The Role of Indian National Congress in India’s Freedom Struggle


The Role of Indian National Congress in India’s Freedom Struggle

India’s struggle for freedom from British colonial rule was a long and arduous journey that spanned several decades. The Indian National Congress (INC) played a pivotal role in leading the country towards independence. Established in 1885, the INC became the primary political organization fighting for the rights and aspirations of the Indian people. This article delves into the significant role played by the Indian National Congress in India’s freedom struggle.

Formation and Early Years

The Indian National Congress was formed on December 28, 1885, in Bombay (now Mumbai) with the aim of promoting Indian political awareness and seeking self-governance within the British Empire. The first session of the Congress was attended by 72 delegates, primarily comprising lawyers, intellectuals, and social reformers. Allan Octavian Hume, a retired British civil servant, played a crucial role in its establishment.

The initial years of the Congress focused on raising awareness about the grievances of Indians under British rule and demanding political reforms. INC leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, and Surendranath Banerjee skillfully used the platform to advocate for the rights of Indians and highlight the exploitative nature of British colonial rule.

Evolution as a Mass Movement

With the passage of time, the Indian National Congress evolved from an elitist organization to a mass movement that represented the aspirations of the common people. The party started actively involving people from all walks of life, including farmers, workers, and students.

Under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, who became its prominent figure in the early 1920s, the INC adopted nonviolent civil disobedience as its primary weapon against British rule. Gandhi’s philosophy of Satyagraha (truth force) and Ahimsa (nonviolence) resonated with Indians and united them in their fight for freedom. The Indian National Congress became the driving force behind the nationwide movements like the Non-Cooperation Movement, Salt March, and Quit India Movement, which captured the imagination of millions and challenged British authority.

Demand for Swaraj

The Indian National Congress played a crucial role in demanding complete independence or Swaraj from British rule. The demand for Swaraj became the centerpiece of the INC’s political agenda. The party held numerous sessions and passed resolutions stressing the need for self-governance and the establishment of a sovereign Indian state.

Through its relentless efforts, the Indian National Congress mobilized millions of Indians and created a sense of national pride and unity. The party’s leaders, such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and Subhash Chandra Bose, inspired people with their vision of a free and independent India.

FAQs

Q: Did the Indian National Congress achieve immediate independence for India?

A: No, the Indian National Congress’s struggle for independence lasted for several decades. India finally gained independence on August 15, 1947.

Q: What were the main methods used by the INC in its struggle for freedom?

A: The INC primarily employed nonviolent methods like civil disobedience, boycotts, strikes, and peaceful protests. However, there were also factions within the Congress that advocated for more militant approaches.

Q: How did the Indian National Congress impact Indian society?

A: The INC played a significant role in shaping Indian society and promoting social reforms. It advocated for women’s rights, eradication of untouchability, education for all, and economic equality.

Q: Who were some influential leaders of the Indian National Congress?

A: The Indian National Congress was led by prominent figures such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose, and Indira Gandhi.

Q: Is the Indian National Congress still active today?

A: Yes, the Indian National Congress is still an active political party in India. It has played a crucial role in the country’s politics since independence, though its influence has varied over the years.

Conclusion

The Indian National Congress played an instrumental role in India’s freedom struggle. It transformed from an organization representing the educated elite to a mass movement that united people from all walks of life. The party’s leaders used various methods, primarily nonviolent, to challenge British rule and demand independence. The Indian National Congress left an indelible mark on Indian society, shaping its political, social, and cultural fabric. Even today, the party continues to play a vital role in India’s political landscape.

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