Theories behind the origin of Congress: It is that the origin of the Congress is “shrouded in mystery”. There are many accounts about it. The most widely accepted view is that Hume, under Lord Dufferin, organised the Congress with that two main purposes:
1. To provide a “safety-valve” to Indians
2. To form a quasi-constitutional parties similar to Her Majesty’s Opposition in England.
The view of W.C. Banerjee, the first Congress President, was the Indian congress was in reality the work of Lord Dufferin, Viceroy of India. Dufferin’s idea was to have a political organisation through which the Government code a certain the real wishes of the people and the save the Administration from any possible political outburst in the country.
|Understanding “Safety Valve Theory”|
|The “Safety Valve Theory” is based on seven volumes of the secret report which A.O. Hume, the founder of the Congress, raid at Shimla in 1878. The story was first mentioned in Hume’s biography, written by William Wedderburn and published in 1913. According to story, the British wanted the formation of an organisation which could save the administration from possible political outburst in the country. That is why they provided ample support to A.O. Hume and other Indians in the formation of the Indian National Congress.|
The First Congress Session: A.O Hume along with the cooperation of Indian leaders organised the first session of Indian National Congress at Bombay in the Hall of Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College in December 1885. It was presided over by W.C. Bannerjee and attended by 72 delegates. The delegates included Dadabhai Naroji, Ranade, Pheroze Shah Mehta, Dinshaw Wacha and K.T. Telang. There were four main demands put forward by the Congress at its first session:
- the simultaneous examination for the ICS to be held in England and India
- reforms of legislative Council and adoption of principle of election in place of nomination in constituting them
- apology sure to the annexation of upper Burma
- reduction in military expenditure