The Indian National Congress
Few organizations in the world have as long and illustrated history as the Indian National Congress (INC). Titans such as Gopalakrishna Gokhale, Lala Lajpat Rai, Gandhi and Bose served on its presidency. The Congress(I) as it is known today in India, remains as a very important political force- a phenomenon continued on by the Nehru/Gandhi family. Here, we have only focused on INC's contribution to India's Freedom Struggle (i..e., prior to 1947) - Ed
The Swaraj and Home Rule Movement
Subsequent to the Sepoy Mutiny (1857), some Englishmen in India felt that a harmony between the ruling English and the lndian people has to be built and Sir Allen Octavian Hume founded the Indian National Union which gave way to the Indian National Congress (INC).
The birth of INC marked the entry of new educated middle-class into politics and transformed the Indian political horizon. Intelligentsia from Bengal (among them, W.C. Banerjee) constituted the core of the activism and Viceroy Curzon, an arrogant and ambitious bureaucrat, divided Bengal into two reducing the size, population and restricting flow. Contrary to his plans, it only brought the Bengalis and rest of Indians together.
Minto who succeeded Curzon was a complex man and although he encouraged political reforms in India, he unleashed a series of violent attacks on Indians and Congressmen. In 1906 in Barisol the police canned INC delegates and in 1919 a British General opened fire on a peaceful protest rally in Jallianwala Bagh in an act of savagery that is unparalleled in Indian History.
The freedom movement now took a violent turn and the white man's blood was to atone for the cruelty and repression of the Empire. New extremist and revolutionary leaders emerged (like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Subhas Chandra Bose and Lala Lajpat Rai).
The Rise of Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Gandhi's taking helm of INC was a turning point in its history due to his enormous following, his spiritual powers and his non-violent means of fighting. Gandhi introduced the concept of Satyagraha (roughly translated as rightful demand : see Gandhi's comments on Satyagraha) which appealed to the common Indians who were largely pious and religious.
Gandhi adhered to a strictly non-violent protest. Every time a disturbing incident broke out, he suspended his actions, fasted and prayed for peace. and every time he was successful.
Quit India Movement and Partition
INC, fearful of getting involved with the world war, launched the Quit India Movement in 1942. Gandhi reasoned with the British that "... a few thousand British cannot control or govern millions of Indians". A Government favorable to Indian freedom won the post-war election in England and India was liberated. INC had played a very vital role in the Indian national movement.
Throughout the freedom struggle, Indians had to battle the religious divide and hatred among Hindus and Muslims. The British used this inherent divide among Indians to suppress the Indian freedom movement and eventually divided the nation into a Muslim Pakistan and a secular India.
|Kamat's Potpourri Timeless Theater Freedom Struggle|
Merchandise and Link Suggestions