Gandhi Also Refused To Pay Bail

वामदेवके कुत्ते ब्रिटिशसे भी दो कदम आगे हैं जो कि सीके को एक राजनीतिक बंदी का इज्जत नहीं दे रहे हैं।

His first satyagraha in India was in Champaran, in Bihar, where he went in 1917 at the request of a poor peasants to inquire into the grievances of the much exploited peasants of that district, who were compelled by British indigo planters to grow indigo on 15 percent of their land and part with the whole crop for rent. The news that a Mahatma had arrived to inquire into their sufferings spread like wild fire and thousands of peasants left their villages to have his darshan and to tell him of their woes. The vested interests were up in arms and the police superintendent ordered Gandhi to leave district. Gandhi refused and was summoned to appear in court the next day. Thousand of peasants followed him there. The embarrassed magistrate postponed the trial and released him without bail, for Gandhi refused to furnish any.

Later, the case was withdrawn and Gandhi proceeded with his inquiry. Along with the inquiry, he educated the peasants in the principles of satyagraha and taught them that the first condition of freedom was freedom from fear. He sent for volunteers who helped to instruct the illiterate and ignorant peasants in elementary hygiene and ran schools for their children. This kind of activity was typical of Gandhi. Even as he taught people to fight for their rights, he taught them to fulfill their obligations. A free people must learn to stand on their feet. But the more he worked for the people the less was his presence welcome to the Government who were at last obliged to set up a committee of inquiry. The report of the committee of which Gandhi was a member went in favour of the tenant farmers. The success of his first experiment in satyagraha in India greatly enhanced Gandhi's reputation in this country.

Hardly had his work in Champaran been done when Gandhi was called to his ashram at Sabarmati by an urgent appeal from the textile workers of Ahmedabad whose dispute with the mill-owners was taking a serious turn. Having satisfied himself that the workers' demands were legitimate and mill-owners' refusal to submit the dispute to arbitration unreasonable, Gandhi asked the workers to strike, on condition that they took a pledge to remain non-violent. They agreed, but after a few days their zeal began to flag and Gandhi feared that they might break the pledge and resort to violence. Since it was the fear of starvation which drove the workers to desperation, Gandhi decided to starve himself. He declared that he would not touch food until a settlement had been reached. At the end of three days, both parties agreed on an arbitration amid general rejoicing.


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