Bardoli Satyagraha- A Historic Struggle for Justice

5 minute read
Bardoli Satyagraha- A Historic Struggle for Justice

Among other rebellions launched against the cruel colonial government and the struggle for independence, the Bardoli Satyagraha was a pivotal one. It not only reflected the unwavering spirit of the citizens but also showed their determination to raise their voices against the unjust. In this blog, we will explore the historical background of Bardoli Satyagraha, the leaders involved, and the inevitable consequences. Let us see how a small town in India left such a huge impact on history. 

What is the Historical Background of Bardoli Satyagraha?

In the year 1925, the Bardoli Taluk, located in modern-day Gujarat, was hit by severe floods and famines all year long. This not only affected the overall cultivating capacity of the land but also affected the crop yield, leading to huge financial losses for poor farmers.

Amidst this hustle and bustle, a railway line was constructed in the Tapti River Valley which proved advantageous for citizens. 

Similarly, it was widely believed that the condition of Kaliparaj, or backward community in India increased significantly. However, the ground reality was the opposite of these widely believed assumptions. 

Ignoring the plight of farmers and the magnitude of destruction, the Bombay Presidency increased the tax rates to up to 22%. As a result, numerous petitions were filed against the unjust decisions of the government. In 1927, the Congress party further published a report stating the impossibility of bearing financial burdens by the farmers. In January 1928, the farmers of Bardoli invited Vallabhai Patel to launch a protest movement against the increase in taxes.

Upon receiving an invitation and confirming that the protest would adhere to the policies of the non-violence movement, Vallabhai Patel agreed to join. 

Also Read: Kargil War: Origin, History

The Bardoli Satyagaraha

The Bardoli Satyagraha was unlike anything before. It was a huge nationalist movement in India that played a crucial role in shaping Vallabhai Patel at the forefront of a farmers’ agitation. Started in 1928, the movement eventually led to radical changes, involving the non-violence theories of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhai Patel.  

Initially, the movement was under the leadership of Merta Bandhus and Dayal Ji of Bardoli Taluka. It was only later that other prominent members of the nation were invited to join the movement. 

Vallabhai Patel divided the taluk into different camps and invited hundreds of men and women. Numerous volunteers were made who then issued bulletins, made speeches, and led campaigns. 

On the other hand, hundreds of women came forward and extended their help towards making the movement a success in Indian history. It is believed that Vallabhai Patel got the name Sardar from these women. In addition to this, peasants were asked to take oaths against paying taxes. Those who declined were socially boycotted by various families. 

Image source: The Better India

Also Read: The Indian Councils Act of 1909: Morley-Minto Reforms

Role of Sardar Vallabhai Patel

As you might have already guessed, Sardar Vallabhai Patel played a significant role in the Bardoli Satyagraha movement. Here are a few key points:

  • Sardar Vallabhai Patel provided strong leadership and guidance to the common people in need. 
  • He went to great lengths to ensure the success of this movement without violating the rules. 
  • He met the British Presidency officials on behalf of the Bardoli farmers to negotiate. 
  • His involvement in Bardoli Satyagraha inspired many others to join the organization and lead revolutions against the oppressive British forces. 
  • Sardar Vallabhai Patel asked the officials to reconsider their decision although it made little to no impact. 
  • He led the whole movement peacefully in adherence to the rules of Gandhi’s non-violence policy.
Image Source – Asian Voice

What was the Aftermath of the Protest?

Upon witnessing the protest on such a huge scale, the British Indian government met with numerous repercussions. Here are a few of them:

  • In 1928, an agreement was mediated by a Parsi official in the Bombay government. 
  • Numerous Indian leaders employed in the Bombay Legislative Council such as K M Munshi resigned to extend their support. 
  • The British officials in India agreed to postpone the hike in taxes. 
  • They further agreed to restore the stolen properties and cancel the year’s overall revenue payment. 
  • The government set up the famous Maxwell-Broomfield Commission to take over the matter and provide effective insights.
  • This movement led to the publication of a daily magazine called Bardoli Satyagraha.  
  • The government agreed to reduce the increase in taxes to around 6.03%, marking a huge win for the protestors. 
  • Numerous peasants were returned land which was earlier confiscated by the government.
  • Vallabhai Patel emerged as a national leader, renowned for contributing to the massive success of the Bardoli Satyagraha.

Also Read: Formation of the Indian National Congress (1885)

What was the Significance of the Bardoli Satyagraha?

The Bardoli Satyagara movement in India gained massive backing from various groups and organizations across the country. Apart from Patidars, Baniyas, and Brahmins, even Muslim and Parsi members of the society extended their support to the cause. This highlighted India’s collective dissension in unity. 

Moreover, this massive movement resulted in the awakening of local people’s political consciousness. It empowered them to challenge unjust practices. Even after achieving success, the movement continued to fill people with courage in subsequent phases of the nation’s independence. 

Apart from this, Bardoli Satyagraha is considered among the most popular and significant events in Indian history. With multifold aims such as the upliftment of the Dalit community, the growing practice of khaddar production, and the reduction of taxes, it provided some form of relief to poor farmers. Additionally, Sardar Vallabhai Patel emerged as a prominent national leader.  

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#1. The Bardoli Satyagraha was launched in which Indian state?

#2. The Bombay Presidency increased the taxes up to ____ which caused the Bardoli Satyagraha.

#3. The Bardoli Satyagraha started in which year?

Who started Bardoli Satyagraha and when?

The Bardoli Satyagraha was led by Sardar Vallabhai Patel in the year 1928.

What was the Bardoli resolution of 1922?

In simple words, the Bardoli resolution of 1922 refers to a document that was drafted during the satyagraha movement. It reflected the demands and issues of the poor farmers and their pleadings against unjust increases in taxes and harsh treatment.

Was Gandhi part of Bardoli Satyagraha?

Yes, apart from Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was also an integral part of the Bardoli Satyagraha.

This blog was all about the Bardoli Satyagraha. If you want to read more such informative stuff, check out our dedicated page on famous personalities.

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