Surat Split

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The Indian National Congress(INC) which was established in 1885 was divided into two groups(in the year 1907) mainly by extremists and moderates at the Surat Session of the Congress.The period 1885-1905 was known as the period of the moderates as moderates dominated the INC. These Moderates used petition, prayers, meetings, leaflets and pamphlets memorandum and delegations to present their demands. Moderates were not able to achieve notable goals other than the expansion of the legislative council by the Indian Council Act of 1892. This created dis-satisfaction among the people. In 1907 the INC meeting was to be held in Pune and the extremists wanted Lala Lajpat Rai or Bal Gangadhar Tilak as president. But moderates wanted Rash Behari Ghosh to be president. Gopal Krishna Gokhale changed the meeting place from Pune to Surat fearing that if Pune was to be held as meeting place then Bal Gangadhar Tilak would become President. The partition of Bengal became the rise of extremism in INC.

Surat was in Bombay Presidency/Province, where Bal Gangadhar Tilak was from, and Nagpur was a different province. Nagpur Province was a province of British India that covered parts of the present-day states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh, with Nagpur city being the capital. So, as Surat was the home province of Bal Gangadhar Tilak he could not preside over the meeting. Hence it was decided that Ghosh would be president. Extremists protested in the INC meeting as Bal Gangadhar Tilak was not given permission even to speak by pandit Madanmohan Malviya extremists then reacted by throwing eggs, footwear etc and wanted the meeting to be cancelled. Moderates then held a secret meeting and decided to abdicate extremists.


Moderates believed in the policy of settlement of minor issues with the government by deliberations. But the extremists believed in agitation, strikes and boycotts to force their demands. Some nationalists led by Lokmanya Tilak agitated against the moderate behaviour of congress against British rule. The split between these two sections became outward at the end of Banaras Session of congress (1905). Lokmanya Tilak and his followers held a separate conference and declared the formation of the Extremist Party.[1] However they decided to work as a part of the Indian National Congress. Difference between moderates and extremists further widened in Calcutta Session of congress (1906) and there were attempts between them to elect one of them as the president of congress. The moderates opposed the resolutions on Swaraj, Swadeshi, Boycott of foreign goods and National Education and requested to withdraw from the policy laid down in the Calcutta session. But the extremists were not ready to do so.[2]

In Surat Session (1907), extremists wanted Lala Lajpat Rai or Bal Gangadhar Tilak as a President candidate of congress and Moderates supported Dr. Rashbihari Ghosh to be the President.[3] But Lala Lajpat Rai stepped down and Dr. Rashbihari Ghosh became the President. The British Government immediately launched a massive attack on the extremists and Extremist newspaper were suppressed. Lokmanya Tilak, their main leader, was sent to Mandalay jail for six years[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Surat Split 1907". Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  2. ^ "THE SURAT CONGRESS". Documents in the Life of Sri Aurobindo. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  3. ^ "Surat Session (1907)". Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Split in Congress - Part II". Retrieved 24 August 2013.