The Bardoli Satyagraha, was a movement in the independence struggle led by Sardar Vallabhai Patel for the farmers of Bardoli against. Myth and reality in the Bardoli Satyagraha ‐ a study in Gandhian politics Essays in Gandhian Politics — Rowlatt Satyagraha of (Oxford, ). The peasants who participated in the Bardoli Satyagraha of did not form a homogeneous group. They belonged to different castes and different social and.
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Gandhiji selected Bardoli as a suitable place for launching civil disobedience campaign because the place had witnessed and participated in the constructive work. Dhanagare has sketched a portrait of the socio-economic background of Bardoli. He says that Patidars were the dominant cultivators in Surat taluka. Gandhiji observed that the Kali Paraj was living in dire poverty. Actually, they survived a near-slave life in Bardoli. The Patidars were a well-to-do class of peasants.
Their relations with the lower caste, that is, small, marginal and agricultural labourers were quite unsatisfactory. The land with the poorer peasants was very meagre and largely unproductive.
Some of the Patidars also worked in London and Africa. Whatever surplus money they got from foreign countries was also invested in the purchase of new land and provision of irrigation facilities.
It may also be pertinent to mention here that the land of Surat taluka was quite fertile. The Bardoli satyagraha was launched in mid-February Out of the land taken over about one tenth was sold. As regards the cultivating landowners, 50, acres of land were forfeited though not sold. The movement satyagfaha became serious during the months of April and May.
The stock of Kali Paraj people mainly consisted of Dubla, also called Halpati. The Ujli Paraj peasants cornered most of the benefits in terms of ownership of land and other facilities. All this created an antagonism between the rich and big Patidar peasants and the poor satyagrahx slave-like small, marginal peasants and agricultural labourers.
This created an awakening among the peasant masses to get mobilised for fulfilling their demands. The constructive programmes also trained the youths to prepare for non-violence and satyagraha movement. There is an interesting anecdote given by Gandhiji in Harijan.
Dhanagare argues that the status of the Kali Paraj peasants was that of a serf bwrdoli medieval Europe. What is worse, the slave in America before the abolition was the legal property satyagraja his master. The Dubla or the Hali has never been that kind of poverty.
A Swarajya Asharam was established in Surat and six similar centres were set up in Bardoli taluka to carry out constructive activities and to diffuse new political culture. Though the Patidars appeared to be benevolent to the lower castes, the harmonisation of the latter prepared a suitable ground for peasant satyagraha. This system of recruiting agricultural labour sagyagraha grown out of money-lending practices.
Wages, just enough for subsistence, were paid in kind and were so low that the amount borrowed could never be repaid. The fact of the matter is that the Hali cultivated the lands bardoll by upper caste people like Patidars, Anavil Brahmins and also Rajputs. And the fact that until no movement was launched for freeing the Dubla agricultural serfs. This increase in land tax was immediately opposed by the Congressmen. They set up an inquiry committee to go into the issue.
At a later stage, in Julysome reduction in land tax was made. The Congress Party found the concessions too meagre. These were not acceptable to them. Vallabh Bhai Patel was contacted by the local leaders to take up the leadership of movement. A meeting of representatives of 60 villages at Bamni in Kadod division invited Sardar Patel to lead the campaign. He wrote to the government to fulfil the demands of the peasants.
Describing the decision of the peasants committee, Bipan Chandra observes:. Peasants were asked to take oaths in the name of Prabhu the Hindu name for god and Khuda the Muslim name for god that they would not pay the land revenue.
The satyagraha had begun. In this connection it may be said that Patel was in-charge of the whole agitation.
Documents on Bardoli Satyagraha | Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
His capacity as satyaggaha organiser, speaker, indefatigable campaigner and inspirer of ordinary men and women was already known. The whole taluka was divided into three camps, chhavanis, each under the charge of an experienced leader. It was for the first time that an army of non-violent workers was developed.
The government forfeited a large chunk of land, say 50, acres. And, thus, drove them to desperation. As a matter of fact, the pressure of satyayraha legislative assembly was so strong that the government was obliged to take a soft stand against the movement.
Workers in Bombay textile mills went on strike and there was a threat to bring about a railway strike that would make movement of troops and supplies to Bardoli impossible. Even the flames of Bardoli had reached to Punjab and many jathas of peasants were despatched to Bardoli. The findings of the committee came to the conclusion that the increase had been unjustified.
Soon, the Bardoli peasant movement became a national issue. Gandhiji, along with Patel, conducted the movement in such a way that it carried, throughout the period, its non-violent character. The British government thus had high stakes in the Bardoli agitation. Looking to the national importance of Bardoli the British government took a soft-line. Sardar Patel was contacted and some kind of agreement was struck.
The withdrawal of the movement was not a happy affair. In fact, it was the peasants who laughed the last. Gandhiji very rightly observed on the success of Bardoli agitation:. Whatever the Bardoli struggle may be, it clearly is not a struggle for the direct attainment of swaraj. That every such awakening, every such effort as that of Bardoli will bring swaraj nearer and may bring it nearer even then any direct effort is undoubtedly true. Dhanagare has raised the issue as to what extent the satyagraha was a reality or a myth created by the Gandhians.
At a broader plane sagyagraha could be safely said that the Bardoli agitation was more a national issue for experimenting satyagraha as a method for freedom struggle. Definitely, not much attention was paid to the basic problems of the peasants. The problem of Hali Pratha, which was highly exploitative, was not raised at all by the movement.
Dhanagare argues sataygraha the movement pleaded the cause of the rich and middle class peasants. The poorer masses of peasantry who had very little land in their possession were altogether neglected. But, surely, the movement provided strength to the national freedom struggle.
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