Bal Gangadhar Tilak became the leader of extremists group in the Congress. He was born in 1856 in Maharashtra also in a Brahmin family. He was a meritorious student.
For a time being he worked as a Professor in Ferguson College, Poona. But his patriotic zeal led him to politics and he joined the Indian National Congress.
From the very beginning he hated the British rule. To foster the ideas among the mass he published two weeklies the Keshari and the Maratha in which he expressed his views against the Government in strong words.
Tilak’s extremism began to spread rapidly. In 1887 the Government sentenced him to 18 months rigorous imprisonment. After his return he became a greater extremist. He championed the view of radicalism in the congress meetings. He advocated the policy of sufferings and sacrifice for the cause of the country.
During the time of Curzon Tilak stood as the strongest opponent of the British empire. When the Swadeshi movement started he strongly opposed to the milder policies of the congress. He strongly recommended the militant method of agitation. Many like minded congress men became his followers. Men like Lala Lajpat Rai of the Punjab and Bipin Chandra Pal of Calcutta turned his blind followers. They came to be known as Lal-Bal-Pal.
They represented three regions, Maharashtra, the Punjab and Calcutta where extremism began to grow. They trained the minds of the people for political agitation for self-government. Tilak organized the “Ganapati” and “Sivaji” festivals in Maharashtra for rousing mass consciousness and the feeling for the unity of all.
These festivals had tremendous impact on the society. Even now every year these festivals are organized by the people of Maharashtra. Tilak was a man of exceptional drive and force. He applied these principles in his public life. He introduced many social reforms. He fought tooth and nail against the age of “Consent Act” and supported in public the Brahmanical Code of behaviour in Maharashtra. He derived all his learning’s and ideas from the “Bhagavad-Gita”. Hence to Tilak religion had a spiritual importance a concern for worldly matters and for the human conditions in general.
Having being established the grip over the political arena Tilak and his followers tried to influence the people criticizing the Government. Bankim Chandra described the Congressmen as policies of the “place-hunting politicians” and Aurobindo Ghose described the Congress as being out of contact thus became un-national.
The extremists thus projected their viewpoints expressing their dissatisfaction against the increasing Westernization of Indian Society, dissatisfaction with the achievements of the Congress piloted by the moderates, exposing the deteriorating economic conditions of Indian and highlighting the reactionary policy of Curzon and his partition of Bengal.
The new turn found expression in the growth of revolutionary movement in the country at large. Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bipin Chandra Pal and Aurobindo Ghose defined the creed of extrimism articulating its aspirations and operations. Tilak gave the slogan to his followers “Swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it”. Aurobindo Ghose described Swaraj as the fulfillment of the ancient life of India under modern conditions, the return of the ‘Satyayugh’ of national greatness, self-liberation of the people for final fulfilment of the Vedantic ideal in politics”, which to him was the true ‘Swaraj’.
Lajpat Rai said “Swaraj was the first requisite for a nation and reform or good government could be no substitute for it. Thus Swaraj was a demand for complete freedom from foreign govt. The new leadership sought to create a passionate love for liberty accompanied by a spirit of sacrifice and the readiness to suffer for the cause of the country.
Bengal partition gave the extremists a wider stage to attract millions to play their role. They utilized the Vande Mataram movement as the beginning of the beginning. The extremists advocated Boycott of Foreign goods, use of Swadeshi goods, national education and passive resistance. Economic boycott of British made goods and the use of homemade or Swadeshi goods aimed at providing opportunities for work and employment. Lalaji explained that the original idea behind boycott movement was to cause pecuniary loss to the nation of shopkeepers.
It proved a most effective weapon against economic exploitation by the foreigners and for injuring British interests in India. He summed up “We desire to turn our faces away from Government House and turn then to huts of the people. This is the psychology, this is the ethics, and this is the spiritual significance of the boycott movement.”
The extremists emphasized the national scheme of education boycotting the Government controlled universities and colleges all over the country. Government threatened to take stern action against such boycotts. The extremists advocated for the establishment of National Universities independent of Government control. The Bengal National College was established by the Bengal Council of National Education.
A large number of National Schools came up in East Bengal. In Madras the Pachaiappa National College was established. In the Punjab the D.A.V. movement made considerable work by establishing schools and colleges of national character. The policy of the extremists thus had echo on all regions of the country.
The leader of the extremists Lokamanya Tilak preached non-cooperation with the Government in all sectors. In 1902 at Poona he said “You must realise that you are a great factor in the power with which the administration of India is controlled. You are yourself the great lubricants which enabled the gignantine machinery to work so smoothly. Though down trodden and neglected you must be conscious of your power of moving the administration impossible if you but choose to make it”. This statement of Tilak created a long lasting effect on the minds of the people irrespective of any caste, creed and religion.
The extremists also encouraged co-operative organisations. Voluntary associations were set up for rural sanitation, preventive police duties, regulation of pilgrim gathering, for providing relief during famines and other national calamities. Arbitration committees were established to take up civil and non-cognizable disputes in villages and small towns so as to expose the imperialistic and inhuman behaviour of the British administration.
Bipin Chandra Pal was entrusted with the work of co-operative movements in India. The extremists thus emphasized on the process of putting an end to the economic exploitation by the Britishers and on getting larger share for Indians in the administration of their own country.
The extremist activities were marked in many parts of India. The first political murder of Europeans was committed at Poona on 22nd June 1897 by the Chapekar brothers (chitpavan Brahmins) Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Balkrishna Savarkar. Mr. Rand, President of the Plague Committee of Poona was murdered. The chapekar brothers were caught and convicted and hanged.
The British Government also implicated Tilak and prosecuted him for seditious writings against the British Government and he was awarded 18 months rigorous imprisonment. The beginning of the revolutionary activities in Bengal is traced to the work of bhadralok class. M.P. Molia organised a secret revolutionary society. Under the name “Anushilan society”.
The partition of Bengal and the offensive measures committed by Indians through boycott of British goods and Swadeshism stirred the political consciousness of Bengal in an extensive manner. Sri Barindra Kumar Ghose, brother of Arobinda Ghose published, thought provoking and inspiring articles in yugantar that roused public opinion against the British which ultimately resulted in an attempt to kill Mr. Kingsford, the Judge of Muzaffarpur by Khudiram.
Arobindo and Barindra were accused of the conspiracy case and tried. Revolutionary activities was also organised in the Punjab and Delhi. In December 1912 a bomb was thrown on Lord Hardinge on his state entry to the new imperial capital in Chandni Chowk, Delhi, killing his attendants. Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh experienced the milder form of extremist revolutionary movements during this period.