Many readers will find this a peculiar topic. We know Swami Vivekananda directly influenced Indian National Congress movement and many leaders of the party including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Bal Gangadhar Tilak. And it is also true that Swami Vivekananda commented on Indian National Congress. Indian National Congress was founded in October 1885, ten months before Ramakrishna’s death and almost 17 years before Vivekananda’s death. So Vivekananda got opportunity to comment on the first phase of Indian National Congress. In this article we’ll make a collection of Swami Vivekananda‘s quotes and comments on Indian National Congress.
Initial Indian National Congress movement was significant
In 1896 Swami Vivekananda was asked—[Source]
Have you given any attention to the Indian National Congress movement?
Vivekananda’s reply was—[Source]
I cannot claim to have given much; my work is in another part of the field. But I regard the movement as significant, and heartily wish it success. A nation is being made out of India’s different races. I sometimes think they are no less various than the different peoples of Europe. In the past, Europe has struggled for Indian trade, a trade which has played a tremendous part in the civilisation of the world; its acquisition might almost be called a turning-point in the history of humanity. We see the Dutch, Portuguese, French, and English contending for it in succession. The discovery of America may be traced to the indemnification the Venetians sought in the far distant West for the loss they suffered in the East.
In the same interview, Vivekananda was asked—[Source]
Is India conscious of the awakening that you allude to?
Vivekananda’s reply was—[Source]
Perfectly conscious. The world perhaps sees it chiefly in the Congress movement and in the field of social reform; but the awakening is quite as real in religion, though it works more silently
Necessary preparation. . .
In the first quote above we have seen Vivekananda considering Indian National Congress movement a significant one and wishing for its success, but later in a discussion he felt, India was not ready for nationalist movement, the country did not have necessary preparation. He told—[Source]You will be esteemed once more when you will become fit. Then they too will pay heed to your words. Without the necessary preparation, what will mere shouting in the Congress avail?
Shraddha is our want, not rulers’
From Surendra Nath Sen’s private diary, dated 22 January January 1898. The topic of that day’s discussion was Shraddha. Vivekananda opined that Indian had lost shraddha.
Sen asked Vivekananda—[Source]
How can that ever be? How will Shraddha alone remedy the innumerable evils with which our society is beset? Besides, there are so many crying evils in the country, to remove which the Indian National Congress and other patriotic associations are carrying on a strenuous agitation and petitioning the British government. How better can their wants be made known? What has Shraddha to do with the matter?
Vivekananda’s brief reply was—[Source]
Tell me, whose wants are those—yours or the ruler’s? If yours, will the ruler supply them for you, or will you have to do that for yourselves?