Foundation Day of the INC

A political party recently marked the  138th foundation day of Indian National Congress (INC) on December 28.

How the INC was founded?

  • The INC was founded on December 28, 1885.
  • The organization was founded by the English bureaucrat Allan Octavian Hume.
  • On that day, 72 social reformers, journalists, and lawyers gathered at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College in Bombay for the first session of the INC.

Stated objectives of INC included-

  • First, the amalgamation of all the various elements that comprise India’s population into a single national whole.
  • Second, the nation’s gradual regeneration along all lines, spiritual, moral, social, and political; and third, the consolidation of the union between England and India.

Real motive behind: ‘Safety Valve’ Theory

  • At the time, the goal of this group was not to demand independence from the ongoing colonial rule, but rather to influence British government policies in favor of Indians.
  • Its goal is frequently described as providing a “safety valve” as a time for Indians to air their grievances and frustrations.
  • According to Mr. Hume, the Congress organization was “only one result of the labors of a body of cultured men, mostly Indians, who hound themselves together to labor silently for the good of India.”

Transformation toward freedom movement

Ans. Famous for 3P’s: Prayers, Protest and Petitions

  • The party’s efforts to change colonial administrators’ attitudes and policies regarding Indian rights and powers continued.
  • Members frequently demonstrated against British colonialism, such as the Bengal famine and the drain of wealth from India.
  • However, at this point, protests were typically limited to prayers, petitions, and protests, including letters to authorities.
  • As British rule continued, there were growing differences in how the party should function.

Strength of INC

  • Diverse participation: Having members who held different ideological positions was one of the party’s biggest strengths, helping it appeal to a broad section of Indian society.
  • Pan-India organization: Its popularity spread throughout the country.

INC was initially criticized

  • Non-effective: Hume and the party were chastised by the British for attempting to change existing systems that favored them, and by some Indians for failing to produce significant results.
  • Elite-organization: The party was mostly made up of educated, upper-class people who had likely studied abroad.

Splits and reconvening

  • In Surat in 1906, there was a split between the’moderates’ led by Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Surendranath Banerjea, and the ‘extremists’ led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
  • While Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai wanted the Congress to boycott the Prince of Wales’ visit in protest of the Bengal partition a year before, the moderates were opposed.
  • However, by 1915, the Bombay session saw these two groups reuniting as one.
  • Even after the party came to completely dominate successive general elections under PM Jawaharlal Nehru, the pattern of splits and eventual cohesion continued.
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