Indian National Congress - The Freedom Struggle, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRev

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UPSC : Indian National Congress - The Freedom Struggle, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRev

The document Indian National Congress - The Freedom Struggle, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRev is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims.
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The Indian National Congress ([INC], often called the Congress Party or simply Congress) is a broadly based political party in India. Founded in 1885, it was the first modern nationalist movement to emerge in the British Empire in Asia and Africa. From the late 19th century, and especially after 1920, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Congress became the principal leader of the Indian independence movement.Congress led India to independence from Great Britain and powerfully influenced other anti-colonial nationalist movements in the British Empire. 

Indian National Congress - The Freedom Struggle, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRev

Indian National Congress
The following may be described as the causes of the formation of the In­dian National Congress:
  • Vernacular Press Act imposed by Lord Lytton, which resulted in a wide­spread discontentment in the country.
  • Second Afghan War. The Indians felt that the British by waging Second Afghan War (1878-80) had unneces­sarily intruded into Afghan affairs.
  • Lord Ripon’s Liberal Policy en­gendered political awakening and thirst for sharing the local administration.
  • Ilbert Bill- The controversy that ensued between the Indians and the British Government over the llbert Bill made the former alive to the necessity of having an All India political organisation to forge a united opposi­tion to anti-national measures of the Government .
  • In 1885 under the inspiration of Allan Octavian Hume (1829-1912) and the silent encouragement of Dufferin, the Viceroy, the Indian National Con­gress was established.
  • In March 1883, Hume had ad­dressed a letter to the graduates of the Calcutta University advising them to conduct a firm struggle for securing free­dom and affirming “they who would be freed themselves must strike the blow.”
  • After his retirement from the l.C.S, Hume organized an Indian Na­tional Union in 1884 which released a memorandum for the meeting of an Indian National Conference.

Facts To Be Remembered

  • Maulvi Chirag Ali (1844-95): Sought to reform Muslim society; stood for monogamy.
  • Sir Syyed Ahmad Khan (1817-98): Condemned the system of ‘Piri’ and ‘Muridi’. His book—’commentaries on the Quran’. Opened the Anglo­Muslim School at Aligarh in 1875.
  • Ahmadiya Movement: Muslim religious movement by Mirza Gulam Ahmad.
  • B.M. Malabari (a Parsi reformer of the 19th century): Efforts against child marriage were crowned by the enactment of the Age of Consent Act (1891) which forbade the marriage of girls below the age of 12.
  • The Sharda Act (1930): Pushed up marriage age and provided for penal action in marriage of boys under 18 and girls under 14 years of age.
  • The Indian National Social Conference: Founded by M.G. Ranade in 1887.
  • The Bombay Social Reform Association: in 1903.
  • The All India Anti Untouchabillty League: Founded in 1932 and later renamed as Harijan Sevak Sangh.
  • All India Women’s Conference: was organised in 1922 by women them­selves.
  • In 1945, Dr. Ambedkar criticised Gandhiji in his famous book “What Congress and Gandhi have done to the untouchables”.
  • This proposed conference met on 28 December, 1885 at the Gokuldas Tejpal High School and this was the birth of the Indian National Congress.
  • Lord Dufferin who had inspired Hume with the vision of an all-lndia association wanted a body of person who could perform functions similar to those of Her Majesty’s Opposition in England, that is, a body engaged in the interpretation of the public will before the Government.
  • Its aims, as stated by A.O. Hume in 1889, were:
  • The fusion of different elements of the Indian population.
  • The mental, moral, social and political regeneration of the nation.
  • The consolidation of the union between England and India.
  • Really, Hume wanted a loyal substitute for the Indian National Con­ference held in Calcutta. But soon the attitude of the Government towards the Congress began to change.
  • In 1890, the Government de­barred Government officials from at­tending the Congress sessions.
  • In the nineteenth century, the Congress had its social base in the Western educated Indians and the com­mercial and industrial bourgeoisie.
  • lndian National Congress was a truly national organisation, for:
  • It represented all races, all creeds and all communities.
  • Its membership was open to per­sons of all communities.
  • All communities have worked for its development.
  • It approached the country’s prob­lems from all-lndia point of view.
  • The fundamental principles of the Congress were:
  • To blend the heterogeneous el­ements of the Indian population into a single national whole.
  • To reconstruct the Indian Na­tion mentally, morally, socially and po­litically.
  • To cement the union between India and England and to secure modi­fication of conditions detrimental to the interests of the former.
  • The violent propaganda of the Congress succeeded in having some re­forms enacted. Consequently the In­dian Council Act was passed in 1892 which enlarged the various Legislative Councils and extended franchise to the Chambers of Commerce, Universities, Landlords and Municipalities. But the Act could not satisfy the younger gen­eration.Indian National Congress - The Freedom Struggle, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRevHere After
  • A very severe famine broke out in India in 1896 and the British Gov­ernment failed to cope with the exi­gencies of the situation.
  • The famine exacted a heavy toll of lives due to the different attitude of the government towards the suffering Indian community.
  • B.G. Tilak organised a ‘no-tax’ campaign. His plea was that the Indi­ans were incapacitated by the famine to meet the demand of taxes.
  • The murder of two British offi­cials at Poona intensified the repres­sive measures of the government who arrested Tilak on the charge of having incited an Indian through speeches and writings, to perpetrate the murder.
  • The Congress had in its fold workers of extreme and liberal views, the former were called Extremists while the latter were styled as Moderates.
  • The Moderates stood for self­-government equivalent to Dominion Home Rule achieved through constitu­tional measures.
  • Surender Nath Banerjee and Pheroz Shah Mehta belonged to this camp and Gokhale was their leader.
  • The Extremists did not advocate constitutional agitation. Many of them harboured separatist tendencies They were led by B. G. Tilak, who had Lala Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chander Pal as his close adherents.
  • The regime of Lord Curzon (1890-1905), instead of appeasing the Indians, embittered the relations between the rulers and the ruled.
  • Lord Curzon’s educational policy, lavishing of money on the Darbar, his hatred of Indian culture and civilisation and bifurcation of Bengal exhausted the Indian patience and forced the Indians to resort to violent mea­sures.
  • He made as extensive use of the Sedition Act. Several Congress lead­ers were arrested and deported. The reign of terror had set in.
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