Sunday, January 16, 2011


The next Congress Session held in Madras was in 1914. This was held in a pavilion erected in the grounds of the Doveton House in Nungambakkam.

Some information on the Doveton House: The Doveton House is one of Madras's historic buildings thanks to its origins that can be traced to the 1790s, when it was built by a Benjamin Roebuck. The home got its name when it became the residence of a John Doveton, who had purchased it on becoming a Lieutenant General,from a Linghi Chetty in 1837. John Doveton had served as the guardian of Tippu Sultan's two sons who were taken into custody by Lord Cornwallis until Tippu had paid his reparations soon after the Third Mysore War. After his time, the property changed hands with the Government acquiring it.The Women's Christian College moved into this campus in 1916 and this house survives as part of the campus even today.

The session was well attended with 866 delegates participating. The platform was crowded with all the nobilities of Madras when the President elect, Bhupendranath Basu came in, in procession, escorted to the Pavilion door by a guard of Congress Volunteers on cycles. The session was a historic one as it was visited by H.E, the Governor of Madras, Lord Pentland, the first visit ever paid by a Representative of the Crown to the Congress.

The Congress did not return to Madras until a good 13 years later, when the 42nd Session was held in 1927. The venue for the Session was the grounds of the Spur tank in Chetpet. This Session was a significant one for two reasons. The first one was that it was the first time that the Congress called for Purna Swaraj, or complete freedom with Jawaharlal Nehru moving the Independence Resolution. The second reason was that it was this session paved the way for the formation of the Music Academy, as an offshoot of an All India Music Conference that was held in conjunction with this Session of the Congress.

The last Session of the Congress held in Madras was in 1955. This session,held in Avadi saw the adoption of a resolution moved by Jawaharlal Nehru on the Socialistic Pattern of Society.

(Rajaji addressing the Subjects Committee:Photo from an old issue of Frontline Magazine)

The Congress did however meet again at Madras, at Maraimalai Nagar in 1988 for a meeting of the All India Congress Committee, an event that was presided over by Rajiv Gandhi.

1. HOW INDIA WROUGHT FOR FREEDOM:BY ANNIE BESANT, The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, 1915


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