Bardoli Satyagraha

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 18, 2022, 5:07

The Bardoli Satyagraha was a movement that began on 12 June 1928 for the peasants of Bardoli against arbitrary tax hikes. Sardar Vallabhai Patel led the Bardoli Satyagraha during the fight for independence. Indian peasants attempted to hold a nonviolent protest against British authority in India during this Satyagraha.

Beginning of the Bardoli Satyagraha

  • Floods and hunger struck the Bardoli Taluka in Gujarat, causing agricultural yields to plummet. This had a financial impact on the farmers.
  • The Bombay Presidency ignored the farmers' distress and hiked tax rates by 22%.
  • Despite petitions and appeals from civic groups and farmers urging the government to reconsider this unfair tax rise in light of the dire circumstances, the administration opted to proceed with tax collection.
  • The local Congress Party released a study in 1927 demonstrating that the farmers would be unable to bear the weight of the increased assessment. The authorities, however, refused to budge.
  • Farmers in Bardoli urged Vallabhai Patel to lead a protest campaign in which they unanimously agreed not to pay taxes in January 1928.
  • Patel agreed to take on the leadership position only after receiving guarantees from the farmers about their commitment to the cause.
  • He warned them about the probable implications of their decision, including land and property seizure and imprisonment.
  • Patel contacted the authorities and informed them of the issue. But received the retort that the administration would not make any compromises.

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The Bardoli Satyagraha Movement

  • Patel led his nonviolent 'army' in Bardoli with excellence.
  • He split the taluk into camps and enlisted hundreds of men and women under it.
  • Volunteers hailed from Hindu, Muslim, and Parsi backgrounds.
  • There was also door-to-door campaigning.
  • Volunteers produced news bulletins, campaigns, and lectures from the camps, teaching the public the importance of being disciplined and prepared for austerity.
  • The Bardoli Satyagraha movement drew a considerable number of female participants. These women were the ones who gave Patel the title 'Sardar.'
  • Peasants were asked to swear in the name of God that they would not pay taxes.
  • Those who paid taxes or supported the British were shunned socially.
  • They also attempted to improve the Kaliparaj caste's situation (farmers who worked as landless labourers).
  • They refused to sell non-essential supplies to local government agencies.
  • They used a variety of strategies to fight eviction and confiscation (Jabti).
  • They had informers in government agencies who would provide them advance notification of whether or not a “Jabti” notice would be carried out.
  • When the cops arrived to confiscate the land, the whole town would have relocated to a new location, leaving the officers with an empty village.
  • Despite its small size, the Bardoli Satyagraha campaign drew national notice and support.
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Post-Movement Effects of the Bardoli Satyagraha

  • Fearing that things may run out of control, the government established the Maxwell-Broomfield committee to investigate the situation.
  • The profit margin was cut to 6.03 percent.
  • The seized land was restored to the villagers.
  • Following the success of the Bardoli Satyagraha, Patel rose to prominence as a national leader. He demonstrated his exceptional organisational and leadership abilities.

The Bardoli Satyagraha movement advocated for a tax-free society. Even though the campaign mostly overlooked destitute farmers and failed to modify the bonded labour system, it was a watershed moment in the Indian nationalist struggle.

The Bardoli Satyagraha Movement is considered to be a turning point in the Civil Disobedience Movement, which was a pivotal part of the Indian Independence Movement.

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FAQs on Bardoli Satyagraha

Q1. When did the Bardoli Satyagraha begin?

Ans. The Bardoli Satyagraha began on 12 June 1928.

Q2. Why did the Bardoli Satyagraha begin?

Ans. The Bardoli Satyagraha began in response to the British government's excessive and discriminatory taxation of the farmers of Bardoli.

Q3. Who was the most prominent figure in the Bardoli Satyagraha?

Ans. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was the most prominent figure in the Bardoli Satyagraha.

Q4. How did Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel lead the Bardoli Satyagraha campaign?

Ans. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had assembled all of the Muslims and Hindus in Bardoli and staged a nonviolent Bardoli Satyagraha against the British.