The home rule movement was the Indian response to the First World War in a less charged but in a more effective way. With people already feeling the burden of war time miseries caused by high taxation and a rise in prices, Tilak and Annie Besant ready to assume the leadership the movement started with great vigour. Two Indian Home Rule Leagues were organised on the lines of the Irish Home Rule Leagues and they represented the emergence of a new trend of aggressive politics. The League campaign aimed to convey to the common man the message of home rule as self-government.
Between 1916 and 1918, when the war was beginning, prominent Indians like Joseph Baptista, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, G. S. Khaparde, Sir S. Subramania Iyer, Satendra Nath Bose and the leader of the Theosophical Society, Annie Besant, decided to organise a national alliance of leagues across India, specifically to demand Home Rule, or self-government within the British Empire for all of India. Tilak found the first home rule league at the Bombay provincial congress at Belgaum in April 1916. then after this Annie Besant founded second league at Adyar Madras in September 1916. While Tilak’s league worked in areas like Maharashtra (excluding Bombay city), Karnataka, Central provinces and Berar, Annie Besant’s league worked in the rest of India.
The move created considerable excitement at the time, and attracted many members of the Indian National Congress and the All-India Muslim League, who had been allied since the 1916 Lucknow Pact. The leaders of the League gave fiery speeches, and petitions with hundreds of thousands of Indians as signatories were submitted to British authorities. Unification of moderates and radicals as well as unity between Muslim League and Indian National Congress was a remarkable achievement of Annie Besant.
The government arrested Annie Besant in 1917 and this led to nationwide protests. The movement actually spread out and made its impact in the interior villages of India. Many moderate leaders like Muhammad Ali Jinnah joined the movement. The League spread political awareness in new areas like Sindh, Punjab, Gujarat, United Provinces, Central Provinces, Bihar, Orissa and Madras, which all sought an active political movement.
Home Rule Movement Objectives:-
The goal was for India to have its own government.
The Home Rule Movement encourages political discourse and education to spark self-government agitation.
The goal of the Home Rule Movement was to give Indians the courage to speak out against government repression.
The Home Rule Movement calls on the British government to give Indians more political clout.
The Home Rule Movement reactivates Indian politics while upholding Congress Party ideals.
Home Rule Movement Failure & Decline:-
After Lokmanya Tilak left to England to fight a libel action against Valentine Chirol and Annie Besant was unable to show that she had significant leadership qualities, the home rule movement was put on hold. The Home Rule movement was not universally welcomed; there were significant protests from the Muslim, Anglo-Indian, and Non-Brahmin populations.
This movement ultimately failed because the Indian people connected more strongly with the concepts of satyagraha, nonviolence, and Gandhian philosophy. Last but not least, not all strata and groups in Indian society were made aware of the movement.
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