The "state of things at the end of Lytton's reign was bordering upon a revolution." The peasantry had been impoverished by famines and complaining about the costly and unsuitable civil courts set up by the British Government, the corrupt and oppressive police, the rigid revenue system and the galling administration of the Arms Act and the Forest Acts.The bureaucracy had not only prevented new concessions but also withheld privileges like the liberty of the press, the right to hold public meetings and even the autonomy of the Universities.
" These ill-starred measures of reaction, combined with Russian methods of Police repression, drought India under Lord Lytton within measurable distance of a revolutionary outbreak," wrote Wedderburn. The Faraizi movement, and Pabna uprising in Bengal, The kuka movement in th Punjab, the deccan Riots of 1875 in Poona and Ahmadnagar districts, and the armed rising of peasants in Maharashtra under Wasudeo Balwant Phadke in 1879 clearly indicated the temper of the people.
|Haji Shariatullah launched the Faraizi Movement|
The first half of the 19th century witnessed a movement known as Faraizi Movement in East Bengal. The founder of this movement was Haji Shariatullah. At this time the condition of the Bengali Muslims in the Sub-continent was very miserable. The British policy of distrust and oppression towards the Muslims rendered them economically and educationally crippled; and the oppression of the Zamindars made their lives unbearable.Haji Shariatullah went to Mecca on the Pilgrimage. He returned to his country after 20 years and started his reform movement known as the Faraizi movement. His movement basically targeted the most depressed class of the Muslims. He asked them to give up un-Islamic customs and practices and to act upon the commandments of the religion called Faraiz or duties. Hence his followers came to be known as Faraizi. He forbade Tazia on the occasion of Muharram and singing and dancing at the time of wedding ceremonies. His movement was also directed against the oppression of the Zamindars. He declared the country Dar-ul-Harab, as Eid and Friday prayers could not be offered there.
The movement infused new life into the lives of the Muslims of Bengal. It wrought great agitation among them, especially the peasants who were imbued with his doctrines. Thus, he sowed the seeds of independence in Bengal. He died in 1840..
To restrain them the Government of Lytton passed the Vernacular Press Act in 1878.
The idea of the Congress appeared to Hume as an effective measure to stave off any such danger of violence. In his own words "a safety valve for the escape of great and growing forces, generated by our own action, was urgently needed and no more efficacious safety valve than our Congress movement could possibly be devised.