Indian National Congress celebrates 136th foundation day

Indian National Congress

Indian National Congress is one of the world’s largest and oldest political parties. The Indian National Congress was founded on December 28, 1885, by members of the Theosophical Society.

The inception of the Congress took place due to the role of Alan Octavian Hume who organized the first Congress Session in 1885. For many decades people believed that Hume and other liberal-minded British officials thought that the creation of a political organization would create disdain among Indians. However, the theory is largely dismissed.

On the issue of why Indians were not leading the campaign to start the Congress in the 1880s, Gopal Krishna Gokhale remarked in 1913 that if an Indian come forward to start such a movement the British officials in India would not have allowed the movement to come into existence.

History of Congress

It is believed that the Congress was initially set up during a meeting of the Theosophical Convention in Madras in December 1884.  But the session initially took place in Bombay from December 28 to December 31, 1885, which was attended by 72 delegates, with W.C. Bannerjee as the one presiding the meeting.

Other important delegates included Dadabhai Naoroji, K.T. Telang, and Dinshaw Wacha. Defining the objective of the Congress, the president spoke of the promotion of brotherhood among the country and eradication of prejudice of race, creed, caste, etc., and the development of national unity.

Indian National Congress celebrates 136th foundation day
Indian National Congress celebrates 136th foundation day

The spirit of nationalism started to take shape. In the first two decades after its formation, the Congress was split into two groups of leaders who came to be known as the ‘Moderates’and the ‘Extremists’, who adopted passive and aggressive means of resistance respectively. Due to their clashing ideologies, Congress was embroiled in an internal conflict.

Indian National Congress foundation day

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the most famous of the ‘Extremists’, in his address to the Indian National Congress in 1907, calling for a boycott of British goods as resistance to British rule. He also stated extremism is the path to progress the resistance against British Rule.

Mahatma Gandhi leads the nationalist movement Satyagraha which made passive resistance the main aspects of Congress strategy and thinking, from the 1920s.

Leaders such as Vallabhbhai Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru Rajendra Prasad, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad rose to prominence in the party and carried on the Independence movement which in the early 1930s became a full-fledged struggle for India’s freedom.

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