Allan Octavian Hume, a British member of the Imperial Civil Service, a botanist, a political reformer, is generally referred to as the founder of Indian National Congress (INC).
AO Hume’s role was important in the INC foundation, but this importance was not very critical. The role of AO Hume was limited to the mobilization of Indian leaders on a common platform for which Indians were already working.
What was the role of AO Hume in the foundation of the Indian National Congress?
Recent research had revealed that Hume was enlightened / Liberal imperialist. He was concerned about the wide gap prevailing between the government and the people. He was apprehensive that this lack of communication could result in a mass revolt against British rule and the very existence of the British Indian empire could be threatened.
AO Hume wanted that Indians should participate in political activities because the greater involvement of Indians in political matters was expected to reduce discontent prevailing among people. With this intention in his mind, AO Hume wrote an open letter to graduates of Calcutta University and asked them to participate in political activities.
Surendra Nath Banerjee and Indian National Conference
After retiring from civil services, A.O. Hume was busy in his activities. He was triggered into action by the activities of Surendra Nath Banerjee.
Surendra Nath Banerjee was a radical Indian nationalist. He was a close follower of Indian Italian revolutionary Mazzini.
In 1883, S.N. Banerjee established Indian National Conference. He wanted to develop it as a pan-Indian nationalist political platform. To achieve this objective S.N. Banerjee went on a tour of different parts of India. So that all Indian nationalists could be mobilized on this common platform.
These activities of S.N. Banerjee alarmed AO Hume. He felt that if the leadership of Indian nationalists fell into the hands of a radical like S.N. Banerjee, then the interests of the British Indian Empire would get hurt.
To nullified the efforts of S.N. Banerjee, AO Hume mobilized Indian leaders and established Indian National Congress in December 1885.