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  • 13 July, 2021

  • 4 Min Read

First Phase of Revolutionary Activities (1907-1917)

First Phase of Revolutionary Activities


Reasons for emergence

  • Younger elements not ready to retreat after the decline of open phase.
  • Leadership’s failure to tap revolutionary energies of the youth.
  • Government repression left no peaceful avenues open for protest.


Assassinate unpopular officials to strike terror and arouse people to expel the British with force; based on individual heroic actions on lines of Irish nationalists or Russian nihilists and not a mass-based countrywide struggle.

Revolutionary Activities

* Bengal

  • 1902—First revolutionary groups in Midnapore and Calcutta (The Anushilan Samiti)
  • 1906—Yugantar, the revolutionary weekly started
  • By 1905-06—Several newspapers started advocating revolutionary terrorism.
  • 1907—Attempt on life of the former Lt. governor of East Bengal and Assam.
  • 1908—Prafulla Chaki and Khudiram Bose attempt to murder Muzaffarpur Magistrate, Kingsford.
  • Alipore conspiracy case involving Aurobindo Ghosh, Barindra Kumar Ghosh and others.
  • 1908—Burrah dacoity by Dacca Anushilan.
  • 1912—Bomb thrown at Viceroy Hardinge by Rashbehari Bose and Sachin Sanyal.
  • Sandhya, Yugantar—newspapers advocating revolutionary activity.
  • Jatin Das and Yugantar; the German Plot during World War I.

* Maharashtra

  • 1879—Ramosi Peasant Force by Vasudev Balwant Phadke.
  • 1890s—Tilak’s attempts to propagate militancy among the youth through Shivaji and Ganapati festivals, and his journals Kesari and Maharatta.
  • 1897—Chapekar brothers kill Rand, the plague commissioner of Poona and Lt. Ayerst.
  • 1899—Mitra Mela—a secret society organised by Savarkar and his brother. In 1904, Mitra Mela merged with Abhinav Bharat.
  • 1909—District Magistrate of Nasik—Jackson—killed.

* Punjab

  • Revolutionary activity by Lala Lajpat Rai, Ajit Singh, Aga Haidar Syed Haidar Raza, Bhai Parmanand, Lalchand ‘Falak’, Sufi Ambaprasad.

Revolutionary Activity Abroad

  • 1905—Shyamji Krishnavarma set up Indian Home Rule Society and India House and brought out journal The Sociologist in London.
  • 1909—Madan Lal Dhingra murdered Curzon-Wyllie;
  • Madame Bhikaji Cama operated from Paris and Geneva and brought out journal Bande Mataram.
  • Berlin Committee for Indian Independence established by Virendranath Chattopadhyay and others.
  • Ghadr - In North America, the Ghadr was organised by Lala Hardayal, Ramchandra, Bhawan Singh, Kartar Singh Saraba, Barkatullah, Bhai Parmanand. The Ghadr Programme-
      • Assassinate officials.
      • Publish revolutionary literature.
      • Work among Indian troops abroad and raise funds.
      • Bring about a simultaneous revolt in all colonies of Britain.
      • Attempt to bring about an armed revolt in India on February 21, 1915 amidst favourable conditions created by the outbreak of First World War and the Komagata Maru incident (September 1914). The plan was foiled due to treachery.
      • Defence of India Act, 1915 passed primarily to deal with the Ghadrites.
  • Mutiny in Singapore
      • Among the scattered mutinies during this period, the most notable was in Singapore by Punjabi Muslim 5th Light Infantry and the 36th Sikh battalion under Jamadar Chisti Khan, Jamadar Abdul Gani and Subedar Daud Khan. It was crushed after a fierce battle in which many were killed.


There was a temporary respite in revolutionary activity after the First World War because the release of prisoners held under the Defence of India Rules cooled down passions a bit; there was an atmosphere of conciliation after Montagu’s August 1917 statement and the talk of constitutional reforms; and the coming of Gandhi on the scene with the programme of non-violent non-cooperation promised new hope.

Source: Spectrum

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