Gandhi - Satyagraha and Bardoli tax resistance
For Gandhi the Bardoli Satyagraha of 1928 provided a key idea. The Bardoli district or Taluka consisted of approximately 137 villages, with total population about 88000 and area of 222 square miles. In 1927 Taluka received an increased 22 percent in tax assessment from government Bombay revenue department. After several months of random protection and agitation the peasants began an organized Satyagraha in February 1928 under direct leadership of Vallabhbhai Patel acting under Gandhi authority. This tax resistance movement limited to a protest against property tax increase that government had demanded. The protest was for tax officials report recommending 22 percent additional tax was unjust and inaccurate . Several weeks the government insisted adamantly that there was no need to reconsider the assessment. British Raj appointed governor Sir Leslie Wilson an independent committee of enquiry ultimately report favoring the peasants position. The incidence is sudden success and substantial blow to government authority and credibility.
The degree of non-cooperation obtained by Patel and Gandhi in Bardoli was an extra ordinary that it must rank as a text book example of success small scale Satyagraha. The effects of Satyagraha were portrayed in most graphic terms under hard line government machinery paralyzed in Bardoli ; revolt of the peasantry. The fame of Bardoli triumph over government spread thought India and Sardar Patel prestige soared with congress. Gandhi reaction to the impact of Bardoli is instructive. After four years (1924- 1928) relatively uneventful leadership, he found in Bardoli key to his strategy for 1930 Satyagraha. At first he was notably cautious about wisdom of Bardoli comforting the government on this issue and relied on Patel’s judgment but as the serious purpose and determination of peasantry became clear, Gandhi thrilled at the prospect of this combat with Dyer-ism.
“ Will people of Bardoli stand this last trial ? Gandhi asked as climax of Satyagraha approached. “ they have already staggered Indian humanity. They have shown heroic patience in midst of great provocation. Will they stand the greatest provocation that can be offered? Shortly after this Gandhi toured Bardoli with Patel and returned convinced that rare demonstration of effectiveness of Satyagraha was being staged . In early August Gandhi wrote the moment of settlement within government he wrote
Bardoli is a sign of the times. It has a lesson both for government and people for government they will recognize the power of people when they have truth on their side and when they can form non-violent combination to indicate it. Non -violent energy properly stored up sets free force that becomes irritable. So far I have been able to see there is no doubt that settlement has been wrong from unwilling government by pressure of public that was ever gathering force in geometrical progression.
The salt Satyagraha
On March 12, 1930 Mohandas Gandhi at 60 years age left his ashram at Sabarmati with his followers bound shores of Dandi a small village on the coasts of Gujarat in western India . Thus began most historic Dandi March and Satyagraha one of most dramatic events of India freedom struggle. The march covered over two hundred miles and lasted 24 days. Gandhi objective was to protest against tax imposed by British Raj had placed on salt under regulations of India salt act 1882. British Raj enforced monopoly on collection or manufacture of salt restricting its handling to officially controlled salt depots and levying tax on each mound.
Gandhi defied this monopoly and so broke the law simply collecting natural salt from sea shore on April 6th . The Dandi march spread thought India others in India followed his example.
Moreover the response of Bardoli taluka encouraged Gandhi to utilize this same area and population for salt march not only did he march through many of same villages that has been mobilized in 1928, but he also recruited heavily from this group. Finally he had been struck by British raj response to Bardoli the government had been over come by results of settlement and frightened by implication of Satyagraha . Gandhi fully appreciated the meaning of this and sought now to exploit it further on all India basis. In all these respects Bardoli was a key source of inspiration for what followed .
A young man writing from Bengal offered “ my humble services as Satyagraha in coming struggle he precisely given his ideas behind campaign. Your decision to launch civic obedience led me believe that you are trying once for all, to establish the supremacy and efficacy of non -violent methods over violent means. Politics in India today has been confused with an unholy mixture of non-violence and violence . I regard non-violence blesses him who yields it as well as him against whom it is wielded. In Bengal there is school of politics who believe in violence, but terrorism is now exploded theory in west. If we could only establish the truth on our way in public mind with our own blood, we will have achieved our end. Gandhi perused his goal of freedom struggle and Satyagraha Gandhi was arrested on May 5th. The salt Satyagraha continued for all most a year until direct negotiations between Gandhi and lord Edward Irwin viceroy ended. The Lahore congress which met in December 1929, affirmed Swaraj as India’s national goal and approved for conducting Satyagraha or civil disobedience for 1930. But congress left campaign to Gandhi responsibility