINAYAK DAMODAR SAVARKAR. Shyamji Krishna Verma’s INDIAN HOME RULE SOCIETY in London brought out the Indian Sociologist, a penny monthly. The seditious writings therein became the subject-matter of questions in Parliament. MADAM K.R. CAMA, a Parsi lady and LALA HAR DAYAL were the two other revolutionaries who carried on ceaseless propaganda abroad for the liberation of India during this period (1908-1910).
There was a wave of unrest throughout the country which was fully exploited by the revolutionaries. Lord Hardinge II (1910-1916) wrote in his book, My Indian Years. During the three or four years immediately preceding the Darbar the average had been on political murder every fortnight. The extremist movement also drew its incentive and encouragement from a powerful press, which included the Kesari and the Mahratta of Tilak, the Vande Mataram patronized by AUROBINDO GHOSE, the New India of BEPIN CHANDRA PAL, the Sandhya of
BRAHMA BANDHAB UPADHYAYA AND THE YUGANTAR OF BHUPENDRANATH DUTTA (brother of Swami Vivekananda) and BARINDRAKUMAR GHOSE.
The Government tried to suppress the extremists with official acts namely, THE EXPLOSIVES SUBSTANCES ACT (1908), THE PREVENTION OF SEDITIOUS MEETINGS, ACT (1907), THE PRESS ACT (1908), etc. Aurobindo Ghose was prosecuted for conspiracy to wage war against the King. Tilak was imprisoned for 6 years on a charte of sedition and deported to Mandalay. LAJPAT RAI had been exiled and Bipin Chandra Pal was already in jail in 1907.
DIVIDE AND RULE POLICY
While the repression went on, the Government sought to conciliate the moderates, who were also getting impatient at the Government’s policy by a proposal to introduce partial self government and thus to leave the extremists alone in the wilderness GOKHALE had also warned MINTO that the whole younger generation of India was going over to the extremists side and was attracted by doctrines preached by them of ‘getting rid of British rule’. He told the Viceroy that an immediate announcement of reforms could alone save the situation. British writers on Indian affairs, like Walter Lawrence. private Secretary to Lord Curzon, and Valentine Chirol were alarmed at the growth of the ne spirit in India and warned Morley, the Secretary of State for India, that unless some steps were taken immediately, ‘the Mohammedans will also throw in their lot with the congressmen against you’.
DELHI DURBAR (1901)
The British Government now sought to alienate the Muslims from the Hindus by the introduction of separate electorates with weightage, which was virtually a stab in the back of Indian nationalism. Some prominent Muslims were encouraged by British officials to meet the Viceroy in a delegation and to urge for representation as a separate community; DUNLOP SMITH, Private Secretary to the Viceroy and W.A.J. ARCHBOLD, Principal Muhammedan Anglo-Oriental College, Aligarh, being the prime movers in this intrigue. The delegation, led by THE AGA KHAN (1875-1958), met LORD MINTO on October 1, 1906 and prayed that ‘their position should be estimated not merely on their numerical strength but in respect to the political importance of their community and the service it has rendered to the Empire.’ The Viceroy expressed full accord with the views and demands of the deputationists. It is noted in LADY MINTO’S DIARY (OCTOBER 1906) that this act was jubilantly hailed by British officialdom as ‘nothing less that the pulling back of sixty-two millions of people from joining the ranks of the seditious opposition.’ December 30, 1906 saw the birth of THE ALL INDIA MUSLIM LEAGUE whose objective was to ‘support, wherever possible, all measures emanating from the Government and to protect the cause and advance the interests of our co-religionists throughout the country, to controvert the growing influence of the so-called Indian National Congress and to enable our young men of education, who for want of such an association, have joined the Congress, to find scope, according their fitness and ability for public life’. ‘Divide and Rule’ henceforward became the keynote of British policy in India.
The British Government at the same time sought to pacify the Congress by announcing revocation of the Partition of Bengal at the DELHI DURBAR (1901). This Presidency, along with Bombay and Madras, was raised to the status of a Governor’s province. These measures gave great satisfaction to the people of Bengal. The nationalists claimed it to be the result of their continuous struggle and argued that active agitation rather than passive acquiescence could alone make the Government see reason.