Local and regional movements as part of freedom struggle

Local and regional movements as part of freedom struggle

Malabar Rebellion 

The non – co – operation movement was in full swing during this period of time.It was particularly strong in Malabar, where the Moppilas were agitated over the Khilafat issue.The Gandhian movement had a tremendous impact in Kerala, with large numbers joining the satyagrapha campaign.Gandhiji visited Malabar in 1921, giving a further impetus to the movement.Khilafat Committees sprang up in large numbers and the fraternity between the Hindus and Muslims, through the work in Congress-Khilafat Committees, was a truly remarkable feature of the non-cooperation movement in Kerala, in its early stages.The speed with which the Khilafat agitation spread, especially in the Eranad and Valluvanad taluks, created alarm in official circles.A perplexed officialdom clamped down prohibitory orders in the two taluks.

Meetings were banned and many people were arrested in the name of law and order.A tragic episode then ensued, namely the Moppila Rebellion or the Malabar Rebellion of 1921.Police attempted to arrest the secretary of the Khilafat Committee of Pokottur in Eranad on a charge of having stolen a pistol.A crowd of 2000 Moppilas from the neighbourhood foiled the attempt.The next day, a police party in search of Khilafat rebels entered the famous Mambaram mosque at Tirurangadi.They seized some records and arrested a few Khilafat volunteers.A rumour spread that the mosque was desecrated.Hundreds of rustic Moppilas converged on Tirurangadi and besieged the local police station. The police opened fire.The mob reacted in a mad fury.Violence spread and engulfed Eranad and Valluvanad taluks and neighbouring areas for over two months.Congress leaders tried in vain to check the violence.Towards the later stages of the rebellion, owing to unfounded rumour of Hindus having helped the police or sought police help, there were instances of atrocities perpetrated on Hindus.This marred the relations between the two communities. Meanwhile British and Gurkha regiments were rushed to the area.Martial law was clamped.A series of repressive measures followed and by November, the rebellion was practically crushed.Relief operations in the ravaged areas, undertaken mostly by voluntary agencies which received help and funds from Gandhiji, lasted for over six months.

Bardoli satyagraha

Quite like Kheda peasant struggle, the Bardoli (Surat, Gujarat) move­ment was also a no-tax movement. It would not be wrong to say that the Bardoli satyagraha of the peasants was the child of the non-coop­eration movement started by Gandhiji.  Gandhiji selected Bardoli as a suitable place for launching civil disobedience campaign because the place had witnessed and participated in the constructive work. D.N. Dhanagare has sketched a portrait of the socio-economic background of Bardoli. He says that Patidars were the dominant cultivators in Surat taluka.

The Bardoli satyagraha was launched in mid-February 1928. By July all noon-agriculturists’ holdings were forfeited by the govern­ment. Out of the land taken over about one tenth was sold. As regards the cultivating landowners, 50,000 acres of land were forfeited though not sold. The movement thus became serious during the months of April and May.

chittagong armoury raid

The Chittagong armoury raid, also known as the Chittagong uprising, was an attempt on 18 April 1930 to raid the armoury of police and auxiliary forces from the Chittagong armoury in the Bengal Presidency of British India (now in Bangladesh) by armed Indian independence fighters led by Surya Sen.

The raiders were members of revolutionary groups who favoured armed uprisings as a means to achieve India’s independence from British colonial rule. They were inspired by the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland and led by Surya Sen. However, they were ideologically influenced more by the Communists in Soviet Russia. Many of these raiders later became Communists. The group included Ganesh Ghosh, Lokenath Bal, Ambika Chakrobarty, Harigopal Bal (Tegra), Ananta Singh, Anand Prasad Gupta, Tripura Sen, Bidhubhusan Bhattacharya, Pritilata Waddedar, Kalpana Dutta, Himangshu Sen, Binod Bihari Chowdhury, Subodh Roy, Monoranjan Bhattacharya.

The plan was put into action at 10 p.m. on 18 April 1930. The police armoury (in Police Line in Dampara) was captured by a group of revolutionaries led by Ganesh Ghosh, while another group of ten men led by Lokenath Bal took the Auxiliary Forces armoury (now the old Circuit House). Some 65 people took part in the raid, undertaken in the name of Indian Republican Army, Chittagong Branch. They failed to locate ammunition but did succeed in cutting telephone and telegraph wires and disrupting train movements.

About 16 of the group captured the European club’s headquarters (in Pahartali, now the Railway Office next to Shahjahan Field) but there were few club members present because of it being Good Friday. Upon learning of the situation, the Europeans were able to get the alarm out to troops, which the revolutionaries had not expected. After the raids, the revolutionaries gathered outside the police armoury, where Sen took a military salute, hoisted a national flag, and proclaimed a Provisional Revolutionary Government. The revolutionaries left Chittagong town before dawn and marched towards the Chittagong hill ranges, looking for a safe place to hide.

Eka movement

Eka Movement or Unity Movement is a peasant movement which surfaced in Hardoi, Bahraich and Sitapur during the end of 1921 by Madari Pasi, an offshoot of Non Cooperation Movement. The initial thrust was given by the leaders of Congress and Khilafat movement. The main reason for the movement was high rent, which was generally higher than 50% of recorded rent in some areas. Oppression by thikadhars who were entrusted to collect rent and practice of share rent also contributed to this movement.

The Eka meetings were marked by a religious ritual in which a hole that represented River Ganga was dug in the ground and filled with water, a priest was brought in to preside and assembled peasants vowed that they would pay only recorded rent but pay it on time, would not leave when ejected, would refuse to do forced labour, would give no help to criminals and abide by the Panchayat decisions, they would not pay the revenue without receipt and would remain united under any circumstance. Small zamindars who were disenchanted with British Government due to heavy land revenue demand were also a part of this movement.  Soon the leadership of Movement changed from Congress to Madari Pasi, a low caste leader who was not inclined to accept non-violence. This led the movement losing contact with nationalist class.Because in this the national leader was Mahatma Gandhi and his ideology was based on none violence.  By March 1922, due to severe repression of British the Eka Movement came to an end.

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