Advent of Gandhi
Gandhi returned to India in the year 1915. He earlier fought against inequalities imposed by the South Africa Government. Gandhi came to India with the idea of holding forces of nationalism in India. Then came into contact with congress members for Mobilizing support for the South African Indian Cause.
He was inspired by Gopala Krishna Gokhale and acknowledged as his political guru. By the advice given by Gopan Krishna Gokhale, he came to India, nearly after two decades. Then he travelled all over the Indian Subcontinent to learn about different people.
After travelling all over the country, he established an Ashram near the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad. He did not immediately take part in the Political movement including the Home rule movement.
Satyagraha movement of Gandhiji
During his stay in South Africa, he gained the knowledge or technique of Satyagraha means Truth and Non-Violence to fight the Racist South African Government. As per Gandhi is “Even while fighting evil and wrong a Satyagrahi had to be in peace with himself and not hate the wrongdoer“.
A satyagrahi would accept the suffering willfully during resistance, and there is no place of hatred during this exercise.
For Gandhi, Truth and Non-Violence are the weapons of the brave and fearless and not cowards. Satyagraha Movement of Gandhiji is an iconic movement for India’s Struggle for Independence.
Champaran Satyagraha (1917)
In Champaran in Bihar, the Indigo planters were exploited by European planters. The peasants were forced to grow Indigo on lease on 3/20 of their fields and sell it at the rate fixed by the planters. This system made farmers poor.
Gandhi conducted a detailed study on the situation with help of Rajendra Prasad, Mazharul Huq, Acharya Kripalani, and Mahadeva Desai. Gandhi and Others mobilized the Champaran Movement. It was the first satyagraha in India and also Gandhiji first satyagraha in India.
The British official ordered Gandhi to leave but he refused and warned them about the consequences. Then British government formed an inquiry committee adding Gandhi as its member.
Gandhi convinced the British officials by showing difficulties faced by the peasants. The report was accepted by British officials, eventually, the British broke the bondage of European Plants. The Champaran Satyagraha was successful and European planters left Champaran.
Ahmedabad Satyagraha (1918)
After the Successful campaign in Champaran, Gandhi mobilized Ahmedabad Satyagraha which was famously known as Ahmedabad Mill Strike. There was a dispute between, Mill owners and textile workers. Initially, Gandhi met both the parties and when the Mill refused the demands of workers.
Then Gandhi asked workers to go on strike demanding a 35% increase in their wages. Gandhi went on Fast to bolster the morale of the workers. Gandhi’s fast forced the Mill owner to accept the demands.
Kheda Satyagraha (1918)
The peasants faced the failure of monsoons and were also affected by the plague epidemic. As a result, peasants appealed to authorities for the remission of land revenue during 1918. As per the government’s Famine Code, in the event of crop yield being under 25% of the average, the cultivators were entitled to total remission.
But the Authorities demanded Full payment and harassed them. Then the peasant approached the Servant of India Society, Gandhi was also a member of it. Gandhi along with Vallabhai Patel intervened.
Asked the Peasants to withhold payment and fight unto death. Vallabhai Patel and Indulal Yagnik joined Gandhi and asked the farmers to be firm. The Government even went on to Auctioning the cattle, lands.
As the protest went strong, the government authorities passed instructions to collect the revenue only from Ryot who can afford to pay. Then Gandhi Withdrew the struggle. The Champaran, Ahmedabad, and Kheda Satyagraha, Gandhi demonstrated a great fighting spirit without violence.
He gave voice to all classes, peasants, mill workers, and all castes. He confronted both the colonialist and Indian exploiters and forced them to enter into a dialogue. Gandhi demonstrated, that he could also mobilize the masses and oppressed, also enter a dialogue with the oppressors.
Gandhi inspired several others to take Satyagraha as a mode of agitation.
Growth of Satyagraha
In 1925, Bardoli, a taluka in Gujarat suffered from financial troubles. The Bombay Presidency raise the tax rate by 22%. Despite several petitions, the government refused to give up. The farmers affect so badly and they have got anything left to pay the taxes or to feed their families.
Vallabhai Patel led the Bardoli Satyagraha and made it a success. This success rises Vallabhai Patel as the main leader of the Independent movement.
The British government enacted the Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act of 1919 called as Rowlatt Act. By this act, revolutionists can be arrested without trial and judicial review.
In response to the Rowlatt Act, Gandhi called a countrywide protest against the Act. This movement is called Rowlatt Satyagraha.
Dandi Satyagraha is also called Salt March or Dandi March. It was a nonviolent civil disobedience movement led by Gandhi.
The goal of Dandi Satyagraha was against the British Salt Monopoly. Gandhi marched 390 km from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi to collect the salt at end of his march that broke the Salt Laws.
This Satyagraha took place in South India. Vaikom Satyagraha aimed to provide freedom to pass through the public roads passing through the Sri Mahadeva Temple.
The movement was led by several leaders. The prominent leader was T.K.Madhavan, E.V. Ramasamy (Periyar) etc.
Gandhi decided on a strategy of Individual Satyagraha to fight the fascist government. The Individual Satyagrahis were handpicked by Gandhi. The chosen Satyagrahi were to inform the District Magistrate of the time and place of protest. Satyagrahi on reaching the place has to declare publicly, “It is wrong to help the British War effort with men or money”.
This movement started on October 17, 1940, with Vinobha Bhave near Paunar Ashram in Maharastra. Gandhi suspended this satyagraha in December 1941.