History Optional Paper-2 Solution – 2009: Q.3 (b)

Q.3 (b) Analyze the social composition of the early Congress leadership.


Social Composition of Early Congress Leadership:

(1) It had uneven representation and total exclusion of non-elite groups of Indian society.

(2) The Composition of the delegates at the first congress reflected the changing patterns of organised political life in India, the western educated professional groups gradually taking the lead over the landed aristocrats.

(3) There were lawyers, merchants, bankers, landowners, medical men, journalists, educationaists, religious teachers and reformers. About 18.99% of the delegates who attended the congress sessions between 1892 and 1909 were landlords; the rest were lawyers (39.32%), traders (15.10%), journalists (3.18%), doctors (2.94%), teachers (3.16%) and other professionals (17.31%).

(4) They predominantly belonged to the high caste Hindu communities and this pattern continued for two decades.

(5) Bearing the exception of Bombay politician, Badruddian Tyabji, mostly were Hindus. Between 1892 and 1909, nearly 90% of delegates who attended congress sessions were Hindus and only 6.5 % were Muslims. Among Hindus, 40% were Brahmins and rest were upper caste Hindus.

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