- This document shows the decisions made by the Indian National Congress
at its first meeting in 1885. The Congress was a group of Indians who
wanted changes to the way India was ruled. They wanted a Royal Commission.
This was an official enquiry run by the government that looked into
important issues and made suggestions as to how things might be changed.
- The members of the Congress were not revolutionaries. They were not
looking to end British rule in India. They were mostly well-educated
middle class Indians who wanted more say in how the country was run.
They disliked the role of the Council of India (see source 4), which
had a lot of influence on the running of India, but had no Indian members.
- They wanted reform of the Legislative and Local Councils. These organisations
were controlled by the British and ruled the separate districts of India.
- They also wanted better job opportunities for people like themselves.
Well-educated Indians could often get good jobs in the civil service.
However, they found it very difficult to rise through the ranks and
get more senior jobs.
- One of the interesting things about the Congress is that the delegates
all spoke English as a common langauge. This was because they spoke
many different Indian languages, but they all spoke English as well.
- The Congress also used English language newspapers and the new
technology of the telegraph to spread their ideas and set up meetings.
In a strange way, the English language brought greater unity among Indians.