Anti-British And Other Movements Upto 1917

The run-up to the initiation of the communist movement in India covered the first seventeen or eighteen years of the twentieth century. Let us, therefore, take a quick glance at the main political trends and events of this period.

For almost twenty years since its formation, the Indian National Congress remained under the domination of “moderate” leaders like SN Banerjee, Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, Gopal Krishna Gokhale etc. Besides journalistic activities, they carried on some propaganda work from within the Imperial and Provincial Legislative Councils. Though these councils were utterly powerless, leaders like Gokhale (particularly famous for his regular “budget speeches”) and Mehta utilised them with great oratory to level trenchant criticisms against the government. This helped spread strong nationalist fervour among educated sections. However, their demands – within legislatures and at annual Congress conferences — never went beyond rudimentary political and administrative reforms (e.g., demand for slight extension of the powers of the councils, Indianisation of the ICS etc.) and redressal of economic grievances. Organisationally, the Congress was more of an annual three-day show for passing paper resolutions than a party with different layers of committees etc.; it had very little funds, few regular activists and only a couple or so of secretaries.

The swadeshi movement

Criticism of the “mendicancy” of the Moderate Congress began to develop in the 1890s and became a strong, popular trend known as the “Extremists” around the middle of the first decade of the twentieth century. That was the period of the famous swadeshi movement — in many ways the mother of political trends and forms of struggle that would become popular in the decades to come. The period was also known as the era of Lal-Bal-Pal, after the names of the leaders of the three most advanced provinces of anti-British militancy: Lala Lajpat Rai of Punjab, Bal Gangadhar Tilak of Maharashtra and Bipin Chandra Pal of Bengal.

The swadeshi movement started in December 1903 as a spontaneous protest against the official proposal to partition Bengal. Only moderate methods like petitions, memoranda, public speeches etc were used. The Congress hesitantly passed the Boycott Resolution on August 7,1905. October 16, the day partition took effect, was observed as a day of mourning throughout Bengal with arandhan (leaving the cooking hearths unlit), rakhibandhan (tying wristlets of coloured thread on the hands of one another as a symbol of brotherhood), processions with vande mataram on people’s lips, and mammoth rallies, particularly in Calcutta. Towards the end of the year, the Benares session of Congress supported the swadeshi and boycott movement for Bengal, defying the pressure of Lal-Bal-Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh to extend the movement to the rest of India and give it the broader scope of full-fledged mass political struggle aimed at Swaraj, Within less than two years, the political difference that surfaced here between Moderates and Extremists would mature into a split. For the time being, however, the Extremists carried the Congress in Bengal with themselves and 1906 and 1907 saw a rapid progress of the movement : the boycott of not only foreign goods like cloth, sugar, liquor and domestic utilities, but also of government schools, colleges and offices, courts, titles and government services. These techniques, along with efforts to organise strikes in European mills in Bengal, were sometimes called “passive resistance”.[1] The nationalist constructive programme envisaged promotion of swadeshi industries and other economic enterprises like banks, national education, arbitration courts etc.

The boycott of foreign goods helped the nascent bourgeoisie, but swadeshi goods — particularly cloth — were dearer than imported ones and this sometimes created a problem for the poorer sections. Anyway, small to medium scale swadeshi textiles, porcelain, soap and match factories mushroomed; a few banks and insurance companies were setup. The entrepreneurs were chiefly from urbanised landholding classes, with a sprinkling of big zamindars. Only a few of these enterprises, like the famous Bengal Chemicals Factory set up by PC Roy, lived long. But the spirit of the national bourgeoisie — so very rare in India — was discernible here in a classic form. The impact was truly great and lasting in literature and arts.

The swadeshi movement was basically limited to urban areas. But both in terms of mass participation and the agitational-organisational activities of the advanced elements (those who made public speeches and took the lead in organising processions, bonfires of foreign goods, picketing of shops etc.) the movement represented the initiation of modern mass politics in India. Though it lacked a centralised organisation, grassroots samitis or volunteer corps proved very effective. But such positive aspects were counter-balanced by the ugly face of Hindu-Muslim riots in East Bengal. Also the Muslim League was founded at the height of the movement (in October 1906) at Dacca. Provoked by the shrewd British propaganda that a separate province would bring more jobs and social domination for Muslims, a good section of the Muslim elite worked actively against the movement. However, in some cases the riots were targeted against Hindu zamindars and mahajans with even Hindu peasants participating.

The swadeshi movement also encouraged a spurt in working class movement; on the other hand, in the phase of decline (after 1907) it witnessed terrorism of revolutionary patriots. These we shall discuss under separate sub-headings.

    Note :
    1. See Doctrine of Passive Resistance by Aurobindo Ghosh, where he also advocated “social boycott” of loyalists, civil disobedience of unjust laws and recourse to armed struggle if British repression went too far.

Popular movements from below

The message and spirit of the movement was carried to the four corners of India thanks to efforts by Tilak (with his Marathi paper Kesari), Lajpat Rai (with his paper Punjabee), Syed Haider Roza, Chidambaram Pillai and Bipin Chandra Pal (Pal made an extensive lecture tour in Madras presidency). Enterprises like the Punjab National Bank was founded at the time. Typical swadeshi forms of protest, like bonfires of foreign cloth and defying police rules to sing vande mataram, were to be seen in such far-off centres as Raj amundhry and Kakinada, the port city of Tuticorin, Bombay, Benares and so on. Quite often, however, various local economic issues and state repression provoked militant struggles which merged with the broader all-India movement. Let us take just one example[2].

In 1907, when urban Punjab was seething with discontent on account of racist outrages and the prosecution of the Punjabee and witnessed militant demonstrations as well as stray attacks on whites, the British had more cause for alarm in the ferment among the peasantry. This was so particularly because Punjab supplied about a third of the British Indian Army. In the Chenab canal colony area centred around Lyallpur, which had been developed for cultivation by government-sponsored irrigation, land blocks were allotted to peasant immigrants, ex-soldiers and even urban investors. The entire area was administered by the British bureaucracy with characteristic highhandedness. In October 1906 the Chenab Colonies Bill was introduced to tighten up the system further, and the very next month canal water rate in the larger Bari Doab region was hiked by 25 to 50 per cent. General price rise and a plague that broke out at the time added to the people’s miseries. A protest movement had already started in 1903 and now these provocations led to its intensification. There were several strikes among revenue clerks. The cultivators settled here included Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus and a remarkable communal amity prevailed among them. While organising themselves, they were eagerly looking for broader political leadership. So they invited Lala Lajpat Rai who after much dilly-dallying addressed meetings in Lyallpur in February and March 1907. A much more active role was played by Ajit Singh (who happened to be Bhagat Singh’s uncle). He organised the — An-juman-i-Mohibban-i-Watan in Lahore with its journal Bharat-Mata — and the Punjab Lt. Governor Denzil Ibbetson was quick to take alarm at this combination of “Muhammadan and Hindu names”. Ajit Singh and his colleagues systematically campaigned for non-payment of revenue and water rates. The authorities were further worried at reports of sepoys attending “seditious meetings” at Ferozepur. A government move to debar five leading Rawalpindi lawyers from attending the courts for having sponsored an Ajit Singh meeting led to massive protests in the city. There were strikes by Muslim and Sikh arsenal and railway engineering workers and stray attacks on bunglows of Europeans.

The authorities came down heavily on the movement in May 1907, banning all political meetings and deporting Lajpat Rai as well as Ajit Singh. At the same time there were concessions too : the Chenab Colonies Bill was vetoed down by the Viceroy, water rates were reduced and the deported leaders released within four months. The very significant militant unity of the three communities was eroded after the movement was over. By 1908-09, Hindu sabhas largely replaced the defunct Congress bodies in most districts of Punjab. The best product of the movement — Ajit Singh and his associates — took to revolutionary terrorism along with some others like Har Dayal, a brilliant Delhi student.

This example, one of many such scattered over different regions and periods of history, shows how the raw impulses of class struggle and democratic movements from below contribute to the development of those with broader political scope consciously led by parties, often throwing up real leaders of the soil. Limited space will not allow us to pay due attention to this aspect of the freedom struggle and communist movement in India, but this does not detract from its great significance.

The revolutionary patriots

In late 1907-08, the political situation in the country underwent important changes. The Congress split in the Surat session of December 1907 and became practically defunct under the leadership of the Moderates. The latter had outlived their historically progressive role and had become a bar on the further growth of the national movement. The swadeshi movement in Bengal and beyond petered out under heavy repression and imprisonment of leaders like Tilak. Thus the militant nationalists or Extremists also were not on the scene; nor did they leave behind them, for all their trenchant critique of the moderates, any positive clear-cut programme for advance. In the political void the most fearless and patriotic among the youth had nothing but individual terrorism to espouse. And so they did. Naturally the main centre was Bengal, the stronghold of swadeshi. A few terrorist groups like the Anushilan Samiti (founded in 1902) became active and were Joined by a number of others. Their activities took mainly two forms — swadeshi dacoities to raise funds and assassinations of oppressive officials and traitors. The most famous early example was set by Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki who in April 1908 hurled a bomb at a carriage believed to be carrying Kingsford, a former magistrate of Calcutta. Unfortunately the carriage was occupied by two British ladies, who were killed. Chaki committed suicide while Khudiram was tried and hanged. The brave young martyrs (Khudiram was only 18) were mourned and admired throughout the country; a Bengali folk song, in which Khudiram promises to be born again with the mark of the rope round his neck, became instantly popular and remains so to this day. Out of the many revolutionary secret societies in Bengal, Anushilan Samiti and Yugantarviere most active and lasted longer than others. At Nasik in Maharashtra, VD Savarkar had organised such a secret society, Abhinav Bharat, and it succeeded in killing the Nasik district magistrate in December 1909.

    Note :
    2. What follows in the next two paragraphs is a summary of a somewhat detailed account given by Sumit Sarkar in his Modern India, Macmillan India, (1983) pp 127-29

Terrorist actions in Bengal and other places continued through ebbs and high tides (e.g., a bomb attack on the Viceroy Lord Hardinge in Delhi on December 23,1912). The revolutionary patriots also operated from London, Paris, Geneva, Tokyo, Berlin etc. They used to send arms, money, revolutionary literature etc. into India and many of them were influenced by various revolutionary theories including, as we shall see, Marxism. The first world war encouraged them to try and get financial and military help from Britain’s enemies, i.e., Germany and Turkey and to take advantage of the reduction in white soldiers. The number of swadeshi dacoities and assassinations reached an all-time high. Special mention should be made of the great plan for capturing the Fort William in Calcutta, together with other actions, conceived by Jatin Mukherjee and his associates. Arrangements were made for a shipload of German arms, for which Naren Bhattacharya (later to be known as MN Roy) was sent to Java, and contact was established with a section of the Indian troops stationed in the Fort William. The plan failed, the German arms never arrived and “Bagha (Tiger) Jatin”, who had gone to Balasore in Orissa coast to receive the arms, died with his comrades fighting valiantly against the police. Among others who planned to overthrow the British in a foreign-armed coup, mention must be made of Rashbehari Ghosh, Sachindranath Sanyal, Virendra-nath Chattopadhyay, Dr. Bhupen Dutta, Abani Mukherjee etc. But the most well-organised and massive plan was made by the Ghadr (rebellion), a US-Canada-based group known after its weekly organ of the same name.

Founded in San Fransisco in 1913 by Har Dayal, Bhai Parmanand and others, the Ghadr soon evoked an enthusiastic response from the 15000-odd Sikh, Muslim and Hindu (with the Sikhs numerically predominating) settlers in the Pacific coast states. It planned to send the emigrants in large numbers back to India to organise revolt in the Army and among the peasantry; accordingly a few thousands of them returned to Punjab but some of them were either interned or restricted to their villages while others did not find much of a response from the Indians. The Chief Khalsa Diwan declared the Ghadr followers to be “fallen” Sikhs and criminals and helped the authorities to find them out. There was hardly any progress on the soil of India and then Rashbehari Bose was invited by the Ghadrites to take overall charge of an armed rebellion. He agreed and came over to Punjab. A mutiny was planned for February 21, 1915, to be staged simultaneously in various centres in Punjab, UP and certain other places inside the country and also outside (e.g., Singapore). But the plan leaked out, resulting in hundreds of arrests and death-penalties in the Lahore conspiracy cases. The martyrs included the 19 year-old Kartar Singh and Abdulla, one of the rebel sepoys executed in Ambala, who when lured by the authorities to betray his kafir (non-Muslim) comrades, retorted: “It is with these men alone that the gates of heaven shall open to me.”[3] There were scattered revolts in some centres in India and more notably in Singapore, which were mercilessly crushed.

The Ghadr was not only the most broad-based of all the revolutionary-patriotic groups, it was marked by a strong secularism. This was a definite advancement over the Bengal terrorists’ intense religiosity, which kept the Muslim youth aloof (and provided an honourable escape route after failure, as in the case of Aurobindo Ghosh). Most importantly, they were deeply influenced by socialist ideas, including the teachings of Karl Marx (Har Dayal was the first Indian to write an article on Marx in the Modern Review, March 1912, published from Calcutta). A number of them, like Sohan Singh Bhakna, later became important peasant and communist leaders in Punjab.

Before we end the account of overseas national-revolutionary activities, mention must be made of the Provisional Government of Independent India, established in Kabul in 1915 with Barkatullah and Raja Mahendra Pratap at its head. This, like some other attempts to organise armed revolt with foreign backing, hardly made any impact on the soil of India.

The Home Rule agitation

The Home Rule Leagues set up by Tilak and Mrs. Annie Besant separately in 1916 were essentially pressure groups, first acting from outside the Congress and then merging with it in 1917. During 1914-17, very impressive propaganda and mass-mobilisation campaigns were organised by these two leaders and their followers on the central demand for home rule or self-government. This served to re-awaken the Congress out of the passivity it had fallen into with the ebb of the swadeshi and boycott movements and with the arrests of Tilak and other militant nationalists in 1908. By doing so, the agitation developed a whole new generation of nationalists and prepared the ground for the post-war mass phase of the Congress movement to be led by MK Gandhi, and here lies its historical significance.

    Note : 3. See Modern India, op. cit., p 149

Tribal risings and peasant struggles

Tribal unrest and revolts spilled into the twentieth century with sustained tenacity. Most of these were provoked by increasing restrictions over the original inhabitants’ traditional rights over forest products. In a few cases these were precipitated by succession disputes of tribal chieftains but soon the struggle would take on an anti-British character (e.g., the uprising in the Jagdalpur region of Bastar and the Khond rebellion in Orissa). The fire of the nineteenth century Rampa rebellion never died out, and in 1916 there was a revolt which prepared the ground for the more famous 1922-24 rebellion led by Alluri Sita-rania Raju. Special mention should also be made of the Bhil rebellion of Rajasthan, which had its origin in a reform movement for temperance and purification but developed into a fight to found a Bhil raj; the Oraon reform movement which with the onset of World War I took on a rebellious character; and the rebellion among the Thadoe Kukis in Manipur in 1917-18.

The most important region of early twentieth century peasant struggle was Mewar in Rajasthan. In 1905, 1913 and 1915 there were organised struggles against severe feudal exploitation and oppression perpetrated by pro-British jagirdars at Bijolia. The peasants had started the movement on their own, but in 1915 Bhoop Singh alias Vijay Singh Pathik, a revolutionary patriot externed here, added a new dimension to it. Jointly with ML Verma, a state official of the Maharana of Udaipur, he led a no-tax movement against the latter in 1916. When the World War I broke out, the peasants refused to contribute to war-loans. Later the movement came under the Gandhian fold, with Pathik and Verma emerging as important Congress leaders.

Mention may be made here of Champaran in Bihar and Kheda in Gujarat – the two districts where in 1917-18 Gandhi made his early experiments with peasant demands. Politically no less significant was the raiyat movement of Muslim peasants of Kamariachar in Mymensingh district of Bengal. In 1914 apraja conference organised by a rich raiyat formulated a charter of demands including end to various cesses, rent-reduction, right to plant trees and dig tanks without paying nazar (tribute) to zamindars, debt-reliefs and honourable treatment of Muslim peasants at the Hindu zamindar’s Katcheri (court). The charter included not a single demand of poor share-croppers. Attended by prominent Muslim political leaders like Fazlul Huq (who would head the provincial government in Bengal in late 1930s) the conference marked the beginning of a raiyat movement which gradually developed overt communal overtones (largely due to a conspicuous Hindu bias of the Congress in Bengal) and grew into an important factor in Bengal politics during 1920s and 1930s.

Working class movement

The last quarter of the nineteenth century saw the emergence of a few philanthropic organisations based among workers in Bombay and Calcutta and run by educated non-workers like NM Lokhande and Sasipada Banerjee respectively. This period also witnessed some primary forms of struggle like attacks on sardars and European officials as well as short-lived, sporadic strikes. RP Dutt in his India Today quotes the Director’s Report of the Budge Budge jute mill in 1895 to show that there was a six-week strike in the mill. Citing the Bombay Factory Report of the same year, he also takes note of a strike of 8,000 weavers against the Ahmedabad Mill-owners’ Association. Patricidal skirmishes too would often take place between Hindu and Muslim workers and between local workers and those from other regions.

An upsurge in working class movement was effected in 1905-08 under the direct impact of the swadeshi and boycott movements. This will be evident from the following examples.

    (1) During July-September in 1906, workers hi the Bengal section of the East India Railway launched a series of strikes against racial discrimination in wages, highhandedness of authorities, use of the derogatory term “native” and inhospitable dwelling places. The strike spread from Howrah to Raniganj, Asansol, Jamalpur, Sahabganj etc., though it was not well-coordinated and lasted for different periods at different centres. In massive meetings workers were urged to make the strike a success and at the same time join the swadeshi movement. According to a report of the Special Branch of Police, a number of workers’ meetings were also held in hiding in the face of savage repression. Though not successful in achieving the demands, the struggle definitely laid the basis for a series of rail-strikes in a number of important centres like Asansol, Mughalsarai, Allahabad, Kanpur, Ambala etc., spread intermittently over some eight months from May 1907.
    (2) In the first week of May 1907, about 3,000 workers of the Rawalpindi railway workshop and hundreds of their brethren from other factories joined the students in a huge protest demonstration against the conviction of the editor of the Punjabee for publishing “seditious” matter. The militant rally, also participated by peasants from nearby areas, attacked everything in the city that had a British connection — offices, shops, missionary kulhis — and British individuals. There were violent street fights, first with the armed police and then with the military, resulting in many casualties.

    (3) When Tilak was arrested on 24 June, 1908 at Bombay, there was an immediate storm of protest not only in Bombay but also in Sholapur, Nagpur, etc. With the progress of court proceedings against Tilak, workers of Bombay staged increasingly massive and militant processions and strikes, often leading to clashes with the police and military. In one of these street battles, on 18 July, several hundreds of workers were wounded or killed. The next day there was a strike by some 65,000 workers belonging to 60-odd mills. On 21 July, dock workers joined the strike movement. On July 22 Tilak was sentenced to 6 years’ rigorous imprisonment and for 6 days (counting one day for each year of the prison-term) the striking workers made Bombay into a battle-field. Tens of thousands of workers, later joined by students, small businessmen, domestic servants and other sections of the people, took part in the street fights and processions. The worker leaders who died fighting included Ganpat Govinda, Madhu Raghunath, Sitaram Sauni and many others. Referring to this struggle, Lenin commented on August 5,1908 : “… this revenge against a democrat (meaning Tilak — Editor) by the lackeys of money-bags evoked street demonstrations and a strike in Bombay. In India, too, the proletariat has already developed to conscious political mass struggle—and. that being the case, the Russian-style British regime in India is doomed !”[4]

In addition to the above, other important struggles of the swadeshi period include : the jute strikes of 1905-08 in Bengal, the strike of arsenal and railway engineering workers as part of the 1907 upsurge in Punjab, the swadeshi-imspired strikes in Tuticorin and Tirunelveli of Madras province in early 1908, and so on. A notable feature of this period was the birth of a few trade unions out of class struggle. Thus the Printers’ Union was established in October 1905 while a stubborn strike was going on in government presses and the East India Railway-men’s Union grew out of the strike struggle in July 1906.

During 1905-08, nationalist leaders like Bipin Chandra Pal and Liaqat Hussain in Bengal, Chidambaram Pillai and Subramaniya Siva in Madras presidency and Tilak in Bombay often addressed workers’ meetings while some of their lesser-known followers would carry on regular organisational work (e.g., AC Banerjee organising the Indian Millhands’ Union at the Budge Budge jute mill near Calcutta).

The history of working class movement upto the end of the first world war shows that the nascent working class fought much more valiantly for the overall political interest of the Indian people as a whole than for its own economic interests. Also characteristic were their organised militancy and patriotic fervour. But ideologically they were almost completely under the sway of bourgeois nationalists and followed their lead. The latter consciously confined their agitational work to foreign-owned mill, railways etc., leaving the Indian capitalists free to exploit and oppress. Moreover, they made practically no effort to build sustained movements on economic demands: Bereft of political independence, the Indian proletariat was still a class-in-itself, and not a class-for-itself out to transform society in its distinct, that is socialist, world-view.

    Note : 4. From “Inflammable Material in World Politics”, CW, Vol. 15, p 184

Cultural-regional awakenings, anti-Brahmanic movements

Nineteenth century progress in cultural fields has already been taken note of. It reached a much higher stage in the first couple of decades in the present century. Regional or nationality consciousness along linguistic lines took on a movemental character not only in swadeshi Bengal but elsewhere too, as in Tamil, Telugu, Malayali and Marathi speaking regions.

Discontent was growing among the educated Telugu youth for under-representation in public services in the Madras province, which then included the Andhra region. This feeling, coupled with a new Telugu literary upsurge as represented by Srinivasa Rao, Venkataraya Shastri etc., gradually led to an agitation demanding a separate province of Andhra. Around the year 1911, Deshabhimani (meaning “proud of one’s own land” — Ed.), published from Guntur, became the most popular mouthpiece of this aspiration of the emerging Telugu nationality. From 1913 onwards, the annual Andhra Conference systematically campaigned for a separate province and for Telugu as medium of instruction. It is from these conferences that the famous Andhra Mahasabha developed in the subsequent years.

In what is now known as Tamil Nadu, the cultural awakening, with its focus on ancient Tamil literature and the non-Aryan “Dravidian” heritage of the Deccan, was closely associated with a movement against Brahmanism. Various organisations spearheading the latter movement came up with different political approaches. Thus, whereas the Madras Presidency Association set up in late 1917 remained anti-British while demanding an end to Brahmin near-monopoly in the public services and in legislatures, the “Justice” movement launched about two years ago had adopted a manifestly pro-British stance. The latter had a narrow, predominantly landlord social base and its December 1916 Non-Brahman Manifesto strongly opposed any measure “to undermine the influence and authority of die British Rulers, who alone … are able to hold the scales even between creed and class. …” The Madras Presidency Association, on the other hand, had a broader social base and prepared the ground for the emergence, about a decade later, of a more radical anti-Brahman and anti-caste mass movement under the leadership of EV Rama Swami Naicker (better known as Periyar). However, a rare feature of the Justice movement was that it represented not only Tamil but also Telugu and Malayali intermediate castes.

Perhaps the most spectacular cultural-cum-social reform movement in the entire South was witnessed in Kerala. The great Ezhava (considered an untouchable caste at the time — Ed.) poet Kumaran Asan, graphically representing the patriotic trend of this movement, wrote in 1908:

Thy slavery is thy destiny, O Mother !

Thy sons, blinded by caste, clash among themselves

And get killed; what for is freedom then ?[5]

The flourish of Malayali literature and anti-Brahmanic movement had started much earlier, with Chander Menon’s Indulekha (1889) which attacked some old social customs and the Namboodiri Brahmin’s social domination, and with the birth of the Malayali Memorial (1891) which fought against Brahmanic near-monopoly in state jobs. However, it was in the early twentieth century that the movement assumed more radical dimensions. Remarkable in this regard were the works of such diverse personalities as Ramakrishna Pillai (whose political campaigns as editor of Swadeshabhimani led to his externment from the State and who published the first biography of Karl Marx in Malayalam in 1911), the great religious-reformist leader Sri Nara-yana Guru who gave the call: “one religion, one caste and one God for mankind” (later changed by his disciple Sahadaran Ayyapan into “no religion, no caste and no God for mankind”) and founded the Sri Narayana Dharma Pratipalana Yogam in 1902-03 jointly with Kumaran Asan and Dr. Palpu, the first Ezhava graduate; and many others.

These apart, many more caste movements and organisations sprang up in different parts of the country and a number of older ones like Jyotiba Phule’s Satyashodhak Samaj continued to grow richer in social content. Some of these movements had their social bases confined to affluent sections of intermediate or lower castes and worked for gaining some privileges for these sections, while others were more broad-based, pro-poor and more radical. Basically, however, most of them had the character of bourgeois democratic reform movements.

Simultaneously, the period saw breakthroughs in modern Indian literatures : Prem Chand in Hindi, Fakirmohan Senapati in Oriya, Muhammad Iqbal in Urdu, Rabindranath Tagore and Sharat Chandra Chatierjee in Bengali and Harinarayan Apte in Marathi being some of the pioneers in modernity both as regards form and social content.

    Note : 5. See Modern India, op. cit, p 163