a resolution for starting a Home Rule League
Main Objective The main objective was to attain home-rule for India
within the British Empire (on the lines of the autonomous colonies of
Australia, New Zealand, etc). For instance, Tilak, who had demanded
complete independence for India during the Anti-Partition movement had,
however, made it very clear in 1916 when he declared: ‘The swaraj of today
is within the Empire and not independent of it’.
Activities of the Leagues They consisted in organising discussion groups
and reading-rooms in cities, mass sale of pamphlets and lecture tours. These
were not very different in form from the older moderate activities, but
significantly new insofar as their intensity and extent.
Cooperation between the two Leagues The two leagues cooperated with
each other as well as with the Congress and the Muslim League (after the
Lucknow Reunion and the Lucknow Pact) in putting forward their demand of
home-rule for India. While Tilak’s League concentrated on Maharashtra and
Central Provinces, Mrs. Besant’s League carried on the movement in the rest
of the country.
Significance The real significance of the two leagues and their movement
lay in the extension of the nationalist movement to new areas and groups;
(urban professional groups like the Kayasthas and Kashmiri Brahmins in the
United Provinces; the Hindu Amil minority in Sind; younger Gujarati
industrialists, traders and lawyers in Bombay city and Gujarat) and to a new
generation (Jawaharlal Nehru in Allahabad, Satyamurti in Madras, Jitendralal
Banerji in Calcutta, Jamnadas Dwarakdas, Umar Sobhani and others in
Bombay and Gujarat).
End of the Movement The Home Rule movement soon died because Mrs.
Besant overnight became a pro-British in late 1917 after Montague’s promise
of responsible government, and Tilak became increasingly involved in a libel
suit against Valentine Chirol and left for England to fight his case in
September 1918. Above all, emergence of Gandhi totally eclipsed the Home
Rule movement.
                    AUGUST (1917) DECLARATION
  On August 20, 1917, Montague,      then secretary of state for India, made a