Although initially and primarily a political body, the Congress transformed itself into a national vehicle for social reform and human upliftment. The Congress was the strongest foundation and defining influence of modern Indian nationalism.
Founded upon the suggestion of British civil servant Allan Octavian Hume, the Congress was created to form a platform for civic and political dialogue of educated Indians with the British Raj. After the First War of Indian Independence and the transfer of India from the East India Company to the British Empire, it was the goal of the Raj to support and justify its governance of India with the aid of English-educated Indians, who would be familiar and friendly to British culture and political thinking. Ironically, a few of the reasons the Congress grew and survived in the era of undisputed British hegemony, was through the patronage of British authorities, Anglo-Indians and a rising Indian educated class.The theory of safety valve has also been associated with the birth of congress. It says that congress provided a platform to Indians to bring out their resentment vocally. Its initial aim was to divert the minds of Indians from any sort of physical violence.