Formation of Indian National Congress
There are different theories about the formation of the Indian national Congress. It seems like a mystery to everyone. But mostly it is said that the Congress was organized by Allan Octavian Hume with the help of Lord Dufferin who was the Viceroy of India then.
Hume is called the father of Indian National Congress. According to them the congress was organized for two main reasons which were giving safety-valve to the British Government so that the administration was not affected because of the citizens of the country.
The second was to create a quasi-constitutional parties like to that one of the Majesty’s in England. W.C. Banerjee was the first President of the Congress. According to him, the existence of the Congress was actually due Lord Dufferin, the Viceroy.
It is because he felt that the Congress was needed to fulfill the demands. This is how the Viceroy, Lord Dufferin helped him and the Congress was formed because of the planned by Allan Octavian Hume and Viceroy Lord Dufferin.
It was during the 1800s, the formation of the Indian National Congress took place. Being more specifically, the Indian National Congress was born in the year of 1885. It is said that this day turned to be very important in the country’s history.
Earlier there were many movements and associations at a very smaller level like the local one. But this association was on a national base. These included people from the middle class who were educated. They were inspired from the radical ideas and Western liberals.
It is said that during the first stage of INC, the movement was limited only to very less Indians who were educated. Then, at the second stage the focus was for the overall development of the people- politically, economically, culturally and socially. It was then INC decided for Swaraj. At the last stage, the aim was to get complete independence. It was also known as Purna Swaraj.
Activities of Indian National Congress for 20 years (from 1885 to 1905)
When the Congress was formed, they had four main objectives. They were promoting the feeling of the unity among all the Indians in the country, knowing the different patriots all over the country and maintaining a contact with them, co-operating with the educated people and adopting the principles of social reforms and planning or formulating the political and economic demands.
As India was under the rule of the British, the entire country was exploited economically. The economic growth had faced a big reduction. This is the reason why India was suffering from poverty. The leaders that time did not support the idea of investment of foreign capital.
The early nationalists of the Congress wanted to develop the modern industry and also to reduce the heavy land revenue. They wanted the method of taxation also to change. Due to the economic exploitation only, there was so much of unrest among the people in the entire country.
They also worked hard to make changes in the administration. They demanded to separate the judiciary and executive. There were other demands of the nationalists like changing the police department, making a jury system and give power to the municipalities’ and corporations elected members.
Provisions were made to include non-officials in the Congress. But these non-officials were merchants and zamindars. The leaders wanted the membership of the councils so that the elected representatives of the people could join. Then, the government agreed for the provisions.
The early nationalist leaders were known as moderators because they believed in moderate politics. These types of people do not support neither the democratic nor the republican. The Indian National Congress was dominated by such type of people.
Later it was found that mostly the men from well off middle class dominated the Congress. According to them the rule of British was needed for the citizens of the country. This is why many leaders of the council felt that the Britishers were not bad people. They were just and virtuous.
Due to these opinions they asked for concessions and not freedom from them. But these early nationalist leaders or rather moderators had to face a lot of criticism. Despite these criticisms, the period of 1885 to 1905 has been a time of development for the Indian nationalism. This was because the focus was shifted from the exploitation to the people of the country.
The first session of the Congress
Allan Octavian Hume with the help of other leaders from the country prepared for Indian National Congress’ first session. The session took place at the Hall of Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College in Bombay in the month of December, 1885. W.C. Banerjee was the first President of the Congress and also took over the first session of the party.
Almost seventy two delegates came to attend the first session of the Indian national Congress. Dadabhai Naroji, Pheroze Shah Mehta, K.T. Telang, Ranade and Dinshaw Wacha were among those seventy two delegates. In the first session the Congress talked about four demands which were put in front of the audience.
They were holding examination the Indian Civil Service Examination in both England and India at the same time. Then, reducing the amount of money spent for the military field.
After this the other demand was to apologize for upper Burma’s capture. The fourth demand was to make changes in the legislative council, to stop the nomination of people but follow the election principle for the council.
Indian National Congress: Then and now
Indian National Congress today is known as Congress which is the oldest political party. The Council has completed its 132 years. The council follows the socialist ideas of Gandhi and social democracy. They are in the centre-left.
Earlier the Congress wanted to get liberal nationalism. The Congress was a political party. But it represented all the people of the country, to make changes in the social reforms and for their development. This was the only council to represent the citizens.
The Congress had to face a lot of struggle for freedom and a lot of demands were asked from them. In the past people who were a part of the Indian National Congress were Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Jayaprakash Narayan, Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Rajendra Prasad.
They all liked and supported Gandhiji’s belief of Satyagraha and non-violence. The Council became popular among the people in the country. Gandhiji guided the Indian National Congress during the rule of the British in India.
After India got independence, Jawaharlal Nehru was the head of the Indian National Congress because Gandhiji was assassinated. After Nehru his daughter Indira Gandhi took his place and became the successor of the council. But after she came to power she started to become like a dictator and was oppressive.
Due to this the party started to have factionalism. Due to her behaviour of being a dictator, she announced the national Emergency in the year of 1975. Later, it was found that this National Emergency was not needed. Due to her autocratic behaviour and authoritarian rule, the Congress lost to the Janata Party in the year of 1977.
Today, the President of the Congress party is Sonia Gandhi. She is the wife of Rajiv Gandhi who was the son of Indira Gandhi. While Sonia Gandhi’s son Rahul Gandhi is the Vice-President of the party.
The Gandhi family has maintained the legacy of heading the Congress party. The party has been winning many elections in the country. But in the year of 2014 the Congress lost to BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) very badly. From then BJP is in power.
The symbol of the Congress
The Election Commission approves the election symbol of each party. For the Congress, the right hand is shown and the palm is facing the front. In this symbol the fingers of the right hand are pressed so that they stay together. This symbol is important for the party as it was chosen by the party when Indira Gandhi was the head.
But before this, the symbol of Congress when it was founded in 1885 was not the same. The symbol included two bullocks with a plough. Indira Gandhi shifted from the old symbol because the new symbol reflected unity, strength and energy. The people who work in the party are together like what is being reflected through the symbol of the party.