Thursday, November 17, 2011

Reactions of the Government

Inspite of the moderation and loyalty of the Congress, the English public opinion looked upon the emergence of the Congress as a potential danger to the British power in India.A distinct change in tone and spirit of the Congress was noticeable during its session in Calcutta, and this was undoubtedly due to the greater advance in political life in Bengal during the preceding half a century, as noted earlier.
The reaction of the British Government to the establishment of the Congress and its constitutional demands was not very favourable.
Dufferin in a public speech on 30 Nov 1888, ridiculed the Congress as "taking a big jump into the unknown" and slighted the Congressmen as a "microscopic minority."
George Hamilton, Secretary fo state for India, accused the Congress leaders of possessing "seditious and double sided" character.Towards the end of 1887 a "Special Branch" was created in the police with the object of dealing with specially confidential political movements and meetings, excitement, wandering character of a suspicios nature, public feeling,, illicit trade  in arms and ammunition .The organizers of the fourth session of the Congress at Allahabad in 1888 were obstructed by the local officialsin their attempt to procure a suitable site in he city. In 18888 the Viceroy warned some Princely States not to support the Congress.They patronized the Aligarh movement to implement 'divide and rule " policy.. Lord Curzon wrote to the Secretary  of State on 18  Nov 1900, " My own belief is that the Congress is tottering to its fall, and one of my greatest ambitions wwhile in India is to assist it to a peaceful demise."
Curzon's assesment , however, soon proved to be off the mark.This was mainly due to the fact that the moderate Congress reflected as Dr. J.R.maclane remarked, "only a small segment of nationalist sentiment" British unpopularity was on the icrease under the impact of famines and plagues, the countervailing cotton excise and Curzon's package of aggressive measures including the Indian Universities Act, 1904,  .