Indian National Congress | Short Notes for PSC

Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress, one of the world's largest and oldest political organizations, was formed on December 28, 1885. The Congress Party played a critical role in bringing India to freedom in 1947.

The concept of the Congress is thought to have taken tangible form during a meeting of the Theosophical Society in Madras in December 1884. A notification was sent in March 1885 calling for the inaugural meeting of the Indian National Union to be held in Poona in December of that year.

On December 25, 1885, the Union of Pune (Maharashtra) decided to hold the first conference of delegates, with the backing of retired ICS officer Allan Octavian Hume (A.O Hume), however, the meeting was eventually relocated to Bombay due to the plague outbreak.

From December 28 to December 31, the First Congress conference was conducted at Bombay's Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College.
  • The term "Congress" was borrowed from the United States of America & the term ' Indian National Congress' was coined by Dadabhai Naoroji.
First Congress Session

The inaugural session of the Indian National Congress was presided over by Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee. 

72 social reformers, journalists, and attorneys from around the country attended the event, including Dadabhai Naoroji, Justice Ranade, Pherozeshah Mehta, K.T. Telang, and Dinshaw Wacha.

W.C Bonnerji, the first president, outlined three primary goals of Congress as follows:
  • Promotion of feelings and sentiments of national unity.
  • Create a unified platform for political activists to assemble and undertake political activities aimed at educating and organizing people across India.
  • Educate and Disseminate Political Democracy.
In order to reach out to all areas of India, it was decided to rotate Congress Sessions in different parts of India and elect a President who does not belong to the region where the session is being held.

From 1885 through 1933, the presidency had a one-year term. There was no such thing as a set term for the president after 1933.

Since the organization's inception, the Indian National Congress has had 61 presidents. Sonia Gandhi is the party's longest-serving president, having held the position for more than two decades, from 1998 to 2017 and since 2019.

During its early years, ie, from 1885 to 1905, the Indian National Congress never expressed the demand for independence from British authority.

Important Facts about Indian National Congress (Pre-independence)

  • Established on – December 28, 1885.
  • Founded by – A.O Hume, Dadabhai Naoroji & Dinshaw Edulji Wacha.
  • Father of the Indian National Congress – A.O Hume.
  •  Two Predecessors of Indian National Congress – Indian National Union (A.O Hume, 1884) & Indian National Conference (Surendranath Banerjee & Anand Mohan Bose)
  • Two sessions of the Indian National Conference were held in  – 1883 & 1885.
  • Main Architects of Indian National Congress – Surendranath Banerjee & Anand Mohan Bose.
  • The Theory related to the Formation of INC – Safety Valve Theory.*
  • First President – W.C. Bonerjee.
    • also president of Allahabad session in 1892.
  • First General Secretary – A.O Hume.
  • Venue of First Session – Gokul Tejpal Sanskrit School (Bombay).
  • No. of Participants in the First Session – 72.
  • No. of registered Muslim delegated who attended the 1st session – 2.
  • British Viceroy of India at the time of the first session of the Congress – Lord Dufferin.
  • First resolution of INC was presented by – G. Subramania Iyer.
  • Second President of INC – Dadabhai Naoroji (1886).
    • First Parsi President of INC – Dadabhai Naoroji (1886).
  • First English man/European/Foreigner to become Congress President – George Yule (1888).
  • No. of English Presidents of Indian National Congress – 5.
    • George Yule (1888),
    • Sir William Wedderburn (1889 & 1910),
    • Alfred Webb (1894),
    • Sir Henry Cotton (1904).
  • Only English man to be the President of INC twice – William Wedderburn (1889 Bombay & 1910 Allahabad Sessions).
  • First Foreigner President of INC in the 20th century – Henry Cotton.
  • The British Committee of INC was formed in – 1889.
    • Journal of the INC's British Committee – India.
  • First Congress session attended by Women – 1889 Bombay Session.
    •  The session was attended by 10 registered women delegates, including social reformer Pandita Ramabai, and Tagore's sister Swarnakumari Devi.
  • First Woman member of INC – Kadambini Ganguly (1889, Bombay Session).
    • First Indian female doctor and first lady graduate of Calcutta University.
  • First Woman to address a Congress session – Kadambini Ganguly.
  • First Woman President – Annie Besant (1917 Calcutta Session).
    • First Foreigner Woman President of INC – Annie Besant (Ireland).
  • First Indian Woman President – Sarojini Naidu (1925, Kanpur Session).
  • No. of Women Presidents of Indian National Congress – 3.
    • Annie Besant,
    • Sarojini Naidu &
    • Nellie Sengupta (1933, Calcutta Session).
  • First Woman President of INC after Independence – Indira Gandhi (1959 Delhi Session).
  • First Muslim President – Badaruddin Tayabji (1887, Madras).
    • Second Muslim President – Rahimtulla M. Sayani (Calcutta Session,1896).
  • First Acting President of INC – Hakkim Ajmal Khan.
  • First South Indian city to host a congress session – Madras (1887, 3rd INC Session).
  • First South Indian President of INC – P. Ananda Charlu (1891 Nagpur Session).
    • From Madras.
  • First Malayali to become member of INC – Barrister G.P. Pillai (1889).
    • First Malayali to attend a congress session.
    • First man from Travancore to attend a congress session.
  • First & Only Malayali President of Indian National Congress – Chettur Sankaran Nair (Amraoti session, Maharashtra, 1897).
  • Oldest President of INC – Dadabhi Naoroji.
  • Youngest President of the Indian National Congress – Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (35 years).
  • First elected President of INC – Subhas Chandra Bose (1939, Tripuri Session).
  • First person to be the President of INC three times – Dadabhai Naoroji (1886, 1893, 1906).
  • President for the maximum no. of times – 
    • Dadabhi Naoroji (1886, 1893, 1906),
    • Jawahar Lal Nehru (1929, 1936, 1937).
  • First person to be the President of INC two consecutive times – Rash Bihari Ghosh.
  • President of the Indian National Congress for six consecutive years – Abul Kalam Azad (1940-1946).
    • Nickname – Congress Showboy.
    • First Education Minister.
    • National Education Day (11th November; birth anniversary of Abul Kalam Azad).
  • INC president during Quit India movement – Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad.
  • First time Vande Mataram was sung – Calcutta Session 1896 (12th Session).
    • President – Rahimtulla M Sayani.
  • First-time recital of National Anthem (Jana Gana Mana)  occured in – Calcutta session (1911).
    • President – Pandit Bishan Narayan Dar.
  • Constitution need emphasized – 
    • First time at Allahabad Session, 1888.
    • Second time Poona Session 1895.
  • First Congress session in which Gandhiji participated – Calcutta Session 1901.
    • President – Dinshaw E.Wacha.
  • The session which was presided over by Gandhiji – Belgaon (1924).
  • First congress session attended by Jawaharlal Nehru – Bankipur Session (1912).
  • Congress session in which Gandhiji and Jawaharlal Nehru met for the first time – 1916 Lucknow Session.
  • The Indian National Congress in which Mahatma Gandhi said, 'Gandhi may die but Gandhism will remain forever?'  Karachi Session, 1931.
  • President of Indian National Congress at the time of partition of Bengal in 1905 – Gopalakrishna Gokhale.
    • Viceroy – Lord Curzon.
    • Announced on – July 19, 1905.
    • Came into effect on  – October 16, 1905.
    • Emergence of Swadeshi movement.
  • Session in which 'Poorna Swaraj' was first used at congress platform – Calcutta Session (1906).
  • President of INC during the formation of All India Muslim League – Dadabhai Naoroji.
    • Formed on – December 30, 1906.
    • Location – Dhaka (Bangladesh).
    • Founders – Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Khwaja Salimullah, Aga Khan III &Hakim Ajmal Khan.
  • President of INC at the time of cancellation of partition of Bengal in 1911 –  B.N. Dhar.
    • Viceroy – Lord Hardinge II.
  • First joint session of Indian National Congress and Muslim League – Lucknow (1916).
  • President of INC during the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (1919) – Motilal Nehru (Amritsar Session).
  • The special congress session which passed the resolution of the Non-Cooperation Movement – 1920 Calcutta Session.
    • President – Lala Lajpat Rai. 
  • President of 1920 Nagpur Session session in which congress gave approval to the Non-Cooperation Movement – C. Vijayaraghavachari.
  • Session in which Indian National Congress passed the resolution for Poorna Swaraj – Lahore.
    • Complete Independence demand was raised for the first time – Lahore (1929).
  • First person to suggest that Swaraj be defined as complete independence – Moulana Hasrat Mohani.
  • All India Khadi Board was formed as a result of  – 1923 Delhi Session.
  • Khadi was made compulsory in – Guwahati Session (1926).
  • All India Youth congress  was formed in – Calcutta Session (1928).
  • The congress session during which the resolution to abolish untouchability was passed, which spurred the start of the Vaikom Satyagraha – 1923 Kakinada Congress Session.
    • President – Maulana Mohammad Ali.
    • An Untouchability Abolition Committee (UAC) was formed immediately after this session by KPCC under the leadership of  
      • T. K. Madhavan, K. Kelappan (convener), Kurur Nilakantan Namboothiri,  T.R. Krishna Swami Iyer & K. Velayudha Menon.
  • Fundamentals Rights and Economic Policy Proposals Passed – Karachi Session 1931.
  • Congress was declared illegal during – 1932, 1933 Sessions.
  • Socialism in Congress – 1936 Lucknow Session.
  • First village session – Fazipur, near Jalgaon (1936).
  • The first session of Congress after Independence – Jaipur.
    • President – Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya.

List of Indian National Congress: Sessions & Presidents (1885-1956)

1st Session1885BombayWomesh Chandra BonnerjeeFirst Session.
2nd Session1886CalcuttaDadabhai NaorojiThe merger of the National Congress & the national conference.

Delegates increased to 436.

First Parsi President

Provincial Congress Committees
3rd Session1887MadrasBadruddin TyabjiFirst Muslim President.
4th Session1888AllahabadGeorge YuleFirst English President.
5th Session1889BombaySir William Wedderburn
6th Session1890CalcuttaPherozeshah Mehta
7th Session1891NagpurP. Ananda CharluThe term ‘national’ was added to the name of Congress.

First South Indian INC President.
8th Session1892AllahabadWomesh Chandra Bonnerjee
9th Session1893LahoreDadabhai Naoroji
10th Session1894MadrasAlfred Webb
11th Session1895PoonaSurendranath Banerjee
12th Session1896CalcuttaRahimatullah M. SayaniFirst Recital of 'Vande Mataram'
by Rabindranath Tagore.
13th Session1897AmraotiC. Sankaran NairFirst Malayali President.
14th Session1898MadrasAnanda Mohan Bose
15th Session1899LucknowRomesh Chunder DuttDemand for permanent fixation of Land revenue.
16th Session1900LahoreN.G. Chandavarkar
17th Session1901CalcuttaDinshaw Eduljee WachaFirst appearance of Gandhiji in an
INC session.
18th Session1902AhmedabadSurendranath Banerjee
19th Session1903MadrasLal Mohan Ghosh
20th Session1904BombaySir Henry Cotton
21st Session1905BenaresGopal Krishna GokhaleFormal proclamation of
Swadeshi movement.
22nd Session1906CalcuttaDadabhai NaorojiAdopted four resolutions:
  • Swaraj (Self Government),
  • Boycott Movement,
  • Swadeshi  Movement
  • National Education
23rd Session1907SuratRash Behari GhoshFirst Congress Split:
Moderates & Extremists.
23rd Session1908MadrasRash Behari GhoshFormation of Constitution for the Congress.
24th Session1909LahoreMadan Mohan MalaviyaIndian Councils Act, 1909.
25th Session1910AllahabadSir William WedderburnMuhammed Ali Jinnah publicly denies
the separate electorate system for Hindus and Muslims in municipalities and local bodies.
26th Session1911CalcuttaBishan Narayan DarFirst Recital of Jana Gana Mana.
27th Session1912 Bankipore (Patna) Raghunath Narasinha MudholkarFirst appearance of Jawaharlal Nehru in an
INC session.
28th Session1913KarachiNawab Syed Mohammed Bahadur
29th Session1914 Madras Bhupendra Nath Basu
30th Session1915BombaySatyendra Prasanna Sinha
31st Session1916LucknowAmbica Charan MazumdarLucknow Pact.

Joint session with the Muslim League.

Unity between Moderates & Extremists.

First Meeting of Gandhiji & Nehru.
32nd Session1917CalcuttaAnnie BesantFirst Woman President of Congress.
33rd Session1918DelhiMadan Mohan Malaviya
Special Session1918Bombay
Syed Hasan ImamTo discuss Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms Scheme.
34th Session1919AmritsarMotilal NehruTo Codemn Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

Support to Khilafat Movement.
35th Session1920NagpurC. VijayaraghavachariarMA Jinnah left INC.

Reconstitution of Working committees
based on Linguistics.
Special Session1920 CalcuttaLala Lajpat RaiGandhiji moved the Non-cooperation
36th Session1921AhmedabadHakim Ajmal Khan
(Acting President for C.R. Das)
37th Session1922GayaC.R. DasFormation of Swaraj Party.
Special Session1922 DelhiAbul Kalam Azad
38th Session1923 Kakinada Maulana Mohammad Ali
39th Session1924BelgaumGandhijiOnly Session presided over by
Mahatma Gandhi.
40th Session1925KanpurSarojini NaiduFirst Indian Woman President.

Hindi elected as the Official Language of INC
41st Session1926GauhatiS. Srinivasa Iyengar
42nd Session1927MadrasDr. M.A. AnsariAdoption of resolution on Poorna Swaraj.
Passed a resolution against:
  • Boycott of Simon Commission
  • Use of Indian troops in China, Iran & Mesopotamia.
43rd Session1928CalcuttaMotilal NehruFormation of All India Youth Congress.
44th Session1929 Lahore Jawaharlal NehruCivil Disobedience Movement.

Passed Poorna Swaraj Resolution.

26 January declared as
‘Independence Day.'

Indian tricolor flag hosted by Nehru on the bank of the Ravi river.
45th Session1931KarachiVallabhbhai PatelGandhi-Irwin pact.

Resolutions on Fundamental Rights &
National Economic Programme.
46th Session1932DelhiRanchod Lal Amrit Lal
47th Session1933CalcuttaNellie Sen Gupta
48th Session1934BombayRajendra PrasadFormation of Congress Socialist Party.

Khadi becomes compulsory.
49th Session1936 Lucknow Jawaharlal Nehru
50th Session1937 Faizpur Jawaharlal NehruFirst Session to be held in a village.
51st Session1938HaripuraSubhash Chandra BoseNational Planning Committee.
52nd Session1939Tripuri
(Madhya Pradesh)
Subhash Chandra Bose

Rajendra Prasad
S.C. Bose re-elected but resigned.
(defeated Pattabhi Sitaramayya)

Rajendra Prasad became President
of INC.

Formation of the Forward Bloc.
53rd Session1940RamgarhAbul Kalam Azad
1941 No session because of arrest
1942 No session because of arrest
1943 No session because of arrest
1944 No session because of arrest
1945 No session because of arrest
54th Session1946MeerutJ.B. KripalaniLast session before independence.
55th Session1948JaipurPattabhi SitaraimayyaFirst session after independence.

56th Session1950NashikPurushottam Das Tandon
57th Session1951DelhiJawaharlal Nehru
58th Session1953HyderabadJawaharlal Nehru
59th Session1954KalyaniJawaharlal Nehru
60th Session1955Avadi (Madras)U. N. DhebarSocialism
61st Session1956AmritsarU. N. Dhebar

Splits in India National Congress: Pre-Independence

The following lists the congress splits that happened before India gained its independence and their reasons:

First Split / Surat Split: Moderates & Extremists 

From 1885 to 1905, the early phase of Congress was controlled by a moderate ideology, which did not believe in mobilizing large movements. However, the partition of Bengal in 1905, as well as the succeeding Swadeshi movement, led to the growth of mass movements.

As a result, the Congress was divided into two factions in 1907: the moderates (Naram Dal) led by Gopal Krishna Gokhle and the radicals/extremists (Garam Dal) led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, and Bipin Chandra Pal pushing for resolutions on Swaraj, Boycott, and national education.

Extremists were permitted to rejoin Congress in December 1915, thanks to the efforts of Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Annie Beasant. Later that year, Congress achieved an accord with the Muslim League (Lucknow Pact), and a joint session was convened in Lucknow.

Second Split: Formation of Indian National Liberal Federation

Montagu-Chelmsford Reform (1918) was enacted by the British under the Government of India Act 1919 in 1919. Indian nationalists were dissatisfied with promises and instead desired effective self-government. 

Some veterans, led by Surendra Natha Banerjee and other prominent leaders like Tej Bahadur Sapru, V. S. Srinivasa Sastri, and M. R. Jayakar, supported adopting government ideas and formed the Indian Liberal Federation.

Third Split: Formation of Swaraj Party & Gandhi-Nehru-Das pact

In February 1922, the non-cooperation movement was withdrawn, Gandhiji was jailed, and Congress resumed its boycott of legislative councils. As time passed, dissatisfied with Congress's passivity, a group led by C.R. Das and Motilal Nehru proposed ending the boycott of legislative councils in the Gaya Session in December 1922.

The proposition, however, was unsuccessful, and thus C.R. Das and Motilal Nehru left to create the Congress-Khilafat Swaraj party. Gandhiji put an end to the rift on November 6, 1924, when he issued a joint statement with Das and Nehru stating that Swarajists would continue to work in legislatures on behalf of the Congress Party.

Fourth Split: Formation of the Forward Bloc

Subhas Chandra Bose was elected president in both 1938 and 1939 but resigned from Congress in 1939 over the selection of the working committee.

After quitting Congress on April 29, 1939, he founded the Forward Bloc in Makur Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, on May 3, 1939

Famous People & Their Opinions About INC  

Famous PeopleOpinions
Lord Dufferin  Microscopic minority of India
A factory of sedition
Lord Curzon In my belief, Congress is to tottering to its fall and one of my
 great ambitions while in India is to assist it to a peaceful demise.
Aurobindo Ghosh INC is a begging institute
Bal Gangadhar Tilak INC should be distinguished between begging and claiming the rights
Bipin Chandra Pal INC playing with bubbles


    • Grand Old Man of India – Dadabhai Naoroji.
    • Iron Man of India – Sardar Vallabhai Patel.
    • Rashtraguru – Surendranath Banerjee.
    • Mahamana – Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya (by Tagore).
    • Deshabandhu – C.R. Das.
    • Lokmanya – Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
      • Lokmanya Tilak National Award 2021 – Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla.
        • cash prize of Rs 1 lakh and a memento.
        • Chairman of the Pune-based vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII).
        • for his work during the Covid-19 pandemic, by manufacturing Covishield vaccine.
    • Lal Bal Pal – Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak & Bipin Chandra Pal.
    • The Lion of South India – C. Vijayaraghavachariar.
    • First Indian to contest an election to the British House of Commons – W.C. Bonnerjee.
    • First Indian elected to the British House of Commons – Dadabhai Naoroji.
    • First Asian to be elected to the British Parliament – Dadabhai Naoroji (1892).
    • First Indian to be a member of the British House of Lords & first baron of Raipur – Lord Satyendra Prasanna Sinha.
    • First Indian to be appointed as a Standing Counsel W.C. Bonnerjee (1882, 1884, 1886 &1887).
    • The political organization which opposed the INC / The association which was formed to counter Congress propaganda – United Indian Patriotic Association (UIPA).
      • Established by –  Sir Syed Ahmad Khan & Raja Shiv Prasad Singh (1888).
    • Political Guru of Mahatma Gandhi – Gopalakrishna Gokhale.
      • Other Epithets  'Diamond of India', 'the jewel of Maharashtra ' & 'the prince of workers.' ( By Tilak)
    • Father of Indian Ornithology / Pope of Indian Ornithology – Allan Octavian Hume.
      • Political Guru of A.O. Hume – Mahadev Gobind Ranade.
      • The biographical memoir of A. O. Hume was written by – Sir William Wedderburn.
    • Leader of Moderates / Naram Dal – Gopal Krishna Gokhale.
    • Leader of Extremists/ Garam Dal – Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
    • Founder of Benares Hindu University, Asia’s largest residential university  – Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya.
    • First Muslim sheriff of Madras – Nawab Syed Muhammad Bahadur.
    • First president of Mohun Bagan AC – Bhupendra Nath Bose.
    • Only person to have been appointed president of the Indian National Congress, the Muslim League, and the All India Khilafat Committee – Hakim Ajmal Khan.
    • Official historian of Indian National Congress – Pattabhi Sitharamiyyah.
      • Diary of Pattabhi Sitharamiyyah – Feathers and stones.
      • Famous Book – History of Congress (1935).
        • The introduction was written by Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
      • Founder of Andhra Bank in Machilipatnam (1923).
    • Oldest President of INC after independence – Sitaram Kesri (77 years).
    • Youngest President of the Indian National Congress – Rajiv Gandhi (41 years).
      • Youngest Indian Prime minister– Rajiv Gandhi (40 years).
    • Founder of both Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University and the Ayurvedic and Unani Tibbia (medical) College – Hakim Ajmal Khan.
      • Co-Founder of Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University – Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari.
    • University Grants Commission and the Indian Institutes of Technology – Abul Kalam Azad.
    • First Malayali to be a member of Viceroy’s Executive Council – Chettur Shankaran Nair.
      • In response to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, he resigned from the Executive Council.
      • Famous Book – Gandhi and Anarchy (1922).
    • Safety Valve Theory – According to one alternative theory, A.O. Hume founded the Congress with the hope that it would serve as a "safety valve" for the Indians' growing resentment. He expected the National Congress to provide a peaceful and constitutional outlet.

      In order to do this, he persuaded Lord Dufferin not to block the establishment of the Congress. 

      Extremist leaders, such as Lala Lajpat Rai, believed in the'safety valve' notion. While historians such as Bipan Chandra has rejected the 'Safety Valve Theory' by calling it the 'myth.'

    • Who moved the resolution requesting eradication of untouchability in Kerala at Kakinada session of Congress? T.K. Madhavan. (PSC Question: Investigator (Anthropology/ Sociology), 2017)

    The Indian national congress is a vital part of the preliminary syllabus (ഇന്ത്യയുടെ സ്വാതന്ത്ര്യവുമായി ബന്ധപ്പെട്ട രാഷ്ട്രീയവും സാമൂഹികവും സാംസ്കാരികവുമായി ബന്ധപ്പെട്ട മുന്നേറ്റങ്ങൾ, ദേശീയ പ്രസ്ഥാനങ്ങൾ) for the upcoming Kerala PSC LDC, +2, Degree level exams. So hope this helps in your preparation.

    Thanks for reading!!!