Indian nationalism was not a simple unification of Indians against colonial rule. There were many complexities involved in forming an organization that sought to speak on behalf of the people, and many of these challenges were posed to the Indian National Congress because their leadership consisted of the Hindu elite.
In 1885, the Indian National Congress was formed through the initiative of Allen Octavian Hume, and it quickly became the chief organization representing the will of the common people and sought to lead the Indians in their struggle for freedom.
The major drawbacks of the early nationalists was that the movement was confined to educated Indians and the middle class, while their method of functioning was within the law and slow. As Indian leaders gradually became disillusioned with the British Government, the new leaders began to assert for the attainment of Swaraj, which could be achieved only by working among the masses and their participation in political protests-- such as the boycott of British goods, called Swadeshi.
As seen in the movie, Home and the World, this type of protest was much easier for those of the upper and middle classes. Since British goods were cheaper and of a better quality than Indian goods, they were vital to peasant life. Most were unable to simply give up British goods, and consequently, class tensions developed. There was increasing violence and riots erupted between peasants and wealthy landowners. At the same time, religious tensions increased, as many of the peasants affected by these changes were also Muslims. At this point, we begin to have questions arise over whether the Congress is truly acting on behalf of all the people in India. There begins the idea that Muslims must rally together to ensure that their needs are not overlooked by the Congress.
On October 16, 1905, Lord Curzon partitioned Bengal on the pretext of it being too big to administer. Instead of dividing it based on areas not considered part of Bengal, they based the division on Hindus and Muslims. The British thought that through the partition, they would succeed in dividing Hindu politicians of western and eastern Bengal and increase Hindu- Muslim tensions. The tremor of partition was felt throughout India and many regarded it as an insult and challenge to Indian Nationalism. Consequently, the moderates of the Congress launched movements and the protests, Swadeshi and Swaraj, became the slogan of the common man and the whole of India was drawn into the Nationalist...