(Sample Material) UPSC IAS Mains History (Optional) Study Kit "Indian National Congress"

Sample Material of Our IAS Mains History Study Kit

Subject: History (Optional)

Topic: Indian National Congress

Although the All India National Congress was established in 1885, prior to it several provincial and regional political organisations had already become functional in the political field. Chief amongst them were the Land Holders Society (1837), British India Society (1843) and British Indian Association (1851) in Bengal, Native Association (1852) in Madras and Bombay Association (1852) in Bombay. The credit for establishing such an association abroad goes to Dadabhai Naoroji. In 1866, he set up the East India Association in London. He came to be known as the ‘Grand Old Man of India’. He was made President of the Indian National Congress twice.

The Pune Public Conference was established on 2 April, 1870. Its most prominent members were Ganesha Vasudeva Joshi, S.H. Sathe. S.H. Chiplunkar and Mahadev Govind Ranade. Similarly, in Calcutta the Indian League was established on 25 September, 1875. Its main members were the editors of Amrit Bazar Patrika Sister Kumar Ghosh, Shambhuchand Mukherjee, Kali Mohan Das and Jogesh Chandra Dutt. On 26 July 1876, another organisation called the Indian Association was established in Bengal. Its prominent leaders were Anand Mohan Bose and Surendranath Banerjee. In this association the majority consisted of the English educated middle class Indians. The Mahajan Sabha was established in Madras on 16 May, 1884. Its leaders were P. Rangayya Naidu, V. Raghavachari and Anandacharlu.

In December 1883, 200 representatives attended the National Conference of the Indian Association held in Calcutta. Its second Conference was held in Calcutta on 25 December, 1885. These were important steps in the direction of founding an all India political organisation. On 1 March, 1883 in an open letter, Hume had appealed to the students of Calcutta University to set up an organisation in India. At the beginning of 1884 he had himself started talking of such names as Antarang Mandal and Hamari Party. In 1885, he spoke of his own party as the Indian National Union. In December, the same party came to be known as the Indian National Congress. According to some scholars, it is quite possible that it was Ripon who advised Hume to form an organisation of educated Indians. Therefore, some scholars consider it as a manifestation of national consciousness.

The first President of the Congress Sir Wyomesh Chandra Banerjee /clearly stated its objectives as : i) to increase the feeling of camaraderie among the active workers spread out in different parts of the country for the national good, ii) to instill feelings of national unity and remove disparities in the name of caste, religion or region, iii) to focus the attention of Indian educated class on the socio-political problems that might arise in the future, and iv) to decide on the policy for national uplift for the next year.

Indian National Congress (1885)

Aims and Objectives of Congress

1. Promotion of friendship amongst the countrymen
2. Development and consolidation of feeling of national unity irre- spective of race, caste, religion or provinces
3. Formulation of popular demands and presentation before the Gov-ernment through petitions.
4. Training and organization of public opinion.
5. Consolidation of sentiments of national unity
6. Recording of the opinions of educated classes on pressing problems
7. Laying down lines for future course of action in public interest

Methods of Work

Early Congressmen had faith in peaceful and constitutional agitation. Prayers & petitions were the instruments. Congress sessions lasted only for three days a year. had no machinery to carry on the work in the interval. They believed in the goodness of the British nation and believed that all would be well if the British could be acquainted with the true slate of affairs in India. Deputations of Indians were sent to inform the British public. In 1889, a British Committee of INC was founded.

Click Here for UPSC Mains History Study Material

Indian National Congress

The First session of the INC was organised by A 0 Hume at Gokaldas Tejpal Sanskrit College on 28th December 1885 (Bombay). Its first President was W C Bonnerjee. It was the first organised expression of the Indian National movement on an all-India scale. About 72 representatives took part in it. The number of its members went on increasing as was obvious from its annual sessions. In 1885 they were 72, in 1886-434, in 1887-607, in 1888-1200, in 1889 and in 1890 it went up to 2000. Some historians think that Hume’s main purpose in encouraging the foundation of the congress was probably to provide a “safety valve” to the growing discontent among the educated Indians.

Dadabhai Naoroji had remarked that it was only because of the British rule that they were all able to get together. In the very first session of the Congress the moderates asked he government to cut military expenses. In the 12th session of the Congress Muhammad Rahamatullah, the Congress President remarked, “a more honest and sturdy nation does not exist under the sun than this English nation.” The moderates fully believed in the constitutional method of protest. The strongest mediums they used were propaganda in the newspapers, public lectures and holding of public annual sessions. The Moderate also felt that the government and people of England did not know the true conditions that prevaled in India, therefore, from time­to-time they sent literature and delegations to England to apprise them of the situation.

Under the leadership of William Digby, the Congress opened a branch in England in 1888 ‘and started publishing a magazine called ‘India.’ These leaders pointed out the fact of drain of Indian wealth to England and how India was being exploited economically. It was the moderate leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, Mahadev Govind Ranade and Romesh Chandra Dutt who exposed the secret of annual economic drain from India. In 1900 Curzon wrote to the Secretary of State for India: “It is my firm belief that the Congress is staggering towards its downfall and it is my great desire that during my stay in India I should help it in its peaceful demise.” The history of the Indian National Movement from now onwards can be seen in three different phases or periods ­the Moderate phase or the period of Early Nationalists (1885-1905), the Extremist phase or the period of the Militant Nationalists (1905-1918) and the Gandhian era (1918-1947). The social basis did not remain the same throughout its three phases. In the moderate phase, it was extremely narrow, being limited to the urban English educated Indians. During the extremist phase, the social basis lay primarily in the urban lower middle classes whom the ‘extremists’ succeeded in politicizing in some parts of the country. The peasants and the workers came into the national movement primarily in the Gandhian phase. The capitalists as a class also came to support it actively, though primarily financially, only during this phase.

Moderates (1885-1905)

Expansion and reform of the legislative councils, leading to popular control of administration. Greater opportunities for Indians in the public services by holding I.C.S. examinations simultaneously in England and India. Reimposition of import duties on cotton goods. Reduction of military expenditure. Spread of technical and general education. Separation of the judiciary from the executive. Grant of self-government to India within the British empire as in the colonies of Australia, Canada, etc. (1905). The methods of the moderates can best be described as ‘constitutional agitation’.

They confined themselves to meetings, speeches, resolutions and petitions. Moreover, they wanted to attain political rights and self-government in a prolonged stage-by-stage evolution, and not all of a sudden. Creation of a wide national awakening among the people and training them in the art of political work. Creation of a common political and economic programme around which the Indians gathered and waged political struggles. Providing impetus to the campaign against medieval obscurantism and authoritarianism.

Click Here for UPSC Mains History Study Material

<<Go Back To Main Page