UNIT 9 INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS FORMATION Structure Objectives Introduction Milieu 9.2.1 The New Leaders 9.2.2 Art and Literature 9.2.3 Newspapers and Journals Political Associations Before 1885 Imperial Response 9.4.1 Lytton 9.4.2 Ripon The Role of the Educated Indians , Foundation of the Congress 9.6.1 First Meeting 9.6.2 Presidential Speech 9.6.3 Participation 9.6.4 Proceedings and Resolutions Controversies Relating to its Origin 9.7.1 Official Conspiracy Theory 9.7.2 Ambitions and Rivalries of Indian Elites 9.7.3 Need for an All India Body Let Us Sum Up Key Words Answers to Check Your Progress Exercises 9.0 OBJECTIVES In the previous Unit you have seen how the formulation and spread of modem ideas led to an intellectual awakening in India in the 19th century. One of its major consequence was the formation of the Indian National Congress, which has played a very important role in the history of modem India. This unit deals with its background and focus on the factors responsible for its formation. After reading this Unit you will: get an idea of the milieu in which the Indian National Congress was founded, understand the role played by the educated Indians in its formation, get some details about the fiist congress meeting, and became familiar with some of the controversies surrounding its origin. 9.1 INTRODUCTION On Monday, 28 December 1885 seventy-two persons met in the hall of Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College in Bombay. They were attending the inaugural session of the Indian National Congress. Since then this body went on to play a pivotal role in India's struggle for liberation from British rule. You have already been told about the establishment of the colonial state in irlciia and'also about the factors responsible for the rise and growth of national consciousness in India. This unit follows logically from the earlier Units you have read and deals with the formation of I the Indian National Congress, as the political organisational consequence of the spread of 1 national consciousness in India.
Modern India 1857 - 1964 MILIEU As the British extended their sway over India, a sullen feeling of a resentment grew amongst the people. It was based on their perception that the new rulers were responsible for their economic hardships. They also felt that they were being looked down upon in their own country and their way of life was being threatened. The opportunities available to them for advancement were insufficient. The lower strata of social and economic hierarchy expressed their resentment by sporadic uprisings. These were often directed against immediate exploiters-the zamindars, moneylenders and tax collectors. But, broadly speaking, these were protests against the system built by the British. The intensity of discontent against foreign rule became visible through these uprisings. The great Revolt of 1857 itself, in a way sprang up as an outburst of accumulated discontent of masses in different parts of the country.