Bangalore: The journey of the Indian National Congress (INC) to the present day Congress is not a simple path but rather an adventurous ride with too many bumps.
Being one of the largest and prominent Indian Public Organization, Indian National Congress defines the influence of Indian Independence Movement until the independence.
After the failure of the first appeal to form Indian National Union in 1885, retired British officer Allan Octavian Hume (Scotsman) found the Indian National Congress (a theosophical society movement) at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College in Bombay, with 72 delegates in attendance. It is where the first session of INC took place. Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee of Calcutta was elected as President of the movement.
After becoming the president, Womesh stated nine objectives of the INC. Among which to bring the leaders from different parts of the country to remove all prejudices of the religion, race, caste, region and provinces was the preliminary one.
In 1906, there was a misunderstanding between Gokhale and Tilak when Gokhale criticised Tilak for supporting acts of violence and disorder. This led to the partition of the movement as one consisting of Moderates, led by Gokhale and the other consisting of Extremists, led by Tilak.
In 1906, following Tilak’s arrest, Congress lost credit with the public which resulted in the formation of All India Muslims League since Muslims considered Congress as unsuitable.
Utilising this partition of INC, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869–1948) in 1920 became the party leader.
Later after the World War, the influence of Gandhian era, brought several hot-blooded nationalists like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, Narion Hari Parikh, Mahadev Desai, Chittaranjan Das, Subhas Chandra Bose towards Congress.
Before Gandhian era, Congress was considered as a upper-middle class party, since the organization were originally made up of Western educated men.
Also the changes made by Gandhi like reducing the membership fees of Congress, making native language as official dragged several Indians to the Movement.
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In the provincial elections of 1937, Congress performed very well, that it tasted victory in eight of the eleven provinces where elections were held. Every devoted Congressmen became so overwhelmed by this result.
But this happiness didn’t last long as the Viceroy Lord Linlithgow declared India belligerent in World War 2 and hence all the Congress ministries resigned.
There were three separate movements struggling for independence. They were the noncooperative movement, the civil disobedience movement, and finally the “Quit India” movement.
In 1930, one major breakthrough occurred as a result of “Dandi March”. Gandhi took the impositions of taxes on salt as the main weapon against British. In what many consider a stroke of political savvy, Gandhi’s Dandi march became more aware of the fight for sovereignty from British rule, since every common man knew the value of salt.
In 1942, Gandhi announced the “Quit India” campaign. Backed by the INC, all thoughts turned toward eliminating the British presence in India and establishing self-governance. Later, Quit India campaign became prominent across the country, and resistance grew.
Lord Louis Mountbatten (1900–1979), the last viceroy of British India, who was in good standing with Nehru, granted the demands of the Muslim League to create a separate state, Pakistan for Muslims which resulted in several migrations and deaths across India.
After independence, Jawaharlal Nehru became the first prime minister of Independent India.
After Nehru, Indra era, Rajiv Gandhi or Rao era, and currently Congress is going through modern era where the Congress is mostly facing downfall as a result of several scams.
Let’s hope in future, India’s oldest political party, the Congress, will avoid its family-like private Ltd controversies and regain it’s strength.