Formation of Congress and its moderate phase

The Indian National Congress was not the first organization that was formed in India. From the mid 19th century there were many organizations which took up the political agenda. However, all the predecessors of the Indian National Congress were the regional organization and lacked the pan India orientation.

Some of the organizations that were the predecessors of Indian National Congress were as follows:

Organizations before INC
Organizations before INC

S. No.

Organization

Place

Year

Founder(s)

1

Landholders Society

Calcutta

1837

Dwarka Nath Tagore

2

British India Society

London

1839

William Adam

3

British India Association (Result of the merger of 1 and 2)

Calcutta

1851

Devendra Nath Tagore

4

Madras Native Association

Madras

1852

C.Y. Mudaliar

5

Bombay Association

Bombay

1852

Jagannath Shanker Sheth

6

East India Association

London

1866

Dadabhai Naoroji

7

Poona Sarvajanik Sabha

Poona

1870

S.H. Chiplunkar, V.V. Joshi, M.G. Ranade

8

Indian Society

London

1872

Anand Mohan Bose

9

Indian League

Calcutta

1875

Shishir Kumar Ghosh

10

Indian Association Anand Mohan Bose

Calcutta

1876

Surendra Nath Bannerji & Anand Mohan Bose

11

India National Conference

Calcutta

1883

Surendra Nath Bannerji & Anand Mohan Bose

12

Madras Mahajan Sabha

Madras

1884

P.Rangia Naydu, V. Raghavechari, Anand Charlu, G.S. Aiyer

13

Bombay Presidency Association

Bombay

1885

Ferozshah Mehta, K.T. Tailang & Badruddin Tyebji

Formation of Congress

  • The Indian National Union was formed in 1884 by A.O. Hume, an Englishman and a retired civil servant, in association with various national leaders who called for a conference in Pune in December 1885.

  • The venue was shifted to Bombay for various reasons (esp. outbreak of plague at Pune).

  • Indian National Union was later renamed as Indian National Congress.

  • The first session of the Indian national Congress was held at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College in Bombay under the presidentship of W.C. Bannerji and it was attended by 72 delegates from all over India.

The "Moderate" phase

From 1885 to 1905 the leadership of INC was dominated by the leaders who are known as moderates. They had the following views:

  • They believe that British rule should continue in India as it was gradually preparing the Indians to be capable for self rule

  • They were of the view that if the British rule is uprooted in India, the anarchy of medieval age would return in India

  • The leaders of this phase were of the view that the bad plight of the Indians was due to the negligence and apathy towards people by the civil servants of the company. They firmly believed that if the grievances of Indians were notified to the British government the plight of Indians would improve.

  • They adopted the 3 “P” i.e. Prayer, Petitions and Protests to ventilate their grievances

  • The demands of this phase were elitist in nature like expansion to supreme and legislative councils, more funds for technical education, cuts in military expenditure, Indianization of ICS exams etc.

Moderate Leaders

Dada Naoroji, A.O. Hume, Badruddin Tayebji, M.G. Ranade, W.C. Bannerji, Ferozshah Mehta, Surendra Nath Bannerji, C. Shankaran Naiyar, Madan Mohan Malviya, V.S. Shrinivas Shastri, Tej Bahadur Sapru, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Anand Mohan Bose, E. Dinesh Wacha, Ras Bihari Ghosh, Mohan Lal Ghosh, P. Anand Charlu, C.Y. Chintamani, R.C. Dutt, S. Subrahmanyam Aiyer, K.T. Tailang, Madhusudan Das, Rahimtulla M. Sayani.