Indian National Congress

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The Indian National Congress (INC, often called Congress) is a political party in India. Founded in 1885, it was the first modern nationalist movement to emerge in the British Empire in Asia and Africa.


File:Flag of the Indian National Congress.svg
If India is computer, Congress is its default program. - Rahul Gandhi
  • The British Government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom, but has debased it economically, politically, culturally, and spiritually. We believe that India must sever the British connection and attain purna swarajya, or complete independence...We hold it to be a crime against man and God to submit any longer to the rule that has caused this disaster to our country. We recognize, however, that the most effective way of gaining our freedom is not through violence.
    • Indian National Congress, “Independence Day Resolution,” January 20, 1930. Cited in The British Empire, ed. Jane Sampson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, 245-246
  • It seems to me that the Congress has failed to realize two things. The first thing which the Congress has failed to realize is that there is a difference between appeasement and settlement, and that the difference is an essential one. Appeasement means buying off the aggressor by conniving at his acts of murder, rape, arson and loot against innocent persons who happen for the moment to be the victims of his displeasure. On the other hand, settlement means laying down the bounds which neither party to it can transgress. Appeasement sets no limits to the demands and aspirations of the aggressor. Settlement does. The second thing the Congress has failed to realize is that the policy of concession has increased Muslim aggressiveness, and what is worse, Muslims interpret these concessions as a sign of defeatism on the part of the Hindus and the absence of the will to resist. This policy of appeasement will involve the Hindus in the same fearful situation in which the Allies found themselves as a result of the policy of appeasement which they adopted towards Hitler. This is another malaise, no less acute than the malaise of social stagnation. Appeasement will surely aggravate it. The only remedy for it is a settlement.
    • B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
  • I say, of the Congress, then, this... that its aims are mistaken, that the spirit in which it proceeds towards their accomplishment is not a spirit of sincerity and whole-heartedness, and that the methods it has chosen are not the right methods, and the leaders in whom it trusts, not the right sort of men to be leaders;... in brief, that we are at present the blind led, if not by the blind, at any rate by the one-eyed.
    • Sri Aurobindo, August 28, 1893, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [1]
  • The Congress movement was for a long time purely occidental in its mind, character and methods, confined to the English-educated few, founded on the political rights and interests of the people read in the light of English history and European ideals, but with no roots either in the past of the country or in the inner spirit of the nation.... To bring in the mass of the people, to found the greatness of the future on the greatness of the past, to infuse Indian politics with Indian religious fervour and spirituality are the indispensable conditions for a great and powerful political awakening in India. Others, writers, thinkers, spiritual leaders, had seen this truth. Mr. Tilak was the first to bring it into the actual field of practical politics.
    • Sri Aurobindo, 1918, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [2]
  • The Congress at the present stage... what is it but a Fascist organization? Gandhi is the dictator like Stalin, I won't say like Hitler: what Gandhi says they accept and even the Working Committee follows him; then it goes to the All-India Congress Committee which adopts it, and then the Congress. There is no opportunity for any difference of opinion, except for Socialists who are allowed to differ provided they don't seriously differ. Whatever resolutions they pass are obligatory on all the provinces whether the resolutions suit the provinces or not; there is no room for any other independent opinion. Everything is fixed up before and the people are only allowed to talk over it... like Stalin's Parliament. When we started the [Nationalist] movement we began with the idea of throwing out the Congress oligarchy and open the whole organization to the general mass.
    • Sri Aurobindo, December 27, 1938, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [3]
  • Though split into two, India having attained political independence through means devised by the Indian National Congress, the Congress in its present shape and form, i. e., as a propaganda vehicle and parliamentary machine, has outlived its use. ... For these and other similar reasons, the A.I.C.C. resolves to disband the existing Congress organization and flower into a Lok Sevak Sangh under the following rules with power to alter them as occasion may demand.
  • In the present configuration, the drift to authoritarianism can only come from the Congress apparatus.
    • Gerard Heuze, Ou va l'Inde moderne. p 65ff. in Elst, K. (2010). The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism". p 713-4
  • If India is computer, Congress is its default program.
    • Rahul Gandhi. If India is computer, Cong is its default program: Rahul Gandhi, Times of India, Times of India
  • The arguments they put forth to rubbish the charge of pre-planned attack by a group of miscreants (some with pronounced Congress Party links) not only added insult to injury but also revealed the extent to which the Congress Party could go in defending those guilty of mass murder. ... Unfortunately, in the coverage of Gujarat riots, The Hindustan Times and most other newspapers dutifully allowed the Congress Party bias to creep in all their reporting. Consequently, very few are aware that the Nanavati Commission and courts found Godhra violence to be the handiwork of mischievous elements within the Congress Party who also allegedly had links with Pakistani outfits... Decades ago, a prominent Congress leader, Kanhaiya Lal Munshi (1887-1971) had warned his party colleague, and the then Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru (1889-1964) in a letter stating, “If every time there is an inter-communal conflict, the majority is blamed regardless of the merits of the question... the springs of traditional tolerance will dry up.” Far from heeding this warning, under the guise of upholding secularism, the Congress Party has made demonisation of the majority its main political plank. This perversion is unthinkable in any other country of the world.
    • Kishwar, Madhu (2014). Modi, Muslims and media: Voices from Narendra Modi's Gujarat. p.197-210
  • In trying to analyse the various elements in the Congress, the dominating position of Gandhiji must always be remembered. He dominates to some extent the Congress, but far more so he dominates the masses. He does not easily fall in any group and is much bigger than the so-called Gandhian group. That is one of the basic factors of the situation. The conscious and thinking Leftists in the country recognise it and, whatever their ideological or temperamental differences with him, have tried to avoid anything approaching a split. Their attempt bas been to leave the Congress under its present leadership, which means under Gandhiji's guidance, and at the same time to push it as far as they could more to the left to radicalise it, and to spread own ideology."
    • Jawaharlal Nehru, The Unity of India, Lindsay Drummond, London, 1948
  • The members of the Indian National Congress were sticklers for prestige and tradition and were afraid of the rulers. And there was the rub. To talk about the interned is not so dangerous; but they would not utter a word about us who were revolutionaries. For that would bring them into ill odour with the rulers, and injure their prestige with the Europeans. It is the duty of the Congress to be the spokesman of the people and not merely the mouthpiece of a few tall poppies among its members. That when so many newspapers and Conferences in the country had demanded the release of revolutionary political prisoners like us, the leaders of the Congress should speak not a word about them does not become [of] an institution or a body that calls itself national. The world expects the Indian National Congress to pass a resolution demanding the release of its own leaders; the world expects that it shall exert for its country and bring about the release of its political prisoners, as similar bodies in Ireland, South Africa and Austria had worked for their countrymen. That the Indian National Congress should do nothing of the kind is not creditable to her. We must compel the Congress to be bold and aggressive. If the elder leaders tremble in their shoes at this prospect, let them absent themselves from the Congress at the time she passes a resolution in our favour. Because a few men are cowards, the whole nation should not be allowed to bear the stigma of this guilty silence.
    • V. D. Savarkar, quoted in Vikram Sampath - Savarkar, Echoes from a Forgotten Past, 1883–1924 (2019)
  • The Congress, befitting its name of Indian National Congress, had declared itself a representative body of all groups, religious or otherwise, in the country. It was, therefore, its pre-eminent duty to stand steadfast by its commitment to the interests and integrity of the nation as a whole and never succumb to the pressure tactics of any particular section of whatever denomination. However, to the nation's misfortune, the Congress was trapped in the coils of the theories of "composite nation" and "composite culture" and infected with an inferiority complex that unless all communities came to its platform it could not become a national organization. It became nervous at the prospect of being dubbed "communal" if Hindus alone participated in its activities.
  • I am fed up with the Congress. I am beginning to prefer the BJP to the Congress, because the Congress is now more communal than the BJP, despite Ram Janmabhoomi. It is the Congress which evolved the Muslim votebank. ... In comparison, I prefer the BJP as an alternative, because it is less corrupt.
    • Kamala Das, quoted by Leela Menon, and quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2014). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 245.
  • The Indian National Congress' concept of nationalism is based on the establishment of a national state of the majority community in which other nationalities and communities have only secondary rights. The Muslims think that no tyranny can be [as] great as the tyranny of the majority.
    • From the Report of the Enquiry Commission Appointed by the Council of the All-India Muslim League to Inquire into some Muslim Grievances in Congress Provinces, also known as the Pirpur report (1938)), cited in K.K. Aziz, Muslims under Congress rule 1937-1939, vol.1, p.311, also quoted in Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p.18-19

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