Bharat Ek Khoj 48: Extremists And Moderates

Bharat Ek Khoj 48: Extremists And Moderates

The long rule of the British and the brutal suppression of the
1857 Revolt had sapped the morale of the
Indians Slowly and steadily India began
to recover As the new English-trained
middle class grew their demands also grew But they found the British
obstructing them Hence, they began to agitate This was the origin of the
Nationalist movement At last, the new bourgeoise
started an organisation to plead their
cause This was the Indian National
Congress, founded in 1885 The Congress, when it was
founded was a very moderate and
cautious body affirming its loyalty to the British
and asking for some petty reforms Thus the Congress gained in
strength Faster than the Congress grew the ideas of freedom and
nationality which spread more widely in
Bengal and Maharashtra Maharashtra’s Bal Gangadhar
Tilak was India’s first popular leader Two factions developed in the
Congress : The Extremists under Tilak and the Moderates under the
older Congress leaders The most prominent of the
Moderate leaders was Gopal Krishna Gokhale Tilak and Gokhale led those
rival groups Greetings Mr. Ranade Mr. Gokhale! and Mr. Joshi You might have recognised me I am Wagle from the ‘Subodh
Patrika’ I recognise you I’ve read your reports on the
Age of Consent Bill Thank you! May I ask a few questions ? Of course! There is growing opposition to
the Age of Consent Bill Bal Gangadhar Tilak maintains
that the Bill will damage our
traditions Will you continue to support the
Bill ? We should see the Bill in its
proper perspective The Bill seeks to raise the age
of marriage from ten to twelve years Any consummation of marriage
below this age with or without the consent of
the girl will be considered rape the rape of one’s own wife The Bill seeks to protect our
young girls I fail to see why this opposition The point is : Does the State
have the right to intervene in a purely social issue ? When people cannot remedy a
social ill The State has a duty to
intervene The orthodox feel that you
reformers have exaggerated the real issue since
even women oppose it Perhaps the worst effect of
injustice is that the victims are so disheartened
that they feel secure in their
oppression I am not surprised that women
have sided with the orthodox One last question! Tilak feels that the government
is a foreign one It cannot be trusted with the
power to intrude in the sensitive area of Hindu
way of life It would be true if the rulers had initiated the Bill In this case they have no selfish
interest They would prefer us to remain
as we are : Disorganised immoral, stunted and deformed the vital energies of our social body paralysed You should ask Mr. Tilakthis
question I will do that! I don’t think there is any need to
reform the law What Gokhale and Ranade do
not understand is that to be proficient in the art of self
government we must learn to manage our
own affairs We can do it ourselves This is best regulated by
ourselves rather than by passing an act! Reformers feel that we have not
made efforts to convince people that delayed marriage is good
for them These so-called reformers!
How many are they ? They are not recognised as
leaders The government should not
consider their opinion The Legislature should not
adopt any measures which interferes with our social
and religious customs The noted Sanskrit scholar of
Deccan College Dr. Ramkrishna Gopal
Bhandarkar has quoted chapter and verse
from the Scriptures to prove marriages after puberty are tenable under Hindu law Don’t misinterpret the
Scriptures Don’t drag scholars into this
debate That’s all we can say to
Bhandarkar and others like him They can show their skills of
argument elsewhere The Scriptures are not meant
for that If you cannot interpret them
correctly please keep quiet Friends! As you know the Age
of Consent Bill Friends! As you know the Age
of Consent Bill is to be taken up in the
Viceroy’s Council This meeting has been called to support this courageous
measure Withdraw the proposed Bill! Down with the Reformers! This Bill will alleviate the
distress faced by our young girls The conduct of Poona’s
so-called prominent citizens has saddened me! That was sheer rowdyism I’ll not be associated with such
people In fact, I am waiting for the day when I’ll not have to deal with
them Don’t think like that The agitation is a triumph for us The Bill has been passed,
hasn’t it We’ve achieved our aim Remember! As long as you are
a reformer you’ll be in the minority The majority is always with the
orthodoxy That should not dishearten you Forget it! Pull yourself together There is a lot of work to be
done! That’s why I have called both of
you I apologise for their behaviour For years we in the Congress
have felt ere is no use petitioning the Government in Calcutta Bureaucracy will never change! It will be indifferent to our
protests We must try to influence public
opinion in England Some of our English friends in
Parliament there are already voicing our
grievances but we need a systematic
approach We now have such an
opportunity Dadabhai Naoroji has written
from London that a new Royal Commission is
being set up to go into our grievances
relating to administrative and economic
matters The Commission will also
examine Indian witnesses I’ve offered to go as a witness
but the Government is unwi It maintains that I am a sitting
judge and hence, should be above
politics I want to recommend your
name, Gopalrao That’s very kind of you but You are honest. You have a
sharp mind and a persuasive manner I know you will do well! But I don’t know much about
economic matters Ganeshpant will help you. He’s
an expert in economics Even I have some knowledge Together we’ll brief you Yes, certainly Then ? What do you say ? If you think I can do the job
am willing to work hard to work hard So, friends, even if we assume
that King Shivaji was the first to
strike Afzal Khan no writer can dare call him a
murderer European ethics, based on the
greatest good of the greatest number cannot condemn King Shivaji fulfill a major task he neglected a minor duty Thank you! Let’s not waste time in historical
research and come straight to the point Friends, let us even assume
that Shivaji first planned and then killed Afzal Khan The point is: was the act ethical
or not ? We must not examine this
question from the standpoint of the Penal Code or the
Manusmriti or Yajnavalkya or even the western or eastern
ethical systems Social laws are meant for
ordinary people like you and me Can the genealogy of a sage be
traced ? No! Can a king be pronounced
guilty? No! Great men are above such
principles of morality Did Shivaji commit a sin by
killing Afzal Khan ? In my opinion, no! person can be blamed for an
action which is without the desire for personal
profits I have a question for you If a thief enters your house and if you do not have the strength
to push him out what will you do ? My suggestion is : lock him up
and burn him alive! God has not given these
foreigners a license to rule over India Do you understand what I am
saying Broaden your vision Do not be frogs in a well Forget the Penal Code and then consider the lives of
great men How many died in the plague ? Sixty A better average than last week Looks like Walter Rand’s tough
measures are proving effective Maybe, but who knows the
consequences of those rude measures ? The Government will react
adversely to your editorial It should! I do believe it is not the right
time to celebrate Queen Victoria’s
Jubilee At least not in India This is the 60th anniversary not
of our prosperity but our decline It is our misfortune to witness how our people degenerate
under foreign oppression Famine and plague have
worsened the conditions You are right, Balwantrao Even Rand’s strict measures
could do nothing though the plague seems under
control now I have nothing against strict
measures but in this case Rand’s remedy has
turned out to be worse than the disease Why oppress the innocents ? And the rape of those two
women! Terrible! I heard one of them has
committed suicide Conditions are very bad I’ve written a poem to be
published in ‘Kesari’ Is that so! What’s the subject
? I have tried to imagine how King
Shivaji would have reacted to the condition of the
country today ? Should I read it ? Of course! Kelkar! Khadilkar! You also
listen! I see the ruin of my country with
my own eyes Did we build it to see this day ? Where is the hot blood which watered the land ? Like a lion I fought to protect
this land! O Shiv! These forts of mine
are now ruins! The foreigners drag away the
Lakshmi of this land Prosperity has gone! Only the
owls hoot here The darkness of fear fills the
innermost mind There’s more! How is it ? It’s wonderful! It says all that we feel ! Balwantrao! You are inviting
trouble There must be some mistake There’s no mistake, Kelkar The government could not
arrest Rand’s killers so they need a scapegoat A prominent leader of Poona
and a Brahmin What more could they want ? Now the government will say
my writings in Kesari have provoked the
assassination I’ll be judged by an English
judge who cannot read or understand
Marathi This is bound to happen under
the foreign rule Kelkar! Khadilkar! I leave
‘Kesari’ in your charge Run it in the same spirit as we
always have. Understood ? Yes! Arrest and deportation for treason have terrorised the
people no one is prepared to give
evidence on behalf of those two violated
women The government is not ready to
hold a public enquiry In these circumstances I should
apologise for my statement in London against the British soldiers Tilak might have helped you but he has been refused bail Forgive me, but if you apologise people will be disheartened There’s no doubt the women
were violated So what if you are unable to get
evidence Your allegations were made in
good faith You did not name any particular
individual They cannot prosecute you for
defamation The soldiers cannot proceed
against me legally which increases my
responsibility as a gentleman Tilak’s arrest has increased the
racial tension between the English and the
Indians Perhaps Gopalrao’s apology may calm down things No, the apology may stoke the
fires even further If you ask me, a prominent
leader apologising to the English for no fault of his may not find favour with the
people I know that my apology may
harm the cause which is dear to all of as and which I have always tried to
serve but I regret to say that there’s no alternative I am drafting the apology I’ll be obliged if you have a look
at it and give your suggestions I ll leave now! How are you ? Having fun at the government’s
cost What’s the news ? Don’t assume the trial will be a
fair one You have a good lawyer. Pray
that he does his best I am not afraid I see this trial as an opportunity
to make a political statement How is Gokhale ? I heard he has apologised and the apology has Ranade’s
blessings That’s true My foreign friends want me to plead guilty but I am not prepared to do that people respect me for my
character and I shall not be cowed down by
the prosecution At the most, I shall say that my
articles in Kesari are not seditious though the government thinks
othen/vise and It will not satisfy the
government The object is to humiliate
Poona’s leaders but I am not a weak reed to bow
down like the others We should remember that We are all servants of the
people If we show a lack of courage at
a crucial moment we will disappoint and betray
the people I know if I am found guilty and
convicted I’ll gain the sympathy and
support of my countrymen. The whole
nation will be with me Then an event took place which
shook Bengal and stirred the whole of India The province of Bengal which
included Bihar divided into two parts
the government The nationalism of the Bengali
middle class resented this move A great anti-British movement
arose in Bengal Landholders and Indian
capitalists also joined it The cry of Swadeshi was first
raised with the boycott of British goods Come brothers! Burn all that is
British Victory to Lokmanya Tilak! I thank my colleagues for giving
us this chance to act The partition of Bengal has
shown us that this is the time to act and not give lectures The government has no respect
for the opinions expressed by lakhs of people For this government, public
opinion is like a wave breaking against the stones of
the shore and returning crest fallen Hence, we must give the call of
Swadeshi and boycott of British goods Why ? The government will not
shed its pride till we provoke it to act! The government does not care
for public opinion The government should know
that if the people unite, they
become like a very strong rope which can tie up the strongest
of elephants Victory to Lokmanya Tilak! Victory to Lokmanya Tilak! Kelkar, this news should go on
the front page Welcome Gopalrao! I admire you for the work you’ve
done for our cause in England on behalf of myself and my
colleagues I congratulate you It is an honour I also admire you for the
manner in which you have mobilised people for the
Swadeshi movement You might have met many
British Members of Parliament How did they react to our
protest ? I felt there was a growing
awareness about the genuineness of our
demands I had a long talk with John
Morley who is to be the next Secretary
of State He seemed quite sympathetic to
our problems I think he is the best choice to
be the Secretary of State I must praise your optimism,
Gopalrao Will Morley really do anyth
beneficial for India ? Yes! He agreed a great deal
with what I said You cannot persuade the British
with words We must present our case with
deeds, not mere words Do you mean we should carry
out the threat to boycott British goods ? Certainly! I don’t agree with you! The situation is a delicate one If the boycott is carried out all that we have worked for will
be undone Our aim will be lost Our aim should be to show the
government that its present methods won’t do The cause is lost if you forget your grievances due to their
sympathetic words The boycott will make the
British angry No well-wisher of India would
want that Certainly not the Congress Then go and beg before the
English Don’t you understand no one gets anything by
begging Until we show our power no one will listen to our
complaints We can try to persuade the
government to accept that there is an educated class in
India which can represent the people in a
responsible manner and hence must be given a larger share in
the government Larger share? Who‘ll give you a larger share They’ll not give you even a
piece But Mr. Morley had welcomed
my ideas He’ll give us larger
representation in Councils A militant stand may upset
everything Just listen to what people say
about us The Congress is 20 years old What did we get with pleading
and petitioning? We make sedate speeches at
our annual sessions begging for crumbs. Do we get
them ? We have stagnated but the
people have moved forward I am determined to change all
this but you are still clinging to the
old notions We must understand the people
and attract them to our cause to
succeed We should not alienate the
people You will realize your folly soon You are the President-elect of
the next Congress session at
Benaras Congratulations! Your responsibility in these
troubled times is great I hope your speech will reflect the realities of the times Don’t worry! It will! Gentlemen, it is true that
everything comes to an end Lord Curzon’s Viceroyalty is
about to end Undoubtedly a man of great
intellect boundless energy brilliant power of expression and great enthusiasm But even a clever man like him
could not understand the people of India
because of a lack of sympathy and
imagination Lord Curzon has no sympathy for popular
aspirations Whenever he finds such
aspirations he thinks he is doing his
country good by suppressing such aspirations what a way to serve the nation As a result, at the end of his
service we find widespread discontent
in India much more acute than ever
before Bengal was brutally partitioned in spite of the fiercest
opposition to any Government move in the
last 50 years Bengal’s respected leaders
were not even consulted Against a harsh and
uncontrolled bureaucracy Bengal’s heroic stand has
astonished and gratified the rest of India Of the new techniques of
agitation, Swadeshi is both an economic and
patriotic movement However, the word ‘boycott’ has
an unsavoury ring to it It at once conveys to the mind a desire to injure another Seeing our relationship with
England there’s no question of adopting
such an approach Nevertheless, we have resolved
that India will be governed by
Indians In time, we should form a
government similar to the self-governing colonies of
the Empire There is only one remedy for
India’s grievances : Self-government! The British bureaucracy in India
should shed some of its powers in
favour of the educated classes of India If this happens, India will find its
proper place among the nations of the world and become the master of the
situation and her own destiny This is the goal to be attained This is the India we must build Journalist friends! Before you
question me I would like to clarify my
position and that of my colleagues in the
Congress Two new words have been
coined in our politics : Moderates and Extremist These words have a specific
relation to time and Their meaning will change with
time The Extremists of today may be
Moderates tomorrow as today’s Moderates were
Extremists yesterday When the Congress was new today’s Moderate Mr. Dadabhai was considered an Extremist but today those views are
considered Moderate So, the term Extremist is
indicative of progress We are called Extremists today Tomorrow our successors will
call themselves Extremists and we’ll be the Moderates ? Every new party begins as an
Extremist and ends as Moderate Does this mean you represent
the Extremists and Mr. Gokhale the
Moderates? Yes! Does Mr. Gokhale’s speech at the Benaras Congress
session indicate he’s becoming an Extremist and
soon you’ll both belong to the same
group? No! I don’t think that will
happen Mr. Gokhale’s position in
Benaras is the farthest he’ll I won’t call his position an
Extremist one at the most a little less
Moderate What’s the basic difference
between your groups ? This government is of no use to
us A foreign Government can never be successfu or permanent On this point there is no
difference of opinion Let me put it this way This alien government has
ruined our country Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji was the
first to point out that our country was being exploited Eventually this will finish the
country He went to England to
propagate this and spent 20 years trying to
convince the English of the injustice being done to
India What was the result ? He returned at the age of 82
years empty-handed and bitterly
disappointed Mr. Gokhale is not yet
disappointed He is my friend and I know of
his conviction Mr. Gokhale is not disappointed
nor sad He is willing to wait for another
80 only to tell us eventually that, like Dadabhai, he is also
disappointed But we are not willing to wait! Do you have an alternative
solution ? Certainly! They believe in
appealing to the British We don’t! What is your approach ? Boycott! Not writing petitions
but boycott! Will you boycott British goods ? We’ll go beyond that! We won’t let the government collect the revenue or help in
keeping peace We will not spill Indian blood or
give money to fight wars beyond our
frontiers We’ll not assist in
administration or justice If need be, we’ll not pay the
taxes Mr. Gokhale strongly feels that the agitation should be
constitutional Constitutional ? What
Constitution ? Show me the Indian
Constitution, if there is one Nowhere in the history of British
rule in India can we find a Constitution like
that In the history of England If Mr. Gokhale wants to believe
in a Constitution he may do so, but tell him not to ridicule himself by trying
to convince us So you believe that Moderate
methods won’t work ? Well! Let’s say there is no
record in history of rulers giving an empire to the ruled, of their own free
will empire has ended because the rulers have conceded power
to the ruled Power is not gifted. It has to be
seized Power is not gifted. It has to be
seized Strange that you should not
want the annual session to be held in
Nagpur Nagpur is an Extremists’
stronghold Hence the decision. We are
also not happy with it! We changed Lahore as the
venue of the session because of the Extremist
influence there What can I say, Gopalrao ? They have taken over all our
committees in Nagpur It is said if Tilak is not elected
President They’ll let loose rowdyism
during the session Will Tilaktake up the
responsibility of Congress Presidentship ? Their methods are nothing short
of hooliganism Is this the new spirit the
Extremists talk of ? If so, we have nothing to do
with it We must change the venue of
the Congress If it is held in Nagpur God
knows what will happen right! I’ll put this matter
before others Some other region may agree to
host the session So now the Congress session
will be held in Surat! Good! We’ll go there in full strength Remember, we do not want to
cause a spilt nor do we want to build another
Congress We don’t want the Congress to
regress now! Our aim is Self- Rule It should be achieved as soon
as possible Those who have opted for
Surat, will drag the Congress back Hence, it should have been held
in Nagpur These autocrats want to cripple
the Congress Hence, they are against
Self-Rule and Boycott The fight is between two
principles : Doing what is right and the other: do, but don’t
displease the government We are those who believe in the
first principle : Doing what is right whether it pleases the
government or not The banner of Self-Rule was
unfurled last year by Dadabhai Naoroji the Grand
Old Man of India Brothers ! Self-Rule is our aim Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it! Sisters and Brothers! I am
honoured to introduce Dr. Rashbehari Ghosh,
President of this session We don’t want him! He is not acceptable to us! Make Tilak the President! May I speak ? I had given a notice of
amendment to the Presidential election,
Banerji The election is over You cannot speak. Please leave
the stage It is my right to speak I had asked for permission in
writing I have a right to speak to the
delegates Mr. Tilak you have expressed
your dissent Please leave the stage Let him speak! Please leave the stage I won’t ss! I won’t leave till I am allowed to
speak Throw him out! Wait! No one will even touch
him! Please speak Mr. Tilak! Revolutionary slogans were in
the air Tempers ran high and conflict
seemed inevitable The Moderates controlled the
Congress The Moderates won but lost
their popularity Tilak’s group was far more
popular The Congress became weak
and for years

26 thoughts on “Bharat Ek Khoj 48: Extremists And Moderates

  1. Take a bow ..To Shyam Benegal sir…So enlightening….Even today most of our countryman doesn't understand all these things. ..For a better India…We must be analytical and logical enough and must acquire scientific temperament….

  2. I think both gopalKrishna Gokhale & BalGangadhar Tilak were correct. Only difference of opinion & approach to achieve freedom from Britishers . Both lokmanya Tilak & G.k Gokhale will always remain in our hearts. Jai hind. Jai Bhavani jai shivaji .

  3. Kisi bhi year m chale jao before Christ se aaj 2018 tak kisi bhi Desh ko agar mazboot or Ameer Banna hai to sawdeshi aandolan se badhiya aandolan nhi ho skta israel Japan or China isi wajah se mazbooti se khade hai

  4. Thank you very much shri.benegal sir for giving such a knowlegful serial of our country. It is very necessary to all countrymen to watch all episodes carefully and learn how our ancestral has done to us.

  5. Tilak never said this bill had wrong intentions. His only argument was that these reforms should come from within the society.
    Shyam Benegal is communist he has portrayed Tilak in a very illicit way.

  6. Tilak was the greatest leader of Indian National movement. He had a huge mass. He was the liberator of the Indian press. He wrote Gita rahasya. He spent 6 years in Mandalay jail. Created home rule league with Annie Besant. And most importantly he was the key figure in swadeshi movement.
    But look how Nehru and Shyam benegal have portrayed him. This is very unfortunate.

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