Contributions of Moderate Nationalists
Criticism of Economic Policies of British
The moderates put forward the following demands before the British :
- To reduce the land revenue and to protect the peasants from illegal revenue collection by the zamindars.
- To reduce the military expenditure.
- To increase the allocation of money for activities such as health and education.
- To abolish the salt tax.
- To improve the working conditions of plantation laborers.
- To provide for the cheaper credit to the peasants with the help of Agricultural banks
- They demanded for the development and protection of Indian Industries through increased tariffs on imports and government aid for these industries.
Britishers had established Imperial legislative councils under the Indian Councils Act 1861. These councils did not have any real power and were intended to mask the official acts and policies as being passed by a representative body. Further, the Britishers appointed only 45 Indian members from 1862 to 1892. Except for the few independent members like Syed Ahmed Khan, Rash Behari Ghosh, K.L. Nulkar, rest of the members were wealthy and loyal to British.
So the moderate members of Congress put forward the following demands :
- To increase the number of Indians in the councils.
- They demanded for the greater power over financial matters like budget.
- The long term objective was to establish self government.
- The power to vote and make changes in the budget.
- The majority membership of Indians in the legislative councils.
- The demand for the self government similar to the colonies of Australia, Japan was put forward by leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, and Lokmanya Tilak. They raised the slogan no taxation without representation .
- They demanded for sufficient representation of Indians in the executive Council of the Viceroy and the Governors.
The Demands for Administrative Reforms
- Demand for increasing the number of Indians in the government services. They argued that the British bureaucrats and officers expect very high salaries, so the increase in the number of Indians would reduce the economic burden on the government. Secondly, Indianisation of government services would reduce the drain of wealth as salaries and pensions of British officials were ultimately sent to Britain. Thirdly, they criticized the British, for being discriminatory to Indians by keeping them out from important administrative positions.
- They demanded for the simultaneous examinations of Indian civil service in India and England. This was to ensure increased participation of Indians in the government services.
- They demanded for the separation of Executive and Judiciary to avoid the arbitrary actions of police and the bureaucracy. Further, they criticized the bureaucracy for being tyrannical and oppressive and the Judiciary for being costly and time consuming.
- They demanded for the repeal of various unfair laws like the Arms act and the License act.
- They demanded for the reform of municipal and local bodies giving them more powers and funds. This was to improve the general welfare and administrative efficiency of administration.
- The moderates criticized the aggressive foreign policy for the annexation of Burma, war against Afghanistan and operation against the tribals in the North West Frontier province.
- They demanded to remove the racial discrimination and to ensure just treatment of Indian labourers who were working abroad in the colonies of British.
Demands for the protection of civil rights in India during moderate phase (1885 to 1905)
Achievements of moderate nationalism
- The moderate nationalism promoted the national consciousness and national identity. They laid the foundation for the growth of feeling of India as a nation.
- They were able to create anti-colonial ideology and political awakening and consciousness among the public.
- They were able to expose the myth of benevolent despotism of British rule in India. Through their economic critique and criticism of British policies etc, they uncovered the exploitative nature of British rule in India.
- They were able to build a feeling of unity among the people of diverse religion, caste, creed and language etc.
- They prepared the stage for a more aggressive militant and mass based national movement in the coming years.
- They laid the foundation stones for the progressive ideas of democracy, liberty, civil rights and freedom which played a major role in the national movement.
- They were able to get some of their demands fulfilled such as allowing simultaneous examinations of Indian civil service in India and England, reforms such as Indian councils act 1892 act.