Kheda Satyagraha

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In the annals of India’s struggle for Independence, the Kheda Satyagraha shines as a beacon of hope and resilience. Initially began by Mohanlal Pandya, a local leader who put forward the pleas of the farmers who rebelled. Later this non-violent protest led by Mahatma Gandhi on the 22nd of March 1918, showcased the potency of civil resistance in the face of oppressive British colonial policies. The movement centred in the Kheda district of Gujarat ended on the 5th of June, 1918 though it not only relieved the burden of unjust taxation but also sowed the seeds of a larger freedom struggle to come.

When did Kheda Satyagraha Take Place?

The Kheda Satyagraha was started on 22 March 1918 and ended on 5 June 1918. This was the movement that took place in the Kheda district. Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel were the leaders of this Movement. Kheda Satyagraha was one of the major revolts that contributed to the Indian Independence Movement.

Kheda Satyagraha
Source: Wikipedia

Agricultural Crisis and Tax Burden

  • In 1918, the Kheda district in Gujarat faced severe crop failure due to erratic monsoons.
  • British rulers continued to demand full tax payment despite the agrarian crisis.
  • The Bombay Presidency of the British government, under which Gujarat belonged, increased taxes by 23% during 1917-1918.
  • Farmers were pushed to the brink of despair which led to widespread resentment.
  • The First World War also led to an increase in market prices.
  • The Gujarat Plague of 1918 which took the lives of more than 16,000 people.

Also Read: Ryotwari System- About India’s Agricultural Past

Refusal of the Farmers’ Petition

  • In the year 1918, the farmers petitioned for a reduction in land tax for a year to reduce their suffering, to the colonial authorities.
  • Although the actions of the British rule were against the government’s Famine Code, they refused the farmer’s petition and demanded from them a full payment of taxes. 
  • The farmers were qualified for complete remission if their crop yield fell below 25% of the average, as per the Famine Code.  
  • Moreover, the farmers could also request for a total removal of revenue payment for the year if the crop costs less than 4 annas, as stated by the Land Revenue Rules.

Also Read : Champaran Satyagraha

Gandhi’s Satyagraha Philosophy

  • Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of Satyagraha, emphasising truth and nonviolence, became the driving force.
  • Gandhi believed in passive resistance as a means to evoke moral and political change.
  • The non-cooperation movement was first adopted by Gandhi during the Kheda Satyagraha.
  • Farmers embraced this philosophy, uniting to challenge oppression through peaceful means.

Nonviolent Mobilization and Unity

  • Under Gandhi’s guidance, farmers organised marches, and picket markets, and boycotted British goods.
  • Peaceful protests showcased the economic impact of their resistance.
  • Farmers’ unity and commitment attracted widespread support which transcended boundaries.

Also Read: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – The Iron Man of India

Kheda Satyagraha Leaders

Other than Mahatma Gandhi and Vallabhai Patel, there were other Lawyers who joined the movement and led the people, they were:

  • Narhari Parikh 
  • Shankarlal Banker
  • Indulal Yagnik
  • Mahadev Desai
  • Ravi Shankar Vyas 
  • Narhari Parikh
  • Mohanlal Pandya

British Response and Negotiations to the Kheda Satyagraha

  • British administration initially dismissed the movement’s significance.
  • However, the growing public support and unyielding nonviolence forced the British to engage in negotiations.
  • Talks led to a relaxation of tax requirements, providing much-needed relief to the farmers.

Also Read: Santhal Rebellion

Triumph and Inspirational Impact

  • Kheda Satyagraha’s success inspired hope and determination across India.
  • It became a symbol of the potential of nonviolent resistance against oppressive British policies.
  • The movement’s triumph emboldened Indians, instigating a surge of protests against British rule.

Catalyst for Future Movements

  • Kheda Satyagraha laid the groundwork for subsequent movements in India’s fight for freedom.
  • Strategies such as peaceful protests and boycotts served as models for future actions.
  • Gandhi’s principles and the lessons of Kheda guided major events like the Salt March and the Quit India Movement.

Also Read: What was Khilafat Movement?

Enduring Legacy of the Kheda Satyagraha

  • Kheda Satyagraha stands as a testament to the power of peaceful resistance.
  • The unity and resilience of Kheda’s farmers left an indelible mark on India’s struggle for independence.
  • The movement’s success underscored the effectiveness of nonviolence in achieving meaningful change.

Historical Significance of the Kheda Satyagraha

Khedha Satyagraha, also known as the Kheda Satyagraha, was a significant episode in India’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule. It took place in the Kheda district of Gujarat in 1918. It was initially led by the farmers themselves and then by Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Mahatma Gandhi. The satyagraha was a nonviolent protest against the oppressive policies of the British government, particularly their decision to levy heavy taxes on the local farmers despite a devastating famine in the region. The protesters used civil disobedience and non-cooperation to resist these unjust taxes, ultimately succeeding in getting some relief for the farmers. Khedha Satyagraha showcased the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance as a powerful tool in the Indian independence movement.

Also Read: Nipakh Tutej: The Father of Golden Revolution in India


What was the aim of Kheda Satyagraha?

The aim of the Kheda Satyagraha was the non-payment of tax to the British government because of the severe crop failure faced by them due to erratic monsoons in 1918. Also, the Bombay Presidency had increased taxes by 23% which was altogether impossible for the farmers to pay.

Who helped Mahatma Gandhi in Kheda Satyagraha?

Sardar Vallabhai Patel helped Mahatma Gandhi during the Kheda Satyagraha. Though the movement initially began with the farmers led by Mohanlal Pandya, a local leader.

Why was Satyagraha Organised in Kheda in 1917?

Due to the crop failure and plague in Kheda district in Gujarat, Satyagraha was organised by Mahatma Gandhi. The philosophy of Satyagraha, emphasising truth and nonviolence, became the driving force.



#1. What was the primary reason behind the Kheda Satyagraha led by Mahatma Gandhi?

#2. Which year did the Kheda Satyagraha take place in India's struggle for independence?

#3. Who were the leaders besides Mahatma Gandhi who played significant roles in organizing the Kheda Satyagraha?


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