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A brief history of the INC

GS  Paper 1

Syllabus: National Movement


Source: Indian Express

Context: The Indian National Congress (INC), India’s largest opposition party, marked its 138th foundation day on December 28.



How the Congress was founded:

The English bureaucrat Allan Octavian Hume or AO Hume is credited as the founder of the organization. On December 28, 1885, 72 social reformers, journalists and lawyers congregated for the first session of the INC at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College, Bombay.


Its objective is often described as providing a “safety valve” as the time, through which Indians could air out their grievances and frustration.


Struggle for Independence:

  • As time passed, people within the Congress were influenced by the Swadeshi movement, and wished to follow the concept of ‘home rule’
  • Finally, by the end of the British Rule, the Congress saw the Quit India Movement, the formation of the Indian National Army Defense Committee, and the unfortunate Partition of India and Pakistan



Important INC Sessions:

  • First Session:Bombay in 1885. President: W.C. Bannerjee
  • Second Session: Calcutta in 1886. President: Dadabhai Naoroji
  • Third Session: Madras in 1887. President: Syed Badruddin Tyabji, the first Muslim President.
  • Fourth Session: Allahabad in 1888. President: George Yule, the first English President.
  • 1896: Calcutta. President: Rahimtullah Sayani – National Song ‘Vande Mataram’ sung for the first time by Rabindranath Tagore.
  • 1899:President: Romesh Chandra Dutt – Demand for permanent fixation of Land revenue
  • 1905:Benaras, President: Gopal Krishan Gokhale – Formal proclamation of Swadeshi movement against the government
  • 1906: Calcutta, President: Dadabhai Naoroji – Adopted four resolutions on: Swaraj (Self Government), Boycott Movement, Swadeshi & National Education
  • 1907: Surat, President: Rashbihari Ghosh – Split in Congress- Moderates & Extremist
  • 1911: Calcutta, President: B.N. Dhar – First recital of Jan-Gan-Man in Congress session
  • 1915: President: Sir S.P. Sinha – Constitution of the Congress was altered to admit the delegates from the extremist section
  • 1916: Lucknow. President: A.C. Majumdar – Unity between two factions-Moderates and Extremists of Congress
    • Lucknow Pact signed between Congress and Muslim League to build political consensus
  • 1917: President: Annie Besant, First Woman President of Congress
  • 1918 (Special session): Bombay. President: Syed Hasan Imam – The session was convened to deliberate the contentious Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms Scheme
  • 1919: Amritsar.President: Motilal Nehru – Congress extended support to Khilafat Movement
  • 1920 (Special Session):President: Lala Lajpat Rai – Mahatma Gandhi moved the Non -cooperation resolution
  • 1920: Nagpur. President: C. Vijayaraghavachariar – MA Jinnah left the Indian National Congress
  • 1922: Gaya. President: C.R. Das – CR Das and other leaders broke away from INC
    • Formation of Swaraj Party
  • 1924: Belgaum. President: M.K. Gandhi – Only Session presided over by Mahatma Gandhi
  • 1925: Kanpur. President: Sarojini Naidu, First Indian Woman President
  • 1927: Madras. President: Dr M.A. Ansari – Passed a resolution against the boycott of the Simon Commission
    • Adoption of resolution on Purna Swaraj
  • 1928: Calcutta. President: Motilal Nehru – Formation of All India Youth Congress
  • 1929: Lahore. President: Jawahar Lal Nehru – Passed the resolution on ‘Poorna Swaraj.’
    • Civil Disobedience movement for complete independence to be launched
  • 26 January is to be observed as ‘Independence Day’.
  • 1931: Karachi. President: Vallabhbhai Patel – Resolutions on Fundamental Rights and National Economic Programme
    • Endorsement of the Gandhi-Irwin pact
  • Gandhi was nominated to represent INC in the Second Round Table Conference to be held in London
  • 1934: Bombay. President: Rajendra Prasad
    1936: Lucknow. President: Jawahar Lal Nehru – Push towards socialist ideas by Jawahar Lal Nehru
  • 1937: Faizpur. President: Jawahar Lal Nehru – First Session to be held in a village
  • 1938: Haripura. President: Subhas Chandra Bose – National Planning Committee set up under Jawahar Lal Nehru.
  • 1939: Tripuri. President: Rajendra Prasad – Subhas Chandra Bose was re-elected but had to resign
  • Rajendra Prasad was appointed in his place
  • Subhash Chandra Bose formed Forward Bloc
  • 1940: Ramgarh. President: Abul Kalam Azad – Civil Disobedience movement to be launched at appropriate time and circumstances.
  • 1941–45: This Period is marked by events i.e., the Quit India movement, RIN Mutiny & INA trials.
  • The phase of constitutional negotiations such as the Cripps Mission, Wavell Plan and Cabinet Mission.
  • On account of these events during this phase, no congress session was held.
  • 1946: Meerut. President: J.B Kripalani – Last session before independence


Insta Links:

Foundation of the Indian National Congress


Prelims Link: UPSC 2016

What was the main reason for the split in the Indian National Congress at Surat in 1907?

(a) Introduction of communalism into Indian politics by Lord Minto

(b) Extremists’ lack of faith in the capacity of the moderates to negotiate with the British Government

(c) Foundation of Muslim League

(d) Aurobindo Ghosh’s inability to be elected as the President of the Indian National Congress

Solution: B

Mains Link: UPSC 2015

Q. How different would have been the achievement of Indian independence without Mahatma Gandhi? Discuss.