(Last Updated on : 27/07/2011)
Swaraj Party was established to fight the mighty force of British head-on. Mahatma Gandhi
was released from jail in 1924. He and his close followers, such as Chakravarti Rajagopalachari
and Rajendra Prasad
, occupied themselves with the constructive programme, such as hand-spinning on the charkha, uplift of the harijans or members of the depressed class. But not all the congressmen were willing to abandon political action. In 1922 a group had formed around Motilal Nehru and C. R. Das that wished to enter the government`s legislative councils and wreck them front within. They were opposed by the `no-changers` who insisted that the 1920 programme, which called for the boycott of council elections, should not be altered. At the Gaya
congress in December 1922, matters came to a head. The `no-changers` prevailed, but early the next year the `pro-changers` formed their own party. This party was at first known as the congress-Khilafat Swaraj Party and later simply the swarajya or swaraj party.
The new councils were inaugurated in 1921. The non-congress parties which had entered them had not been successful in influencing government policy. And eventually diarchy proved to be a failure. Provincial minister could not act effectively even in `transferred` subjects because the new safeguards made the governors more autocratic even than before. Only the Montford reform showed that the British were still unwilling to grant responsible government.
and Motilal Nehru
decided that the way to combat this situation was to enter the provincial legislative councils. Central legislative assembly carries out a policy of uniform, continuous and consistent obstruction, with a view to make government through the assembly and councils impossible would force the British to grant real reforms.
In a special session of congress held in Delhi
in September 1923, a compromise between no-changers and pro-changers was reached. The former would continue with the constructive programme, whereas the latter could contest the upcoming elections. Gandhiji gave his blessings to this arrangement.
Although they had little time for campaigning, the swarajists did well in the elections. They became the largest party in the central assembly and the dominant party in two provinces. For the next few years swarajist politicians obstructed official business in the assembly and the councils as well. But there were positive gains too. In 1925 the swarajist leader Vithalbhai Patel was elected president of the central legislative assembly. C. R. Das, who had refused to form a ministry in Bengal, was elected mayor of Calcutta (now Kolkata
). In this position `Deshbandhu` did much valuable service for his countrymen.
The tragic death of C. R. Das in 1925 removed a great patriot from the scene at a critical moment. The Swaraj Party, which had already begun to break up, disintegrated quickly. As usual, the people of discord were religion. Communal-minded Muslims isolated themselves, while the so-called social activist began to co-operate with the government with a desire to safeguard Hindu interests. By March end the swarajists day in the sun had ended. Block in their attempt to effect change; they walked out of the legislative assembly. It has become a history in and out of India.