Difference between Moderates and Extremists Congress

The Moderates wanted to achieve self government , they did not aim for total independence. They demanded certain reforms and concessions from British government because they wanted to develop India under the guidance of benevolent British rule. On the other hand, Extremists wanted Swaraj ie, complete independence.
Moderates were loyal to British rule and English crown. They considered British rule a gift for India. The Extremists were not loyal to British rule and they considered it as a curse and wanted to uproot it from India.
'Swaraj is better than best form of foreign rule'-Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
The moderates believed in adopting constitutional and peaceful method to achieve their objective. They had full faith in British sense of justice.Extremists believed in non co operation and adopted method of boycott against foreign goods and propagation of swadeshi and national education. They believed in Indian culture, civilization, religion and tradition. Whereas Moderates believed in British culture.
Moderates believed that Indians were not fit to rule. Under the moderates, national movement was not a popular movement, it had no touch with people. While under extremists, people came under them.


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    During the early years (1885-1905) the Indian National Congress, henceforth referred to as INC, provided a common stage for the leaders from diverse parts of the country.Though the Congress represented the entire nation, members of some classes, castes,occupations and provinces were more conspicuous than others. The members of the educated middle class were predominant in numbers. The members of the Brahmin caste were comparatively higher to those of other castes. While a number of journalists, doctors and teachers were also members, it was the lawyers who dominated in the occupations.The members from Bombay, Bengal and Madras presidencies were more in number compared to members from other parts of the country. The masses and the landed class were conspicuous by their absence. In short, the Congress was by and large a middle class affair, and it was but natural that majority of the members of the INC belonged to the middle class during the early years since it was this class that took to modern education and played a pioneering role in its foundation.The Congress, since its establishment, was under the influence of Moderate leaders, most of whom were first generation English educated Indians. The moderate leaders were influenced by Western political ideas and practices, especially by the political philosophy of liberalism. The liberal philosophy of moderate Congress leaders gave emphasis on: 1)dignity of the individual 2) Individual’s right to freedom c) Equality of all irrespective of caste, creed or sex. This liberal philosophy guided the moderate leaders of the Congress in opposing the autocratic attitude of the British government, demanding rule of law and equality before law, and advocating secularism. Some of the prominent moderate leaders who became presidents of the Congress in its early years were Dadabhai Naoroji,Badruddin Tyabji, Pherozeshah Mehta, P. Ananda Charlu, Surendranath Banerjee, Romesh Chandra Dutt, Ananda Mohan Bose and Gopal Krishna Gokhale. Some other moderate leaders were Mahadev Ranade, Madan Mohan Malaviya, G. Subramaniya Iyer and Dinshaw E. Wacha.


    The rise of extremism on the Indian political scene was not sudden. In fact it had been growing steadily since the uprising of 1857. Though the uprising was brutally suppressed by the British, the ideas of ‘Swadharma’ and ‘Swaraj’, which had kindled the uprising continued to linger on as an undercurrent among the Indian people. The English educated class had remained aloof from the uprising. In the latter half of 19th century, the work of leaders like Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekanand, Swami Dayanand Saraswati,and Vishnusastri Chiplunkar and Sri Aurobindo instilled a sense of pride in the ancient Indian civilisation. They were successful, to a certain extent, in promoting political radicalism and bridging the gulf between the masses and the English educated class. The work of the moderate leaders had also exposed the evils of British rule and promoted the spread of national consciousness. The ‘peaceful’ methods used by the moderate leaders were not effective in making the British Government accept their demands. As a result a number of politically conscious people became frustrated and disillusioned. At the end of the 19th century, a strong feeling arose among the people that more radical political action was needed to force the British to accept popular demands.Various international events also gave impetus to the growth of extremism in India.Revolutionary movements in Ireland, Russia, Egypt, Turkey, China and the Boer War in South Africa made the Indian leaders aware that the British rule could only be challenged by putting a united stand against it. The defeat of the Italian Army by the Ethiopians in 1896, and the Russian Army by the Japanese in 1905, showed that the Europeans were not invincible. All these instilled a sense of self-respect and self-confidence in the Indian Nationalists.The extremist leaders of INC like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala LajpatRai and Aurobindo Ghose articulated radical political ideas against colonial rule. The first three of them became famous as the trio of extremist leadership: Lal-Bal-Pal. Theybecame prominent after the Partition of Bengal in 1905. Their radical ideology and programme became popular during the movement against Partition of Bengal, also known as the ‘Swadeshi Movement’

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