Swaraj

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Swaraj

 

(Sanskrit, “home rule”), a programmatic political slogan advanced by the national liberation movement in India, a slogan that called for struggle against British rule and for home rule.

Originating in the early 20th century, Swaraj was adopted as a programmatic demand for the first time in 1906, at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress, or Congress Party. In 1920 the Nagpur session of the Congress Party declared that the attainment of swaraj was the party’s fundamental aim. However, swaraj meant different things to different groups within the Congress Party. The moderates urged a struggle for limited home rule within the British Empire; the radicals, on the other hand, regarded full independence for India as the principal goal of their struggle.

In 1929 the Lahore session of the Congress Party declared its task to be the achievement of “full swaraj” (puma swaraj). However, nuances in the interpretation of swaraj persisted. Rightists in the national liberation movement understood swaraj to mean dominion status for India; leftists, such as J. Nehru and S. C. Bose, understood it to mean full independence for India.