The Mode­rates, instead, believed in the good intentions of the colonial rulers and thought that if the true state of affairs was known to the British authorities, they would take the proper steps to correct the wrong. For this purpose, they used constitutional methods and sent petitions and memorials to the government.

The Extremist nationalists were totally opposed to these methods. They thought that the British would not heed the voice of the nationalists unless strong pressure was brought on them. According to the Extremists, the trust in the good intentions of the colonial rulers was misplaced. The Indians, instead, should rely on their own resources to improve their conditions. But this could not be done under the foreign rule.

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Therefore, self-government was needed. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the most prominent leader of the Extremists, declared that ‘Swaraj is my birthright and I will have it Aurobindo Ghosh, another leader, attacked the very foundation of the Western civilisation and asserted that the Indians should oppose not only the political aspects of the foreign rule, but also abandon the foreign goods, foreign dress, foreign language and foreign habits and manners.

The most important leaders of the Extremist wing were Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Aurobindo Ghosh and Lala Lajpat Rai. Though both the Moderates and the Extremists opined that the British rule was harmful for the Indians, their different approaches to the agitation generated a clash between them.

The Swadeshi movement provided a spark which intensified this clash and increased the division between them. In 1907, at Surat Congress, there was a split in the Congress. The two wings were united in 1916.