Indian National Congress (INC) Foundation Day

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    • Recently, The Indian National Congress (INC) marked its 138th Foundation Day. 
      • Every year on December 28, the Indian National Congress (INC) celebrates its foundation day.

    About INC

    • How was the Congress founded?
      • The English bureaucrat Allan Octavian Hume or AO Hume is credited as the founder of the organisation. Two additional British members William Wedderburn and Justice John Jardine were also members of the founding group.
        • Hume was accompanied by members of the Theosophical Society including Dadabhai Naoroji, Surendranath Banerjee, MG Ranade, Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee, Dinshaw Wacha, Monomohun Ghose and William Wedderburn, established the Indian National Congress. 
      • Lord Dufferin was the Viceroy of British India at that time.
    • First session of the INC
      • It was held on December 28, 1885.
        • Here, 72 social reformers, journalists and lawyers congregated for the first session of the INC. 
      • It was held at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College, Bombay. 
      • Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee became the first president.
    • Aim of this group
      • The aim of this group was not to demand independence from the ongoing colonial rule but to influence the policies of the British government in favour of Indians.
      • Its objective is often described as providing a “safety valve” as the time through which Indians could air out their grievances and frustration.
      • Over the next few years, the party’s work continued, to shift the colonial administrators’ attitudes and policies on the rights and powers allowed to Indians.
    • Participation
      • The party largely consisted of educated, upper-class people who were likely to have studied abroad. 
      • With time, this grouping became more diverse, as the organisation began setting up provincial organisations.
    • Functions
      • The members frequently protested issues of British colonialism, such as the Bengal famine and the drain of wealth from India
      • However, these protests were at this point usually limited to prayers and petitions, including writing letters to the authorities.
    • Splits and reconvening
      • In Surat in 1906, the divisions between the ‘moderates’ led by Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Surendranath Banerjea, and the ‘extremists’ led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak came to the fore and there was a split.
        • While Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai wanted the Congress to boycott the visit of the Prince of Wales in protest against the Bengal Partition a year prior, the moderates opposed any such move.
      • But by 1915 in the Bombay session, we saw these two groups coming together again as one. 
    • The ‘two bullocks with plough’ symbol
      • The Election Symbol of the original Congress during elections held in 1952 and 1971 was an image of ‘two bullocks with a plough’. 
      • The symbol during the 1971-1977 period was a cow with a sucking calf.
      • The symbol was changed to ‘right hand’, with palm-side facing front by Indira Gandhi.

    Other Facts

    • Mahatma Gandhi was the president of INC s Belgaum session in 1924
      • Gandhi spearheaded several movements like the non-violent civil disobedience, non-cooperation, swadeshi movement, etc.
    • INC tasted political power for the first time in the provincial elections of 1937.
    • Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru, who presided over at least eight INC sessions, was the front-runner in India’s struggle for independence and eventually became the first prime minister of independent India, a position that he held for 17 years.

    Source: IE