History Indian Democracy and British Raj

India’s struggle for independence by Bipan Citandra Indian National Congress Founded * Founded in December 1885 by 72 political workers. * First organised expression of Indian nationalism on an all-India scale A powerful and long lasting myth ‘the safety valve’ had arisen around this question. The myth is that The Indian National Congress: * Started by A. O. Hume and other under the official direction, guidance and advice of no less a person that Lord Dufferin, the Viceroy * Was to provide a safe, mild, peaceful, and constitutional outlet or safety Valve * For the rising dissatisfaction among the people
That was leading towards a popular and violent resolution * Core was that violent revolution was on the cards at the time Was avoided by the foundation of the Congress * Liberals accept it * Writers accept it * Radicals use it to prove that Congress has always been comprising imperialism. * Extreme right use it to show that the Congress has been anti-national from the beginning All agree that the manner of its birth affected the basic character and future work of the Congress in a crucial manner Young India by Extremist leader Lala Lajpat Raj Used ‘safety valve’ theory to attack the Moderates in the Congress * Suggested Congress ‘was a product of Lord Dufferin’s brain’ * Argued that ‘the Congress was started more with the object of saving the British Empire from danger than with that of winning political liberty for India. The interests of the British Empire were primary and those of India only secondary’. * Added ‘no one can say that the Congress has not been true to that ideal’ India Today by R. Palme Dutt * Myth of the safety valve = an important element in the liberal and adical section of the political system * Wrote that Congress as bought into existence through direct Governmental initiative and guidance and through ‘a plan secretly pre-arranged with the Viceroy’ * Wrote that Congress was used by Government ‘as an intended weapon for safeguarding British rule against the rising forces of popular unrest and anti-impending revolution’ * Said it was ‘an attempt to defeat, or rather forestall, an impending revolution * Said congress had two strands 1. Strand of cooperation with imperialism against the ‘menace’ of the mass movement 2.
Strand of leadership of the masses in the national struggle Congress in time became a nationalist body and the vehicle of mass movements. It became the organiser of the anti-imperialist movement. It fought and collaborated with imperialism, and led to the mass movements and when the masses moved towards the revolutionary path, it betrayed the movement to imperialism. Became an organ of opposition to real revolution, a violent revolution. We by M. S. Golwalkar(RSS Chief) Found safety valve theory handy in attaching the Congress for its secularism and anti-nationalism. Said that Hindu national consciousness had been destroyed by those claiming to be nationalists who had pushed the ‘notions of democracy’ and the perverse notion that the Muslims had something in common with the Hindus * Suggested the fight in India was not just between Indians and British it was a ‘triangular fight’ Hindus were at war with Muslims and on the other hand with the British * Said what led Hindus to ‘denationalisation’ was the aims and policy laid down by Hume, Cotton and Wedderburn in 1885 The Rise and Growth of the Congress in India by liberal C.

F. Andrews and Girija Mukerji * They fully accepted the safety valve theory * It had helped avoid ‘useless bloodshed’ before as well as after 1947 Tens of scholars and hundreds of popular writers have repeated some version of these points of view. Rise and Growth Despite the fact that Hume was a lover of liberty and wanted political liberty for India under the aegis of the British Crown be was above all an English Patriot , once he saw British rule was threatened with an impending calamity he decided to create a safety valve for the discontent.
Hume wrote: ‘I was shown several large volumes containing a vast number of entries… all arranged according to district’ he mentions that he had volumes in his possession only for a week, ‘all going to show that these poor men were pervaded with a sense of the hopelessness of the existing state of affairs; that they were convinced that they would starve and die, and that they wanted to do something, and stand by each other, and that something meant violence’ Very soon the seven volumes started undergoing a transformation * In 1933 (in Gurmukh Hihal Singh’s hands) they became ‘government reports’ * Andrews and Mukerji transformed them into ‘several volumes of secret reports from the CID’ * Came into Hume’s possession in this official capacity Dutt wrote, ‘Hume in his official capacity had received possession of the voluminous secret police reports’

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