Lord Dufferin was the governor-general of India at the time of foundation of Congress.
Who said Congress A “Brainchild Of Lord Dufferin”?
In 1898, Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee, the first president of Indian National Congress commented that the Congress was brainchild of Lord Dufferin. This comment created a serious controversy about the national character of Congress.
According to this comment, the idea of foundation of Congress was put forward by Lord Dufferin. A.O. Hume and Dufferin worked together in the foundation of Congress.
This comment was made by W.C. Bonnerjee to protect Congress from British suppression. At this time the government was busy in suppressing nationalist activities. By making this comment, Mr. Banerjee wanted to convince the British India official that Congress was not the British enemy and they should not attack it.
This comment of Mr. Bonnerjee was used by the critics of moderates to attack them. They questioned the Nationalist character of moderate leaders. They emphasize that Congress was established to serve British interest and it was just a tool of British imperialism.
What was the reality of Congress?
Closer examination of available historical evidences reveals that he did not play any role in the foundation of Congress.
Dufferin wanted that Congress should focus on social issues, but are A.O. Hume wanted that Congress should focus on political issues.
Hume and Dufferin had different outlook, they did not share a common vision. This indicates that both were not worked together in the foundation of Congress.
Recently some documents of difference period were declassified by the British government. This document contains a secret letter written by Dufferin to government Lord Reay of Bombay. In this letter Dufferin want Lord Reay to be careful of the activities of A.O. Hume. Hume was termed as an old man who seems to have lost his mental balance.
The content of this letter really reveals that Lord Dufferin and Hume did not work together in the foundation of Congress. Because of this, it is not correct to say that the Congress was a brainchild of Lord Dufferin.