Revolutionary Terrorism

Revolutionary Terrorism:-Till 1905, the moderates were leading the National Movement and their compatibility with Britishers was beyond any doubt. They, in fact, wanted their demand to be conceded through constitutional methods. But the government did not pay attention to the constitutional ways of the Moderates. 

Therefore, Revolutionary Terrorism, which was a by-product of the process of growth of Militant Nationalism in India emerged as a popular ideology among a section of Nationalists who realized that freedom could not be begged, rather it had to be won.

Revolutionary Terrorism acquired a more activist form as a fallout of the Swadeshi and Boycott Movement. This ideology supported radical change, disagreed with the pacifism of Congress and Gandhi’s philosophy of Ahimsa, and believed in the use of guns and bombs to terrorize the British. Patriots with the ideology of Revolutionary Terrorism thought nothing before sacrificing their lives for the motherland.

Factors that led to the Growth of Revolutionary Terrorism

The Swadeshi Movement:-

After the decline of the Swadeshi movement, the younger nationalists who had participated in the movement found it impossible to disappear into the background, so they looked for avenues to give expression to their patriotic energies but were disillusioned by the failure of the leadership.

Failure of ModeratesWhatever Reforms Moderates wanted, was not acceded to by the government. Hence, the failure of the constitutional methods of the moderates encouraged Militant Nationalism.

Although the Extremists leader called upon the youth to make sacrifices, they failed to find new forms of political work or to create an effective organization to tap these revolutionary energies.

The victory of Japan over Russia-This victory proved to be the most potent stimulus to Indian nationalism. This victory led to the vanishing of the myth of European superiority.

The defeat of Italians at Adowa- In 1896, Ethiopia defeated Italy at the Battle of Adowa. This led to securing sovereignty for Italy.

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Young Turk Movement

Repression by the British Government- The government tried to crush the national feeling with all possible severity. Many Indians and their leader were imprisoned. Leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak were arrested on the charge of spreading discontent among the people. This ignited the feeling of Revolutionary Terrorism among the Indians.

Change in the approach of the youth- Instead of focusing on mass movements, Indian Youth opted to follow the footsteps of Russian nationalists or the Irish nationalists and went for Individual heroic actions such as organizing assassinations of unpopular British officials and of traitors and informers among the revolutionaries themselves.

First Phase of Revolutionary Terrorism

Patriots like Prafulla Chaki (who was associated with the Jugantar Group of revolutionaries), Madan Lal Dhingra, Khudiram Bose, Sachin Sanyal, and Rashbehari Bose carried out spectacular bomb and gun attacks on British officials.

D. Savarkar in 1904 had organized a secret society of revolutionaries named Abhinava Bharat.

Madan Lal Dhingra shot dead Curzon Wyllie, an officer of the India Office in London in 1909.

The government came heavy-handed upon these Revolutionaries, convicting or executing revolutionaries.

The second phase of Revolutionary Terrorism

Gandhi’s unilateral suspension of the Non-Cooperation Movement due to

The Chauri Chaura incident in 1922, led to the second phase of Revolutionary Terrorism, as many youths began to question the strategy of non-violence/ Ahimsa and its success in gaining Self Rule.

Bolshevik’s success in Russia also influenced this new generation of revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh.

In 1925, Chandrashekhar Azad, Ramprasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, and others, who were the members of Hindustan Republic Association, robbed a cash train at Kakori to buy arms.

Saunders was shot dead by Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, and Rajguru, in 1928.

Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw bombs in the Central Legislative Assembly in April 1929, the purpose was not to harm anybody but to show protest against two repressive bills i.e. Trade Dispute Bill and Public Safety Bill.

In 1930, a raid against the police armory at Chittagong in Bengal was done by Surya Sen and his associates. Later, Surya Sen was arrested in 1933 and he was tried and hanged.

In December 1932, two schoolgirls, Shanti and Suniti Chaudhuri shot dead the Magistrate of Tipperra, Mr. Steven in Bengal.

Almost all such revolutionary activities were met with severe repressive measures by the British Government.

Views of the revolutionaries about the use of terror as a tool to get independence

Ram Prasad Bismil, advised the youth to join the open movement and give up the desire to keep revolvers and pistols.

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