The Surat Split was the splitting of the Indian National Congress into two groups – the Extremists and the Moderates – at the Surat session in 1907.⁣

The 1907 INC meeting was to be held in Nagpur. The Extremists wanted Lala Lajpat Rai and Bal Gangadhar Tilak as president. The Moderates supported Rash Bihari Ghosh. Gopal Krishna Gokhle moved the meeting place from Nagpur to surat fearing that in Nagpur, Bal Gangadhar Tilak would win. ⁣

Extremists protested in the INC meeting as Tilak was not given permission even to speak by pundit Madan Mohan Malviya.⁣

Extremists reacted by throwing eggs and footwear, and called for the meeting to be cancelled. The Moderates held a secret meeting and decided to expel the Extremists.⁣

The Moderates and the Extremists patched up their differences for a year, but in 1907 the two groups permanently split. When they met at Surat for their annual session, they shouted at each other and threw chairs and shoes. The police had to come and stop the meeting.⁣

It was a victory of the British policy of Divide and Rule. A further split occurred between the Hindus and Muslims due to the militant nationalism that had long existed, set in place due to the multifaceted culture and tradition.⁣

The British Government was looking for an opportunity to settle scores with the extremists. They immediately attacked the extremists and Extremist newspapers were suppressed. ⁣

Bal Gangadhar Tilak was imprisoned for 6 years (on the pretext that it was an ‘offence to preach nationalism’). Lala Lajpat Rai was expelled from Punjab, and Bipin Chandra Pal had overnight turned ‘moderate’.⁣

The dream of a ‘Surat Split’ was already conceived by Curzon when he made the statement ‘Congress was tottering to its fall and one of the biggest ambitions in my life is to give it a peaceful demise’.⁣