Formation of Indian National Congress

Due to various atrocities and racial prejudice inflicted by the British towards Indians, the desire for a powerful political organisation was grew among the elite class of Indians. The atrocities and injustice however sparked a cause of nationalism and everyone felt the need of the Political groups which eventually lead to formation of Indian National Congress.

The Pre-History of Formation of Indian National Congress

The Indian Association was by far the most important pre-congress nationalist organisation. Its objectives were to create a strong body of public opinion, to integrate the Indian people on a common political program, and to widen the base of organisation. The Bengalee, a daily    newspaper founded by S N Banerjee, became the chief instrument of spreading and revenue generation of this association. The very first issue it tool up was raising of age limit for ICS examination, so as to improve the prospects of Indian candidates. The Indian Association also raised protests against Vernacular Press Act and The Arms Act of year 1878.

To voice the protests against the various deeds of British, The Indian Association called an All India National Conference in December 1883. This conference was attended by more than hundred delegates from all over India. This conference is considered as the base point of formation of Indian National Congress.

Formation of Indian National Congress

By 1885, the need for the formation of all-India level political organisation had become an common necessity. The aim was to lay down certain basic tasks and objectives before and to struggle incessantly and together. The Indians have to be reinforced together for their own political and economical development. But eventually The Indian National Congress was formed in December 1885 by the initiative of not Indian but British  ex-civilian Allan Octavian Hume.

Indian National Congress was created on the Safety Valve Theory, given by British Viceroy Dufferin. As per this theory the British thought to bring the Indians on a common platform to vent out their anger and discontent and hence they can be tackled in a better way. They thought that by this they can prevent the Indians to rather stop in taking the other revolutionary Terrorism/ Militant Nationalism. The British calculated that the discontent elite class could organise serious rebellion with the support of other educated and general class of people.

Hume’s initiative succeeded because he was more acceptable to Indian’s as he was free from regional loyalties. Also the nationalists had an exaggerated idea of Hume’s influence on Government. The nationalists on the other hand themselves wanted for the formation of all-India level political groups and by the idea proposed by A O Hume they readily accepted it. A O Hume thus dominated the Indian National Congress till 1892 as its General Secretary.

Formation of Indian National Congress

First meeting of Indian National Congress (Image courtesy : Wikipedia.org)

First Meeting after Formation of Indian National Congress

The Indian National Congress met for the first time on 28 Dec, 1885 in hall of Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College, Bombay. W C Banerjee an eminent lawyer, was elected as its first President. this meeting was attended by 72 delegates. The objective of INC were declared as –

  1. Development of close relations between national workers,
  2. The dissolution of all race, creed and provincial prejudice
  3. Consolidation of national unity among all,
  4. Recording of the conclusions on vital Indian problems reached by educated Indians after discussion and outlining of program for the next year.

Era of Post- Formation of Indian National Congress

Since the Indian National Congress was gaining popularity and momentum and also it has the official approval from the British, so there was virtually the role of National Association diminished. Also the elite and educated nationalist class didn’t wanted to two different powers one in form of INC and other National Association which otherwise result into conflict of interests and other ambiguous situations which may hamper the rise of nationalism in India. Since the two organisations were on same lines, The Indian Association was merged with Indian National Congress in December 1886.

A new political vision and awareness came to light post formation of Indian National Congress which is marked by the rise of major nationalist newspapers which dominated the minds and thinking of Indians till 1918 viz. The Hindu, Tribune, Bengalee, Mahratta, The Kesari and Amrita Bazar Patrika. The amrita Bazar Patrika became an English language newspaper in 1878 itself. The rise of the press as a means of awakening the general masses is thus considered as one of the main important aspects of post formation of Indian National Congress