SATYAGRAHA ERA

PURNA SWARAJ celebrations throughout the country on 26th January, 1930, in the wake of the famous Lahore Session, revealed the pent-up feelings, enthusiasm and readiness of the people for sacrifice. The independence pledge had rekindled the smouldering fire and a new upsurge was in the offing.

It was in this atmosphere that All India Congress Working Committee met in February at Sabarmati and authorised Gandhiji to start Civil Disobedience Movement at a time and place of his choice.

It was not yet clear what would be the programme of action. Gandhiji's strategy was not clear even to his closest associates. But the country had unbounded faith in Gandhiji's leadership. Earlier he had made his 11-point demand on the Viceroy and had of offered inspite of everything that had happened, to call off Civil Disobedience. These points included total prohibition, reduction of Rupee ratio to 1s. 4d., reduction of Land Revenue by half, reduction of all Military expenditure by half, protective Tariff on foreign cloth, relaxation of the Arms Act for self-defence and abolition of Salt Tax.

It soon became known that Salt Tax was to be chosen for direct action campaign. This, when it started, appeared fantastic and ridiculous to the Moderates and the Government. But soon the country was ablaze with the mighty movement that is remembered with pride. "In it one might have said, the progress of a thousand years was encompassed within the events of a year."

Gandhiji was to start on Dandi March to take possession of the salt deposits of the Government-Salt Depot in the seashore. Before starting this march, Gandhiji, sent a letter to the Viceroy apprising him of his plan. This letter, sent through Mr. Reginald Reynolds, an Englishman Ashramite, gave a tale of India's ruination, poverty and serfdom under the British Raj, and demanded redress on the lines of the 11 points. If, however, no redress came, "On the 11th day of this month I shall proceed, with such co­workers of the Ashram as I can take, to disregard the provisions of the Salt Laws. I regard this tax to be the most iniquitous of all from the poor man's standpoint. As the Independence movement is essentially for the poorest in the land, the beginning will be made with this evil. The wonder is that we have submitted to the cruel monopoly for so long. It is, I know, open to you to frustrate my design by arresting me. I hope that there will be tens of thousands ready, in a disciplined manner, to take up the work after me, and, in the act of disobeying the Salt Act, to lay themselves open to the penalties of a Law that should never have disfigured the Statute Book."

The Viceroy's reply to this ultimatum came back quickly, and was unequivocal. His Excellency expressed his regret that Mr. Gandhi should have been "Contemplating a course of action which was clearly bound to involve violation of the Law and danger to the public peace."

Gandhiji wrote, "On bended knees I asked for bread and received the stone instead. The English Nation responds only to force, and I am not surprised by the Viceregal reply. The only public peace the Nation knows is the peace of the public prison. India is a vast prison-house. I repudiate this (British) Law and regard it as my sacred duty to break the mournful monotony of compulsory peace that is choking the heart of the Nation for want of free vent."

Historic March to Dandhi

Gandhiji began his march at 6.30 a.m. on 12th March, 1930 accompanied by his 79 Ashramites. It was a historic scene, calling back to our minds, the old legends coupled with the names of Shri Rama and the Pandavas. Motilal Nehru compared it to the march of Shri Rama Chandra to Sri Lanka. C. F. Andrews regarded it as Moses leading the exodus of Israeli ties. Americans compared the epic march to Lincoln’s decision to maintain the Union and his sending troops to the southern States. And all this by one frail unarmed man at 61, challenging the then strongest empire.

The March was widely reported and anxiously watched all over the country. Each day added to the fervour and enthusiasm. 300 Village officers tendered their resignations from the area through which Gandhiji passed. Gandhiji had said earlier "Wait till I begin. Once I march to the place, you will know what to do." He had a clear vision of this scheme of resistance when others were in the dark.

Government had not yet arrested Gandhiji but Sardar Vallabhbhai and some other leaders had already been put in jail.

The road was watered, the path was strewn with flowers and leaves and decorated with flags and festoons. Crowds gathered everywhere to witness the march and pay homage to this strange army and its general. Gandhiji preached his old Gospel along the route. Khaddar, abstinence from drink and removal of untouchability were the three favourite themes, but he also enjoined that all should join the ­Satyagrahis. During the march he declared that he would either die on the way or else keep away from the Ashram until Swaraj was won. Gandhiji's march lasted 24 days. They had traversed a distance of 200 miles. All along he was emphasising that the march was a pilgrimage, a period of penance not to be spent in feteing and feasting.

On the morning of April 5th, Gandhiji reached Dandi. Soon after the morning prayers, Gandhiji and his volunteers proceeded to break the Salt Law by picking up the salt lying on the seashore. Immediately after this Gandhiji issued a press statement: "Now that the technical or ceremonial breach of the Salt Law has been committed, it is now open to anyone who would take the risk of prosecution under the Salt Law to manufacture salt wherever he wishes, and wherever it is convenient."

Arrest of Gandhiji

The country had been held back and was now ablaze from end to end, being permitted to start salt satyagraha as from the 6th of April, the national week. Huge public meetings were held in all big cities, the audience running up to six figures. The events at Karachi, Shiroda, Ratnagiri, Patna, Peshawar, Calcutta, Madras and Sholapur constituted a new experience in self-sacrifice and also laid bare the mailed fist of the British Government. There were military firings, lathi charges and arrests. Special Ordinances were promulgated to suppress the movement. The press was stricken hard. Gandhiji had been guiding the movement through his speeches and his Navjivan all along. The Government had expected the movement to fizzle out if Gandhiji was left alone. Gandhiji then drafted his second letter to the Viceroy announcing his intention of raiding the salt works of Dharsana and Chharsada. Then came the time for the arrest of Gandhiji. It was ten past one in the night when he was placed in a police car and taken to Yerwada prison.

Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett of the London Telegraph wrote: "There was something intensely dramatic in the atmosphere while we were waiting for the train, for we all felt we were sole eye-witnesses of a scene which may become historical, this arrest of a prophet, false or true, for, false or true, Gandhi is now regarded as a holy man and a saint by millions of Indians. Who knows whether, one hundred years from now, he may be worshipped as a supreme being by 300 million people. We could not shake off these thoughts and it seemed incongruous to be at a level-crossing at dawn to take the prophet into custody."

Before the arrest, however, Gandhiji had dictated at Dandi his last message advising on what was to be done. In this he had said, "After I am arrested, neither the people nor my colleagues should be daunted. The conductor of this fight is God and not I.".... "Whole villages should come forward to pick or manufacture salt. Women should picket liquor and opium shops and foreign cloth shops. In every house young and old should begin spinning on takli and heaps of yarn should be daily woven. There should be bonfires of foreign cloth. Hindus should regard none as untouchables. Hindus, Muslims, Parsees and Christians, all should heartily embrace one another. The major communities should be satisfied with what remains after satisfaction of minor communities. Students should leave Government schools, and Government servants should resign and be employed in the service of the people, like the brave Patels and Talatis who have resigned. Thus shall we easily complete Swaraj."

After the Arrest

Gandhiji's arrest was followed by demonstrations from one end of the country to the other. It was the signal for voluntary and complete Hartals in Bombay, Calcutta and several other places. The whole city of Bombay was astir with the huge procession and several public meetings. About 50,000 men had struck work in the mills. Railway Workshops had to be closed. Cloth merchants decided on a 6-day hartal. Resignations from Honorary officers and services were announced at frequent intervals. There were serious disturbances at Sholapur and in Calcutta.

Gandhiji's arrest had raised a worldwide protest. There were sympathetic hartals among Indian businessmen in places as far wide as Panama, Sumatra and the boycott movement was a matter of concern to the press in England, Germany and France. In America an influentially signed message was cabled to Mr. Ramsay Mecdonald by prominent clergymen led by Dr. John Haynes Holmes.

Civil Disobedience Extended

Mr. Abbas Tayabji took up Gandhiji's place as Leader of the salt satyagrahis but was soon arrested. Arrests, lathi charges and repression was let loose in towns and villages but was met with an increasing tempo of resistance by the people. After Gandhiji's arrest, the Working Committee met in May at Allahabad and extended the scope of Civil Disobedience. It called upon the entire nation to make all sacrifices that they were capable of Boycott of foreign cloth throughout the country was to be completed without delay and production of Khadi was to be intensified. Contraband salt manufacture was to be extended. Forest Laws were to be disobeyed. Foreign cloth was to be boycotted. British goods including British banking, insurance, shipping and similar other institutions were to be boycotted. Lastly, "The Committee is of opinion that the time has arrived for the inauguration of No-tax campaign by non-payment of special taxes in certain Provinces, and that a beginning should be made by non­-payment of the land tax in the Provinces were the ryotwari system prevails, such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnatak, Andhra, Tamil Nad and the Punjab, and the non-payment of the Chowkidari tax in Provinces like Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. It calls upon such Provinces to organize campaigns of non-payment of the land tax or Chowkidari tax in areas selected by the Provincial Congress Committees."

Dharsana Raid

After the arrest of Mr. Tayabji, Shrimati Sarojini Naidu was to direct the raid at Dharsana. She was also arrested with her batch of volunteers. Batches of volunteers later rushed towards the salt depot. ­They were beaten and chased out. The same evening another batch of 220 volunteers were arrested. Fresh batches of volunteers congregated and more salt raids took place. A mass raid at Dharsana took place on the 21st May when 2,500 volunteers participated. They were led by Imam Saheb, the 62-year-­old colleague of Gandhiji in South Africa. The volunteers commenced the raid early in the morning and as they attacked the salt heaps at different places, the Police would charge them with lathis and beat them back. The Imam Saheb and other leaders were arrested. Hundreds of volunteers were injured, some of them fatally. As they were removed to Hospitals or prison camps by the Police, fresh batches came to Dharsana to take their places.

Wadala Raids

A succession of raids were also made on the wadala salt depot and hundreds of volunteers took part in them. But the most demonstrative raid took place on the 1st June. On the morning of the first, nearly 15,000 volunteers and others participated in a mass raid at Wadala. Successive batches marched up to the Port Trust level-crossing, and were held up by a police Cordon. Soon the raiders among whom were women and children broke through the Cordon, splashed through slime and mud and ran over the pans. The raiders were repulsed by the Police who were acting under immediate supervision of the Home Member. Such mass raids took place in other parts of the country also. The way these raids were dealt with by the Police raised public indignation to high pitch. Mr. Webb Miller writing to the 'New Freeman expressed abhorrence of the sights at Dharsana:-

"In eighteen years of reporting in twenty-two countries, during which I have witnessed innumlerable civil disturbances, riots, street fights and rebellions, I have never witnessed such harrowing scenes as at Dharsana. Sometimes the scenes were so painful that I had to turn away momentarily. One surprising feature was the discipline of the volunteers. It seemed they were thoroughly imbued with Gandhi's non-violence creed."

Civil Disobedience Spreads

The Civil Disobedience movement assumed various aspects and was carried with varying success in different Provinces. The boycott of foreign cloth had become more effective. The business community in Bombay including the mill owners rendered enthusiastic support. Bombay was the chief centre and guide for the rest of the country. The movement, was of revolt and defiance of the British authority on the one hand and constructive work for the masses on the other. Boycott of cloth was coupled with khadi. Prohibition took the shape of cutting down all Toddi trees and picketing all wine shops. Suppression of the newspapers was met with by innumerable cyclostyled news-sheets. There were processions and meetings in defiance of the Police.

The repression that was let loose to subdue this new spirit and situation was also diverse in shape and mounting to new heights in severity. The Working Committee of the Congress was declared unlawful and Pandit Motilal Nehru arrested.

The repression, however, served to intensify the movement specially its boycott aspects. The volunteer organizations in Bombay became more thoroughgoing. Women came to be front. Braving the sun and rain, and lathis and arrests these tender girls and women, made picketing very effective at the liquorshops and cloth shops. When a shopkeeper would not stop to sell his goods, his wife or daughter would go and picket his shop. The young and old women brought up in the seclusion of their homes had rallied to the call and found a new world in the sacrifice and suffering for the country. Their participation was electrifying in its effect, and incidentally brought them a new social emancipation in the process.

Incidents of heroism and names of places and persons that specially distinguished themselves in those glorious days are too numerous to be commemorated. We can but make mention of a few.

At Peshawar the Pathans once notoriously blood-thirsty and valiant, had been transformed into a non-violent people under the leadership of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan affectionately called the Frontier Gandhi. They gave an account of themselves which has become a legend for the whole country. There were serious cases of firings at Peshawar, but the spirit of the people remained totally unsubdued. At one time as the leader of the procession was shot down by the military police, another came to take his place and was shot down to be replaced by a third till there were several casualties in cold blood.

Another incident connected with Peshawar tills one with pride. There was a wholesale firing on the unarmed crowds. Two Platoons of the second battalion of the 18th Garhwali Rifles, Hindu troops, in the midst of a Muslim crowd, refused the order to fire and fraternised with the people. A court-­martial imposed savage sentences on 17 men of Garhwali rifles. One was given life transportation, another 15 years rigorous imprisonment and rest terms varying from 3 to 10 years. This incident infused a new spirit among the people. From April 25th to May 4th Peshawar was in the hands of the people and had to be recaptured by powerful British forces with Air Squadrons.

In Bengal for some months, the district of Midnapore appeared to be beyond the reach of the Bengal Government. The revolutionary party, disagreeing with Gandhiji's non-violence were also active. The armoury raid in Chittagong, which even Gandhiji had to admit was a "daring deed", electrified the country. There were news, carried by the illicit news-sheets and emissaries, of a strange new life and existence, in villages and towns. Young and old, men and women cheerfully braved the Police lathis, squatted on the road in passive resistance for hours on end when processions were blocked, and the satyagrahis were accompanied and seen off to jails with flowers and celebrations, by families and Friends. At Bombay a boy named Babu Ganno stood across a Police lorry at the Kalbadevi Road to prevent its progress and was crushed under it.

Bardoli Once More

In Gujarat, the great event was no-tax campaign successfully carried out in Bardoli and Borsad Talukas. The oppression by the authorities and the resistance of the peasantry was so great that 80,000 people left their homes and migrated to villages in the neighbourhood of Baroda State. Mr. Brailsford has given a description of the exodus, part of which is given below:- "And then began one of the strangest migrations in history. One after another, acting with a unanimity of which only Indians with their tight caste organisations are capable, these villagers packed their belongings into their bullock carts and drove them across the border into Baroda. A few even burned the rich crop which they were too late to remove. I visited one of their camps. They have built temporary shelters with matting for walls and palm leaves on sacking for a roof. The rains are over; they will suffer no grave hardship till May. But they are crowded together with their beloved cattle, and packed in the narrow space are all their household goods, the great jars in which they store their rice, cloth and churns, chests and beds, shining pots of brass, here a plough, there a picture of the gods, and everywhere, at intervals, the presiding genius of this camp a photograph of Mahatma Gandhi. I asked a big group of them why they had left their homes. They women gave the promptest and simplest answer, - "Because Mahatmaji is in prison." The men were still conscious of an economic grievance; "farming does not pay, and tax is unjust." One or two said, "To win Swaraj" or Self-Government. "I spent two memorable days touring the deserted villages is company with the Chairman of the Congress organization of Surat. One passed row after row of the padlocked cottages, and through the bars of the windows one could see only empty rooms. The streets were silent lakes of sunlight. Nothing moved until a monkey swung himself over a roof."

The heroic incident of the women of Borsadh may also be mentioned here. On the 21st January, 1931 a demonstration was to be staged at Borsad. The Police determined to counter this demostration, tried to over-awe the volunteers. The women of Borsad showed fearless resistance. Their pots were broken. They were dispersed by force, thrown down and the Police trod upon their chests with boots.

The Police spared, and respected nobody. S. Vallbhabhai's own mother aged over 80 was cooking her food and the boiling pot was knocked down by the Police. United Province was the only province where a general no-tax campaign was inaugurated. Both the Zamindars and tenants being called upon to withhold payment of rent and revenue.

In Bihar, the Chowkidar tax was withheld in large areas. The Province suffered to the full from the imposition of punitive police and confiscation of large properties in lieu of petty sums. In the Central Provinces various satyagrahis were successfully launched and continued inspite of the heavy finese and police excesses. Karnatak also organised no-tax campaign in which more than 800 families participated.

The Punjab gave a good account of itself, specially in the boycott of foreign cloth. Women picketers including Muslim ladies took part. Siapa -(mock funeral wailing) was practised on the houses of those who would sell foreign cloth. On 31st December 1931, the anniversary of the independence resolution was celebrated. At Lahore Subhas Chandra Bose who had been released from Jail after serving a year's term, was severely beaten while marching in a procession.

This harrowing tale and the epic of this glorious time in the national struggle constitutes the most memorable days of our freedom struggle.

As to the fall-out of the civil disobedience movement of 1930, Louis Fischer writes. "Gandhi did two things in 1930. He made the British aware that they were cruelly subjugaating India and he gave Indians the conviction that they would, by lifting their heads and straightening their spines, lift the yoke from their shoulders. The British beat the Indians with batons and rifle buts. The Indians neither avenged nor complained nor retreated. That made England powerless and India invincible."

Gandhi-Irwin Pact and First Round Table Conference

While the Civil Disobedience Movement continued vigorously in spite of untold repression, efforts were made for a compromise and after several attempts of Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru and Mr. M. R. Jayakar, an agreement was reached after 15 days’ strenuous discussions between the Viceroy and Mahatma Gandhi. This agreement, better known as the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, was signed on 5 March, 1931. Under the agreement, the Government was to make concession take stops for the participation of the representatives of Congress in the Second Round Table Conference, and the Congress on part, its had to withdraw the Civil disobedience Movement.

Meanwhile, a Round Table Conference had met in London in early 1931. The intention seemed to have been, to set off the stage; before the world of "representative gathering" of Indians trying for an agreed plan for the future government of their country. It was not Indians, but the Viceroy and his officials who chose these representatives. What they actually did was to carefully assemble all the diverse elements, every creed, every party, every racial minority, every interest in this subcontinent. They collected-princes, princesses, untouchables, Christians, Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, land-lords, commercial magnates, official representatives of Labour, but the true representatives of he country, the Leaders of the Congress, were not there. They were enjoying hospitality in jails.

The spirit in which the Gandhi-Irwin Pact was signed did not last long. In spite of protests from all quarters, the Government carried out the execution of Sardar Bagat Singh, Sukh Dev and Raj Dev and Raj Guru on 23 March 1931. On 18 April 1931, Lord Irwin was succeeded by Lord Willington. The new Viceroy had no intention to abide by the terms of the Pact.

Second Round-Table Conference

In the meantime, however, the Congress Working Committee passed a resolution that Mahatma Gandhi should represent the Congress at the Second Round Table Conference to be convened later in 193l in London. Mahatma Gandhi did attend the Conference as the sole representative of the Congress. As was expected, the communal question and the differences among the Indian people loomed large in this conference and all efforts to solve it by consent proved unsuccessful. Gandhiji put up a valiant light and some of the speeches he delivered were most striking. Speaking on the Congress that he represented, he said: "I am but a poor humble agent acting on behalf of the Indian National Congress; which is, if I am not mistaken, the oldest political organisation we have in India. It has had nearly 50 years of life, during which period it has, without any interruption, held its annual session. It is what it means-National. It represents no particular community, no particular class, no particular interest. It claims to represent all Indian interests and all classes. It is a matter of the greatest pleasure to me to state that it was first conceived in an English brain, Allan Octavian Hume. It was nursed by two great Parsees, Pherozeshah Mahta and Dadabhai Naoroji, whom all India delighted to recognise as its Grand Old Man. From the very commencement, the Congress had Mussalmans, Christians, Anglo-Indians, I might say all religious, sects, creeds, represented upon it more or less fully. The late Budruddin Tyabji identified himself with the Congress. We have had Musalmans as Presidents of the Congress, and Parsees too. We have had women as our Presidents; Dr. Annie Besant was the first, and Mrs. Sarojini Naidu followed.

"The Congress has from its very commencement taken up the cause of the so-called 'untouchables'. Just as the Congress considered Hindu-Muslim unity, thereby meaning unity amongst all the classes, to be indispensable for the attainment of Swaraj, so also did the Congress consider the removal of the curse of untouchability as an indispensable condition for the attainment of full freedom.

"Above all the Congress represents, in its essence, the dumb semi-starved millions scattered over the length and breadth of the land in its 7,00,000 villages, no matter whether they come from what is called British India, or what is called Indian India.

"One word more as to the so-called untouchables," said he, "I can understand the claims advanced on behalf of other communities, but the claims advanced on behalf of the 'untouchables' are to me the unkindest cut of all. It means a perpetual bar sinister. We do not want the 'untouchables' to be classified as a separate class. Sikhs may remain such in perpetuity, so may Muslims and Christians. Will the untouchables remain untouchables in perpetuity? I would far rather that Hinduism died than that untouchability lived. Those who speak of the political rights of untouchables do not know India and do not know how Indian society is constructed. Therefore, I want to say with all the emphasis I can command that if I was the only person to resist this thing, I will resist it with my life."

Apparently the Government's scheme at the Round Table Conference was only a scheme for Indians sharing power with the beaurocracy and not one designed to achieve responsible Government. "I wish them well and the Congress is entirely out of it. The Congress will wander," said Gandhiji, "no matter how many years, in the wilderness, rather than bend itself to a proposal under which the hardy tree of freedom and Responsible Government can never grow." An impasse had developed over the communal question.

When the conference concluded on the first of December, Gandhiji proposed the vote of thanks to the chair and pointed out that they had come to the parting of ways and that their ways would take different directions. He said, "the dignity of human nature is such that we must face the storms of life. I do not know in what direction my path would lie. But it does not matter to me. Even though I may have to go in an exactly different direction, you are still entitled to a vote of thanks from the bottom of my heart."

Gandhiji returned empty-handed from the Round Table Conference. The condition on which the Congress had agreed to participate, abandonment of stark repression, was also being broken. Jawaharlal Nehru and T. A. K. Sherwani had been arrested and put in jail again. In the North West Frontier Province Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and Dr. Khan Saheb were also arrested. Special Ordinances had been enforced in the United Provinces, the North West Frontier Province and in Bengal.

Congress Declared Unlawful

Gandhiji had strictly warned the Congressmen not to initiate any aggressive campaign but not to suffer any insults to national self-respect. The truce period had been the period of preparation on the part of the Government for renewed hostilities" The Working Committee severely condemned the atrocities and the terrible losses and indignities inflicted on innocent people in pursuance of the policy of terrorism. The President of the Congress that year, Sardar Vallabh bhai Patel, had addressed the Government on several occasions with no result. Gandhiji asked the Viceroy for an interview but was refused. The beaurocracy now wanted to teach the Congress a lesson. Gandhiji was arrested on January 4, 1932, and the principal Congress leaders all over the country were simultaneously put in jail. Congress was declared illegal. Their funds, premises and property confiscated, their press was banned. Ready made ordinances were broght forth and enforced.

The Congress and the country took up this ruthless challenge. By March 2nd, 1932 already there were 80,000 arrests. By April they rose to 1,20,000. Repression, this time, also exceeded by far the level of 1931. There were wholesale shootings and violence. Enormous fines on persons and villages and seizure of lands and property along with arrests, were made. The Government had contemplated that the movement would be over in six weeks time but it was not before 29 months that the fight had to be given up."

During this period, in spite of precautions taken by the Government and in face of ruthless prosecutions, the annual session of the Congress was held in brief electrifying hours at Delhi and in Calcutta.

Gandhiji's Epic Fast

In September 1932 Gandhiji declared a fast unto death, to undo the provisions of the Communal Award Ramsay McDonald, the then British Prime Minister, providing for the scheme of separate representation for the depressed classes, since that would vivisect Hinduism.

In May, 1933 Gandhiji undertook another last not against the Government but "for purification of myself and my associates and for greater vigilance and watchfulness in connection with the Harijan cause." The president of the Congress in consultation with Gandhiji announced the suspension of the Civil Disobedience movement for 6 weeks. In July 1933 Gandhiji asked for interview with the Viceroy which was refused. The Government, however, continued its course of repression. Gandhiji who was later released, decided to devote his time to Harijan work.

The struggle was finally suspended by the All India Congress Committee who were allowed to meet at Patna and decided to call off the Civil Disobedience unconditionally, except for the provision that Gandhiji alone, when he thought it necessary, could offer Civil Disobedience.

Gandhiji decided to start an individual Civil Disobedience movement, as from 1 August 1933, but he was arrested the previous night. He was released after a couple of days but was ordered to reside at Poona. Gandhi disobeyed this order, was re-arrested and sentenced to one year's imprisonment. Thereupon hundreds of Congressmen followed Gandhiji to prison. This movement continued till the early part of April, 1934.

Throughout this period the government continued to pursue a policy of severe repression which included imprisonment, police firing, beating in lock-up, shooting of detenus, atrocity on women, blockading of villages, and even looting and pillage.

During the Civil Disobedience movement of 1930-31, mort than 60,000 persons were imprisoned and during the Second Civil obedience movement of 1932-34 the number of persons who courted arrest were about 66,000. The programme or the boycott of British goods which was part of the movements led to a substantial fall in the import of British goods into India. Further, the Civil Disobedience movements roused the India people in general, including villagers and women folk. Women rarely came out of the seclusion of their homes in order to the part in take struggle for freedom. This not only gave an inpetus to the freedom movement, but also helped in bringing out another social revolution: the emancipation of women.

When the Civil Disobedience movement came to an end in April, 1934, Gandhiji appealed to Congressmen to devote themselves a nation-building activities: promotion of Hindu-Muslim unity, removal of untouchability, and spread of hand-spinning.