Bardoli Satyagraha

Bardoli Satyagraha

This article deals with ‘ Bardoli Satyagraha – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Modern History’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here


Held in 1928 in Gujarat led by Vallabhbhai Patel, making Patel  one of the main leaders of the independence movement. 

Events that led to the Bardoli Satyagraha

  • In 1925, the Taluka of Bardoli in Gujarat suffered from floods and famine, but government of the Bombay Presidency raised the tax rate by 30%  that year,
  • Despite petitions from civic groups,Government refused to cancel the rise in the face of the calamities


  • Due to this, Bardoli Peasants decided to organize a campaign. Patel accepted Presidency of Peasants
  • Gandhi also supported this movement through his writings in Young India and 2 visits although he was not directly involved  .
  • Satyagraha was started by taking oath on respective gods . Those who refused to sign were subjected to social boycott
  • Campaign included
    1. Non payment of taxes
    2. non-cooperation
    3. submission to arrest
    4. resignation of offices.
    5. economic boycott by refusing to supply officials and other members of the opposition with non-essential goods and services.
    6. For an official to receive any services in the Taluka, he had to have the permission of the Satyagraha headquarters, which was particularly alarming to the government.

Response of Government and Final Settlement

  • Government issued final notices urging the peasants to pay the assessment or suffer forfeiture of land. The peasants refused to comply with these notices. 
  • Government of Bombay became stern and took all repres­sive measures such as attachment of land, and crops, and confiscation of cattle and other movable property.
  • In response, K.M. Munshi and Lalji Naranji resigned from the Bombay Legislative Council .This was followed by Vitthalbhai Patel’s threat to resign who was Presi­dent of the Bombay Legislative Council. The pressure of the Legislative Assembly was so strong that the government was obliged to take a soft stand against the movement
  • Workers in Bombay textile mills went on strike and there was a threat to bring about a railway strike that would make movement of troops and supplies to Bardoli impossible.
  •  Even the flames of Bardoli had reached to Punjab and many jathas of peasants were despatched to Bardoli.
  • British government had high stakes in the Bardoli agitation. The Simon Commission was about to come in India and the Congress declared that it would have nation-wide boycott of the Si­mon Commission. Looking to the national importance of Bardoli , British government took a soft-line. Vallabhbhai Patel was contacted and some kind of agreement was struck.
  • An enquiry committee was constituted by the government un­der the Broomfield and Maxwell (Broomfield Maxwell Commission). Committee suggested reducing the en­hancement of land tax from earlier 30% to 6% .

Note – There was social upliftment of Kaliparaj caste– who worked as landless laborers (Patidars tilled their land with traditional debt-serfs, who were Dubla tribals known as Kaliparaj (‘black people’), and who constituted 50% of the population of Bardoli. The Kaliparaj were extremely backward and were praised by Gandhi’s secretary Mahadeb Desai in his Story of Bardoli (1929) as most ‘innocuous and guileless’ and ‘law-abiding’. Kaliparaj bonded labourer was assured of a minimum of food and clothing by the Patidar, and the realities of exploitation were somewhat veiled by an element of traditional mutuality. In movement ,  Kaliparaj on the whole rejected the bait of land on easy terms being offered by government officials.

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