Champaran Satyagraha, Ahmedabad Mill Strike, Kheda Satyagraha and Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

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Champaran Satyagraha (1917)

  • Peasantry on the indigo plantations in Champaran, Bihar was excessively oppressed by the European planters.

  • On the invitation of the peasants he went to Champaran and began to conduct a detailed inquiry into the condition of the peasantry

  • The government was forced to set up a committee with Gandhi as one of the members. The sufferings of the peasants were reduced.

  • Others in this movement: Rajendra Prasad, Mazhar-ul-Haq, J B Kriplani, Narhari Parekh and Mahadev Desai.

Ahmedabad Mill Strike (1918)

  • Dispute between workers and mill owners

  • Gandhi advised workers to go on a non-violent strike. He himself took to fast

  • Owners yielded and gave a 35 percent increase in wages to the workers

Kheda Satyagraha (1918)

  • Despite crop failure in Kheda the government insisted on full land revenue

  • Gandhi advised the peasants to withhold payment.

  • Govt issued instructions that revenue should be collected from only those farmers who could afford to pay

  • Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel played a major role in this satyagraha.

Impact of These Early Experiences

  • Brought Gandhiji in close contact with the masses

  • He identified his life and manner of living with the life of the common people

  • He had three main aims

    • Hindu-Muslim Unity

    • Fight against untouchability

    • Raising the social status of the women

  • Gandhiji’s first major nation-wide protest was against the Rowlatt Bills in 1919. He formed the Satyagraha Sabha whose members took a pledge to disobey the Act and thus to court arrest and imprisonment.

  • Satyagraha was launched. The form of protest finally decided was the observance of a nation-wide Hartal accompanied by fasting and prayer.

  • However, protests were generally accompanied by violence and disorder.

  • In Punjab, the situation was particularly violent. General Dyer was called to control the situation. On 13 April, Baisakhi Day, General Dyer ordered to open fire on unarmed crowd in Jallianwala Bagh. The government estimate was 379 dead, other estimates were considerably higher.

  • Gandhiji, overwhelmed by the total atmosphere of violence, withdrew the movement on 18 April.

Difference between Earlier Methods of Struggle and Satyagraha

  • Earlier, the movement had confined its struggle to agitation. They used to hold meetings, demonstrate, boycott etc.

  • Through Satyagraha they could act now.

  • The new movement relied increasingly on the political support of the peasants, artisans and urban poor.

  • Gandhiji increasingly turned the face of nationalism towards the common man

Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

  • On April 13, 1919, a large crowd had gathered in Amritsar to protest against the arrest of their leaders, Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew and Dr. Satyapal

  • General Dyer opened fire

  • Widespread criticism. Tagore returned his knighthood.

Chapter 15: Non-Co-Operation Movement

  • Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms 1919: Dyarchy

  • In a system called “dyarchy,” the nation-building departments of government — agriculture, education, public works, and the like — were placed under ministers who were individually responsible to the legislature. The departments that made up the “steel frame” of British rule — finance, revenue, and home affairs — were retained by executive councilors who were nominated by the Governor.

  • The Hunter Committee report praised the actions of general Dyer.

Khilafat Movement

  • For support of Turkey

  • Khilafat Committee formed under the leadership of Ali Brothers, Maulana Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan and Hasrat Mohani

  • The promises made to the Khilafat Committee were not kept after the World War.

  • The All-India Khilafat Conference held at Delhi in November 1919 decided to withdraw all cooperation from the government if their demands were not met.

  • On June 9, 1920, the Khilafat Committee at Allahabad unanimously accepted the suggestion of non-cooperation and asked Gandhiji to lead the movement.

  • Khilafat movement cemented Hindu-Muslim unity

    • Gandhiji looked upon the Khilafat agitation as “an opportunity of uniting Hindus and Mohammedans as would not arise in a hundred years”

  • The non-cooperation movement was launched on August 1, 1920. Lokmanya Tilak passed away on the same day.

  • People countrywide observed Hartal and took out processions.

  • The congress met in September at Calcutta and accepted non-co-operation as its own.

The Programme of Non-Cooperation Included

  • Surrender of titles and honors

  • Boycott of government affiliated schools and colleges, law courts, foreign cloth and could be extended to resignation from government services.

  • Mass civil disobedience including the non-payment of taxes.

  • National schools and colleges were to be set up

  • Panchayats were to be established to settle disputes

  • Hand-spinning and weaving was encouraged

  • People were asked to maintain Hindu-Muslim unity, give up untouchability and observe strict non-violence.

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