The Government Strategy during 1905-1917

From the beginning of Indian National Movement itself the British government strategy had been aggressive to the Congress. Although the Moderates dominated Congress and they distanced themselves from the militant activities but the aggressive strategy of British Govt did not stop even towards the Moderates. It was due to the fact that government considered, that the moderates still represented an anti-imperialist force with Nationalistic Attitude. With the emergence of Militant Nationalism during Swadeshi and Boycott movement, the government used various strategies like Divide and Rule, Carrot and Stick Policy etc.

Government Strategy of Divide and Rule

  • On 16 October 1905, the partition of Bengal took place.
  • In Bengal British Govt followed the policy of divide and rule by dividing the Bengal into two parts on the communal lines as largely Muslim eastern areas were separated from the largely Hindu western areas.
  • Although the reasoning mentioned by the British Govt was that it would enhance administrative efficiency but in reality, it was aimed at enhancing the divide between two communities on communal lines. Partition was supported by the Muslims of East Bengal and this led to the establishment of a brand-new organization in the form of Muslim League.
  • In 1911, Lord Hardinage united the Bengal in order to appease the Bengali sentiments and to check the ever-expanding revolutionary activities in Bengal.

The policy of carrot and stick

  • British Govt used this policy to tackle the emergence of Extremist Nationalists during the Swadeshi Movement and also on various other occasions.

Use of Carrot and Stick during Swadeshi

  • It was a 3-level approach of repression-conciliation and suppression.
  • Under this policy in the first stage mild suppression of extremists were to be done and the main aim was to frighten the moderate Nationalists.
  • In the second phase, British govt used the moderates as an alternative to the militant nationalists who were growing in popularity and made promises to the Moderates that reform will be brought if they disassociate themselves from the Extremists. This was a conciliation approach.
  • In the third phase once Moderates joined the British, the Extremists can be suppressed heavily. And later, moderates also can be ignored thus materializing the actual objective of the Carrot and Stick Policy.

Govt Strategy during World War

  • During World War in order to gather the Indian support for war, British again followed policy of Carrot and Stick and in August 1917 Montague statement was presented in the British Parliament which aimed at increasing association of Indians in every branch of the administration and the gradual development of self-governing institution.
  • Later in 1919, the diarchy or dual system of Administration was introduced in the form of Montford Reform.

Government strategy for controlling the revolutionary activities

The Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act, 1907

  • It was a British colonial act to restrict the public meetings which were likely to promote sedition or to cause a disturbance of public

The Explosive Substances Act (1908)

  • This act prohibited the use of any explosive substance with intention of taking life or cause serious injury to property.

The News Paper Act, 1908

  • The aim of this act was to check to Revolutionary Nationalist activities. Under the provisions of this act, the property of the Newspaper as well as printing press was to be confiscated in case of evidences of printing any seditious material which provoked the public feeling for violence being found.

The Press Act of 1910

  • This act imposed strict censorship on all kind of Publication in India.
  • It was enacted to check the activities of Journals like Kesari, Jugantar, Bandemataram which were influencing the Indian National Movement and was also promoting the Radical Nationalism.

The Defence of India Act 1915

  • It was an emergency law enacted by the Governor-General of India in 1915. All non-official Indian members in the Viceroy's Legislative council supported the Defence of India ACT 1915.This act was supported unanimously.
  • It aimed at restricting the Revolutionary and Nationalist activities during and after the World War and this act granted the executives a wide range of powers.
  • The act played a key role in suppressing the activities of Anushilan Samiti and Ghadar Movement

Impact of the Govt Strategy

  • It was quite unfortunate for the Indian National Movement that implications of the strategy were neither understood by the Moderates nor by the Extremists.
  • The Policy of Carrot and Stick resulted into rich dividends for the British in the form of Surat split of 1907.
  • The Policy of Divide and Rule resulted in to widening the divide between the Hindu- Muslim unity and ultimately resulted into the partition of India.

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