Sunday, 30 May 2010
first president of Indian National Congress
Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee (December 29, 1844 – July 21, 1906) was an Indian politician and the first president of Indian National Congress.
Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee was born on December 29, 1844 at Calcutta, in the present-day state of West Bengal in an upper middle class Brahmin family of considerable social standing. In 1859, he married Hemangini Motilal. His career began in 1862 when he joined the firm of W. P. Gillanders, Attorneys of the Calcutta Supreme Court, as a clerk. In this post he acquired a good knowledge of law which greatly helped him in his later career. In 1864 he was sent to England where he joined the Middle Temple with a scholarship and was called to the Bar in June, 1867. On his return to Calcutta in 1868, he found a patron in Sir Charles Paul, Barrister-at-Law of the Calcutta High Court. Another barrister, J. P. Kennedy, also greatly helped him to establish his reputation as a lawyer. Within a few years he became the most sought after barrister in the High Court. He was the first Indian to act as a Standing Counsel, in which capacity he officiated four times. In 1883 he defended Surendranath Banerjea in the famous Contempt of Court Case against him in the Calcutta High Court.
He presided over the first session of the Indian National Congress held at Bombay in 1885. In the 1886 session held at Calcutta, under the presidency of Dadabhai Naoroji, he proposed the formation of standing committees of the Congress in each province for the better co-ordination of its work and it was on this occasion that he advocated that the Congress should confine its activities to political matters only, leaving the question of social reforms to other organisations. He was the president of the Indian National Congress again in the 1892 session in Allahabad where he denounced the position that India had to prove her worthiness for political freedom