Modern History Simplified: Swarajists ( in Councils ) and No Changers (Constructive Work) in the 1920s

  1. Because of the Chauri Chaura event, the Non Cooperation Movement was called off in February 1922. 
  2. After Gandhi’s arrest (March 1922), there was disintegration, disorganisation and demoralisation among nationalist ranks.
  3. Swarajists
    1. One section led by C.R. Das, Motilal Nehru and Ajmal Khan wanted an end to the boycott of legislative councils so that the nationalists could enter them to expose the basic weaknesses of these assemblies and use these councils as an arena of political struggle to arouse popular enthusiasm.
    2. Those advocating entry into legislative councils came to be known as the ‘Swarajists’.
    3. The Responsivists among Swarajists—Lala Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malaviya and N.C. Kelkar—advocated cooperation with the government and holding office wherever possible and  also wanted to protect the so-called Hindu interests.
  4. No Changers
    1. The other school of thought led by C. Rajagopalachari, Vallabhbhai Patel, Rajendra Prasad and M.A. Ansari came to be known as the ‘Nochangers’.
    2. The ‘No-changers’ opposed council entry, advocated concentration on constructive work, and continuation of boycott and non-cooperation, and quiet preparation for resumption of the suspended civil disobedience programme.
  5. Gaya session of Congress (1922): The differences over the question of council entry between the two schools of thought resulted in the defeat of the Swarajists’ proposal. So, C.R. Das and Motilal Nehru resigned from the presidentship and secretaryship respectively of the Congress and announced the formation of Congress-Khilafat Swarajya Party or simply Swarajist Party, with C.R. Das as the president and Motilal Nehru as one of the secretaries.
  6. Gandhi’s Attitude: Gandhi was initially opposed to the Swarajist proposal of council entry. But after his release from prison on health grounds in February 1924, he gradually moved towards a reconciliation with the Swarajists.

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