The initial phase of Indian national congress (INC) from 1885 to 1905 could be termed as moderate phase where its leaders were the believer in peaceful and constitutional means to meet their demand.
Role of moderates in the building the base for wider freedom movement:
- Through their methods of petition and propaganda, moderate leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, W C Banerjee, and others raised political awareness among masses about their rights.
- Under council acts their initial demands were met to provide political participation to Indian.
- Economic critic of moderate leaders (Naoroji, Wacha, Dutt) provided the ideological push to anti-imperialist thoughts among masses.
However, role of moderates was limited on the due to following reasons:
- They failed to provide substantial push to mobilise masses. They never organised mass movements or rallies against British policies or for their legitimate demands.
- They perceived Britishers to be invincible hence did not believed in protest as mean to gain their demands.
- Their constitutional demands thorough peaceful means was not welcome by the masses.
- They had elitist nature and little knowledge about grassroot issues which kept them away from masses. This was later addressed by Gandhi.
- Lack of success of moderates’ methods, unintentionally provoked the rise of extremist faction, which aroused masses against the British such as during Swadeshi movement.
Despite their limited success to gain people’s attention, Moderates gave the initial push to bring larger attention towards the misrule of British government which was later expanded by Extremist and Gandhi.