Ep 2: The birth of the Indian National Congress

1947: Road to Indian Independence

Aug 9 2022 • 34 mins

It had been three decades since the mutiny. It was a period of gloom, as the Crown consolidated its rule, caring little for the well-being of Indians. But a set of early Indian nationalists and a somewhat unusual British reformer came together in Bombay in 1885 to set up what was to become the primary vehicle of India’s political aspirations — the Indian National Congress. In the early years, Congress sought reforms and increased political voice for Indians, within the British Empire. Its leaders, especially the remarkable Dadabhai Nauroji, exposed Britain’s great drain of wealth from India through economic exploitation. But as British repression continued, and Indian nationalist tempo increased, the party slowly saw a division between moderates and extremists, with the latter arguing that it was time to assert and confront the Raj. In this episode, Dinyar Patel, a Harvard-trained historian and an accomplished biographer of Nauroji, brings alive the early years of Indian nationalism and the birth of one of the world’s premier political organizations — the Indian National Congress.