Indan National Congress THE CSR OF BRITISH GOVERNMENT
Indian National Congress was formed by a British Civil Servant Mr A O Hume in 1885. The stated objectives were greater participation of educated Indians in Government.
It never envisaged anything rebellious. It was merely a hollow Corporate Social Responsibility activity of the British Government. We have been hearing about workers participation in Corporate Managemnent since time ad nauseam. Indian National Congress was something similar.
The muzzling of press through Vernacular Press Act in 1878 and the discriminatory Judicial process related Ilbert Bill of 1882 and its aftermath , as well as the reduction of the age limit for the Civil Services Exams in 1876 resulted in a wave of opposition from the middle class Indians. Consequently some of them came together and formed a number of small political parties that came out in the streets for protests and rallies. The British foresaw the situation resulting in another rebellion on the pattern of the War of Independence of 1857. To avoid such a situation, the British decided to provide an outlet to the local people where they could discuss their political problems. In order to achieve this goal, Allan Octavian Hume, a retired British civil servant, had a series of meetings with Lord Dufferin, the Viceroy. He also visited England and met people like John Bright, Sir James Caird, Lord Ripon and some members of the British Parliament. Formation of Indian National Congress was an outcome of this CSR process.
Corporate social responsibility is the continuing commitment by corporate to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.
In a similar but weaker vein on suggestion of the British civil servant Mr Humes an organization principally a debating society under the name and style of Indian National Congress was set up in 1885. It was supposed to provide a vent to the NATIVES to let out their feeling to the Viceroy to help him to Govern India more effectively.
However Britishers cunningly got Muslims against it under their divide and rule policy. The Muslims boycotted it. Sir Syed Ahmed was in the forefront opposing Congress. The Tragedy was that the muslims and the rich Hindus were not comfortable with any other perception of rulers. They were comfortable with feudal system of governance. The British system of governance was comfortable to most of them. Muslims were made to believe that Indian National Congress was a Hindu party and would not take care of their interests.
To counter congress British Government promoted Muslim League another debating drawing room organization.
Yet the CSR efforts went astray with the arrival of nationalist leaders like, Lal-Bal-Pal, Mahatma Gandhi etc., They realized it too late that the education being provided under the CSR efforts had opened the vistas of the world to these persons.A British officer remarked that “we were trying to build administrators , by teaching revolutionary literature.” Once the elite Hindus had had English education the Vista of the whole world was opened to them. That included revolutionary literature of Roussau Voltaire and the likes.