Modern Indian History

Madras Mahajana Sabha

(A Political Association before Indian National Congress)

Madras Mahajana Sabha was an Indian nationalist organisation based in the Madras Presidency. Along with the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha, Bombay Presidency Association and the Indian Association, it is considered to be a predecessor of the Indian National Congress.

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The first organisation in the Madras Presidency to agitate for the rights of Indians was the Madras Native Association which was established by publicist Gazulu Lakshminarasu Chetty in 1849. This organisation did not survive for long and was eventually disbanded.

In May 1884, S. Ramaswami Mudaliar and P. Anandacharlu established the Madras Mahajana Sabha.

P. Rangaiah Naidu was elected President of the Sabha with R. Balaji Rao as its Secretary.

In September 1885, the Sabha in collaboration with the Bombay Presidency Association and the Indian Association, sent a delegation to England.

The Mahajana Sabha held its first conference between December 29, 1884 and January 2, 1885.

The Sabha adopted a moderate policy in its early days. However, still, its aims and objectives were considered seditious. In December 1895, on his visit to Madras, the Viceroy of India, Lord Elgin refused to receive the welcome address from the Madras Mahajana Sabha.