Indian National Congress

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Indian National Congress

Indian National Congress was the only effective pan India political organisation during British rule. It had branches in almost all parts of the India. Indian National Congress was formally enacted by a retired English servant named A.O. in 1885. its first session was held in Bombay in December 1885. First session was attended by the 72 delegates and it was presided by Womesh Chandra Bonnerjea.

Pre Congress political Associations

The Bangabhasha Prakasika Sabha: It was formed in 1863 by the associates of Raja Ram Mohan Roy.

The East India Association: It was organised by Dadabhai Naoroji in 1866 in London. It was made to influence public men in London to promote Indian welfare.

The Indian League:It was started in 1875 by Sisir Kumar Ghosh to instill the feeling of nationalism amongst the people of India.

The Indian Association of Calcutta: It was founded in 1876 by the Bengali nationalist under the guidance of Surendranath Banerjea and Anand Mohan Bose.

The Bombay Presidency Association: It was started in 1885 by Badruddin Tyabji, Pherozshah Mehta and K.T. Telang.

The Madras Mahajan Sabha: It was founded in 1884 by M.Viraraghavachari, B. Subramaniya Aiyer and P. Ananda Charlu.

Reasons for advent of the congress

  • Emergence of educated class
  • Prohibition of Press and freedom of speech and expression
  • Britishers violent foreign policy
  • Excessive expenditure on police and army
  • Indianisation of Government services
  • Want of Pro Indian party in India.
  • There was discontent among the Indians regarding:Vernacular Press Act, Indian Arms Act, Emigration Act & Illbert Bill Rejection

Safety valve and lightning conductor theory

Though A.O. Hume was a retired English servant but his idea of establishing a pan Indian organization was helpful to India in its initial days. There were two theories about A.O. Hume at that point of time:

Safety Valve theory

Safety Valve Theory says that Britishers were apprehend of another rebellion like that of 1857,so Lord Dufferin gave the idea of channelizing the opinions of educated Indian class into a political organisation that works under the guidance of British officials only.

Gopal Krishna Gokhale in 1913 stated that “No Indian could have started the Indian National Congress…if an Indian had come forward to start such a movement embracing all Indians”.

A large number of Britishers such as Sir William Wedderburn and George Yule supported the idea of A.O. Hume.

Lightning Conductor Theory

According to Bipin Chandra the early Congress leaders used A.O. Hume as a ‘Lightning Conductor’ to protect the activities of early Congress leaders from the wrath of British empire.

Early Congress programs

  • To establish a democratic government.
  • To politically educate the people of India about the real situation prevalent in the country.
  • To establish a headquarter for the pan Indian movement.
  • To create and promote anti British ideology among the people.

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