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Indian National Congress- History, Session, President List

Indian National Congress

The Indian National Congress (INC) is one of the oldest and most prominent political parties in India. Established in 1885, the INC played a pivotal role in the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule. The party was founded during a session of the Indian National Congress held in Bombay (now Mumbai), to obtain a greater share in government for educated Indians.

Indian National Congress History

The history of the Indian National Congress (INC) is deeply intertwined with India’s struggle for independence and the subsequent development of its political landscape. Here are the key milestones in the history of the Indian National Congress:

  • Formation (1885): The Indian National Congress was founded on December 28, 1885, during a session held in Bombay (now Mumbai). A.O. Hume, a retired British civil servant, played a crucial role in its formation. The early leaders, including Dadabhai Naoroji, Dinshaw Wacha, Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee, and others, aimed to create a platform for political dialogue and representation of Indian interests.
  • Early Years (1885-1905): In its initial years, the INC focused on constitutional reforms, advocating for Indian representation in government and addressing socio-economic issues. Dadabhai Naoroji served as the president in 1886, becoming the first Indian to hold this position.
  • Moderates and Extremists (1905-1919): The INC witnessed a shift in its approach with the emergence of two factions – the Moderates and the Extremists. While leaders like Gopal Krishna Gokhale advocated for constitutional methods, extremists like Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal favored more assertive measures.
  • Gandhi’s Entry and Non-Cooperation (1920s): Mahatma Gandhi’s entry into the Congress marked a turning point. His philosophy of non-violent civil disobedience and mass mobilization gained prominence. The Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-1922) was a major campaign led by Gandhi, urging Indians to withdraw support from British institutions.
  • Civil Disobedience and Quit India (1930s-1940s): The Civil Disobedience Movement (1930-1934) and the Quit India Movement (1942) were significant phases in the struggle for independence. The INC, led by leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel, played a crucial role in these movements.
  • Independence and Partition (1947): India gained independence on August 15, 1947, and the INC played a key role in the negotiations for independence. The country was partitioned into India and Pakistan. Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of independent India.
  • Post-Independence Period: The INC remained the dominant political force in India for several decades after independence. Leaders like Indira Gandhi, Nehru’s daughter, held significant positions. The party changed, splitting into different factions at times.
  • Political Challenges and Transformations (Late 20th Century): The INC faced challenges, including periods of opposition rule and internal divisions. It transformed, adapting to changing political dynamics, and participated in coalition governments.
  • 21st Century: In the 21st century, the INC continued to be a major political player in India, participating in national and state elections. It faced competition from emerging political forces, and its performance varied across different electoral cycles.

The Indian National Congress has played a crucial role in shaping the political, social, and economic trajectory of modern India. Its history reflects the diversity of ideologies within the party and its central role in the struggle for India’s independence.

Indian National Congress President List

The list of Indian National Congress (INC) Presidents shows us the leaders who have guided the party since it started in 1885. From the beginning with Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee to later leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, and Sonia Gandhi, each president has played an important role. This list helps us see how the INC has been part of India’s history, from the fight for independence to the present day, adapting to changes in the country’s politics. Each leader in the list has left their mark on the party and its role in India.

President Term
Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee 1885
Dadabhai Naoroji 1886
Badruddin Tyabji 1887
George Yule 1888
William Wedderburn 1889
Dadabhai Naoroji 1890
Alfred Webb 1894
Dadabhai Naoroji 1895
Rahimtulla M. Sayani 1896
Sir C. Sankaran Nair 1897
Ananda Charlu 1898
Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee 1899
Sir T. Prakasam 1900
Dinshaw Wacha 1901
Nawab Syed Muhammad Bahadur 1902
Lalmohan Ghosh 1903
Gopal Krishna Gokhale 1905
Dadabhai Naoroji 1906
Rashbihari Ghosh 1907
Annie Besant 1917
Motilal Nehru 1919
Lala Lajpat Rai 1920
C. Vijayaraghavachari 1921
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad 1923
Sarojini Naidu 1925
Jawaharlal Nehru 1929, 1936-37, 1951-54
Sardar Patel 1931
Rajendra Prasad 1934, 1939-40
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad 1940-46
J.B. Kripalani 1947-48
Pattabhi Sitaramayya 1948-49
Jawaharlal Nehru 1955-56

Founder of Indian National Congress

The Indian National Congress (INC) was founded by A.O. Hume, Dadabhai Naoroji, Dinshaw Wacha, Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee, Monomohun Ghose, William Wedderburn, Dadabhai Naoroji, Dinshaw Wacha, Monomohun Ghose, Dadabhai Naoroji, William Wedderburn, and others. Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee served as the first President of the Indian National Congress during its inaugural session in 1885 held in Bombay (now Mumbai). The party was formed to obtain a greater share of government for educated Indians and advocate for political representation

Indian National Congress Session

The Indian National Congress was started by Allan Octavian Hume, Dadabhai Naoroji, and Dinshaw Edulji Wacha on 28 December 1885. This information is important for the UPSC Mains exam. The table below shows the different meetings of the Indian National Congress and who led each one, which is useful for the civil services exam.

Year Location President Importance
1885 Bombay W C Bonnerjee 1st session attended by 72 delegates
1886 Calcutta Dadabhai Naoroji National Congress and National Conference
1887 Madras Syed Badruddin Tyabji Appeal made to Muslims to join hands with other national leaders
1888 Allahabad George Yule First English president
1889 Bombay Sir William Wedderburn
1890 Calcutta Feroz Shah Mehta
1891 Nagpur P. Ananda Charlu
1892 Allahabad W C Bonnerjee
1893 Lahore Dadabhai Naoroji
1894 Madras Alfred Webb
1895 Poona Surendranath Banerjee
1896 Calcutta Rahimtullah M. Sayani National song ‘Vande Mataram’ sung for the first time
1897 Amravati C. Sankaran Nair
1898 Madras Ananda Mohan Bose
1899 Lucknow Romesh Chandra Dutt
1900 Lahore N G Chandavarkar
1901 Calcutta Dinshaw E. Wacha
1902 Ahmedabad Surendranath Banerjee
1903 Madras Lal Mohan Ghosh
1904 Bombay Sir Henry Cotton
1905 Benares Gopal Krishna Gokhale Expressed resentment against the partition of Bengal
1906 Calcutta Dadabhai Naoroji The word ‘Swaraj’ was mentioned for the first time
1907 Surat Rash Behari Ghosh Party splits into extremists and moderates
1908 Madras Rash Behari Ghosh Previous session continued
1909 Lahore Madan Mohan Malaviya Indian Councils Act, 1909
1910 Allahabad Sir William Wedderburn
1911 Calcutta Bishan Narayan Dhar ‘Jana Gana Mana’ sung for the first time
1912 Bankipore (Patna) Raghunath Narasinha Mudholkar
1913 Karachi Syed Mohammed
1914 Madras Bhupendra Nath Basu
1915 Bombay Satyendra Prasanna Sinha
1916 Lucknow Ambica Charan Mazumdar Lucknow Pact – joint session with the Muslim League
1917 Calcutta Annie Besant (1847 – 1933) First woman president of the INC
1918 Bombay And Delhi Syed Hasan Imam (Bombay) And Madan Mohan Malaviya (Delhi) Two sessions were held. First in Bombay in August/September Second in Delhi in December
1919 Amritsar Motilal Nehru Jallianwala Bagh massacre strongly condemned
1920 Nagpur C Vijayaraghavachariar
1921 Ahmedabad Hakim Ajmal Khan (acting President For C R Das)
1922 Gaya C R Das
1923 Kakinada Maulana Mohammad Ali,
1924 Belgaum M K Gandhi
1925 Kanpur Sarojini Naidu (1879 – 1949) First Indian woman president
1926 Guwahati S Srinivasa Iyengar
1927 Madras M A Ansari
1928 Calcutta Motilal Nehru All India Youth Congress formed
1929 Lahore Jawaharlal Nehru Resolution for ‘Poorna Swaraj.’ Civil Disobedience movement for complete independence to be launched, 26 January to be observed as ‘Independence Day’.
1930 No Session
1931 Karachi Vallabhbhai Patel Resolution on fundamental rights and national economic progress. Gandhi-Irwin pact endorsed. Gandhi nominated to represent INC in the second round table conference
1932 Delhi Amrit Ranchhorddas Seth
1933 Calcutta Malaviya Was Elected But Mrs Nellie Sengupta Presided
1934 Bombay Rajendra Prasad
1937 Lucknow Jawaharlal Nehru
1936 Faizpur Jawaharlal Nehru First rural session/first session to be held in a village
1938 Haripura Subhas Chandra Bose National planning committee set up under Nehru
1939 Tripuri Subhas Chandra Bose Bose was elected but had to resign since Gandhi supported Pattabhi Sitaramayya. Instead, Rajendra Prasad was appointed
1940 Ramgarh Abul Kalam Azad
1941-45 No session because of arrest
1946 Meerut Acharya Kripalani The last session before the independence
1948 Jaipur Pattabhi Sitaramayya First session after independence
1950 Nashik Purushottam Das Tandon Resigned in 1951; Nehru became President
1951 Delhi Jawaharlal Nehru
1953 Hyderabad Jawaharlal Nehru
1954 Kalyani Jawaharlal Nehru
1955 Avadi(madras) U. N. Dhebar
1956 Amritsar U. N. Dhebar
1958 Gauhati U. N. Dhebar
1959 Nagpur Indira Gandhi
1960 Bangalore Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy
1961 Bhavnagar Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy
1962 Bhubaneshwar Damodaran Sanjvayya
1963 Patna Damodaran Sanjvayya
1964 Bhubaneshwar K. Kamaraj
1965 Durgapur K. Kamaraj

First President of Indian National Congress

Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee was the first President of the Indian National Congress, serving during its inaugural session in 1885 in Bombay. A distinguished barrister, he laid the foundation for the INC as a platform for political expression and representation of Indian interests. Bonnerjee advocated constitutional methods for Indian participation in governance, setting the tone for subsequent leaders in the party. His presidency marked a crucial step in India’s political awakening and its journey toward self-governance.

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