Category: Indian National Congress

Satyagraha – Insistence on truth

Satyagraha is a civil disobedience movement based on truth and non- violence. Satyagraha is made up of two words-Satya (truth) and Agraha (insistence to hold fast). Passive resistance does not exclude the use of physical force for the purpose of gaining one’s end, whereas Satyagraha excludes the use of violence.  The first Satyagraha movements inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and occurred in Champaran district of Bihar and the Kheda district of Gujarat on 1916 and 1918 respectively. Champaran Satyagraha was the first to be started, but the word Satyagraha was used for the first time in Anti Rowlatt agitation. Champaran is the name of an administrative district situated in the north-western corner of the Province of Bihar and Orissa in British India. To its north are the Himalayan mountains and the territory of Nepal ; on its west is the district of Gorakhpur in the United Provinces; to its east, is the district of Muzaffarpur and to its south the district of Saran. The name of a part of the southern portion of the Himalayan range is Someshwar, and it falls in part in Champaran. That constitutes the boundary between Nepal and Champaran. Gandhi believed that the use of Swadeshi goods would make Indians self-sufficient and eliminate our dependence on imported goods. It was also directed towards social and economic upliftment. He emphasised manual labour and the use of the Charkha and Khadi, he advocated the setting up of small-scale industries providing employment to large number of people in order to make the villages self-sufficient. Gandhi encouraged spinning and khadi, Hindu-Muslim unity, prohibition and upliftment of villages. As a social reformer, Gandhi condemned the caste system and untouchability. He called Harijans (Children of God) and he organised the ‘Harijan Sewak Sangh’ with the objective of eradicating the evil of untouchability. He wanted women to have equal rights as men, thus he opposed the Purdah and the dowry systems. He inspired women to take part in the political affairs of the country.

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Emergence of Indian National Congress.

Indian National Congress known as Congress party, The Indian National Congress was founded by Allan Octavian Hume in 1885. Hume was a retired Civil Service Officer. Congress party is one of the parties who fought against British rule in India. He saw a growing political consciousness among the Indians and wanted to give it a safe, constitutional outlet so that their resentment would not develop into popular agitation against the British rule in India. He was supported in this scheme by the Viceroy, Lord Dufferin, and by a group of eminent Indians. Womesh Chandra Banerjee of Calcutta was elected as the first President of INA. The Indian National Congress represented an urge of the politically conscious Indians to set up a national organization to work for their betterment. Its leaders had complete faith in the British Government and in its sense of justice. They believed that if they would place their grievances before the government reasonably, the British would certainly try to rectify them. Among the liberal leaders, the most prominent were Firoz Shah Mehta, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Dada Bhai Naoroji, Ras Behari Bose, Badruddin Tayabji, etc. From 1885 to 1905, the Indian National Congress had a very narrow social base. Its influence was confined to the urban educated Indians.

Womesh Chandra Banerjee :

Womesh Chandra Banerjee was an Indian politician and the first president of Indian National Congress. He presided over the first session of the Indian National Congress at Bombay in 1885. He proposed the formation of standing committees of the Congress in each province for the better Co-ordination of its work and it was on this occasion that he advocated that the Congress should confine its activities to political matters only, leaving the question of social reforms to other organizations. He was the president of the Indian National Congress again in the 1892 session in Allahabad where he denounced the position that India had to prove her worthiness for political freedom. W.C. Banerjee was a great political leader of our country. He struggled to achieve freedom from the bondage of British regime. He followed constitutional means always believed in loyalty to the British crown. He believed that the British presence in India was a blessing to Indians and he relied on the British to guide the political in India. He also believed that the British rule has done much good in India by cleansing the Indian society.  He also praised the British for introducing in India contemporary development in science and technology. He was also influenced by the western education, thought and culture. He relied on the pledges made by the British from time to time. He also led the growth of national feeling and the unity of India. He also created a common political platform, aroused and consolidation of public opinion and the creation of an All-India national political leadership. This aroused in the minds of the nationalist Indians.

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