The Indian National Congress from its inception in 1885 to 1905 was dominated by the early nationalists. These early nationalists were eminent personalities. They were lawyers, barristers, teachers, and officials. Because many of them were educated in England, they believed in the British sense of justice and fair play. They were however ignorant of the actual conditions of people in India. Some early nationalists were W. C. Bonnerjee, Rashbehari Ghosh, Surendranath Banerjee, R. C. Dutt, Dadabhai Naoroji, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Justice Ranade, P. R. Naidu, Ananda Charlu, Madan Mohan Malviya, and A. O. Hume. In this article, you will learn the about Achievements and Criticisms of the Early Nationalists
Achievements of the Early Nationalists
- They created national awakening among the people regarding the fact that they all belong to one common country.
- They popularized and trained the people in the ideals of democracy, civil liberties, secularism and nationalism.
- One of the greatest achievements of the early nationalists was that they exposed the true nature of economic exploitation of India by the British government. Dadabhai Naoroji contended that the British government was responsible for draining the wealth of India.
- Their political and economic programmes established the truth that India should be ruled in the interests of the Indians.
- Because of the efforts of the early nationalists, the following reforms were passed:
- The Public Service Commission was appointed in 1886.
- A resolution was passed in the House of Commons for holding the Indian Civil Service Examinations in India and London.
- The passing of the Indian Council Act of 1892.
Criticisms of the Early Nationalists
- The early nationalists have been criticized for using petitions and prayers to the government as a method of agitation. It has been contended that such methods could have never resulted in the independence of the country.
- They failed to realize that the interests of the British and the Indians clashed with one another and that Britain was using the resources of India to increase its wealth and prosperity.
- They failed in drawing the masses into a national movement. They were only able to influence a section of urban educated Indians.
Attitude of the Government towards the Congress
- In the early years of its formation, the British looked upon the Congress with favour, so much so that the first session of the Congress was attended by a few government officials.
- Lord Dufferin wanted the Congress to devote itself to social rather than political affairs. As the Congress became politically active, the government began to criticize it.
- In 1890, government officials were forbidden to attend its meetings.
- To reduce the effectiveness of the Congress, the government followed the ‘policy of divide and rule’ by encouraging Sayyid Ahmad Khan and Raja Shiv Prasad of Benares to start an anti-Congress movement.
- Also Read Quit India Movement