Home Rule Movement: In 1916, two Home Rule Movements were launched in the country: one under the leadership of Bal Gangadhar Tilak and the other under Annie Besant.
Tilak’s Rule League : Tilak setup the Home Rule League at the Bombay Provincial conference held at Belgaum in April 1916. The Tilak’s League who was to work in Maharashtra (including Bombay city), Karnataka, the central Provinces and Berar. Tilak’s League was organised into six branches.
Tilak popularised the demand for Home Rule through his lectures. He said:” India was like a son who had grown up and attend the majority. It wasn’t right now that the trustee or the father should give him what was his due. The people of India must get this affected. They have a right to do so.”
Objectives : The objectives of the Home Rule League were:
- Establishment of self-government for India in British Empire
- Working for national education and social and political reforms
The Home Rule movement created public opinion in favour of Home Rule through public meetings, discussions, reading rooms, propaganda, newspapers and pamphlets.
Government’s Action Against Tilak : As soon as the Tilak’s movement for Home Role began to gather momentum, the government hit back. On July 8 23, 1916, Tilak’s 60th birthday, government sent a notice to Tilak asking him to show cause why he should not be bonded over for good behaviour. Tilak moved the High Court against the notice and was defended by a team of lawyers led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Tilak won the case.
Besant’s Home Rule League : Annie Besant came to India in 1893 to work for the Theosophical Society. In 1914, she decided to enlarge her activities to include the buildings of a movement for Home Rule in India on lines of Irish Home Rule League. In September 1916, Besant announced the formation of Home Role League, with George Arundale, her Theosophical follower, as the organising secretary. Jamnadas Dwarkadas, Shankarlal Banker, Indulal Yagnik, George Arundale, L.P. Ramaswamy Lyer were among the prominent members of Besant’s League.
Arrest Of Besant: In June 1917, the Government of Madras decided to place Mrs Besant and her associates, B.P. Wadia and George Arundale under arrest. Their internment became the occasion of nation-wide protest. In a dramatic gesture, Sir S. Subramania Aiyar renounced his knighthood. The government repression only served to hard on the attitude of agitators and strengthen thier resolve to resist the government. The British Government decided to effect a change in policy and adopt concilliatory posture.
Decline of Home Rule Movement: Home Rule Movement declined after Besant accepted the proposed Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms and the Tilak went to Britain to pursue the libel case that he had filed against Valentine chirol, the author of India Unrest.