First Session Of Indian National Congress: History

first session of indian national congress

With the opening of the first session of Indian National Congress, the country’s future was being shaped. The first session of Congress was held in 1885. The British Indian Association, created by Allan Octavian Hume, had been lobbying for such a body. It is widely seen as the session that brought into being a nationwide nationalist movement.

This topic has been covered in both the preliminary and main stages of the IAS Exam.

First Session Of Indian National Congress: Features

The first Indian National Congress session was organized by Allan Octavian Hume, a British official who believed that the creation of a political outfit would channel the discontent of the Indian people. Historians have challenged this theory and have stated that many forces were at play in the emergence of the Congress. Here are some of the key features of the first session of Indian National Congress:

  1. From December 28 to December 31 of 1885 Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College in Bombay hosted the first meeting of the Indian National Congress.
  2. Though Poona was the original location, it was later moved to Bombay due to a plague outbreak in Poona.
  3. 72 delegates from all over the country attended the first session.
  4. None of the delegates were women. Most of them were from the background of Lawyers.
  5. A well-known lawyer from Calcutta named Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee served as the first president for the INC session.
  6. A.O. Hume was selected as a General Secretary.
  7. Some delegates were: Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee, Badruddin Tyyabji, Romesh Chunder Dutt, Dadabhai Naoroji, S Ramaswami Mudaliar, Pherozeshah Mehta, S. Subramania Iyer, and Surendranath Banerjee with other prominent leaders.
  8. One of the founding members of INC was a British civil servant and an Englishmen A.O. Hume.
  9. Apart from A.O. Hume, Justice John Jardine and William Wedderburn are the other two Britishers who were the founding members of INC. 
  10. There were mostly Hindus and they are from Bombay and Madras.

Note: Sessions were conducted in several places across India at the year-end, and it was defined as a “memorandum” to submit the Indian political stance to the British government. The memorandum was therefore shared at each meeting.

Indian National Congress: Aims And Objectives

  1. INC aimed to promote a national identity amongst the Indian people and to foster the feeling of national unity. It was typical for colonial administrators and ideologues to argue that Indians could not be emancipated or untied since they were not a country, but rather a geographical manifestation.
  2. A rule that prohibited the adoption of resolutions without a significant majority of Muslim or Hindu delegates objecting was created at the 1888 session. This was done in an effort to be inclusive and soothe all religions and minorities.
  3. When he served as President of the First Session of Congress, W.C. Bonnerjee stated that one of the goals of the Congress was to “eradicate all possible race, creed, or provincial prejudices among all lovers of our country.”
  4. The Congress’s next major aim was to achieve a standardized platform around which political activists from across the country could congregate and perform their political operations, teaching and mobilizing people across the country.
  5. In its second session, the Congress’s president, Dadabhai Naoroji, set a rule stating that the National Congress shall limit itself to topics in which the entire nation is directly involved.

Resolutions Passed In The First Session Of INC

Nine resolutions were considered and approved during the first session of the Indian National Congress.

  1. Local and imperial Legislative Councils were able to grow and undergo reform as per the Indian Councils Act of 1861.
  2. It demands the creation of the royal commission to look into India’s governance.
  3. Creating legislative councils for the Northwest Province, Oudh, and Punjab, as well as a House of Commons Standing Committee, to consider official protests.
  4. The Government plans to hold simultaneous Public Service Examinations in England and India, as well as to raise the minimum age for eligibility to apply for these examinations.
  5. The Indian Council of Secretary of State for India should be abolished.
  6. Spending on the military should be cut.
  7. Protests against Upper Burma’s conquest and proposed integration with India.
  8. All of the resolutions were to be delivered to political organizations all over the country for discussion and formation of views.
  9. The next meeting of the Congress was set for December 28, 1886, in Calcutta.
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List Of Sessions Of Indian National Congress Before Independence (1885-1947)

Year Location President
1885 Bombay W C Bonnerjee
1886 Calcutta Dadabhai Naoroji
1887 Madras Syed Badruddin Tyabji (fist Muslim President)
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
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
1906 Calcutta Dadabhai Naoroji
1907 Surat Rash Behari Ghosh
1908 Madras Rash Behari Ghosh
1909 Lahore Madan Mohan Malaviya
1910 Allahabad Sir William Wedderburn
1911 Calcutta Bishan Narayan Dhar
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 (Re-union of the Congress- Joint session with Muslim League)
1917 Calcutta Annie Besant (first woman President)
1918 Bombay And Delhi Syed Hasan Imam (Bombay) And Madan Mohan Malaviya (Delhi)
1919 Amritsar Motilal Nehru
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 (first Indian woman President)
1926 Guwahati S Srinivasa Iyengar
1927 Madras M A Ansari
1928 Calcutta Motilal Nehru (first All India Youth Congress Formed)
1929 Lahore Jawaharlal Nehru (Poorna Swaraj (Complete Independence) Resolution was passed)
1930 No Session
1931 Karachi Vallabhbhai Patel (Here, the resolution on Fundamental Rights and the National Economic Program was passed)
1932 Delhi Amrit Ranchhorddas Seth
1933 Calcutta Malaviya Was Elected But Mrs. Nellie Sengupta Presided
1934 Bombay Rajendra Prasad
1937 Lucknow Jawaharlal Nehru (first session in a village)
1936 Faizpur Jawaharlal Nehru
1938 Haripura Subhas Chandra Bose (a National Planning Committed set-up underJ.L.Nehru).
1939 Tripuri Subhash Chandra Bose
1940 Ramgarh Abul Kalam Azad
1946 Meerut Acharya Kripalani


The Indian National Congress had many Indian leaders and delegates from all parts of India. The party launched with its earliest ambition to bring about social and political reform. The Nationalists’ agenda for the first session included the establishment of Legislative Councils in the Northwest Province and a Standing Committee in the Parliament to consider formal protests. This session was marked by many political and social changes. 

FAQ On First Session Of Congress

Q1.Who claimed that the Indian National Congress only speaks for insignificant minorities?

Lord Dufferin claimed that the Indian National congress only speaks for insignificant minorities.

Q2. Who was not present at the first session of Congress?

Surendranath Banerjee was unable to join the same.

Q3. Where was the first session of the Indian national congress held?

The first session of Indian National Congress was held at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit Pathshala in Bombay.

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