Tracing the true origins of the Indian National Congress party exposes several myths about its real place in the Indian freedom struggle
sassyamiva martyah pachyate sassyamivaajaayate punah||
They rot like vegetation and will be born again like vegetables ||
My profuse apologies at the outset for quoting from the venerable Kathopanishad on quite a vile topic but this verse is eminently applicable to the alleged head of the party that has presided over the chaotic destruction of Bharatavarsha since 1947. The Indian National Congress has indeed come a full circle from its origins as a party founded by a White colonial oppressor back into the hands of a White woman and her partially Indian son. The scale and extent of mutilation that this one party inflicted on the country in just ten years (2004-14) perhaps rivals even what the British had done to us. In fact, if the present government is serious, it needs to bring out a multi-volume work documenting this dark episode, beginning with the NAC sultanate cum Papal regime. Here’s a quick data point: few people today will recall that the nation-wrecker Harsh Mander had lent his full heft to an innocuous NGO named Parivartan, which eventually installed its head, Arvind Kejriwal as Delhi’s chief minister. That’s how the Indian state and Hindu nation is eaten from within.
From this perspective, we can indeed make a case that the 2014 electoral campaign also counts as a freedom struggle of sorts, and Narendra Modi’s victory a civilisational win and the 2019 victory, a fledgling consolidation of the said win. Indian history teaches us the truth that our glorious empires fell the moment they lost sight of the civilisational impetus and inspiration that had birthed them. The same history also tell us that each time India has risen, it is actually Santana Dharma that has risen. Sadly, the last such rise of Sanatana Dharma occurred more than five hundred years ago with the Vijayanagara Empire. There have been some bright spots after this—as under Shivaji—but none of them came remotely close.
Thus, the history of freedom struggle in India comprises three distinct epochs: the first was the protracted nationwide resistances against tyrannical Jihadi rule, the second against the British colonial rule, and the third against the combined vestiges of both these imperialisms in the form of the Congress party governments.
The last in this list was the deadliest of them all. The Congress renamed Sharia as secularism and British colonial exploitation as socialism and inflicted the worst of both these oppressions on an entire country that innocently trusted it.
Look no further than the “official” history of the Indian freedom struggle propagandised by the Congress. Its substance: the history of the freedom movement is nothing but the history of the Congress party. But there’s a three-tiered hierarchy even in this history. The first is the pre-Gandhian phase which is paid crafty lip service akin to an ill-mannered alcoholic who hastily empties his glass, the smelly liquid splashing all over his shirt before refilling. The second tier comprises the Gandhian period, which becomes tricky and important because no matter how difficult it is to separate, Nehru’s fortunes are inextricably, proportionately linked with Gandhi’s follies. The third tier is the nonstop pre-independence Nehruvian European vacations…errr…freedom struggle by cultivating third-rated Communists all over Europe and the USSR, which led him to this infallible conclusion: White is right, Communism is Kaivalya. If the fossilised Congress had not been bombed out in 2014, a fourth tier of this history would have emerged with a revised myth: that Sonia Gandhi was a freedom fighter.
The wretched myth that it was Mohandas Gandhi and only Gandhi who brought us freedom could not be sustained without falsifying the history of the Congress party itself. A task which the Mohandas toady Pattabhi Sitaramaiah performed with the negationist strokes of his pen which authored The History of the Congress, till today the official history of the party. This selfsame Pattabhi Sitaramaiah was propped by the selfsame Mahatma as a puppet against Subash Chandra Bose for the election of the INC president in 1939. The puppet became a lamb that was slaughtered by Congress members who overwhelmingly chose Bose. This is what Pattabhi writes:
It is shrouded in mystery as to who originated the idea of an All-India Congress. Apart from the Great Durbar of 1877 or the International Exhibition in Calcutta which…are supposed to have furnished the model…the idea was conceived in a private meeting of seventeen men after the Theosophical Convention held at Madras in December, 1884…Whatever the origin…we come to the conclusion…that the idea was in the air, that the need of such an organization was being felt, that Mr. Allan Octavian Hume took the initiative.
Right there, as early as 1935, Pattabhi lied about the very origins of his own party. This is how practiced the Gandhian deception had already become. R.C. Majumdar tells the whole truth.
The Congress was the…culmination of the of the evolution of…political ideas and organisations [from a recent past]…there was no sudden emergence of this political institution, and there was nothing novel either in its ideas or methods.
And takes Pattabhi Sitaramaiah to task:
[Pattabhi Sitaramaiah’s] statement is very misleading. Neither the Delhi Durbar of 1877 nor the International Exhibition had anything to do with the Congress. The first suggested the idea of the National Conference—not of the Congress—to Surendra Nath Banerji, and the second offered the suitable date for holding it. There is nothing to support the view that the idea of the Congress was conceived by seventeen members of the Theosophical Convention…except a statement of Mrs. Beasant which contains glaring errors. Nor is the official historian of the Congress right in his view that the “idea was in the air.” It took a definite shape in the two sessions of the National Conference in Calcutta. It is not a little curious that Dr. Sitaramayya did not refer to it even as a possible source of the idea of the Congress.
Apart from R.C. Majumdar, we have an even more firsthand source. From a former Congress president, Ambica Charan Mazumdar who says that the Calcutta National Conference “anticipated the Congress by two years and in a large measure, prepared the ground for it.” Even The Hindu long before it became anti-Hindu called this Calcutta National Conference as the “National Congress,” a full two years before the INC was officially established.
The story is now quite well-known that A.O. Hume, the retired ICS officer founded the Congress party to preempt a planned national revolt against British rule. Hume was indeed scared out of his wits when he learnt the details of the subterranean stirrings of this revolt. By 1878-9, he received intelligence from various parts of India that Swamis, monks, sanyasis, and “religious devotees held in the highest veneration by the people,” who had support among the masses of the “lowest strata of the population…were determined to do something and that something meant violence.” When this intelligence was compiled, it ran to seven volumes including news reports from British spies. Here is a gist of what was planned.
[The news] referred to the secretion of old swords, spears and matchlocks, which would be ready when required…What was predicted was a sudden violent outbreak of sporadic crimes, murders of obnoxious persons, robbery of bankers, looting of bazaars….In the existing state of the lowest half-starving classes…the first few crimes would be the signal for hundreds of similar ones…and after the bands had obtained formidable proportions….the educated classes…bitter against the Government would join the movement, assume…the lead, give the outbreak cohesion and direct it as a national revolt.
In other words, a repeat of 1857. Only this time, lessons had been learned and strategising had been more careful and better planned. In less than twenty-five years. Had this second revolt erupted, the course of Indian history would’ve been permanently altered.
A.O. Hume’s foresight is indeed laudable. Borrowing directly from the worst of the Biblical traditions, he spoke in the honeyed tongue of Satan. It was one of the pioneering expressions of the barbaric White Man’s Burden. After retiring as the servant of the colonial British Indian Government, he overnight transformed himself as a friend and well-wisher of Indians. And he chose his audience carefully.
On March 1, 1883, he addressed an Open Letter to the graduates of Calcutta University. It was an “appeal” for establishing an Association for the “mental, moral, social, and political regeneration of the people of India.” It was a passionate, heartfelt letter and it elicited the desired response. The Indian National Union was formed. The target audience was the deracinated class of Bengali Hindus whose brains by then had thoroughly been blow-dried by English education.
On the side, A.O. Hume wrote this letter to the viceroy of India, Duffrein:
A safety-valve for the escape of great and growing forces, generated by our own action, was urgently needed, and no more efficacious safety-valve than our Congress movement could possibly be devised.
The other impact of Hume’s devious scheme was that it effectively, but temporarily halted the surge of the tremendous philosophical, spiritual, intellectual, social, political and nationalist forces that over the previous half-century were shaping up to eventually become the Modern Bharatavarsha’s Renaissance. One of the brightest minds of this movement was the indomitable Surendra Nath Banerjee who was respected, admired, and feared even in England. When the British journalist and editor, W.T. Stead met him, he made a pun on his name as “Surrender-not Banerjee.”
And who did A.O. Hume’s new INC elect as its first president? Not Surendra Nath Banerjee but one of the seminal Macaulayite creations, W.C. Bonnerjee who was so ashamed of his original name—Umesh Chandra Banerjee—that he mangled it as Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee. This is how R.C. Majumdar describes him:
…the selection of W.C. Bonnerjee as President…gives a fair idea of the political outlook of the founders of the Congress. Mr. Bonnerjee lived the life of an Englishman and not only kept aloof from, but ridiculed all sorts of political agitation.
It is also a fact that W.C. Bonnerjee later defended Surendranath Banerjee in court in a contempt case but our assessment should stand on spiritual principles. The right thing that Bonnerjee should have done was to refuse the presidentship and offer it to Surendra Nath Banerjee. Quite fittingly, Bonnerjee decided that India was not the correct country for him and migrated to England where he contested on a Liberal Party ticket in 1892 and lost.
And why was Surendra Nath Banerjee kept out of the founding of the INC? Because, according to Hume, he was an extremist. And who were the moderates?
To be continued