Formation of Congress

The shadows of the war of independence 1857 remained long upon the Indian people and politics. But in the last quarter of the 19th century, the political awakening started in the cross section of the society. While sensing the requirement of the time, A.O. Hume, a retired Indian Civil Servant, laid the foundations of Indian National Congress in 1885. The body had three objectives:

  • The fusion into one national whole of all the divergent element of the society.
  • The gradual regeneration along all lines of the nation thus evolved.
  • Consolidation of the union between England and India, safe guarding the Indian interest simultaneously.

Congress a Hindu Dominant Political Party

W. C. Baner Gee was, elected as its first president. Many British parliamentarians also attended its session. Congress demanded the democracy and majority rule. Mostly it attracted the Hindus and ultimately it became a Hindu dominant political party aimed at preserving the interest of the Hindus. Muslim Response Sir Sayyed asked the Muslims not to join the congress. The advice was followed by a vast majority of people. Sir Sayyed observed It is my deliberate belief that once the resolution of the native congress be carried into effect, it would be impossible for the British Government to preserve the peace; civil war and violence which would ensue. Time proved the strength of Sir Sayyed’s influence to the failure of the Congress to attract Muslims; and to the increasing Hindu Muslim rift as a direct result of the congress activities. Contemporary Muslim press in India was full of criticism of the congress. To counteract the efforts of congress, Sir Sayyed took four concrete steps; he founded:

  • The Indian Patriotic Association
  • Mohammedan Educational conference
  • Mohammedan Defense Association of Upper India
  • Mohammedan Anglo Oriental Defense of Upper India


It is an open secret that the congress was formed with the blessings of British Indian Government and Lord Dufferin, the then viceroy, gave A.O. Hume, a tacit support for the purpose. Muslim under the leadership of Sir Sayyed kept them strictly aloof from the Congress, as they were fearful of Hindu majority rule. The fears of the Muslim met to reality when the future course of the history was unfold.

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