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1928 Bardoli Satyagraha

1928 Bardoli Satyagraha. the Patidars of Bardoli continued to give fervent support to the Congress. In the mid-1920s, British ordered 22% increase in land-tax. The peasants decided to fight this. (had been ready to launch in 1921 but then movement ended. Still remained supportive of Gandhi though and he very impressed by them- area of low crime, loyalty to him etc) Approached Gandhi, and he deputed Vallabhbhai Patel to organise the protest (Gandhi did delegate) In 1928, Patel took the movement in Bardoli in hand. Patel organised the Bardoli campaign brilliantly. The resolution to refuse the land tax was taken in February 1928. Patel established an army of Congress workers there, who ensured that there be strong solidarity. Those who paid their taxes suffered social boycott. He depicted this as a religious battle of moral righteousness against an evil government. British took coercive measures, confiscating property and land, which they threatened to sell. This had no effect, due to the solidarity. The movement was given strong publicity, bringing many leading nationalist figures to Bardoli to provide moral support. Pressures were brought to bear on the government in Delhi and the Viceroy, Lord Irwin. Bombay authorities did not want to compromise, but Irwin was at that time trying to win the Congress leaders around to a new plan for further devolution of power, and he put pressure on the Bombay authorities. They agreed to set up a commission to investigate the tax increase. The protest was then called off. The commission found that the increase was excessive and that irregular methods had been used to make the calculations, and it recommended in May 1929 that the increase be much less. Because of his superb leadership, Patel became known as a great ‘peasant leader.’ Significantly, Gandhi stayed largely away from Bardoli, as he did not want to compromise Patel’s leadership. This allowed Patel to use methods, such as caste boycott and intimidation of supporters of the British that Gandhi himself would not have sanctioned. In 1929, Patel announced that he would support struggles by peasants anywhere in western India against high tax rates. He held talks with local leaders in Maharastra to see if such struggles could be launched there. He set up a body called the Bombay Presidency Land League to fight for lower taxes. The Bombay Government became very frightened, and in July 1929 announced that it was suspending all proposed tax increases, and that there would be no further increases or revisions until the forthcoming constitutional reforms had gone through. This represented a major victory by the nationalists in the interests of the peasantry. By 1930, it appeared that such ‘peasant power’ could be used on a massive scale to win independence. It was in this atmosphere that the Civil Disobedience movement was launched in that year. Gandhi Returned to the fore in 1928, 1927 Simon commission to judge progress of the 1919 Govt of India Act but the Simon Commission did not include any Indian so vehicle for judging Indian political progress to be decided solely by the British. Spurred Gandhi into getting back on the scene, had been spending time sorting out issues in Congress and expanding initiatives about untouchability (strove to end this), alcoholism, ignorance and poverty. Congress boycotted the Commission. Squabbling within Congress that had caused lack of action in interim period between 1922 and Bardoli, Gandhi went and sorted it out by using his enormous influence and mediating between divided factions- we want full independence Bardoli = renewed confidence in the potential of satyagraha. It demonstrated what non-violent resistance could achieve when carried out by organized, disciplined and united people, and it showed that the British could be made to bend. Gandhi now set on organisation of the nation.

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