The History of the Indian National Congress and of India’s Struggle for Swaraj - - 1885-1945,

R. P. AIYAR & L. S. BHANDARE

NATIONAL YOUTH PUBLICATIONS, _

THE CONGRESS CARA VAN 1885-1945.

First Edition, 2000 Copies 30th May 1945, |

All rights reserved by the authors.

AY A RE RR! TERT SPEER ne Niele —eriRIet Se eae ect Ene BAe

Printed by Rose Printers Lid. at The Rose Printery, Matunga, Pomey: and Published by Kalyanji V. Vishrant for the National. Youth Publications Jan Mansion, Sir P. M. Road, Bombay.

THE MEMORY OF _ Sei S. Satpamucti

Selfless patriot, gifted orator, Parliamen- tarian non-pareil, matchless organiser and great martyr whose lifelong loyalty to the Congress was a thing of beauty and a joy for ever. |

The pioneer of a new generation, he brou- | ght with him a freshness of outlook, a direct- ness of purpose and a certain impatience of conventional and circuitous methods. In that striking personality, vivid, masterful, resolute, tenacious, there were no blurred or nebulous outlines, there were no relaxed fibres, there were no moods of doubt and hesitation and

there were no pauses of lethargy or fear.

Satyamurti is dead, Long live Satyamurti !

Preface

¢ ' 8

The Indian National Congress is the expression and epitome of India's struggle for freedom. It is the only powerful political organisation of the people. It has suc- cessfully weathered many storms and survived many ordeals. It is a sacred temple at whose altar millions of its followers are prepared to lay down and offer all they possess. It is verily the life breath of the nation.

Its constructive achievements are remarkable and without a parallel in history. Through the Swadeshi movement and the boycott programme of the noncoope- ration movement, the Congress supplied the required fillip to the industrialisation of India. Who can forget the ser- vices rendered by the National Planning Committee, as also the unfortunate circumstances under which its activi- ties have been suspended. The Harijan Sevak Sangh is the only organisation which is fighting ceaselessly for the rights of the so-called Depressed classes for complete equality. In the field of prohibition, the achievements of the Congress stand very high. The successive civil Dis- obedience movements very greatly accelerated the dis- appearance of the purdah and the awakening of women. The All India Spinner's Association is providing work for over 3,00,000 villagers. Through the All India Village Industries Association, the Congress is trying to resuscitate village arts and crafts. The fundamental idea is to make the villages prosperous by making them self sufficient and

6

to decentralise production and thus to avoid the evils of capitalism. The Talimi Sangh imparts practical literacy and familiarity with some useful handicraft. The Hindi Pracharak Samiti is popularising Hindustani and thus for- ging the bonds of a cqmmon Nationhood. Above all the Congress has made the villager and the average Indian stand up to officialdom more fearlessly than before. These are but a tithe of the manifold achievements of the Congress which today expresses the determination of a resurgent India to be free.

Ever since its inception, the Congress has been the mouthpiece of the nation's aspirations and the vehicle of its ideals. Its founders and early supporters were by no means revolutionaries. They were Reformists in every sense of the term. They believed in Constitutional agitation. Petitions, prayers and protests were their weapons. But twenty five years ago, under the in- comparable lead of Gandhiji, who embodies in his unique personality the highest aspirations and the highest yearnings of the Indian race, the Congress took a new turning. The nation turned its back on the methods of supplication The begging bowl was thrown aside. We realised that power has to be wrested from unwilling hands. A nation will truly enjoy freedom only when in the process of winning it, it has been purified and consolidated through and through, until liberty has become a part of its very soul, An Act of Parliament can never create citizens in India. The strength and spirit of a nation cannot be got by Reform Acts. Effort and sacrifice are the necessary conditions of real, stable freedom. Realising this funda-

7 mental fact, the Congress sounded the tocsin. The struggle » for Swaraj started. The war is going on still and will

continue till India takes her rightful place in'the comity of free nations of the world.

In this war, what has hitherto been in the world an undesirable but necessary incident in freedom’s battles, the killing of innocent men has been eliminated: and that which is the true essential for forging liberty, the self puri- fication and self-strengthening of men and women has been kept pure and unalloyed. It is for everyone who lives in and loves India to do his bit in this battle, not waiting for others, not calculating the consequences.

The best preparation for anyone who desires to take part in the great war now going on is a deep study of the history of the freedom movement an outline of which is attempted in these pages. There is a peculiar appropriate- ness in its publication now, for 1945 is the year of the Diamond Jubilee of the Congress. It is time we assessed our achievements and found out the causes of our failure. This book is a labour of love. No such labour does need any apology and no apology will suffice for any other labour.

Every care has been taken to ensure accuracy. But it ts idle to suppose that with all caution, one can escape falling into any error, the correction of which however will be thankfully received and utilised as occasion permits, We are deeply indebted to Mr. Vasant Neurekar for

8

considerable help rendered in obtaining information. The attractive design for the cover is the work of Mr. P. H. Trivedi the talented young artist. It is diffi- cult to express properly our thanks to him. Our thanks are also due to Mr. Kalyanji Vishrani of the National Youth Publications and the Rose Printers Ltd, for hearty cooperation.

18th May R. P. A. 1945. L. S. B.

The Congress. Caravan

f

Part | 1885—1914

FIRST SESSION - Bombay-1885 President :—Womesh Chandra Bonnerji. General Secretary: Allan Octavian Hume. Exalract from Presidential Address:—

Surely never has so important and comprehensive an assemblage occurred within historical times on the soil of India. I claim for this an entirely representative character. It is true that judged from the standard of the House of Commons, we are not representatives of the people of India in the sense the members of the House are repre- sentatives of the constituencies. But if community of sentiments, community of feelings and community of wants enable anyone to speak on behalf of others, then assuredly we can justly claim to be representatives of the people of India. It may be said that we are self-elected but that isnot so. The news that this Congress would be held had been known throughout the year in the different provinces of India and we all know that every where the news had béen received with great satisfaction by the people at large and though no formal elections have been held, the representatives have been selected by all the different associations and bodies.

President :—

Born in December 1844. Belonged to a family of lawyers. Articled as aclerk to an European Attorney. Started the Bengalee newspaper. Got the Jeejeebhai Scholarship in 1864 and went to England. Was called to the bar, 1867. Advocate, Calcutta High Court, 1868. Soon was at the top of the ladder in the profession. Made Standing Counsel of Government. Thrice declined seat onthe bench. Fellow of the Calcutta University 1880. Chosen by the University to Bengal Legislative Council. President, First Session of Indian National Congress. Bombay 1885. Attended successive sessions and took part in the discussion of various resolutions such as appoint- ment of a Parliamentary Committee 1888 and grievances before supply, 1889. Member of the Congress delegation to England, 1890. Did valuable work. Moved the delega- tes at Nagpur Congress in 1891 to adopt resolution on nece- ssity of holding Congress session every year in India, President, Indian National Congress, Allahabad 1892. Left India for good in 1902. Settled in a magnificent house at Croydon. Considerable practice at the Privy Council. Signal services to the British Committee of the {Indian National Congress. Intended to stand for Parlia-

ment but died on 2Ist July 1906.

Details of the Session:—

Seventy two representatives from all over India met at the Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College situated at the Gowalia Tank Road. Informal discussions for two days. The subjects discussed in the open session were (1) Enquiry

11

into the working of the Indian Administration by a Royal Commission (2) the abolition of the Council of the Secre- tary of State as at present constituted (3) the reform and expansion of the Imperial and the local Legislative Councils including the right of interpellation and the submission of the budgets to the councils (4) the holding of simultaneous examinations in India and England of the Civil Service (5) the reduction of military expenditure (6) the reimposition of the import cotton and the extension of the License Tax, together with an Imperial guarantee to the Indian debt and (7) the separation of Burma from the , Indian Viceroyalty. The first resolution was moved by

Mr. G. Subramoma lyer.

SECOND SESSION-Calcutta-1886.

President:—Dadabhai Naorojji.

Chairman of the Reception Committee: Dr. Rajendralal Mitra. General Secretary: A. O. Hume. Delegates: 406.

' Extract from Presidential Address:—

A National Congress must confine itself to questions in which the entire nation has a direct participation and it must leave the adjustment of social reforms and other class questions to class congresses. But it does not follow that because this national political body does not presume to discuss social reforms, the delegates here present are not just as deeply, nay in many cases far more deeply, in- terested in these questions than in those political questions we do discuss or that those several communities whom

12

those delegates represent are not doing their utmost to solve those complicated problems on which hinge the practical introduction of those reforms. Any man who has eyes and ears open must know what struggles towards higher and better things are going on in every community secoesceseeeAll the benefits we have derived from British Rule, all the noble projects of our British rulers will go for nothing if after all the country is to continue sinking deeper and deeper into the abyss of destitution.

President.-—

Born 4th September 1825. Brilliant academic career. Lecturer in Elphinstone School 1845. Instrumental in founding, organising and stabilising several public institu- tions. Started Rast Gafter, a Gujerati weekly 1851. Went to England as representative of Cama & Co, 1855. Became their partner later. Founded the East India Association 1867. Professor of Gujarati in the University College, London. Returned to India, 1869. Presented with address and purse of Rs. 30,000. Gave evidence before Fawcett Commission, 1873. Appointed Dewan of Baroda, 1874. Left the Gaekwar after short service. Nominated to Bombay Legislative Council 1885. Associated with Congress from inception. Contested unsuccessfully Holborn seat for Parliament 1886. Lord Salisbury calls him “black ‘man”, President, Indian*National Congress, Calcutta 1886. Elected to Parliament from Central Finsbury 1892. Presi- dent, National Congress, Lahore 1892. Defeated in Parliamentary elections of 1899 and 1905. President, Indian National Congress, Calcutta 1906. Published his

13

great book, Poverty and Un-British Rule in India. Left for England, February 1907.,Died 30th June 1917.

Details of the Session :—

The number of delegates had gone up to 406. The enthusiasm was still more and there was a large number of visitors. Resolutions passed at this session were more comprehensive and better digested than at the first. The poverty of India was stressed and introduction of repre- sentative institutions was held to be the only remedy. A Public Services Committee was appointed and asked to report to the Congress. The Committee headed hy Dadabhai Naoroji immediately submitted an eight point statement and the Congress approved and adopted it. The system of trial by jury was asked to be extended all over India. The separation of Judicial from executive functions in the administration of Criminal Justice in the country was stressed. As a practical step towards the working of the Congress, Provincial Congress Committees were to be established throughout the country. Atthe close of the session, a deputation from the Congress headed by the President, called on Lord Dufferin, the Viceroy.

THIRD SESSION-Madras~1887, President :—Budruddin Tyabji.

Chairman of the Reception Committee: Rajah Sir T. Madhava Row. General Secretary: A. O. Hume. Dele- gates: 607.

14

Extract from Presidential Address :—

I for one am utterly at a loss to understand why Mussulmans should not work shoulder to shoulder with their fellow countrymen of other races and creeds for the common benefit of all.......... When they say that the educated natives of India are disloyal, what does it mean 7? It means this: that in the opinion of the educated natives, that is to say, of all the men of light and leading, all those who have received a sound liberal and enlightened education, all those who are acquainted with the history of their own country and with the nature of the present and past governments, that in the opinion of all these—the English Government is so bad that it has deserved to forfeit the confidence and the loyalty of the thinking part of-the population.

President:—

Born 8th October 1844. Educated in London, Joined the Middle Temple and was called to the bar, April 1867. Established lucrative practice. Secretary of the Anjuman- i-Islam 1880 and later its President. President, Bombay Presidency Association. Nominated to the Bombay Legisla- tive Council, 1882. One of the founders of the Indian National Congress and contributed to success of first session, 1885. President, Indian National Congress, Madras 1887. Appointed Judge of the Bombay High Court, 1895. Established a reputation as a fearless and independent judge. Presided over the Mahomedan Educational Confere- nce, Bombay 1903 and pleaded for women education and abolition of purda. Early in 1909 went to England

15

for eye treatment. Did propaganda for the cause of India. Attended Aligarh College Association and pleaded for the College becoming a University. Died 11th August 1909,

Details of the Session:—

For the first time the Congress session was held in a specially erected pandal. A committee was appointed to consider rules to be framed in regard to the constitution and working of the Congress. The committee drafted a set of tentative rules but no decision arrived at. The session passed the usual resolutions, on expansion of Legis- lative Councils, separation of executive from judical functions, military service and Indian Volunteer Corps. Requested that the taxable minimum of Income Tax should be raised to Rs. 1,000 and the deficit in income should be made up by the reimposition of an import duty on finer classes of cotton goods. Requested the Govern- ment to elaborate a scheme of technical education. Opined that the Arms Act cast an unmerited slur on the loyalty of the people and requested the Government to modify the provisions of the Act. Lord Connemara attended the reception given by Mr. Eardley Norton and received the delegates at the Government House.

FOURTH SESSION -Allahabad-1888.

President :—George Yule.

Chairman of the Reception Committee: Pandit Ajoodia Nath. General Secretary: A. O. Hume. Delegates: 1,248.

16

Extract froin Presidential Address:-

We desire no sudden snapping of existing ties; we ask only for the loosening of the bonds. We are content to regard ourselves as in the position of the man who has long been confined in a darkened room on account of disordered eyesight. We know that under the skilful treatment of a kindly physician, our visual powers have been strengthened. We have sense enough not to demand the full blaze of day to be suddenly let in upon us, but only such a drawing aside of the curtains as will adjust the light to our powers of vision. But if the physician, skilful and kindly as we recognise him to be, were to insist upon our remaining in the dark, we should be forced to the un- welcome conclusion that his skill was resultless and abortive; or that the unlovable side of his character had manifested itself in what he wished to keep us in the dark for some unworthy purpose of his own. If under such treatment, we become discontented with his services, the blame of it would be with the physician and not with the patient.

President:—

Very little is known of the early life of George Yule. He was a prominent merchant of Calcutta. He was elected to preside over the Indian National Congress held at Allahabad in 1888. Sheik Raza Hussein Khan in suppor- ting his election produced a Fatwa from the spiritual leader of the Sunni Community at Lucknow. From that time he took great interest in the Congress movement and when in 1890 at Calcutta, the Government returned the invitation

17

to the Congress session, he fulminated against the Dog- berry clothed in a little brief authority.’ Yule was of considerable help in strengthening the British Committee of the Indian National Congress and the Sessions of 1890 and 1891 recorded their appreciation of his services.

Died in 1892.

Details of the Session :—

The Congress session was preceded by a spate of pamphleteering. Considerable difficulty was experienced in procuring a site for the Congress. The Maharajah of Dharbhanga purchased the Lowther Castle and placed it at the disposal of the Reception Committee. Opposition to the Congress by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Raja Shiva Prasad of Benares. Correspondence between Sir Auckland Colvin and Mr. Hume. Lord Dufferin’s St. Andrews Dinner speech and Mr. Eardley Norton’s powerful reply. The Congress reiterated the resolutions passed at the previous sessions. Urged a Commission of Enquiry into the existing system of Police administration which was declar- ed to be highly unsatisfactory and oppressive. Noted the serious increase in the consumption of intoxicants and

“requested the Government to discourage insobriety. Asked for a mixed commission to enquire into the industrial condition of the country. Requested the Provincial Congress Committees to report on the Permanent Land Revenue Settlement.

FIFTH SESSION-Bombay-1889.

President:—Sir William Wedderburn.

Chairman of the Reception Committee: Sir Pheroze-

ishah Mehta. General Secretary: A. O. Hume. Dele- gates: 1889,

18 Extract from Presidential Address:—

The interests of the Indian services are in great measure antagonistic to the interests of the Indian tax- payer.......«. Who can reasonably expect officials to love economy which means reduction of their own salaries or reform which means restriction of their own authority? It cannot be expected that our official administration in India will work for peace, economy and reform ..... ..... In the matter of parliamentary control, things have gone from bad to worse, until they are now about as bad as can be........ If he had fairplay, the ryot might develop into a substantial yeoman instead of being the starveling he is. With a fer- tile soil, a glorious sun and abundance of highly skilled labour, there is no reason why India should not become a garden if the ryot were not crushed by his debts.

President:—

Born 25th March 1836. Entered the Indian Civil Service. For over a couple of decades served as District Magistrate, Judge, Member of Legislative Council and in other responsible posts. Resigned from Civil Service in 1885 and took to public life. Co-operated with Hlume in his efforts to channelise Indian political discontent. Presi- dent, Indian National Congress, Bombay 1889. Connected with the British Committee of the Indian National Congress. Attended the 20th session of the Congress. Re-elected President, Indian National Congress, Allababad, 1910. Tried hard to bring about a rapproachment between the Congress and the Muslims. Toured throughout the country. Pour-parlers with the Aga Khan. Successive

19

sessions of the Congress passed resolutions appreciating his meritorious services to the Congress cause. Wrote a number of books and did considerable propaganda for India. Health impaired by overwork. Died 25th March 1918.

Details of the Session:

This session is known as the Bradiaugh session as Mr. Charles Bradlaugh M. P. attended it and spoke. A strange coincidence was that this scssion of 1889 had 1889 delegates. The number of delegates returna- ble from each Congress circle was limited to 5 per million of its total population. Demanded asimul- taneous holding in India and England of all examinations for all Civil branches of the Public Service in India- Referred to the Currency problem and requested that the plate duties should be immediately abolished and that Hall. marking should be made a voluntary institution. An omni- bus resolution was passed, ratifying and confirming the resolutions passed by previous Congresses. At the conclusion of the Congress, addresses were presented to Mr. Bradlaugh on behalf of all parts of the country. Mr. Bradlaugh in the course of a memorable oration said, “For whom should I work, if not for the people? Born of the people, trusted by the people, | will die of the people and I know no geographical or race limitations.’ He promised to introduce a Reform Bill in the parliament.

SIXTH SESSION-Calcutta-1890. President : Sir Pherozeshah Mehta,

Chairman of the Reception Committee: Man Mohan Ghose. General Secretaries: A.O. Hume and Pandit Ajoodia Nath. Delegates: 677.

20 Extract from Presidential Address :—

To my mind, a Parsi is a better and a truer Parsi, as a Mahomedan or a Hindu is a better and truer Mahomedan or Hindu, the more he is attached to the land which gave him birth, the more he is bound in_ brotherly relations and affection to all the children of the soil the more he recognises the fraternity of all the native communities of the country and the immutable bond which binds them together in the pursuit of common aims and objects...... We have survived the ridicule, the abuse and the misrepresentation. We have survived the charge of sedition and disloyalty. We have survived the charge of being a microscopic minority. We have also survived the - atrocious crime of bemg educated and we have even managed to survive the grievous charge of teing all Babus in disguise...--- It may be that sometimes we speak in uncouth and outlandish ways, it may be that we sometimes stray in some confusion of thought and language; still it is the prayer of a rising, growing and hopeful nation.

President:—

Born 4th August 1845, Went to England in 1864 and called to the bar. Returned to India in 1868 and was duly enrolled. Entered the Municipal Corporation of Bombay and made his presence felt. His municipal career often compared to that of Joseph Chamberlain in Birmingham, Founder- President of the Bombay Presidency Association. Associated with the Congress from its very inception. Member, Bombay Legislative Council, 1886. President Indian National Con- gress, Calcutta 1890, Elected to the Imperial Legislative

2i

Counci! 1893. Known for his fearless and outspoken criti- cism in the Council. C. I. E. 1894. Chairman, Reception Committee of the Congress, Bombay 1904. Knighted 1902. Took keen interest in the rights of Indians Overseas. Visited England for Congress propaganda. Vice-Chancellor of the Bombay University. In 1911 started the Central Bank of India. Founded the Bombay Chronicle in 1913. Died 5th November 1915.

Details of the Session:

The Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal returned the visitors’ tickets sent to him as usual by the Reception Committee and wrote that the orders of the Government of India definitely prohibit the presence of Gev ernment servants at such meetings. The Congress was slowly leaving its official patronage. Ratified the previous resolutions of the Congress, Resolved to hold a session of National Congress in London in 1892. A Congress depu- tation headed by Surendranath Banerjea and W. C, Bonnerj was to go to England to represent the Congress demands. Funds were sanctioned for the British Committee of the Indian National Congress. Urged the extension of the permanent land revenue settlement to all portions of the country where it had not been introduced til then.

SEVENTH SESSION-Nagpur-1891. President: —P. Ananda Charlu.

‘Chairman of the Reception Committee: C. Narayan- swami Naidu. General Secretaries: A. O. Hume and

Pandit Ajoodia Nath. Delegates: 812.

22 . Extract from Presidential Address :—

We as the pioneers of the movement, may attain little more than the satisfaction of upholding what is right and protesting against what is wrong, but succeeding generations will reap the fruit of our labours and will cherish with fond remembrance the names'of those who had the courage and the humanity, the singleness of purpose and the self-sacrificing devotion to duty to work for the benefit of posterity in spite of columny and _ persecution and great personal loss. Men such as these may attain no titles of distinction from Government but they are “nobles by the right of an earlier creation.” They may fail to win honour from their contemporaries as the truest apostles but they are “priests by the imposition of a mightier hand,” and when their life's work is done, they will have that highest of all earthly rewards-the sense of having left their country better than they had found it-the glory of having built up into an united and compact nation the diverse races and classes of the Indian population and the satisfaction of having led a people sunk in politica] and social torpor to think and act for themselves and strive to work out their own well being.

President:—

Born in 1843. Graduated from the Presidency College Madras. Qualified for law and set up practice in 1869. Was a delegate to the first Indian National Congress held in Bombay in 1885. Since then, till his death he was an ardent Congressman. The India Council was the main target of his attack at successive Congress sessions. He described it as

23

‘the oligarchy of fossilized Indian administrators who were superannuated for service in [ndia.” President, Indian Natio- nal Congress, Nagpur 1891. Member of the Imperial Legis- lative Council 1895-1903. Put up a plucky fght for freedom of speech. ‘He was a shining light of the South Indian political firmanent for nearly two decades and though he never had a following or a school of thought behind him, he was a notable personality with a rugged eloquence, all his own’ ( Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramavya ), Died on 28th November 1908.

Details of the Session :—

The Congress received a telegram from General Booth ot the Salvation Army wherein he had elaborated a scheme by which the poor, destitute multitudes could be settled on the waste lands of the country. In reply the Congress declared that the sad condition of the starving millions constitutes the primary raison d’etre of the Congress, It was decided that annual session of the Congress should continue to be held in India till ‘* all necessary reforms have been secured.” Due to the General Elections in England, the Congress Session proposed to be held in London in 1892 was postponed. The usual resolutions on the Reform of Legislative Councils, increasing poverty of India, Arms Act and Military Edu- cation, Simultaneous examinations, Salt tax, income tax and excise policy. A sum of Rs. 40,000 was sanctioned for the British Committee of the Indian National Congress. Thanks to Dadabhai Naoroj and Sir William Wedderburn for

services rendered. EIGHTH SESSION-Allahabad-1892 President :—W, C. Bonneriji.

Chairman of the Reception Committee: Pandit

24

Bishambhar Nath. General Secretaries: A. O. Hume and P. Ananda Charlu. Delegates: 625.

Extract from Presidential Address:—

Year after year we have met each meeting vying with its predecessor in the number of delegates attending it, in the sacrifices which the delegates made to attend it, in the energy, zeal and determination with which the business was passed through and the moderation which throughout characterised the proceedings before the Congress. There can be no doubt-say what those who do not view our proceedings with friendly eyes may-that the Congress movement has been a success and a conspicuous success

.seerees WE must go on with our agitation and not stop until we get what we have a right to get ........... The one great evil of the Indian administration is that our rulers are responsible to no one outside their own consciences....... sie I was right when I said that the administration of criminal justice in this country was most unsatisfactory.

President :—

‘His ut'eranees were as statesmanlike and far seeing as they were modestly conceived. There was no undue elation but at the same time there was no shrinking from responsibility had none rejoiced more than he at the ample fulfilment of the movenment he and his companions had met to inaugurate. Since that eventful day, he had devoted himself to the cause with characteristic thoroughess. Asa member of the British Committee of Indian National Congress he displayed the same wisdom and earnestness;

25

and his advice and guidance had always been of inestima- ble weight and value to them in their deliberations. The successful career which had placed him at the head of the profession was the result of his industry and perseverence, qualities which distinguished him no less than his fearless- ness and love of country. It would be long before they look-

ed upon his like; and they could console themselves with the thought of the bright example he had left behind him” Dadabhai Naoroji's tribute.

Details of the Session :—

Lord Cross’s Indian Councils Act of 1892 had just been put into operation and the Congress, while loyally accepting it, regretted that the Act did not concede the right of election of representatives to the people. Regretted the resolution of the Government of India on the Report of the Public Service Commission and had a petition submitted to the House of Commons. An earnest appeal was made to Government to investigate the hardship created by the Forest Laws in Peninsular India and the hilly tracts of the Punjab. The rules made by the Punjab Government were particularly cruel and unjust and Pandit .Meghan Ram characterised them as “very arbitrary and unworthy of a civilised Government”. Thanked the House of Commons for the vigilance ‘in regard to the recent purity legislation by the Government ‘in India” and protested against ‘‘all state regulated immordlity in India’. The usual resolutions on jury system, separation of executive and judicial functions etc were passed.

26 NINTH SESSION-Lahore-1893.

President:—Dadabhai Naoroji.

Chairman of the Reception Committee: Sardar Dayal Singh Majithia. General Secretary: A. O. Hume. Delegates: 625.

Extract from Presidential Address:—

Let us and the Government not live in a fool's paradise or time may bring disasters to both when it is too late to stop them. This poverty is the greatest danger both to us and the rulers. In what shapes and varieties of forms, the disease of poverty may attack the body politic and bring out and aggravate other evils, it is difficult to tell or foresee but there is danger of most serious order.......+.-.- Let us always remember that we are all children of our mother country. Indeed I have never worked in any other spirit than that J am an Indian and owe duty to my country and all my countrymen. Whether I am a Hindu, a Moham- madan, a Christian, a Parsi or of any other creed, I am above all an Indian. Our country is India. Our nationa- lity is Indian....... .e-se We must show that we believe in the justice of our cause by our earnestness and self sacrifice.

President :—

The enthusiasm with which the president of this year's Congress has been received in India was very striking. Mr. Naoroji is not only the first Indian gentleman who has ever been elected to Parliament; he is also an example of

27

an early career of high promise being overshadowed by long frustrations in middle life and realised after unweart- ed perseverance, 1n advanced age. The brilliant young student and Professor of Elphinstone College who left Bombay to seek high fortunes in England in 1855 was receiv- ed back last month with the weight of sixty eight years and of a great family sorrow. He had a welcome on landing such as has only on one occasion been rivalled even by a Viceregal ovation. His reception at Lahore has perhaps not been surpassed since the days of Ranjit Singh. It is for him and his colleagues to direct wisely the new influence which the Congress Party has acquired in the House of Commons and in the Indian Legislative Council’ —Sir William Hunter in the ‘Times’.

Details of the Session:—

The question of the Medical service received the attention of the Congress for the first time and a suitable resolution passed. Felt that the combination of judicial and executive functions constituted “one of the greatest stigmas on British rule in India, one fraught with incalcul- ble oppression to all classes of the community throughout the country” and “expressed its sense of hopelessness of any other redress’ and “entreated the Secretary of State to order the immediate appointment in each province of Committees to prepare suitable schemes in this behalf,” Protested against the closing of the Indian mints to private coinage of silver as also against a system of State regulated immorality practised in the Indian cantonments, which had been dragged into light by a Purity Society in England. It was at this Congress that Rajah Rampal Singh declared

28

that ‘the English civilians made India their happy hunting ground’. The usual resolutions were also passed.

TENTH SESSION-Madras-1894, President:—Altred Webb.

Chairman of the Reception Committee: P. Rangiah Naidu. General Secretary: A.O. Hume. Delegates: 1163.

Extract from Presidential Address:—

You have every reason to be proud of what you have achieved........... YOu must not be cooled by temporary discouragements, by the unfaithfulness of some, the want of faith of the many. Reform progresses like the steady rise of the tide through many an ebb and flow of the waves. Confident are we that through all storm and cloud, the sun of constitutional liberty will yet shine with pure and beneficent effulgence upon your country. Let it be your individual care to carry back from these Congresses into every day life and every day occupations, true eleva- tion of mind, belief in your future and your own power to mould your future. This future depends more upon yourselves than upon any pulitical or financial changes. Before all, you must cultivate a spirit of generous toleration and of charity between class and class and creed and creed.

President:—

The parallel between the Irish fight for freedom and the Indian struggle for Swaraj is too obvious. Alfred Webb was

29

a connecting link between these two great movements. Born an Irishman, his sympathies went out towards all exploited countries and naturally therefore took great interest in India, He was a member of the British House of Commons. Dadabhai Naoroji and W. C. Bonnerj: were then enlisting the cooperation of members of Parliament and under their pressure, Webb came out to India and presided over the session of the Indian National Congress held at Madras in 1898. Later on he was too much preoccupied with the Irish struggle. All the same, he was elected a member of the All India Congress Committee in 1900. Died 1908.

Details of the Session:—

This session was marked by considerable excitement over the question of two fresh imposts proposed ta be laid on the already overburdened tax payer. One was called a counter- vailing excise duty on Indian cotton manufactures evidently introduced under pressure from Lancashire. The other was the levy of an arbitrary penalty in the shape of costs of punitive police forces quartered in disturbed areas under an amendment of the Indian Police Act of 1861. Both these came in for severe criticism as also the imposition of water cess. Speaking on Exchange Compensation allowance, Lala Murlidhar in mordant satire declared You should thank heaven that you have been placed in this desirable position, that the doors of heaven have been opened to you while they have been shut against all the people of Europe.’ Condemned in strong words the gagging of the press in States under British administration.

30 ELEVENTH SESSION-Poona-1895.

President: Surendra Nath Banerjea.

Chairman of the Reception Committee: V. M. Bhide. General Secretaries: A. O. Hume and D. E. Wacha. Delegates 1584,

Extract from Presidential Address:—

But the subjective triumphs of the Congress—its moral victories—are even more remarkable than its outward achievements. You have infused a new enthusiasm into your countrymen. You have brought together the scattered element of a vast and diversified population, you have welded them into a compact and homogeneous mass, you have made them vibrate with the new born sentiment of an awakened nationality-you have unified them for the common purpose of their political enfranchisement......... The man of earnest faith is irresistible and all conquering. We Congressmen know what we are about; we know our minds, we know our methods; we stick to them with resolu- te tenacity of purpose-with a faith which so far as some of us are concerned, [ will say, does not belong to the things of this world. And who will say that the future is not ours ?.......00... Dissatisfaction is the parent of all progress. It stirs us on to ceaseless activity for the betterment of our race. A golden age is indeed looming in the future. There is a golden age in store for us and our children. It is this feeling which reconciles us to the present.

President :-—

Born in 1848, Entered the Indian Civil Service and was posted as Magistrate and Collector of Sylhet in 1871.

31

After a brief career of 3 years, was dismissed from service. Professor of English in the Metropolitan Institute, 1878. Later founded the Ripon College and conducted it for many years. Prominent member of the Indian Association. Opposed Lytton’s Vernacular Press Act of 1878. Extensive tour of India. Went to England in 1890 on Congress deputa- tion. Member, Bengal Legislative Council 1893-1901. Editor, Bengalee. President, Indian National Congress at Poona, 1895 and again at Ahmedabad, 1902, As an orator he was unsurpassed. Though bitterly opposed to Bengal partition, yet disapproved of the boycott movement. Sided with the Moderates in the Congress split at Surat in 1907. Member, Imperial Legislative Council. Left the Congress after 1919 and joined the Liberal Federation. Accepted the Montague Chelmsford Reforms and became Minister for Self-Government. Knighted in 1921. Framed and passed the Calcutta Municipal Act in 1923. Defeated by a Swarajist in the elections of 1923. Wrote his memoirs

entitled ““A Nation in Making.” Died on 6th August 1925.

Details of the Session:

The country was threatened with another very reactionary measure. The Legal practitioners Bill was in- troduced in the Supreme Legislative Council by which provincial lawyers were sought to be completely subordi- nated to the District Judges and Revenue Commissioners. The Congress entered its emphatic protest against the proposed bill. The Government was urged to bring about an early redress of the grievances of third class passengers. The usual resolutions passed at the previous Congresses were reiterated. Condemned as retrograde the action of

32

the Government of India in nominating to the Supreme Legislative Council a representative of the Central Provin- ces without consulting local bodies. Protested against the disabilities of Indians in South Africa. Declared that the cost of wars outside India should not be borne only by the Indian tax payer.

TWELFTH SESSION-Calcutta-1896. President: —Rahimatullah M, Sayani.

Chairman of the Reception Committee: Sir Romesh .- Chunder Mitter. General Secretaries: A. O. Hume and D. E. Wacha. Delegates: 784.

Extract from Presidential Address:—

The origin of the Congress was thus an epoch in the history of the country and with the establishment of the Congress began a new era in the political history of India and during the years that have followed, the movement has extended from a comparatively few persons to the whole of the educated classes and has already begun to agitate the masses and if it is guided in the future, as it has been guided in the past, by moderation, prudence and sagacity is bound to have a decisive influence on the des- tinies of British India. The Congress is now favoured with the presence of about two thousand members from as many hundred places, all speaking the sober second thoughts of the people-indeed the collective wisdom of the united, educated and thinking portion of British India...... Keeping aloof from the Congress movement is not only undesirable but may even merit censure.

33

President :—-

Born 5th April 1847. Went in for higher education, despite discouragement and opposition. Passed M. A. of Bombay University 1866. Passed his L.L.B. 1870 and the same year was appointed Justice of the Peace and Fellow of the Bombay University. Later member of the Syndicate. Elected to the Bombay Corporation, 1876. Elected President of the Corporation, 1888. Secretary and later Vice President of the Anjuman-i-[slam. Became the first Mahomedan Shenff of Bombay, 1885 Appointed a member of the Bombay Legislative Council, 1888. Presi- dent, Provincial Conference, Ahmedabad 1893. President, Indian National Congress, Calcutta 1896, Elected to the Imperial Legislative Council, 1896. Took prominent part in the debates on the Epidemic Diseases Act, Amendment of the Criminal Procedure Code and the Seditious Meetings Act. Budget speeches also note--worthy. Died 4th June 1902.

Details of the Session :—

1896 was a year of disasters. Plague made its first appearance and famine also broke out. Mr. Ranade said it appeared as if the seven plagues had been let loose upon India. But these calamities did not prevent the Congress from congratulating Queen Victoria on her Diamond Jubilee. The famine however could not be forgotten. The Congress condemned the provisions of the existing famine code as inadequate as regards wages and rations and oppresive as regards work. Appealed for