Foundation of Indian National Congress (INC) -INC History, UPSC PDF

By K Balaji|Updated : November 16th, 2022

The foundation of Indian National Congress was done to promote Indian participation in politics. A.O. Hume founded the Indian National Congress (INC) in 1885. It was earlier known as Indian Nation Union. The foundation of Indian National Congress in 1885 was not a coincidental occurrence. The political awakening process started in the 1860s and 1870s and reached a turning point in the late 1870s and early 1880s concluded it.

Here, we will discuss the history, objectives, and features responsible for the foundation of Indian National Congress (INC). Congress played a significant role through its movements and ideals in the effort to obtain independence from the British Raj. The foundation of Indian National Congress has continued to create a liberal, inclusive, and unified nation even during the Post-Independence era.

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Foundation of Indian National Congress

The foundation of Indian National Congress was done by 72 delegates at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College in Mumbai on December 28, 1885. The founder of Indian National Congress is Allan Octavian Hume, a former Indian Civil Services Officer. The principles behind the formation of Indian National Congress (INC) is given below.

  • Safety Valve Theory: It is suggested that Hume established the Congress to serve as a "safety valve" for the Indians' mounting discomfort. In order to achieve this, he pestered Lord Dufferin not to oppose the Congress' establishment.
  • The safety valve theory was held by hardline leaders such as Lala Lajpat Rai. The "conspiracy theory" advanced by the Marxist historian was a product of the “safety valve theory”.
  • Indian historians reject the "safety valve theory." They believed that the Indian National Congress embodied the desire of politically aware Indians to establish a national organisation to reflect Indian political and economic concerns. Bipan Chandra, a historian, notes that early Congress leaders used Hume as a unifying force.

Indian National Congress History

One of the most significant political organisations of the 20th century was born with the foundation of the Indian National Congress (INC). In the late 1870s and early 1880s, the framework for the foundation of Indian National Congress, an all-India organisation, was laid.

  • A.O. Hume, a retired English civil official, gave this concept its ultimate form by enlisting the help of prominent thinkers of the day. For the first session, Hume received approval from Lord Dufferin, the viceroy of India at the time. Due to a cholera outbreak in Poona, where it was originally scheduled to take place, it was shifted to Bombay.
  • In 1883, Hume expressed his wish to create an organisation for educated Indians to demand greater participation in government and to provide a forum for discourse in an open letter to Calcutta University graduates.
  • The first woman to graduate from Calcutta University, Kadambini Ganguly, spoke before Congress in 1890, demonstrating the liberation movement's dedication to ensuring that Indian women receive their proper status in mainstream society.

Founder of Indian National Congress

Allan Octavian Hume was the founder of Indian National Congress. It was important in the 1940s when India was fighting for independence from British rule. He was a British civil official who served in British India.

  • He was also a political reformer, ornithologist, and botanist. He has been accredited for the foundation of Indian National Congress.
  • After leaving the civil service and near the end of Lord Lytton's rule, Hume noticed that the Indian people felt helpless and felt compelled to act on their behalf.
  • As the Indian National Union concept developed, Lord Dufferin offered some support to Hume.

Reason for the Establishment of Indian National Congress

Former British civil servant Allan Octavian Hume led the foundation of Indian National Congress. Thus, the establishment of Indian National Congress and its first session was held in Bombay in 1885. The history of the Indian National Congress can be studied in three important phases:

  • Congress's moderate nationalist period (1885–1905) was marked by its continuing loyalty to the British throne.
  • The Home Rule Movement, the emergence of militant nationalism, and the Swadeshi Movement all occurred between 1906 and 1916. The harsh policies of the British government led to the formation of extremists within the Congress, including Aurobindo Ghosh, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and Bipin Chandra Pal (Lal, Bal, Pal).
  • The Gandhian era is referred to as the years 1917 to 1947.

Objectives of Indian National Congress

The INC was India's first national political movement, and its primary objective was to increase Indian participation in national governance. The objectives of the foundation of Indian National Congress are discussed below.

  • To encourage cordial relationships between nationalist political activists from different regions of the country.
  • To foster and strengthen a sense of national unity that transcends caste, religion, and province.
  • To create and present government with a list of common demands.
  • To organise and educate the nation's public opinion.
  • Create and spread an anti-colonial nationalist philosophy.
  • Create and maintain a sense of national unity among all citizens, regardless of their religion, caste, or province.

Features of Indian National Congress (INC)

The foundation of Indian National Congress (INC) was India's first national political movement, and its primary objective was to increase Indian participation in national governance. Later, its goal was upgraded to total independence. The features of INC are discussed below.

  • It developed into a significant political force in the nation after independence.
  • In its early years, the INC was a moderate organisation that restricted its tactics to constitutional ones and debate.
  • Its demands were limited to raising the proportion of Indians serving in the government and military forces. Independence was never discussed. The party's demands and strategy grew more extreme after a while.
  • By 1905, there was a definite fracture in the party, which was now divided into the more recent group, the extremists, who were known for their radical tactics, and the old moderates.
  • In addition to the Indian National Congress, provincial conferences, associations, media, and literature participated in nationalist action.

Main Points Regarding Foundation of Indian National Congress

The retired British civil servant, A.O. Hume, with the support of 72 political workers, laid the foundation of Indian National Congress. Here, we have provided some important facts regarding the formation of Indian National Congress important for preparing for the UPSC exam.

  • Womesh Chandra Bannerjee was the first president of the Indian National Congress.
  • Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was the youngest president of the Indian National Congress.
  • Annie Besant was the first woman president of the Indian National Congress.
  • Congress was declared illegal during 1932, and 1933 sessions.
  • The Congress party has been in independent India for the longest. For 49 years, the party has presided over the national government.
  • The Congress was set to hold its inaugural meeting at Poona (now Pune). However, the event was moved to Bombay because of a cholera outbreak (now Mumbai).
  • A crucial element of the Indian liberation movement was performed by the Congress party. The INC eventually drove out the imperial colonisers from India with the help of nearly 15 million members and 70 million participants.
  • The Congress party continues to control Indian politics even after Independence. The Congress has won six of the 15 general elections held since independence.

Foundational Theories of INC

A strong approach was laid in the late 1870s and early 1880s for the formation of Indian National Congress. A.O. Hume gave this concept its ultimate form when he collected the top intellectuals of the time and, with their assistance, planned the inaugural meeting of the Indian National Congress in Bombay in December 1885. Further, let us discuss some foundational theories of INC.

Safety Valve Theory

This theory postulates that Hume established the Congress in anticipation that it would act as a "safety valve" for the Indians' mounting unhappiness. Leaders such as Lala Lajpat Rai supported the safety valve theory.

Conspiracy Theory

Conspiracy Theory was started by Rajani Palme Dutt. The idea of a "safety valve" gave rise to conspiracy theories. R.P. Dutt asserts that the bourgeois (middle-class) leaders were engaged in a strategy to suppress a public movement in India that gave rise to the Indian National Congress.

Lightning Conductor Theory

Gopal Krishna Gokhale proposed the lightning conductor theory. The Indian National Congress, in the opinion of contemporary Indian historians, expressed the desire of politically aware Indians to create a national organisation to express the Indians' political and economic concerns. Hume served as a "lightning conductor," or a catalyst, for the early Congress leaders to unite nationalistic forces.

Foundation of Indian National Congress For UPSC Exam

The foundation of Indian National Congress is an important topic for the UPSC examination. Here, we have provided the PDF notes to help the candidates prepare well for the Prelims and Mains exam. Many academics have put a lot of effort into determining which person or persons, or whose particular conditions, might be deemed the main immediate causes of its formation.

Foundation of Indian National Congress UPSC PDF

Given the significance of the Indian National Congress in Indian history, it was only natural for historians of the past to speculate about how it was founded. Discussions about this topic have existed since the foundation of Indian national Congress. 

 

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FAQs on Foundation of Indian National Congress (INC)

  • The development of a democratic, nationalist movement was the primary goal of the Indian National Congress in its early years.

    • Politicize and educate individuals about politics.
    • Identify the location of a movement's headquarters.
    • Encourage cordial relationships between nationalist political activists from various regions of the nation.
  • The founder of Indian National Congress is Sir Allan Octavian Hume. He was a former member of the ICS. He encourages Indians to enter politics. In 1885, Hume began serving as the general secretary of INC.

  • Hume had described his vision for a group representing Indian interests in an open letter to University of Calcutta graduates in 1883. The primary objectives were to provide educated Indians a room for their voices in politcs and to provide them a forum for discussion with the British Raj

  • The value of protest is theoretically justified by the safety valve theory. According to the safety valve theory, people are allowed to share their opinions about controversial societal topics in order to criticise the government and its policies.

  • The Indian National Congress was started in 1885 by retired civil officer A.O. Hume. Its original name, the Indian Nation Union, was eventually changed to Indian National Congress at the suggestion of Dadabhai Naoroji.

  • Womesh Chandra Bonnerje was the President of the first session of INC. The first session was attended by 72 members from all the Indian regions. There were two Muslims, 54 Hindus, along with other Jain and Parsi members.

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