‘Swaraj’ means home rule or independence in internal matters. Poorna Swaraj (Complete Independence) implies independence in internal as well as external matters. Jawahar Lal Nehru in the Lahore Session of the Congress in 1929 declared ‘Poorna Swaraj’ as the goal of the National Movement.
The following factors were responsible for the change from ‘Swaraj’ to ‘Poorna Swaraj’:
(a) Abject poverty of Indian masses:
Due to the economic exploitation by the British rulers, the Indian masses were living in abject poverty. The leaders concluded that mere ‘Swaraj’ would not achieve anything. The situation demanded complete independence for India.
(b) Dissatisfaction over the Simon Commission:
The Simon Commission (1928) was sent back as it did not consist of a single Indian representative and did not hold out hopes of anything remotely like Swaraj.
(c) Anger over the brutal killing of Lala Lajpat Rai:
Lala Lajpat Rai, a great nationalist leader, was lathi-charged brutally, while leading a demonstration against the Simon Commission at Lahore. His death sent a wave of anger throughout the country. Congress at its Lahore Session (1929) declared Poorna Swaraj’ as the goal of the National Movement.
(d) Rise of Revolutionary Movement:
Many Indian youths took to revolutionary methods to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai and to turn out the British from India. They instituted many conspiracy cases such as the Meerut Conspiracy Case, the Kakori Conspiracy Case, and the Lahore Conspiracy Case etc. Many young revolutionaries, e.g., Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashafaqullah Khan, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev etc, were hanged to death.
(e) Over-all exploitation:
The Indian masses by now had begun to realise that the British had ruined them economically, politically, culturally as well as spiritually. The Indian leaders declared that it was high time that India must severe all British connections and attain ‘Poorna Swaraj” or Complete Independence.