Swaraj Party: Its Objectives and Works
Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das and Motilal Nehru founded the Swaraj Dal in January 1923 by resigning from Congress as they disliked the new program launched by congress. After the Chauri Chaura incident, on February 5, 1922, the non-cooperation movement was discontinued. Its abrupt closure caused discontent among numerous people. Mahatma Gandhi was sentenced to six years which brought a halt to the national movement.
Congress at that time set a program to connect people with constructive works like Khadi, Charkha, Untouchability, etc. However, many Congress leaders started demanding changes in this new program. The conservatives said that the complete closure of the political movement would reduce the public’s association with Congress.
In the 1922 Gaya session of the Indian National Congress, Leaders like C. R. Das, Motilal Nehru, etc. opposed the new program of the Congress. The Congress got divided into two factions which led to a formation of a new party called the Swaraj Party. The title was derived from the word swaraj, which means “self-rule” and was widely applied to the struggle against Britishers.
The Swaraj Party’s objective was to enter the Council by participating in the general elections to be held at the end of 1923 to block the Government of India Act of 1919 from within the Council. It was a significant event in modern Indian history as the party acted as a bridge between non-cooperation and civil disobedience movement. In this article, we will discuss the aims, objectives, and work done under the swaraj party.
Interim Goals of the Party:
In February 1923, the Swaraj Party published its program which indicated the following demands:
- The interim purpose was to “acquire the level of absolute sovereignty at the earliest ”, which included the right to frame a constitution taking into account the backdrop of Indian conditions and mentality.
- The nature of its demands in the councils made it clear that the Swaraj Party wanted territorial autonomy, where control over the bureaucratic system was a basic necessity in terms of the right to frame the constitution.
- Its other purpose was to give recognition to the principle that the bureaucracy derives its power from the masses. The manifesto made it clear that upon entry into the legislatures, its members would pressurize the government to accept the demand for “the rights of the Indian people over the government machinery and system”.
- At the same time, it was also clear that if the government did not pay heed to these demands, a policy of “uniform, continuous and permanent disruption” would be adopted.
- The Constitution of the Swaraj Party was drafted in 1923 at the Belgaum Conference in December 1924. The party’s constitution in 1924 stated its objective as the attainment of Swaraj by the Indian people by all just and peaceful means.
Aims and Objectives of the Party:
- To gain independence from the British and achieve Swarajya (self-government) for India.
- Adopt the program of the “Non-Cooperation movement” by joining the council and making it successful.
- To vehemently oppose the policy of the government and obstruct its work, so that its work cannot run smoothly and the government is forced to change its policies.
- To stop and create hindrance in the works of British rule.
- Cancellation of the government budget by entering the council.
- Introducing new schemes and legislators to make the country powerful.
- Present those proposals, plans, and bills in the council, through which it is possible to increase the power of the nation and end the powers of the bureaucracy.
- Relinquishing posts when necessary and supporting constructive work outside the council.
Works of Swaraj Party:
Being an integral part of the Congress, the programs of the Swarajists could not be different from the programs of the Congress. With a contention to destroy the 1919 constitution, while being under the umbrella of Congress, Swaraj Party announced to take the program of non-violent Non-Cooperation movement to the councils. The party announced the adoption of the following program.
- The Swaraj Party destroyed the Montford Reforms.
- The diarchy in Bengal was made inactive.
- The party was successful in making Vithalbhai Patel the president of the central legislature.
- The Swaraj Party staged a walkout from the assembly several times and damaged the prestige of the British government.
- The boycott of some British products was used as a political weapon in achieving Swaraj.
- The Federation of Asian countries was formed to achieve cooperation in the field of Asian goodwill and trade.
- Publicity committees were set up for the promotion of national work outside India to get the cooperation and support of foreign countries in the struggle for Swaraj.
A. Work Inside the Councils:
- The party decided that whenever possible, the party would refuse to accept the objection and budget to recognize its rights.
- It refused to accept all legal proposals proposed by the bureaucracy to strengthen its position.
- Make proposals necessary for healthy national life as well as propose and approve related provisions and bills.
- Help in constructive programs of Congress.
- Keeping a close watch on all activities leading to exploitation to adopt a definite economic policy to prevent the flow of public property from India to England and promote national, economic, industrial, and commercial interests.
- It worked towards drawing attention to the rights of agricultural and industrial workers and harmonizing the relationship between landowners and tenants, capitalists and workers.
B. Work Outside the Councils:
The following activities were fixed outside the councils:
- As soon as they came to know that Satyagraha was necessary and without it, the bureaucracy would not be on the right track, they used all their might to give up their place in the council and prepare the country for Satyagraha.
- They pledged to work towards bringing communal unity among Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Brahmins and non-Brahmins to bring about a sense of complete harmony towards each other.
- To work for the eradication of untouchability and upliftment of the oppressed classes by forming rural organizations.
- To create organizations of industrial and agricultural labourers, including ryots and farmers in the country, so that the interests of these classes can be protected and encouraged and their proper role can be ensured in the struggle for Swaraj.
- Gaining economic control of the country including commercial and industrial development.
- To establish control over local and municipal matters.
Although Swaraj Dal could not succeed in achieving its objectives due to the differences of its members, it has an important place in the national movement. The presidency of the Vithalbhai Patel Central Assembly, the leadership of the party by Motilal Nehru, and the efficiency with which the Swaraj Party was conducted in the council by Chittaranjan Das proved that India is fully capable of achieving Swarajya. Despite all its flaws and shortcomings, the Swaraj Party kept the flame of Swaraj lit in the gloomy moments of the history of the Indian national movement.