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Freedom is our Birthright

At that time the Congress was made up two sections of people with different views .

  • The Moderates

  • The Radicals

The Moderates were not excessive or unreasonable while the Radicals were more forceful in their demands.

In the 1890s the Radicals opposed the moderate approach of some of the Congress leaders.

In Bengal, Maharashtra and Punjab, many leaders adapted more radical means to gain freedom from the British. They were .

  • Bepin Chandra Pal

  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak

  • Lala Lajpat Rai


Bepin Chandra Pal          Bal Gangadhar Tilak        Lala Lajpat Rai     


Bepin Chandra Pal, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai were known as the Triumvirate or the three militant patriots of the Congresses - "Lal Bal Pal". The trio was responsible for initiating the first popular upsurge against British colonial policy in the 1905 partition of Bengal, before the advent of Gandhi into Indian politics. Bepin Chandra Pal was also the founder of the nationalistic journal Bande Mataram.

  • The trio criticised the Moderates for their "politics of prayers", and emphasised the importance of self-reliance and constructive work.

  • They argued that people must rely on their own strength, not on the "good" intentions of the government

  • People must fight for Swaraj.

  • Tilak raised the slogan, "Freedom is my birthright and I shall have it!"

Viceroy Curzon

In 1905 Viceroy Curzon partitioned Bengal which was the biggest province of British India and included Bihar and parts of Orissa. The government separated East Bengal and merged it with Assam.

The British stated that Bengal was divided for administrative convenience; where as the real reason was to restrict the influence of Bengali politicians and to split the Bengali people.

It was this division of Bengal that brought the moderates and radicals together. All the leaders opposed the division. Large public meetings and demonstrations were organised and novel methods of mass protest developed.

The resulting struggle was known as the Swadeshi movement. This movement was most forceful in Bengal, and spread to other regions also. This movement was known as the Vandemataram Movement in Andhra.

Objectives of the Swadeshi movement

  • To oppose British rule

  • To encourage the ideas of self-help

  • To promote national education, and use of Indian languages.

  • To fight for Swaraj

  • To promote mass mobilisation against British rule

  • To popularise boycott of British institutions and goods

Some Radical leaders suggested "revolutionary violence" to overthrow British rule. Even as the Swadeshi movement was gaining momentum a group of Muslim landlords and nawabs formed the All India Muslim League at Dacca in 1906.

  • The League supported the partition of Bengal.

  • It wanted a separate electorate for Muslims. This demand was granted by the British government in 1909.

  • Some seats in the councils were now reserved for Muslims

  • The Muslim seats were elected by Muslim voters.

  • Politicians started favouring people from their own religion

The Congress split in 1907.


Now the Congress was dominated by the Moderates. The Radicals under Bal Gangadhar Tilak functioned from outside.


The Moderates and Radicals reunited in 1915.


The Congress and the Muslim League signed the Lucknow Pact and decided to work together for representative government in the country.


Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Others at the Time of the Lucknow Pact

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