Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pre-Congress organization in British India.

Dwaraka nath Tagore
Landholders' Society enlisted the support of Englishmen who sympathized the political aspiration of  Indians.Simultaneously an organisation, known as British India society,  was formed with the Englishmen  in 1839 by William Adam, a close associate of Rammohan, to create English public interest in Indian affairs. Landholders' Association established a good relation with the British India Society.
When in 1843 George Thomson, a prominent member of the British India Society, and noted for his campaign for free trade and the abolition of Slavery, visited India, a close link was established between the  Landholders' Society and the British India Society.Thomson addressed a number of meetings inCalcutta.His oratoy and fervour thrilled the Calcutta Public, specially Derozians, who at his suggestion came forward to found the Bengal British India Society in April 1843, with Thomson as its president and Peary Chand Mitra as its Secretary. The two-fold purpose of the society was to criticise and propose amendments to the administrative, legal,social, and political measures of the Government, and to supply the British India Society in England with all the avaiable information on Indian affairs in order to enable the latter organisation to agitate in favour of India.The Bengal British India Society was more of an itellectual forun to enlighten public opinion than an exclusively political association. As S.R. Mehrotra hasd pointed out, Ramgopal Ghosh, who became president of the Society in Dec 1845, himself repudiated the idea that its activities were exclusively political in nature.
By 1843 there were thus two political association in Bengal neither of which enjoyed any mass charcter. If the Landholdrs' Society represented the aristocracy of wealth, the Bengal British India Society represented the aristocracy of the intelligence. But from 1849 events began to take place which which sharply shook this apathy and drove Indians and Europeans into two enemy camps.This was due to a bill in 1849 which extended the jurisdiction of the East India Company's criminal courts over British Born subjects.
The turning point came with proposal of four bills in 1849 by J.D.Bethune, Law member of the Gover-General's Council.
The main pur[ose of the bills was to extend the Jurisdiction of the East India Company's criminal courts over British born subjects. Till then they had been only the subject in the Jurisdiction of the Supreme court in Calcutta, with the result that Indian villagers had practically no protection from their oppression.Bethune's attempt, an eminently reasonable one was meant to abolish this harmful distinction and put Indians on a footing of equality with Europeans before the law. But European community living in Bengal violently reacted against the bills, branded them as Black Acts and organised a stiff opposition to them. Although Indians had fully supported this billin favoir of which Ramgopal Ghose deloivered moving speeches, The wilted under the pressure of the Europeans and withdrew the bills.    
To safeguard Indian interests by every legitimate means, and specially to represent Indian views to the British Parliament in connection with the approaching renewal of the Company's Charter, the Land Holders'Society and the Bengal British India Society were amalgamated to as as to set up the British Indian Associationwhich was founded in Oct 1851.