Formation of the Indian National Congress, 1885

The Indian National Congress was founded at the behest of Allan Octavian Hume in 1885...

The Congress was supposedly created as a safety valve to let off steam and protect the empire. The proof of this was in 7 secret volumes that came to AO Hume's attention in 1878; these convinced him of the seething discontent and the possibility of violence against the British.


In 1878, AO Hume was the secretary to the department of revenue, Agriculture and Commerce! How would he have got access to such secret reports? These "reports" were first brought to public attention by William Wederburn; he writes that a warning came to Hume from the leaders among those devoted to a very religious life. Thus, the evidence of the 7 volumes were prepared by chelas of these Gurus. The books of Madame Blavatsky, Viceroys Ripon and Duffering, we discover that these gurus were supposed to possess supernatural powers!

I am associated with men, who though never seen by the masses, are yet reverenced by them as Gods... and who feel every pulse of public feeling - AO Hume to Viceroy Ripon, December 1883!

As regards the Congress being formed as a social entity: "At his last interview he told me that he and his friends were going to assemble a political convention of delegates, as far as I understood, on the lines adopted by O'Connell previous to Catholic Emancipation... " Dufferin to Reay, Governor of Mumbai, May 1885!

Further, how can a National Level Organisation arise out of nothing? This question has not been attended to in the written and commonly understood version of History. We move from 1857 straight to 1885 without accounting for the intervening years. How is it that till 1885 May, there was no political movement of any kind - and lo and behold, by December 1885 we had a national political organisation? This is one question that needs attending to if we are to understand the complete history of the INC.

From this, it can be surmised that the formation of the congress is not such a simple affair; there was a lot that remained hidden..,

The reality was that the Congress was not formed as a sudden event out of the blue; it was the culmination of a series of events that started in the 1860s. The years from 1860s to 1870s saw a slow transformation from localised interests to a slow national awakening. The developments were there for all to see: Indian Association, 1876 (Banerjea and Bose), Madras Mahajan Sabha, 1884 (Iyer, Viraraghavavachariar, Charlu), Bombay Presidency Association, 1885 (Telang, Mehta), Poona Sarvajanik Sabha etc came into existance. The nationalist newspapers had also started around this time: The Hindu, Tribune, Bengalee, Mahratta, Kesari, Amrita Bazaar patrika.

By 1885, the need for a national organisation was being recognised by everyone. The Indian Mirror of Calcutta was already carrying a contnuous campaign on this. The Indian Association had already organised an All India National Conference in 1883, and given a call for another one in 1885.

The hard-core evidence in support of this is present in front of everyone's eyes: P Ananda Charlu, founder of The Hindu and Madras Mahajan Sabha, was one of the founding fathers of the Congress!  He became the president of the congress in 1891. Mahadeo Govind Ranade (immortalised by the TV serial Uncha Mazaa Zhokaa, one of the founders of the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha was another founder member in the congress.

One of the Congress objectives was the eradication... of all race, creed or provincial prejudices amongst all lovers of our country" - WC Bonnerjea, First President of the Congress

As to AO Hume, courageous leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta, Mahadeo Govind Ranade and Surendranath Bannerjea cooperated with Hume to lessen official suspicion. WIth the Brits seemingly in control, the threat of a clampdown was much lesser. The brutality of 1857 was far too fresh in Indian minds as at this juncture.\

The clincher:

No Indian could have started The Congress; If an Indian had come forward... the officials would not have allowed it to come into existence - Gopal Krishna Gokhale...


The above contains excerpts from India's Struggle For Independence written by Bipin Chandra, Mrudula mukherjee, Aditya Mukherjee, Sucheta Mahajan and KN Panikkar. I shall be reviewing this book on this site, for those who are interested...


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