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Preparatory Training and Disciplined Satyagraha in Bardoli (1928)

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Abstract

Bardoli Satyagraha entailed a tax revolt that took place in 1928 in the taluka (sub district) of Bardoli, which was located in the district of Surat in south Gujarat. At the time, Gujarat fell within the administrative unit of the Bombay Presidency. This particular anticolonial protest was celebrated in India (and abroad) as the first “successfully” organized episode of popular satyagraha that resisted the colonial state. It was received publicly as a quintessential Gandhian protest because of the nonviolent tactics with which the satyagrahis resisted the British. The protest achieved its principal objective, which included forcing the colonial state to withdraw a policy aimed at raising the rate of land revenue paid by peasants (which was a tax that was levied in the form of rent paid to the state). In important ways, it was because activists undertook the agitation in manners that were disciplined, internally coordinated, and observant of Gandhi’s nonviolent strictures, unlike earlier peasant agitations, that afforded Bardoli Satyagraha with an aura of “triumph.” In this chapter, I demonstrate how coordinated forms of collective resistance were achieved because the peasants successfully undertook various forms of preparatory training and physical maneuvers. These embodied preparatory practices drew from Gandhi’s prescriptions in which he stressed the necessity for Indian peasants and middle-class Hindus who populated the nationalist movement in Gujarat to undertake forms of physical training as an ethical means to nurture their bodily and moral capacities.

Keywords

Civil Disobedience Colonial State Nationalist Movement Congress Party Home Ruler 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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© Arafaat A. Valiani 2011

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