Satirical cartoon about the Indian National Congress


This cartoon, published in Punch magazine to coincide with the eighth Indian National Congress in 1892, shows the manner in which British colonial rule drains resources from India through excessive taxation and exploitation of raw materials.

Astride the Indian elephant is an Indian Army soldier and the elephant’s back is loaded with ammunition, cannons and firearms. The elephant’s feet are chained to salt and land tax, as well as a variety of acts designed to guarantee the exploitation of Indian raw materials, including wood.

The elephant’s trunk puts into a basket a range of demands by the Indian National Congress that are designed to assure more autonomy for India in governing itself.

The cartoon appeared at a time when the first Indian MP to sit in the House of Commons, Dadabhai Naoroji, was president of the Indian National Congress. Such cartoons were specifically designed to help educate the public about the exploitative side of British rule in India.

At this moment in time, the Indian National Congress demanded reforms and Dominion status, rather than full independence.

Full title:
The Indian National Congress Cartoons from the Hindi Punch, with a selection of the Indian Social Conference Cartoons. From 1886 to 1900. [1887-1902.] Edited by Barjorjee Nowrosjee.
1892, Bombay (Mumbai)
Periodical / Image / Drawing
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library

Full catalogue details

Related articles

Activism and politics

Article by:
Susheila Nasta, Dr Florian Stadtler, Rozina Visram

From the suffragette Sophia Duleep Singh to the Communist MP Shapurji Saklatvala: explore the lives of notable South Asians in 19th and 20th century British and Indian politics.

Related collection items