Kheda Satyagraha 1918

In Kheda, Gujarat, the peasants were frequently plagued by poverty, famines, scant resource, untouchability, alcoholism and British discrimination. The famine of Chhappania Akal and some subsequent famines had destroyed the agrarian economy of the region and the peasants were still dying out of starvation. The Bombay Presidency increased the taxes in 1917-18 by 23%. In 1918, Gujarat as a whole suffered a severe epidemic of Plague and in Kheda alone around 17000 people lost their lives. Further, cholera also broke out locally. This was the immediate reason of the revolt. The revolt was against the taxes. The government said that if the taxes are not paid, the property would be seized. This revolt gave India a robust leader in Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and his colleagues such as Narhari Parikh, Mohanlal Pandya and Ravi Shankar Vyas organized this major tax revolt, which was able to mobilize all the castes and creeds of the region. The peasants of Kheda signed a petition in leadership of Sardar Patel and called for tax to be scrapped. The revolt was organized by Gujarat Sabha and Gandhi was its spiritual leader. The Kheda peasants were joined by Ahmadabad and Vadodara Gujaratis, but it was kept a pure Gujarati struggle. When the tax was not paid, the government sent agents to seize the property. The farmers did not resist but they simply donated their cash and invaluable to the Gujarat Sabha. It was a united protest, outstandingly disciplined. The result was that the Government reached an agreement for both the parties. Tax for the current year and next year was suspended and all confiscated property was returned.

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