Chapter : 3. Nationalism in India

Differing Strands Within The Movement

Differing Strands Within The Movement
(i) The Movement in the Towns : Thousands of students left government controlled schools and colleges. Lawyers gave up their legal practices. The council elections were boycotted in most of the provinces.
Foreign goods were boycotted, liquor shops picketed. Indian institutions had to be set up so that they could be used in place of the British one's.
(ii) Rebellion in the Countryside :
(1) In Awadh-Peasants were led by Ram Chandra - a Sanyasi, who had earlier been to Fiji as an indentured labourer. Peasants had to do begar and work at landlord’s farms without any payment.
(2) The peasant movement demanded reduction of revenue, abolution of begar and social boycott of oppressive landlords.
(3) In many places Panchayats organised farmers, washermen and asked them not to give services to the landlords.
(4) In 1921 Gandhiji distributed land among the poor peasants.
(5) In the Gudem Hills of Andhra Pradesh a militant guerrilla movement spread in the early 1920 s. The Colonial government had closed large forest areas, preventing people from entering the forests to graze their cattle or to collect Fuel Wood. This enraged the hill people. They felt that their traditional rights were denied. When government began forcing them to contribute begar for road building, the hill people revolted. They attacked police and killed British Officials. Their leader Alluri Sitaram Raju was captured exiled in 1924.
(iii) Swaraj in the Plantations : Workers too had their own understanding of Gandhiji and the notion of Swaraj. For plantation workers in Assam, freedom meant the right to move freely in and out of the confined space in which they were enclosed, and it meant retaining a link with the village from which they had come. Under the Inland Emigration Act of 1859, plantation workers were not permitted to leave the tea gardens without permission, and in fact they were rarely given such permission. When they heared of the Non Cooperation Movement, thousands of workers defied the authorities, left the plantations and headed home. They believed that Gandhi Raj was coming and every one would be given land in their own villages. They however never reached their destination. Stranded in the way by a railway and steamer strike they were caught by the police and brutally beaten up.

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