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Hume viewed with deep concern the tremendous unrest during the closing years of Lord Lytton’s Viceroyalty. He had special means to know about the condition of the country and wrote that failure to counteract this unrest would spell danger to British rule in India. Hume was determined to provide a safety valve for the escape of this great and growing force and enlisted official favour in support of such an organization.

The idea of organizing an all-India political body was also mooted at madras at a private meeting of 17 leaders who assembled after the THEOSOPHICAL CONVENTION HALL there in December 1884. Hume expendited his plans and after consultation with leaders like DADABHAI NAOROJI, BADRUDDIN TYABJI (1844-1906), PHEROZE SHAH MEHTA and others, decided to hold at bomaby a meeting of representatives from all parts of India.

 This was “expected to from the germ of a native Parliament and if properly conducted, will constitute in a few years an unanswerable reply to the assertion that India is still wholly unfit for any form of representative Government.”  THE FIRST INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS which met in Bombay in 1885 under the PRESIDENT SHIP OF WOMESH CHUNDER BONNERJEE, consisted only of 72 delegates.


Henceforth the Congress met every year in some important town of India, The Second And Third Sessions being held, repsectively at Calcutta and Madras under the PRESIDENTSHIP OF  DADABHAI NAOROJI AND BADRUDDIN TYAHBJI. The Congress gradually developed into a powerful political organization with an all-India character. The number of delegates rose steadily and, at the fourth Congress at Allahabad (1888) there were 1,248 delegates. It focused the political ideas of English-educated Indians and gave them a definite shape and form. It professed unswerving loyalty to the British throne and cherished unbounded faith in the liberalism and sense of justice of British statesmen. Its whole endeavour was to rouse British consciousness to the inherent justice of the Indian claims year after year, it pressed for Examinations For The Indian Civil Service, simultaneously in India and England, the Right To Carry Arms; grant of Imperial Military Commissions to Indian, appointment of Indians to Executive Councils, and elected representatives in a majority in the Councils.

It paid much attention to economic problems and, in particular, pressed steadily for reduction of military expenditure.

The annual gatherings of leading representatives from different parts of India gave reality to the ideal of Indian unity developed patriotic feelings, and awakened political consciousness among the steadily increasing circle of English-educated Indians.

DADABHAI NAOROJI, even visited England and carried on propaganda there in the name of the Congress and on behalf of the people of India. He was ablve to win the sympathies of a large number of Englishmen including William Sproston Caine, M.P. (1842-1903), William Dighy (1849-1904), M.P. Sir Henry Cotton (1845-1915) and Sir William Wilson Hunter (1840-1900). In July 1889, a British Committee of the Congress was established in England and a journal India was also brough out. In 1893. SIR WILLIAM WEDDERBURN (1838-1918) and W.S. CAINE setup an Indian Parliamentary Committee to gaitate in the House of Commons for Indian political reforms.


The UNITED INDIAN PATRIOTIC ASSOCIATION of which SIR SYED AHMED (1817-1898) was the secretary and the ‘British Association of Oudh’ joined hands with funds placed lavishly at their disposal. In spite of his liberal sympathies, Sir Syed would have nothing to do with the Congress and advised his coreligionists to follow his example. He regarded the Congress struggle as a civil war without arms. The ultimate object of the Congress was to rule the country and although they wished to do it in the name of all people of India, the Muslim would be helpless as they would be in a minority.”

The Patriotic Association brought out pamphlets and carried on propaganda showing the ‘seditious’ character of the Indian National Congress. The CENTRAL NATIONAL MAHOMMEDAN ASSOCIATION formed in Calcutta by Syed Ameer Ali (1878) and the Muhammadan Literary and SCIENTIFIC SOCIETY FOUNDED in 1863 by Abdul Latif Khan refused to send delegates to the second Congress when approached by its Reception Committee. The fear of Hindu majority thus held back the Muslims from joining the Congress in large numbers, though it had such distinguished Muslims as BADRUDDIN TYABJI and RAHAMATULLA MUHAMMAD SAYANI (1847-1902) as its Presidents in 1887 and 1896 respectively.

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