History of INC and Moderate Nationalism. The Indian National Congress (1885) Moderate Nationalism (1885-1905) and Achievements of Moderates
The Indian National Congress (1885)
- Allan Octavian Hume, a retired civil servant in the British Government took the initiative to form an all-India organization.
- Thus, the Indian National Congress was founded and its first session was held at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College Bombay in 1885.
- W.C. Banerjee was its first president.
- It was attended by 72 delegates from all over India.
- Persons attending the session belonged to different religious faiths. They discussed the problems of all the Indians irrespective of their religion, caste, language and regions.
- Thus Indian National Congress from the start was an all-India secular movement embracing every section of Indian society.
- The second session was held in Calcutta in 1886 and the third in Madras in 1887.
- The history of the Indian National Movement can be studied in three important phases:
- The phase of moderate nationalism (1885-1905) when the Congress continued to be loyal to the British crown.
- The years 1906-1916 witnessed- Swadeshi Movement, rise of militant nationalism and the Home Rule Movement.
- The period from 1917 to 1947 is known as the Gandhian era.
Moderate Nationalism (1885-1905)
- Between 1885 and 1905, the Congress leaders were moderates. They had faith in the British justice and goodwill.
- They were called moderates because they adopted peaceful and constitutional means to achieve their demands.
- The leading figures during the first phase of the National Movement were A.O. Hume, W.C. Banerjee, Surendra Nath Banerjee, Dadabhai Naoroji, Feroze Shah Mehta, Gopalakrishna Gokhale, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, Badruddin Tyabji, Justice Ranade and G.Subramanya Aiyar.
- Throughout the 19th Century, the Congress was concerned with its criticism of the government policies and demands for reforms
- The initial aims of the Indian National Congress were
- Greater representation and expansion of legislative councils
- Spread of education
- Freedom of press
- Separation of Judiciary from executive
- Holding of Indian Civil Service (I.C.S.) examination in India
- Reduction of military expenditure
- Increase of import duties on foreign goods.
- The Moderates had total faith in the British sense of justice and fair play. They were loyal to the British.
- The Moderates used petitions, resolutions, meetings, leaflets and pamphlets, memorandum and delegations to present their demands.
- They confined their political activities to the educated classes only.
- Their aim was to attain political rights and self-government stage by stage.
- In the beginning, the British Government welcomed the birth of the Indian National Congress.
- The With the increase in Congress demands, the government became unfriendly.
- It encouraged the Muslims to stay away from the Congress.
- The only demand of the Congress granted by the British was the expansion of the legislative councils by the Indian Councils Act of 1892.
- Indian Councils Act of 1892
- The Act increased the number of additional members in the Legislative Councils and enlarged their functions.
The number of additional members of the Central Legislative Council was increased to minimum 10 and maximum 16.
In the case of Provinces it was increased to not less than 8 and not more than 20.
Achievements of Moderates
- The Moderates were able to create a wide national awakening among the people.
- They popularized the ideas of democracy, civil liberties and representative institutions.
- They explained how the British were exploiting Indians. Particularly, Dadabhai Naoroji in his famous book Poverty and Un-British Rule in India wrote his Drain Theory.
- He showed how India’s wealth was going away to England in the form of: (a) salaries,(b)savings, (c) pensions, (d) payments to British troops in India and (e) profits of the British companies.
- British Government was forced to appoint the Welby Commission, with Dadabhai as the first Indian as its member, to enquire into the matter.
- Some Moderates like Ranade and Gokhale favoured social reforms. They protested against child marriage and widowhood.
- The Moderates had succeeded in getting the expansion of the legislative councils by the Indian Councils Act of 1892.