Task: Critical look at labels like moderates and extremists to understand the nationalist movement.
Indian nationalist movement is marked by different phases. The idea of freedom and self rule evolved gradually from dominion status to complete freedom. Approaches and methodology of achieving freedom changed from petitions and lawful procedure to mass agitation such as non-cooperation movements, Quit India movement, etc. In terms of participation of people, the idea of nationalism spread from educated group to common people such as the farmers, peasants and other sections of society. Moderates and extremists have always co-existed within the nationalist movement. But at the different stages of the nationalist movement, either the moderate or the extremist views have overpowered another. Therefore, it is improper to divide the nationalist movement into moderates and extremist phases. Some of the reasons are:
1. There were leaders with extremist views during the moderate phase. On the other hand, there were leaders with moderate views during the extremist phase.
2. There existed nationalist who cannot be called either moderates or extremists such as . They existed during both the periods.
3. Gandhiji is one of the nationalist leader who was neither an extremist nor a moderate, though he came in the nationalist struggle after the extremist phase was over in 1918.
4. The occurrence of events played a huge role in the upswing of the nationalist struggle. In the beginning people used petition and a lawful procedure to get self governance but as time passed and the government’s harshness increased the methods of achieving independence started to differ till the day we got purna swaraj.