Home Rule Movement

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 19, 2022, 5:35

The Home Rule Movement is considered a turning point in the history of the freedom struggle in India. It is a movement that has defined the struggle for Independence and accounts to act as a stimulus for further movements in India.

Home Rule Movement Need

The Indian freedom struggle had lost its momentum due to two sole reasons:

  • The split of the National Congress Party in 1907: The National Congress party's differences had led to the emergence of Extremists and Moderates which created a chaotic atmosphere in the air.
  • Following this was Lokmanya Tilak's arrest for six years after he heavily criticized and called out the British Government for their unruly actions in his newspaper Kesari.

After serving his sentence from 1908 to 1914, the freedom activist Lokmanya Tilak observed that there was a lot of disconnect among the congressmen and that the consequences of the Surat split were still fresh. He decided to take the reigns of freedom into his own hands and start a national movement against the British.

Initially, he tried tracing his way back to the Indian National Congress and eliminating the differences by combining the Extremists and Moderates. The face of Congress had changed after the Surat Split and the need to put aside differences and work in unison was a priority.

But since the need for self-governance was high, Tilak began his own efforts to ignite a revolutionary change by setting up a Home-rule Movement in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and central provinces in April 1916. Annie Besant set up her own Home rule movement later in the same year.

Home Rule Movement Significance

The main aim of establishing such a movement was to erect a government ruled by its own people. Masses of Indians were educated about the idea of self-governance which helped in sowing seeds for accelerating the Indian struggle and bridging the gap between Indians. Only peaceful methods of protest were condoned and people were educated through newspapers and organized rallies.

The roar of political activism could be heard around India and paved the way for the extremists to get back into Congress. This led to the unification of Moderates, Extremists, and the Muslim League for a period of time, which proved to be a huge positive. The movement spread like wildfire, which led to attempts of the British Government to curb the movement by:

  1. Enforcing Indian Press Act 1910
  2. Provision of Newspaper 1908
  3. The arrest of Annie Besant in June-September 1917

Eventually, though, the movement led Lord Montagu to release the August Declaration that stated that the Indians will be allowed to have a say in the administration and development self-governing institute of India. This also meant that the Home Rule movement would not be tagged as a radical movement anymore.

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The downfall of the Home Rule Movement

Many factors contributed to the downfall of the Home Rule Movement. The declining popularity of this movement can be concluded by the following events:

  • The movement was derailed after Lokmanya Tilak fled to England for a libel case against Valentine Chirol and Annie Besant was not able to demonstrate strong leadership skills
  • The Home rule movement was not warmly accepted by everyone; there were serious objections from the Muslim, Anglo-Indian, and Non-Brahmin communities
  • The idea of Satyagraha, non-violence and Gandhian philosophy resonated more with the Indian people, ultimately dissolving this movement.
  • Lastly, the movement was not propagated to all classes and sections of the Indian society

The Home Rule League was united by the Indian National Congress in 1920, with Mahatma Gandhi as the President.

The Home Rule Movement was driven to have more Indian representation in the field of politics. While it helped India's freedom struggle significantly, it fell; but even changed, it brought about positive changes in the country, such as the singing of the Lucknow Pact between the Indian National Congress and Muslim League to preserve the unity among the Hindu and Muslim Brotherhood.

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FAQs on Home Rule Movement

Q.1. Which world movement inspired the home rule movement in India?

The Irish Home Rule movement inspired the Home Rule Movement in India

Q.2. When did Annie Besant launch the Home-rule Movement?

Annie Besant launched the home-rule movement in September 1916.

Q.3. How many home-leagues were there during the Home rule movement?

There were 2 home leagues during the Home rule movement in India.

Q.4. Who launched the Home Rule Movement?

Indian nationalist Bal Gangadhar Tilak and British social reformer and Indian independence leader Annie Besant launched the Home Rule Movement.