Swaraj Party, Simon Commission & 'Purna Swaraj' (1923-1929)

The Swaraj Party, established as the Congress-Khilafat Swaraj Party, was a political party formed in India on 1 January 1923 after the failure of Non-cooperation Movement.

In 1922, in the Gaya session of the Congress, C R Das (Deshbandhu) (who was presiding over the session) moved a proposal to enter the legislatures but it was defeated.

Das resigned and other leaders broke away from the Congress and formed the Swaraj Party.

The two most important leaders were Chittaranjan Das, its president, and Motilal Nehru, its secretary.

Prominent leaders of the Swaraj Party included N C Kelkar, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, Vithalbhai Patel, Srinivas Iyer and Subhas Chandra Bose.

Das and Nehru thought of contesting elections to enter the legislative council with a view to obstructing a foreign government.

Many candidates of the Swaraj Party were elected to the central legislative assembly and provincial legislative council in the 1923 elections.

In these legislatures, they strongly opposed the unjust government policies.

The party disintegrated after the death of C. R. Das.

Chittranjan Das gave the famous statement "Swaraj for the masses, not for the classes".

Vithalbhai Patel was the first elected President (speaker) of the Central Legislative Assembly in 1925 and was re-elected in 1927.

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The Simon Commission (Indian Statutory Commission), was a group of seven Members of British Parliament under the chairmanship of Sir John Simon.

The commission was appointed in 1927 and arrived in India in February 1928 to study constitutional reforms in the country.

It was tasked to report on the working of the Indian constitution established by the Government of India Act of 1919.

One of its members was the future leader of the Labour Party Clement Attlee, who became committed to self-government for India.

It was opposed by Nehru, Gandhi, Jinnah, the Muslim League and Indian National Congress because it contained seven members of the British Parliament but no Indians.

The Indians kept out of the Simon Commission on the suggestion of Lord Irwin.

Prominent Indian nationalist Lala Lajpat Rai led a protest in Lahore.

He suffered a police beating during the protest and died of his injuries on 17 November 1928.

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The Nehru Report of August 1928 was a memorandum to appeal for a new dominion status and a federal set-up of government for the constitution of India.

In March 1929, the Fourteen Points of Jinnah were proposed by Muhammad Ali Jinnah in response to Nehru report.

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The Indian National Congress, on 19 December 1929 under the presidency of Jawaharlal Nehru, passed the historic 'Purna Swaraj' - (total independence) resolution - at its Lahore session.

On 31st December 1929, the flag of India was hoisted by Jawaharlal Nehru on the banks of Ravi at Lahore.

A public declaration of 'Purna Swaraj' was made on 26 January 1930 - a day which the Congress Party urged Indians to celebrate as 'Independence Day'.

Hasrat Mohani was the first activist to demand complete independence (Poorna Swaraj) from the British in 1921 from an All-India Congress Forum.