Pre INC Organisations

Pre-INC Organisations began to take shape in the first half of the nineteenth century. Initially, they were dominated by wealthy and educated intelligentsia. They were not at the pan-India level but regional in their operations. They had general demands like increasing the representation of Indians in administration, bringing out educational and military reforms, working for the development of modern industries in India, etc.

They used to send long petitions to the government in this regard. The Pre-INC Organisations of the second half of the nineteenth century came to be increasingly dominated by the educated middle class, i.e. the lawyers, journalists, doctors, teachers, etc. they also had a broader perspective and a wider agenda.

Factor in the Growth of Modern Nationalism

  • Political, Administrative, and Economic unification of the country.
  • Growth of Western thought and Education.
  • Role of Literature and Press & Contemporary movement worldwide.
  • Rediscovery of the rich past and heritage of India.
  • Rise of the middle-class intelligentsia.
  • The progressive character of the Socio-Religious reform movement.
  • Reactionary policies and racial arrogance of rulers.
  • Understanding the contradictions in Indian and colonial interests

Pre-INC Organisations in Bengal

Raja Rammohan Roy was the first promoter of political movements in Bengal. He was a man influenced by western ideas. He was the first to draw the attention of the British toward Indian problems. It is believed that many liberal sections of the Charter Act of 1836 were the result of his efforts. However, the credit for forming the first political organization in Bengal went to his associates, when he formed the Bangabhasha Prakashan Sabha in 1836.

Name of OrganizationFounder/AssociatesObjectives/ Remarks
Bangabhasaha Prakasika Sabha
Associates of Raja Ram Mohan Roy– Promotion of Bengali education and building public opinion
– Demanded freedom of the press; entry of Indians to higher offices; etc.
Zamindari Association/ Landholders’ Society
Dwarkanath Tagore– To safeguard the interests of landlords
Only legal machinery was used to raise their demands
– It marked the beginning of the mass movement in India.
– It was formed for the protection of Landlords. Famously came to be known as “Landholder’s Society
British India Society
(1839 (England))
William Adam,
Friend of Raja Ram Mohan Roy
– To make the general public of England familiar with the condition of Indians
– Also used legal machinery to raise their demands
The Bengal British India Society
George Thomson Members included the ‘Young Bengal’ Group– To present the actual condition of the people of British India,
– Founded in 1843 in Calcutta for collection of information regarding actual conditions of people in India.
– It was an Anti-Zamindar organization. It sent petitions for the employment of Indians in public offices and judicial reforms.
British Indian Association
Rajendra Lal Mitra and
Radha Kant Deb  
– It is the merger of the Zamindari Association and the Bengal British India Society
– Raised many demands like the separate legislative council, the abolition of stamp duties, etc.
– Resulted from the merger of Zamindari Association and Bengal British India Association.
– It sent suggestions for the Charter Act of 1853:
1. Separate Legislature of the popular character.
2. Separation of Judicial and Executive.
3. Reduction in Salaries of higher officers
4. Abolition of Salt Duty, Akbari, etc.
Resulted in the addition of six new members to the Governor General’s Council for legislative purposes.
The East India Association
(1866 (London))
Dadabhai Naoroji– The welfare of Indians
– To make the general public of England familiar with the condition of Indians
– It had branches in Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta.
– To influence public figures of England for the promotion of Indian welfare and discuss Indian questions. Its branches were later organized in prominent Indian cities.
The Indian League
Sisir Kumar Ghosh– Instigate feelings of nationalism  
– For stimulating nationalism and encouraging political education.
The Indian Association of Calcutta (Indian National Association)
Surendranath Banerjee and
Ananda Mohan Bose
– To unify public opinion on key political issuesVoice was raised for civil services reform
It was later merged with the Indian National Congress
– It was founded in 1876 superseding Indian League by Surendranath Banerjee & Anandmohan Bose
1. Create strong public opinion on political question
2. Unification of Indians on common political ground.
Formed due to the pro-landlord and conservative policies of the British India Association.

Pre-INC Organisations in Bombay and Madras

OrganizationsYear of FormationFounder/AssociatesRemarks
Bombay Association (Bombay Native Association)1852Jagannath Shankersheth,
Sir Jamshedji Bhai,
Naoroji Fardonji,
Dadabhai Naoroji
They used to take up public grievances through constitutional means.
The Poona Sarvajanik Sabha at Pune1867Mahadeva Govind RanadeThey fought for the legal rights of peasants and farmers.
Connected familiar people with the British Government.
B. G. Tilak was also a member of this Sabha.
The Bombay Presidency Association1885Badruddin Tyabji,
Pherozshah Mehta and
K. T. Telang
– It was aimed at opposing Lord Lytton’s policies and the controversial Ilbert Bill.
– It pioneered Indian interests and hosted the first meeting of the Indian National Congress in Bombay in 1885.
Madras Native Association1849Gazulu Lakshminarasu ChettyIt was the first of such type in Madras.
The Madras Mahajan Sabha1884M. Viraraghavachari,
B. Subramaniya Aiyer and
P. Ananda Charlu
It was formed to oppose government policies in peaceful ways.

Pre-Congress Political Association Campaign

  • Campaigns were organized in 1875 for the imposition of Cotton Import Duty to protect the interests of the indigenous cotton textiles industry.
  • For Indianisation of Government Services (1878-1879)
  • The Indians had opposed the Afghan adventure of Lord Lytton and then compelled the British Government to contribute towards the cost of the Second Afghan War.
  • In 1878, major campaigns started against Arms Act (1878) which tried to disarm Indians, and against Vernacular Press Act (1878) which tried to control Indian Press. The Vernacular Press act was later repealed by Lord Ripon in 1881.
  • Indians agitated for the Right to join semi-military volunteer corps in 1885 which was restricted to Europeans. They also organized campaigns in Britain appealing to voters to vote for pro-India Leaders.
  • In 1881-82 they organized a protest against the Plantation Labour and the Inland Emigration Act which condemned reducing plantation laborers to serfdom.
  • All India Fund for Political Association: agitations were raised in 1883 for that as it would have allowed the funding of Indian campaigns in India as well as England.
  • In support of the Ilbert Bill by Lord Ripon as it would have allowed the Indian magistrates to try Europeans in the court of Law. This bill was repealed by the legislature.
  • Against the reduction in maximum age in Civil Services (promulgated reduction of age under Lord Lytton), the Indian Civil Service agitation was led by the Indian Association under S. N. Benerjee.

Some of the Major Reasons for the Formation of Political Institutions:

  1. Inspired by Political Ideas:
    Indian youth had the opportunity to interact personally with the British and gain an understanding of their political systems when they traveled to England to complete their education or for other purposes, such as business. They started to understand the need for independence and political freedom. They began to progressively lose the slave mentality of inferiority. As they got back to India, the slavery conditions started to bother them.
  2. Influence of the Western Education System:
    In India, the Brits introduced the western educational system. Indians were exposed to western knowledge and science as a result. Speaking English made it simpler for Indians who spoke various languages to communicate with one another. Indians also learned about the concepts of freedom, equality, and fraternity by studying foreign literature and history.
  3. Contribution of Indian Newspapers:
    Newspapers made a crucial contribution to India’s emergence of a national consciousness as well. Many newspapers in both English and Indian languages were published during the period. The main messages of all of these publications were those of patriotism and opposition to imperialism.
  4. Financial Dissatisfaction:
    Economic dissatisfaction was a major factor in the emergence of political parties. When the Mughal Empire fell in the eighteenth century, the East India Company, which had arrived in India in 1600 for trade, seized the opportunity and proceeded to eliminate the factories and merchants. Foreign investors dominated local investors and prevented their growth. Indians lost their jobs as a result of the collapse of their cottage industry.
  5. Prejudice about government jobs:
    Also prejudiced were the employment laws and regulations. Regardless of race, religion, or caste, Indians would be appointed to important positions, according to the Victoria Declaration of 1858, but this promise was never put into practise.
  6. Religious and Social Renaissance:
    The growth of political groups in India has been significantly influenced by the religious and social reform movement. Both domestic and foreign philosophers have made significant contributions to India’s national revival. Raja Rammohan Roy, Dayanand Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda, Lokmanya Tilak, and others attempted to woo the conscience of India.


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