History of Purna Swaraj Movement
India celebrates her Republic Day on 26th January every year. Let us try to know that why this date has been chosen particularly. Twenty years before the celebration of the first republic day of India a solemn vow was taken by the Indian freedom fighters and the leaders to gain the complete independence from the British rule. But it had been taken a long period of time in between the Independence and the regulation of the Constitution.
Actually the Purna Swaraj was not a one day event or war, but it was a struggle or movement that lasted for three decades. Why it had been decided that the Indian Constitution would be implemented on 26th January only, the reason behind this is the “Purna Swaraj” Movement that was proposed on 19thDecember, 1929 and declared 26th January 1930 and for years thereafter, to be celebrated as “Purna Swaraj Day”.
Background behind Purna Swaraj Andolan
At the beginning of 1920, the exploitation of British Empire was at its peak that was felt by the nationalist leaders and they were determined for the freedom. Jallianwala massacre and Rowlatt Act had filled anger and annoyance among every Indian and all the people wished the removal of the British rule from India. Muslims were also not in the favour of British Rule after the Khilafat Andolan or Indian- Muslim movement.
Civil Disobedience Movement was started on 1st August, 1920 and parallel to the Khilafat Movement. These movements not only disobeyed the laws of the British by non-violent methods but also there was a total boycott of the foreign goods. But after the Chauri-Chaura incident Gandhiji had cancelled the Civil Disobedience Movement because of the violence done. 22 policemen and three civilians got killed in Chauri-Chaura.
In the Civil Disobedience Movement labourers, Artisans, farmers, shopkeepers, lawyers, and almost all Indians had taken part. It was the specialty of this movement and the background of the Purna Swaraj or Complete independence was being prepared.
Main Leaders of Purna Swaraj
After the opposition of the Cripps’ Mission Gandhiji was arrested in 1922 and later released in February 2024 but during that period Indian National Congress was divided into two parts. One of the parts declared themselves Swarajist and was not in the favour of the total boycott of the British. They advocated working with the council. C.R.Das and Motilal Nehru were among the top list. Gandhiji played the role of a middleman and believed that the Swaraj Party had to work with the Congress.
Demand of Purna Swaraj
Motilal Nehru had raised the voice for transfer of power in the new session of the Central Legislative assembly and his demand was accepted. It was a moral victory of the Swarajists. That attracted the Nationalist’s attention towards an independent nation and they raised the demand of Swaraj whereas the British were not mood to release India and wanted their interference.
For that purpose they sent Simon Commission to India for observing the reform work and to talk about it. As Simon Commission reached Mumbai on 3rd February it was opposed by showing black flags. The whole country was protesting against the Simon Commission and the agitation was led by the Congress.
In the mean time Lala Lajpat Rai died in a Lathi charge who was demonstrating against the British in Lahore. That incident put the revolutionist and countrymen in rage but the Congress was indulged in its objectives and looked after works on political level. In the leadership of Motilal Nehru a commission was formed that put the proposal of the formation of the Indian Constitution.
The Nehru Committee Report had been demanded for the dominion state but Jawaharlal and Bose were opposed it. In December 1928 a resolution was passed in the Congress session in Calcutta that in one year British Govt. will give the sovereignty and had to make India a dominion state. If it was not accepted then the Congress will demand the complete independence.
Foundation Stone of Purna Swaraj
In 1929 the viceroy in India Lord Erwin had announced that Dominion state will be given status in near future. That declaration was welcomed by a large number of Indian leaders. But soon Erwin turned down and asked more time. Then the Indian National Congress had also turned down their objective and demanded the Purna Swaraj or Complete Independence in place of dominion state.
Declaration of Complete Independence or Purna Swaraj
- On 26th January, 1929 in Lahore Session Congress had proposed the “Indian Declaration of Independence” and demanded the Purna Swaraj.
- In the mid-night of 31st December, 1929 Congress had passed that proposal.
The proposal of ‘Indian Declaration of Independence’ was just a document of 750 words. It was neither a legal nor a constitutional document. It was just like a manifesto. The basis of the issues and conditions for complete independence demanded by Congress were as following:
- Indians have a right to live free like the people of the other countries.
- They have also a right to fulfill their basic needs.
- The rulers who are not capable to do this will be removed.
- British Government had not only deprived the liberty of the Indians but also exploited the Indians in their social, political, cultural and spiritual thoughts and action.
- The economic exploitation of the Indians had reached to such level that the taxes imposed upon them got more than their earning.
- The 20% increase in tax rate and the 3% tax on salt have been increased the burden more.
- Small scale industries had been totally demolished.
- Due to custom and currency the Indian farmers were totally affected and they were over-burdened. A heavy custom duty had been imposed on the foreign goods especially on the goods made in England.
- Indians were deprived of Political rights that is why it was getting weaker day by day.
- The right to expression and freedom was also curtailed.
- Indians were forced to live in exile in a foreign land and didn’t have the liberty to return to their nation.
- There isn’t any expansion and reform in the field of education and it is weakened in the terms of spirituality.
- This kind of rule cannot be suffered and is a crime in the view of human as well as God.
- We believe in the theory that a country may be liberated by the means of Non-violence thus separating from the British government we declare non-cooperation movement against the British rule.
- Taxes will not been paid and we hope the end of that kind of oppressive and inhumane rule in a short, so we call upon the complete Independence.
Congress had declared the Purna Swaraj or the Complete Independence and appealed to the countrymen on 26th January, 1930 to celebrate this day as the Independence Day. However, in time India got its independence on 15th August and Independence Day is celebrated on that day but to keep and honour the memory of that very vital day Indian Constitution was regulated on 26th January 1950 and this day has a great significance in the Indian history.
More Information about Indian Independence Day:
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