Freedom is Our Birth Right


The Indian National Congress was a party of moderates till the 1890s. By moderates, we mean those who were dominating figures of the Congress party, and most of the decisions were influenced by their views and opinions.

They were the ones who believed that the Britishers are not as evil as they appear and they respect the classical idea of freedom and justice. So, we could achieve freedom if we work patiently, collectively, and steadily. So, they appealed through petitions, speeches, and articles. Some of the most famous moderates were Dadabhai Naroji, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, Gopalakrishna Gokhale, etc.

Freedom is Our Birth Right

  • Around the 1890s, people began to question the working style of congress due to its moderate nature.

  • Young leaders like Bepin Chandra Pal, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and Lala Lajpat Rai had revolutionary objectives and ways.

  • They condemned the congress party’s moderators for their “politics of prayers”.

  • They believed that we should believe in ourselves, and our strengths, and we shouldn’t just depend on the good intentions of the government.

  • They also convinced people to fight for themselves and swaraj.

  • Meanwhile, Bal Gangadhar Tilak came up with a new slogan

“Freedom is my birthright, and I shall have it!”

Bal Gangadhar Tilak Indian independence Activist

  • In 1905 Britishers divided the biggest province, Bihar, into two parts for their benefit. It then included present-day Bihar and Orissa.

  • The main purpose of the British government was to diminish the power of Bengal politicians. So, to do that, they segregated the Bengali population.

  • This segregation of Bihar led to mass protests and movements against the British government all over India. All these activities combined are referred to as the Swadeshi movement.

    “Freedom is my birthright, and I shall have it!”. Bal Gangadhar Tilak Indian independence activist

  • The Swadeshi movement encouraged people all over India to be selfdependent, to use the goods and services that are completely Indian, to promote our language, and boycott everything that was, directly or indirectly, related to the British government.

  • At the beginning of the twentieth century, a few prominent Muslim people came together to form the All India Muslim League at Dacca.

  • The league supported the separation of Bengal.

  • In 1909 the British government accepted the demand of the All India Muslim League to have a separate electorate for Muslims.

The Growth of Mass Nationalism

  • After 1919, that is the First World War, peasants, tribals, students, a few business groups, and women in a huge number came together to oppose British rule, which led to the growth of mass nationalism.

  • All this happened because the First World War changed the economic and political situations in India.

  • The war led to a huge increase in defence expenditure.

  • This made the government increase taxes on the common people and businesses.

  • All this led to a high increase in the prices of goods which made living difficult for people.

  • Indian businesses got huge benefits from the First World War as the demand for industrial goods increased whereas imports declined.

  • Which made Indian business persons understand the level of benefit they can make. So, they started demanding more opportunities to get better off.

  • The British forced many Indians to join the army for their benefit. They came back with many inspirational ideas about peasants' struggles which inspired everyone in India.

The Advent of Mahatma Gandhi

  • Mahatma Gandhi came back from South Africa to India in 1915.

  • There he helped Indians in fighting for their rights in South Africa. Due to this, he was already a famous and respected leader internationally.

  • After coming back to India he spent his first year exploring India and its people to understand them and their problems in a better way.

  • Initially, he helped in the local level movements like Champaran and Kheda. He also led a millworkers' strike in 1918.

The Rowlatt Satyagraha

  • The Rowlatt act was passed by the British government in 1919. Which repressed the freedom of expression and made the police stronger.

  • Mahatma Gandhi and other prominent leaders found this act to be inappropriate and oppressive. They believed that no one has the right to take away the freedom of people.

  • To oppose this act, Gandhiji declared satyagraha on 6 April 1919. Which was a nonviolent movement.

  • This was the first movement against the British government that took place approximately in all parts of India.

  • Rowlatt satyagraha was also an initiative to bring the Hindus and Muslims together.

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

  • 1919 was the year when a huge number of hartals and movements were taking place and the British government used cruel measures to repress these movements.

  • The Jallianwala Bagh incident happened on 13th April 1919 in Amritsar. It happened on Baisakhi day. This suppression is an example where British officer General Dyer showed cruelty.

  • A large number of people were killed and injured in the atrocities done by General Dyer.

  • When Rabindranath Tagore came to know about this incident he showed his anger by returning his knighthood.


During the 1890s, moderators were questioned by the people of the country. The young leaders wanted to have more radical objectives and ways to fight against the Britishers. After the first world war, a huge number of people joined the Mass Nationalist Movement. The first world war brought a huge amount of political and economic changes to society. After returning from South Africa Mahatma Gandhi initiated various movements. Rowlatt satyagraha is one such movement that was started by him.


Q1. Who were Radicals?

Ans. Radicals were those members of the congress party who were extremists. They believed in self-dependency and wanted people to fight for their rights.

Q2. Which rights were violated under the Rowlatt Act?

Ans. This act gave unbounded power to the British government to suppress any political movements. This act allowed the police to arrest anyone at any place without any trial and can keep them detained for two years.

Q3. Who partitioned Bengal? How was it separated?

Ans. Viceroy Curzon segregated Bengal in 1905. Instead of aggregating it based on Bengali and non-Bengali areas. He segregated East Bengal and merged it with Bengal.

Q4. What argument did the British give for the division of Bengal? And what was the actual motive?

Ans. The British justified the division of Bengal by saying that it was needed for administrative convenience. But actually, it was done for the benefit of the British and its business class. They wanted to decrease the influence of Bengali Political leaders. So, they did this by dividing the Bengali population into two parts.

Q5. Why did Congress split in 1907? And When did they again decide to reunite?

Ans. At the time of the Swadeshi, movement Moderators were not in support of boycotting Bristisher’s goods and services. As they believed that it may use some violence. After splitting in 1907 congress was dominated by moderators and another party was led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Congress decided to reunite in December 1915.

Updated on: 27-Dec-2022

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