Chapter 9: ERA OF CONGRESS
The nucleus of the Congress leadership consisted of men from Bombay and Calcutta who had
first come together in London in the late-1860s and early-'70s while studying for the ICS or for
law—Pherozeshah Mehta, Badruddin Tyabji, W.C. Bonnerji, Manmohan and Lalmohan Ghosh,
Surendranath Banerji, Anandamohan Bose, and Romeshchandra Dutt, who all fell under the
influence of Dadabhai Naoroji who was then settled in England as businessman-cum-publicist.
Those among this group who did not join the civil service (or, as in the case of Surendranath was
thrown out of it), along with some others like a Sadharan Brahmo group headed by Dwarkanath
Ganguli in Calcutta, Ranade and G.V. Joshi in Poona, K.T. Telang in Bombay, and a little later
G. Subramaniya Iyer, Viraraghavachari and Ananda Charlu in Madras, took the initiative in starting a number of local associations.
Pre - Congress Era
congress was born as a culmination of a process started in
1860 and 1870s and reached pinnacle in the 1880s. The
youth had started entering into radical nationalist
politics and wanted formation of newer organizations that
had replaced older ones.
banerjee and Anand Mohan Bose founded on these lines the
Indian Association and were organizing All India
National Congress and were planning a second one. Due to
this Surendranath banerjee couldn’t attend the founding
session of the congress in Mumbai in 1885.
agitation s in the preceding years had encouraged Indians
viz. cotton import duties protest, afghan was, Illbert
bill controversy [ Indian judges could try Europeans],
vernacular press act of Lord Lytton, arms act. These
didn’t achieve results as they weren’t coordinated on an
All India level.
The political associations in the early half of the nineteenth century
were dominated by wealthy and aristocratic elements, local or regional
in character, and through long petitions to the British Parliament
association of Indians with the administration
spread of education
The political associations of the second half of the nineteenth century
came to be increasingly dominated by the educated middle class—the
lawyers, journalists, doctors, teachers, etc. and they had a wider
perspective and a larger agenda.
Political Associations before congress
The Bangabhasha Prakasika Sabha was formed in 1836 by associates of Raja
The Zamindari Association, more popularly known as the 'Landholders'
Society', was founded to safeguard the interests of the landlords.
Although limited in its objectives, the Landholders' Society marked the
beginning of an organized political activity and use of methods of
constitutional agitation for the redressal of grievances.
The Bengal British India Society was founded in 1843 with the object of
the collection and dissemination of information relating to the actual
condition of the people of British India and to employ such other means,
of peaceful and lawful character as may appear calculated to secure the
welfare, extend the just rights and advance the interests of all classes
of our feliow subjects.
The East India Association was organized by Dadabhai Naoroji in 1866 in
London to discusss the Indian question and influence public men in
England to promote Indian welfare.
The Indian League was started in 1875 by Sisir Kumar Ghosh with the
object of "stimulating the sense of nationalism amongst the people" and
of encouraging political education.
The Indian Association of Calcutta superseded the Indian League and was
founded in 1876 by younger nationalists of Bengal led by Surendranath
Banerjee and Ananda Mohan Bose, who were getting discontented with the
conservative and pro-landlord policies of the British Indian
Association. The Indian Association of Calcutta was the most important
of preCongress associations and aimed to
create a strong public opinion on political questions
unify Indian people on a common political
The Poona Sarvajanik Sabha was founded in 1867 by M.Mahadeo Govind
Ranade and others, with the object of serving as a bridge between the
government and the people.
The Bombay Presidency Association was started by Badruddin Tyabji,
Pherozshah Mehta and K.T. Telang in 1885.
The Madras Mahajan Sabha was founded in 1884 by M. Viraraghavachari, B.
Subramaniya Aiyer and P. Anandacharlu.
Creation of the Congress
O. Hume was instrumental in establishing it. WC Banerjee
was the first president. The first meeting took place in
Bombay shifted from pune due to outbreak of plague.
was chosen as he was of high ideals. The leaders
cooperated with Hume as they didn’t want to arouse
official hostility at this period. They felt that the
colonial state wouldn’t suppress an organization if its
founder was a British.
other opinion was that Hume had hoped to create the
congress as a safety valve for public discontent
against the British but this theory was rejected by
Objectives of the
leaders of the congress wanted to build a secular nation.
And lay foundation of a secular and democratic national
was to create a common political program or platform
around which political workers could gather and conduct
their political activities, educating and mobilizing
people around all India basis.
indigenization of political democracy.
and propagate anti colonial nationalist ideology
Q.Consider the following statements :
1. The first woman President of the Indian National Congress was Sarojini Naidu.
2. The first Muslim President of the Indian National Congress was Badruddin Tyabji
Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (UPSC CSAT 2015)
Both 1 and 2
Neither 1 nor 2
Ans . B
First woman President of INC was Annie Besant.
First male President was W.C. Banerjee. First Muslim male President was Badruddin Tyabji.
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