Jawaharlal Nehru, who had done more than anyone else to popularize the concept of purn swaraj, was nominated the president for the Lahore session of the Congress (December 1929) mainly due to Gandhi’s backing (15 out of 18 Provincial Congress Committees had opposed Nehru). Nehru was chosen because of the appositeness of the occasion (Congress’ acceptance of complete independence as its goal), and to acknowledge the upsurge of youth which had made the anti-Simon campaign a huge success.
Nehru declared in his presidential address, “We have now an open conspiracy to free this country from foreign rule and you, comrades, and all our countrymen and country- women are invited to join it.”
Further explaining that liberation did not mean only throwing off the foreign yoke, he said: “I must frankly confess that I am a socialist and a republican, and am no believer in kings and princes, or in the order which produces the modern kings of industry, who have greater power of the lives and fortunes of men than even the kings of old, and whose methods are as predatory as those of the old feudal aristocracy.”
Spelling out the methods of struggle, he said, “Any great movement for liberation today must necessarily be a mass movement, and mass movements must essentially be peaceful, except in times of organised revolt…”
The following major decisions were taken at the Lahore session.
- The Round Table Conference was to be boycotted.
- Complete independence was declared as the aim of the Congress.
- Congress Working Committee was authorised to launch a programme of civil disobedience including non-payment of taxes and all members of legislatures were asked to resign their seats.
- January 26, 1930 was fixed as the first Independence (Swarajya) Day, to be celebrated everywhere.
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