UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – July 21

21 July 1906

Death of Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee

What happened?

The first President of the Indian National Congress (INC) Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee passed away on 21st July 1906.


  • W C Bonnerjee was born on 29th December 1844 at Calcutta. He finished his schooling from Oriental Seminary and Hindu School.
  • In 1862, he joined a law firm in Calcutta as a clerk from where he got acquainted with law. In 1864, Boneerjee went to England to study law and three years later, he was called to the Bar.
  • In 1868, he returned to Calcutta and started his legal practice. He was able to gain a good reputation as a barrister.
  • In 1882, he became the first Indian to be appointed as a Standing Counsel. He officiated in this capacity three more times in 1884, 1886 and 1887.
  • He famously defended Surendranath Banerjee in a contempt of court case in the High Court of Calcutta.
  • In the first session of the INC in December 1885 at Bombay, Bonnerjee was the President. This session was attended by 72 members.
  • In the second INC session the following year, which was presided over by Dadabhai Naoroji, Bonnerjee suggested that the party forms Standing Committees for every province to have a good coordination of its functioning.
  • Bonnerjee was President of the party one more time in 1892 at Allahabad.
  • He also lived in England for a while and practiced law there. While he was a resident there, the Liberal Party gave him a seat to contest in the elections to the House of Commons from Barrow-in-Furness.
  • Although he was defeated, he became the first Indian to stand for election for the British Parliament.
  • He passed away at Calcutta in 1906 aged 61.
Also on this day

1977: Neelam Sanjiva Reddy became the President of India. 1988: INSAT-1C was launched.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.


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