Pre-congress National organizations
Posted on : 07-08-2018 Posted by : Admin


Though the feeling of nationalism arose in Indians very early, but it was only during last decades of 19th century that Indian nationalism developed as an organized movement.

Many organizations and associations were set up by the middle class Indians around 1840’s and 50’s. These organizations acted through legal actions in courts and petition. Some of the organizations are listed below,

  • Landholder’s society in Bengal (1838)
  • Bengal British Indian society in Bengal (1843)
  • British India Association in Bengal (1851)
  • Bombay Association in Maharashtra (1852)
  • Deccan association in Maharashtra (1852)
  • Madras Native Association in Madras (1852)


British India Association

  1. British India Association was actually the merger of Landholder’s society and Bengal British Indian society.
  2. It owned Hindu Patriot newspaper.
  3. Radha Krishna Deb was the first president of the association.
  4. Devendranath Tagore was its first Secretary.
  5. Some of the members included in this association were Ram Gopal Gosh, Peary Chand Mitra.
  6. This association sent its first petition to British parliament in 1852. This petition included a request to separate legislature from executive, Inclusion of Indians in legislative councils, Increased employment of Indians in higher services, Simultaneous civil service examinations in England and India, Abolition of salt duty, Extension of permanent settlement to other parts of India, Excise and stamp duties, Increased grants for education.
  7. The Company charter, 1853 denied all the requests included in the petition. And this association continued its agitation.

Bombay association and Madras Native Association both were set up in 1852 by locally influential people. It was in 1858 that British crown took over Indian administration from East India Company. Indians had new hopes after this. They thought the exploitation would come to an end. But only later could Indians realize that even British crown wants to exploit India. And this gave rise to still strong nationalistic feelings among Indians. After the takeover of the administration by British some more new associations emerged out namely,

Association Name Location Founders Year
East India Association London Dadabhai Naoroji 1866
National Indian Association London Mary Carpenter 1867
Poona Sarwajanik Sabha Maharashtra Justice Ranade and others 1870
Indian Association Bengal S N Banerjee & Anand Mohan Bose 1876
Madras Mahajan Sabha Madras Vira Raghavachariar, Subramanya Iyer, Anand Chandu 1884
Bombay Presidency Association Bomaby K T Telang and Ferozshah 1885

When compared to the previous ones, these associations have a political face. They protested against British policies through petitions and resolutions. They conducted mass public meetings to bring awareness in people.

The below are the important points about a few prominent associations,


East India Association

  1. It was started by Dadabhai Naoroji in 1866.
  2. It was initially formed as London India Association and later was renamed as East India Association in London.
  3. The main aim of this association was to convey correct information on India to British parliament and public.
  4. It also suggested remedial measures for the problems faced by Indians.
  5. The branches of East India Association were opened in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras in 1869.
  6. The popularity of this association started to decline in 1881.


The Indian Association

  1. Europeans were against this bill. They stages protest and organised defense association against the bill. The government then had to yield to this pressure and the bill was modified to include that if a European was brought to try for criminal case under an Indian Judge, then he could claim to be tried by a jury half of whom were to be Europeans.
  2. This association organized an All India campaign in favor of Ilbert bill (1883) of Lord Rippon
  3. It has many branches in towns and villages in and around Bengal.
  4. This association carried out agitations against reactionary measures of Lord Lytton like Vernacular press act and arms act.
  5. It was instrumental in demonstrations of peasants to get Rent Bill changed in favor of tenants. It sought better working conditions for workers on English-owned plantations.
  6. In 1878, government has reduced the age limit from 21 to 19. So, it raised this issue to raise the age limit for Indian Civil Service examination to improve prospects of Indian candidates.
  7. The newspaper owned by this association was Bengalee. This newspaper was the main organ of this association.
  8. Their petition included India’s direct representation in British parliament and to integrate Indians on a common political programme.
  9. The main objective of this association was to create a strong public opinion.
  10. It was started by S N Banerjee & Anand Mohan Bose in 1876.
  11. This incident further raised nationalism among Indians and it necessitated for a powerful political organization with all-India character.
  12. In 1883, the Indian association convened an All India National Conference. Later in 1885 a second session of this conference was held. During the second session of Indian association, first session of Indian National Congress was held in Bombay.
  13. As the ideology of both Indian association and Indian National Congress was same, Indian association was merged with Indian National Congress in December, 1886.

Important notes

  • Ilbert bill (1883) sought to empower Indian district magistrates and session judges to try Europeans in criminal cases. Under existing laws, Indian magistrates and judges were not authorized to try Europeans.
  • Vernacular press act (1878) provided for confiscation of printing press, paper and other assets of newspaper if the government believed that it was publishing seditious material.
  • Arms act (1878) aimed at disarming Indian people. It made it mandatory for all Indians possessing arms to have licenses

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