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Modern History / National Movement

Short Note on Formation of Indian National Congress

    Indian National Congress was founded in 1885 by Allan Octavian Hume, a British retired ICS officer who settled in Shimla. A.O. Hume was first general secretary of Congress Party. The first president was W.C. Banerjee. The name Indian National Congress was given by Dadabhai Naoroji.


    When Congress Party was formed, Lord Dufferin was the Governor General and Lord Cross was the Secretary of State. Britishers who became presidents of Congress were George Yule, William Wedderburn and Henry Cotton.

    Congress party will have an annual session in the month of December to discuss various issues. When there is an urgency, it can go for special session. There will be President election in annual session and the tenure will be 1 year.

    The first session was held in Bombay in 1885 and the president was W.C. Banerjee. The second session was held in 1886 in Calcutta and the president was Dadabhai Naoroji.

    The third session was held in 1887 in Madras and the president of this session was Badruddin Tyabji. The fourth session was held in 1888 in Allahabad and the president of this session was George Yule. Demand for Independence by the Congress party was started in 1929.

    Phases of Indian National Congress during Freedom Struggle

      Period Leadership Goal Means Adopted Social Base
      1885-1905 Moderates or early Nationalists Dominion status Constitutional methods, Political begging system Upper classes of urban area
      1905-1920 Extremists or Militant Nationalists Swaraj Swadeshi, Passive Resistance Middle classes of urban areas
      1920-1947 Mahatma Gandhi Sampoorna Swaraj (Independence) Satyagraha Mass and lower class (Grassroots level mobilization)

    Moderate Phase of Indian National Congress

    • The main Moderate leaders were Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Dadabhai Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta, Anand Mohan Bose, Surendra Nath Banerjee, Badruddin Tyabji, Mahadev Govind Ranade, Rash Behari Ghosh, etc.

    • They demanded dominion status which means allowing the local people in administration. They also demanded the Government to spread Western education in India, development of modern industry, liberal constitutional reforms and Indian representation in political and public services.

    • They adopted Constitutional methods while demanding. They never took the law into their hands. They expressed their propaganda through press.

      They followed 3 P's system i.e. Prayers, Petitions and Protests. They never wanted mass movement.

    • Journals started by Moderate leaders were 'Voice of India' newspaper by Dadabhai Nauroji, 'The Bengalee' by S.N. Banerjee, 'Bombay Chronicle' by Pherozeshah Mehta and 'Sudharak' by Gopal Krishna Gokhale.

    Extremist Phase of Indian National Congress

      The main leaders of Extremist phase were

      • Bal Gangadhar Tilak -

        • He came from Chitpavan Brahmin family of Pune. He was also known as Lokmanya. When the 'Age of Consent Act' was passed in the year 1891, it was criticized by Tilak (he was the first man to condemn the Act).

        • He started "Akhadas" (Gyms or health clubs). Hindu youth were given training and were asked to fight against cow killers. In 1893, he started Ganesh festivals. In 1895, he started Shivaji Festivals.

        • He started journals like Kesari (in Marathi language) and Mahratta (in English). In 1896, he started "No Tax Campaign" in Poona.

          British author, Chiroll wrote a book called "Indian Unrest" in which he described Tilak as "Father of Indian Unrest".

        • In the year 1908, he was arrested and sent to the Mandalay jail in Burma for 6 years. In 1914, he was released as a full-fledged moderate.

          He redefined Swaraj as Swaraj within British Raj. He wrote books like 'Geeta Rahasya' and 'The Arctic Home in the Vedas'.

      • Lala Lajpati Rai -

        • He is known as Lion of Punjab.

        • He started two journals 'The Punjabee' and 'The People' and wrote a book "Unhappy India".

      • Bipin Chandra Pal -

        • He was a leader from Bengal.

        • He started journals like New India, Bande Mataram, Paridarshak and Swaraj (founded in London).

      • Aurobindo Ghose -

        • He was a politician turned Swamiji.

        • He started journals like Arya (devotional journal). He wrote many books like Life Divine, New Lamps for Old, Savitri (largest epic in English literature)

      • Sardar Ajit Singh -

        • He was the uncle of Bhagat Singh. He started organizations called Bharat Mata Society and Anjuman-i-Mohisban-i-Watan. He started a journal called Peshwa.

        • He was a Congress leader having contacts with revolutionaries. For more than 35 years he was away from India and came to India after independence and passed away on the same day.

      Forms of Struggle

      • Swadeshi - Swadeshi concept was developed by Aurobindo Ghosh. Its objective was to boycott of British goods and the British Institutions (offices). Aurobindo Ghosh describes Swadeshi as "organized refusal and make the administration impossible".

      • Passive Resistance - It was also developed by Aurobindo Ghose. Its objective was non Active resistance. For example, forming queues to resist lathi charge, etc.