Indian National Association

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The Indian National Association was the first avowed nationalist organization founded in British India by Surendranath Banerjea and Ananda Mohan Bose in 1876. The objectives of this Association were “promoting by every legitimate means the political, intellectual and material advancement of the people”. The Association attracted educated Indians and civic leaders from all parts of the country, and became an important forum for India's aspirations for independence. It later merged with the Indian National Congress.

Timeline[edit]

Its origins are from the Zamindari Sabha (Association) founded by Dwarkanath Tagore and his illustrious cousin Prasanna Coomar Tagore in 1831. and the Adi Brahmo Sabha founded in 1843. In 1851 it took shape as the British Indian Association with Debendranath Tagore as its Honorary Secretary. In 1857 the Association supported the East India Company in the Sepoy Mutiny, calling for stern punishment for the rebels. In 1866 Pandit Navin Chandra Roy was appointed Secretary of the Association, a post which he held for 4 years, before he finally moved to Lahore in the course of his employment. Ramanath Tagore was the President from 1867 to 1877. After a stormy meeting in 1870 a resolution moved by nationalist Adi Dharma faction of Baboo Hemendranath Tagore was approved to voice the concerns of educated Indians to the British authorities on issues of discrimination, participation of Indians in the Indian Civil Service, and the political empowerment and representation of Indians. This resulted in a split, whereby Freemason Crown loyalists formed a breakaway association called the Indian Reform Association under Keshub Chunder Sen to "uplift the common people but only give them political representation when they are ready for it". In 1871 a branch was established by Adi Dharm faction in Oudh (modern Lucknow) by Dakshinaranjan Mookerjee for demanding Indian elected representation in legislatures.

The Reform Association faction on July 26, 1876 established a Bharat Sabha with Bengali leaders like Surendranath Banerjea, Sivanath Sastri, Ananda Mohan Bose etc. and held its first annual conference in Calcutta. Initially under Sen it was pro-Crown. However, after the 2nd Brahmo Schism of 1878, the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj regrouped with Adi Brahmo Samaj to promote nationalism and freedom from British rule. From 1880 till 1890 a bitter battle for control of the Reform Association ensued between the pro-Sen and anti-Sen factions. After the death of Sen in 1884 the Reform Association also passed fully into the hands of Brahmo Samaj by 1885 allowing all the Brahmo factions (i.e. Adi Brahmo Samaj, Adi Dharm Sabha, Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, Prarthana Samaj) to form in 1885 the Indian National Congress which has ruled present day India for most of its independent history.