The Home Rule League Movement (1916-18) was led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in Maharashtra (excluding Bombay), Karnataka, Central Provinces and Berar and Annie Besant in the rest of the country. It was inspired by the Irish Home Rule Movement.
The following were the objectives of the movement:
- Annie Besant demanded that India be granted self-government on the lines of the White colonies after the war.
- Tilak wanted Swaraj along with the formation of linguistic states and education in the vernacular medium.
- Tilak aimed to reform the administration in a non-violent way without overthrowing the government.
- Both Tilak and Annie Besant wanted to promote political education and arouse nationalist political activity.
Contributions to India’s freedom struggle:
- The movement filled the void in the freedom struggle, which was passing though a phase of lull due to split of the Indian National Congress (INC) at Surat in 1907, heavy government repression during the Swadeshi Movement etc.
- It created organizational links between town and villages, which proved invaluable in later years.
- By popularizing the idea of self-government, it generated a widespread pro- nationalist atmosphere in the country.
- Both Tilak and Besant were instrumental in bringing the Extremists in the fold of the INC. Their intervention was also significant in signing of the Lucknow Pact 1916 with the Muslim League, which gave separate electorates to the Muslims.
- Gandhiji used the cadre created by the Home Rule Leagues to advance the nation- wide Satyagraha against the Rowlatt Act in March 1919.