Chapter 13: PROPAGANDA IN THE LEGISLATURES
the legislative councils had no power till 1920 the
nationalists used them as tools for growing the national
members could be nominated to the governor general’s
legislative council but they had no powers. This was done
to ensure Indian views were considered. Also mostly the
Indian members were princes, retired government officials,
zamindars and landlord and didn’t represent the
took anti nationalist decisions and opposed the
The nationalists were able to enhance their political stature and
build a national movement while undermining the political and moral
influence, of imperialist rule. This helped in generating anti imperialist
demands of the nationalists weren’t radical but only
towards reforming existing institutions to make them more
democratic. This was since they didn’t want to invite
repression by the government.
national agitations led the government to increase the
size of the legislative councils and give them more powers
but this was done to allow the vocal political leaders to
get a chance to let off steam.
doing so the British underestimated the zeal of the Indian
leaders who converted these impotent mechanisms into
forums for ventilating popular grievances, exposing
bureaucratic administration and criticizing every policy
of the colonial government.
Use of the legislatures
nationalist leaders used these councils to enhance their
own political stature and build a national movement.
They kept up the political criticism of the government
by sheer will, deep knowledge and skilled debating and
thus generated a powerful anti imperialist sentiment.
Mehta and GK Gokhale were two most prominent leaders who
put the councils to good use and introduced a new spirit
in them. Mehta was known for his wit and oratory and was
criticized by British but lauded by the Indians. Mehta
retired in 1901 and was succeeded by GK Gokhale who proved
to a worthy successor.
Gopal Krishna Gokhale -
Leader of the Moderates
Gokhale was trained by Justice Ranade and G.V. Joshi.
Though he was no orator like Dadabhai Nauroji or Tilak nor
could he use satire as a weapon like Pherozshah Mehta but
his speeches were based on deep study and careful
they captivated the listener on their intellectual content
alone. Even his opponent Tilak had deep respect for him. Gandhiji
considered him his political guru.
founded the "Servants of India Society" to train Indians
to dedicate lives to cause of their country. He was
called the Socrates
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