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Indians felt deeply humiliated and there was increasing bitterness of feeling between the two. The question of recruitment of Indians to the covenanted civil service was a further source of resentment to the educated classes. Repeated representations were made by Indian leaders for simultaneous examinations in India and England and raising of the age, but the Government remained obdurate. These and other causes of discontent gave rise to vigorous political agitations. As already noticed organized political associations such as the British Indian Association and its sister organizations were working in that direction. 


These advanced ideas the establishment on September 25, 1875 of a new political association the Indian League, which was looked upon as ‘the first marked sign of awakening of the people on the side of India to political life.’ The Indian Leagues was, however, soon replaced by the Indian Association (July  26, 1876) which aimed at the organization of public opinion on an all-India level and one of its main objectives was the unification of the Indian people on the basis of common political interests and aspirations, the promotion of friendly feelings between Hindus and Muslims and the inclusion of the masses in the great public movements of the day. It was about this time that the SARVAJANIK SABHA was founded IN POONA (1870) WITH M.G. RANADE (1842-1901) as its moving spirit.  This organization gave wide publicity to popular grievance against the bureaucracy. In northern India, a working of this spirit was marked by the emergence of THE ARYA SAMAJ, founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswati (1824-1883) whose watchwords were ‘Back to the Vedas’ and ‘Aryasthan for Aryans.’

The harsh and oppressive measures adopted by Lord Lytton (1876-1880), his VERNACULAR PRESS ACT, THE ARMS ACT AND THE ABOLITION OF DUTY on imported cotton goods were bitterly resented by Indian and helped to stimulate their political activities. In 1876, when the age limit of the competitors for the Indian Civil Service examination was lowered from 21 to 19, the Indian Association at once took the opportunity to start an all-India agitation against the measure by uniting the provinces through a sense of common grievances and aspirations of common resolve.’ SURENDRANATH BANERJEE’S tours in different parts of India (1877) were rightly acclaimed as the first successful attempt of its kind at uniting India on a political basis. Encouraged by the spontaneous response all over India and taking advantage of the agitation over the IIBERT BILL and the imprisonment of Surendranath Banerjee in 1883, the Indian Association conceived the idea of an All-India National Conference which was approved by all the branches of the Association in North India as well as by the leading political organizations of Bombay and Madras. Many politically conscious individuals like Tarapada Banerji and Kristodas Pal had also suggested a meeting of the delegates from all parts of India at Caclutta. This conference met in Calcutta in December 1883 and may justly be regarded as the precursor of the Indian National Congress being conceived on the same lines and having an identical programme.


A retired civilian, ALLAN OCTAVIAN HUME (1829-1912) son of the founder of the Radical Party in England, had addressed an open letter to the graduates of the Calcutta University (March 1, 1883) urging them to organize an association for the mental, moral, social and political regeneration of the people of India.
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