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Day 36 – Q 4.Who were ‘swarajists’? What did they want to achieve? Did they succeed?

4. Who were ‘swarajists’? What did they want to achieve? Did they succeed? 

‘स्वराजवादी’ कौन थे? वे क्या हासिल करना चाहते थे? क्या वे सफल हुए?


Post Non Cooperation movement, a question arose in Indian National Congress about the future course of action, i.e – whether to get politically involved in governance or not. The sudden withdrawal of Non Cooperation Movement lead to dissatisfaction all around, it leads to the diffusion of the gained energies in different ways- 


Indian National Congress was divided into two ideologies, the Swarajist and the No Changers, based on the council participation or boycott. Swarajist’s main aim was to end the boycott of the council, whereas No-Changers argued to continue the boycott.

Swarajist consisted of – CR Das, Vithalbhai Patel, Motilal Nehru, Hakim Ahmed Khan

No Changers consisted of – C Rajagopalachari, Vallabhbhai Patel, MA Ansari, Rajendra Prasad.

This intra party conflict lead to the creation of Khilafat Swaraj Party within the Congress, it wanted  to contest elections, due to the following arguments – –

  • They wanted to use the legislative assemblies a part of their struggle against imperialism.
  • They wanted to use this method, for constructive criticism, to make people aware & to make them politically active during the period of political vacuum.
  • They wanted to take forward the National demand of framing of New Constitution.
  • They argued that it would be a new front against the Britishers and it would not dilute the Non Cooperation movement.
  • They wanted to use it for criticisms and obstructions, wherever possible.

With the noble intentions in mind, the Swarajists were able to practically get the following successes- 

Positive Contributions of the Swarajists –

  • They took up three major problems – Self-governance, civil liberties, repeal of repressive laws & development of indigenous industries.
  • Their first and foremost contribution was defeat of Public Safety Bill, which aimed to enable the government to deport undesirable foreign nationalist.
  • They did excellent work in field of education, health, sanitation, anti-untouchability and khadi promotion.
  • They exposed the hollowness of reform of 1919.
  • They criticized the views of “No Changers”, they felt boycotting the council and sitting back would lead to diffusion of tempo.
  • They raised the quality of life in municipalities under them.
  • Their views regarding Self-rule, freedom rights etc. -were heard not only in assemblies but all across India.
  • They outvoted government several times, on matters of budgetary grants and through adjournment motions.
  • They filled the political vacuum created by withdrawal of NCM.  

However, the gained positivity could not be sustained for a very long period of time, the side effects of power soon came to surface and it lead to the following negatives.

Criticism of the Swarajists

  • Several times, they were not able to resist peaks and privileges of councils.
  • On religious grounds- Swarajists were divided into Responsivists and Non-Responsivists.
  • They could not form a national coalition in elections of 1926.
  • Methods of Obstruction and deadlock have its own limitations.
  • They failed to support the peasants cause in Bengal.
  • Lack of coherent policy, coherent could not sustain.


Hence, despite the obstructions and changing socio-political climate, Swarajist managed to achieve and strengthen their hold for some time, that also gave a momentum to the coming nationalist movement, they played a significant role in the public discourse in legislation which was guiding principle for future national movement leaders like J.Nehru. It also lead as a starting point for numerous others ways of struggle like the Peasant movements, Trade movements etc. in immediate future.


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