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  • The early leaders like dadabhai Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta, Surendranath Banerjea, Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee, Dinshaw E. Wacha, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, P. Ananda Charlu etc were adherents of moderate ways of politics.
  • They were loyal to British and felt that their presence was helping India to modernise.
  • However, they also believed that British were unaware of suffering faced by Indians and they must bring out these problems through petitions and constitutional agitation.
  • This was a slow but a gradual process to political progress. They used press as a platform to discuss various British policies and dissemination of those policies to create awareness.

The major demands of moderates were –

  1. They wanted self rule under the British. However, a clear definition of self rule was not provided by them during early years. It was later clearly specified to mean dominion status along the lines of Canada or Australia.
  2. They wanted representation of Indians in the Indian Council in London and Executive council of Governor-General/Viceroy of India and control over finances. After 1892, they raised the issue of ‘No taxation without representation’
  3. They wanted reduction of expenditure on Army
  4. They pushed for development of capitalist industries in India parallel to those in Britain. This was to be facilitated by government through protective measures of tariff protection and direct government aid.
  5. They wanted the end of Indian Economic drain which was criticised by many moderates (Dadabhai Naoroji, R.C. Dutta, Dinshaw Wacha wrote about economic exploitation and gave the ‘drain theory’ to show how British were draining India’s wealth). A decrease in expenditure on ‘Home charges’ was also demanded by them.
  6. They were against large scale investment of British capital in railways, plantations and industries. According to them, it should be allowed only in areas where Indian capital was unavailable.
  7. They raised the issue of Indianisation of Civil services and holding of entrance examination simultaneously in London and India. They also pushed for opening higher rank jobs for Indians in the Army
  8. They opposed the restrictions imposed on free speech and freedom of press.
  9. They wanted separation of judiciary and executive
  10. They lobbied for increase in expenditure on education
  11. They sought repeal of Arms act of 1878 and abolition of salt tax
  • Moderates followed a two pronged approach to achieve their objective. First, they mobilised Indians to create awareness regarding political questions.              THE MODERATES
  • They did this to unite people into a common consciousness of nationalism. Secondly, they sought to push for reforms to be introduced in India.
  • For this, dadabhai naoroji poured his income and time to promote India’s case abroad. The British committee of Indian National Congress was set up in London in 1899 which brought out a publication named INDIA.
  • It was also decided to hold a session of Congress in London in 1892 but this could not materialise because of British elections of 1891. The proposal was therefore postponed and was not revived later.
  • The Imperial Legislative Council introduced earlier by Indian Councils Act 1861 was eyewash. Therefore, moderates demanded representation of Indians in Governor-General’s council. From 1862 to 1892 only 45 Indians were nominated to the council.                      THE MODERATES
  • A huge majority of these Indians were British loyalists whose interests were intertwined with British interests.
  • Only some Indians like Syed Ahmed Khan, Rash Behari Ghosh, Kristo Das pal, V.N. Mandlik, K.L. Nulkar were independent political figures. Congress’s demand of expansion of council along with giving them greater control over finance led to Indian Councils Act of 1892.

Modern History

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