Gandhian Phase (1917-1947) – Champaran Satyagraha, Ahmedabad Mill Workers Strike and Kheda Satyagraha
- On January 9, 1915, Gandhiji returned from South Africa where he was worked as a barrister but due to some racial discrimination he returned to India. Gandhiji’s Satyagraha was actually started in South Africa initially.
- The first participation of Gandhiji in congress session was in 1901, Calcutta session under the presidentship of Bal Krishna Gokhale. Ghandhiji assumed Gokhale also his political guru.
- Gokhale established Servants of Indian Society in 1905 and he wanted to admit Gandhiji as a member but other party members were not agree with Gandhiji’s opinion. As a result, Gandhiji was not able to be part of his society.
- Gandhiji came to India in the year 1915 but his active participation into Indian politics can be traced with the Champaran Satyagraha (1917) Kheda satyagraha 91918) and Ahmadabad Mill workers strike (1918) respectively.
- Durin the Gandhian period, the objective of Congress was the attainment of Swaraj by all legitimate means.
- Gandhiji advocated the adoption of the policy of Satyagraha (literally persistence in truth), i.e., non-violent, non-cooperation towards the government.
- Gandhiji emerged as the most popular and acceptable figure in Indian politics because of his technique of mass mobilization.
- The British indigo planters in Champion (Bihar) oppressed the Indian cultivators most severely. He forced the Indian farmers to grow indigo in 3/20th part of the land which is under the control of British Planters, for which Indian farmers would also pay rent/taxes.
- But in the year 1917, chemical die was invented in Germany and also condition of famine occurred in India. So, the indigo farming experienced a huge loss. As a result, the British levied a huge tax amount on Indian farmers as compensation of the loss.
- Gandhiji went to Champaran on instance of Rajkumar Shukla, a local farmer and started making enquiries of the grievances of the cultivators.
- The district authorities ordered him to leave Champaran and he defined the orders. The government, then was forced to appoint a committee of inquiry on which Gandhiji served as a member.
- The British planters under the guidance of government, signed as agreement granting more compensation and control over farming for the poor farmers of the region and cancellations of revenue hikes and collection until the famine ended. thus Gandhiji emerged successful in his first struggle against oppression in India.
- Some of leaders associated with Gandhiji in this Satyagraha were J.B. Kripalani, Rajendra Prasad, Mahdev Desai, Narhari Parikh etc.
- Based on this movement, a book ‘ neel darpan’ was written by Dinbandhu Mitra.
Ahmedabad Mill Workers Strike
- In the year 1917-18, severe famine conditions and plague affected the Indian farmers and people’s. So, in Ahmedabad mill owners given bonus to the workers and asked them to return the bonus partially.
- After conditions got improved, workers demanded extension of salary but the mill owners were against the demand. So, in 1918, Gandhiji intervened in a dispute between the workers and mill owners and he took a fast death to force a compromise.
- Finally, the mill owner agreed to give arise of 35 percent in wages to the workers.
- In 1918, a terrible famine had struck Kheda and a large part of Gujarat and virtually destroyed the agrarian country.
- The British government insisted that the farmers not only pay full taxes, but also pay the 23% increase stated to take effect that very year but the farmers demanded the exemption of land revenue due to the famine conditions.
- Gandhiji and Vallabh Bhai Patel enquired into this matter and finally found that the actual suffers was small farmers . So, they must be get exemption.
- To protest the government’s decision, a Satyagraha was called was initiated by Mohanlal Pandya along with the support of Gandhiji, Vallabh bhai Patel, Indulal Yagnik, Mahadev Desai.
- The government finally sought to foster an honourable agreement for both parities. the tax for the year in question and the next would be suspended and the increase in rate reduced, while are confiscated property be returned.