The years of Stagnation

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  • Gandhiji was arrested in 1922 and sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment. The result was the spread of disintegration, disorganization and demoralization in the nationalist ranks.
  • After a defeat of their resolution of ‘either mending or ending’ in the Congress, CR Das and Motilal Nehru resigned and formed the Congress-Khilafat Swaraj Party in December 1922.
    • It was to function as a group within the congress
  • How to carry on political work in the movements’ non-active phases.  The swarajists said that work in the council was necessary to fill the temporary political void. The no-changers believed otherwise.
  • Major no-changers: Sardar Patel, Dr Ansari, Rajendra Prasad
  • The no-changers opposed council-entry mainly on the ground that parliamentary work would lead to the neglect of constructive and other work among the masses , the loss of revolutionary zeal and political corruption.
  • Despite the differences, he two groups had a lot in common.
    • The need for unity was very strongly felt by all the Congressmen after the 1907 debacle.
    • Both realized that the real sanctions which would compel the government to accept the national demands would be forged only by a mass movement.
    • Both groups fully accepted the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • In the session held in 1923, the congressmen were permitted to stand as candidates and exercise their franchise in the forthcoming elections.
  • Gandhiji was released on February 5, 1924. He did not agree with the Swarajists. However, slowly he moved towards an accommodation with the swarajists.
  • On 6 November 1924, Gandhiji brought the strife between the Swarajists and no-changers to an end, by signing a joint statement with Das and Motilal that the Swarajists Party would carry on work in the legislatures on behalf of the Congress and as an integral part of the Congress. This decision was endorsed in Belgaum.
  • The Swarajists did well in the elections and won 42 out of 101 seats in the Central Legislative Assembly.
  • In March 1925, Vithalbhai J Patel was elected as he President (speaker) of the Central Legislative Assembly.
  • The achievement of the Swarajists lay in filling the political void at a time when the national movement was recouping its strength.
    • They also exposed the hollowness of the reforms of 1919
  • After the petering out of the NCM communalism took stronghold
    • Even within the Congress, a group known as  ‘responsivists’, including Madan Mohan Malviya, Lala Lajpat Rai and NC Kelkar, offered cooperation to the government so that the so-called Hindu interests might be safeguarded.

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