Bardoli taluka in Surat District went through a Satyagraha movement, under the leadership of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in 1928. Bardoli Satyagraha was fought by the farmers and villagers of Bardoli, to oppose the tax imposed on them even after severe floods and famine in earlier years.
Famine in Bardoli, 1925
In 1925, the taluka of Bardoli in Gujarat suffered from floods and famine, causing crop production to suffer and leaving farmers facing great financial troubles. However, the government of the Bombay Presidency had raised the tax rate by 30% that year, and despite petitions from civic groups, refused to cancel the rise in the face of the calamities. The situation for the farmers was grave enough that they barely had enough property and crops to pay off the tax, let alone for feeding themselves afterwards.
Vallabhbhai Patel was prominent face as freedom fighter in Gujarat during those times. Various Gujarati activists, along with village heads and farmers brought this issue under the notice of Patel and asked for his guidance and help. Patel made sure that the villagers and farmers understand the criticality of going against the government and they could face serious implecations of this revolt. They might have to give up on their lands and other atrocities which may lead during this fight.
Once everyone was clear and committed to this step, Patel distributed the activists and volunteers across the taluka and carried out an all out no-tax paying movement. Slowly this movement caught attention of the government, as all farmers had refused to pay taxes and even after various means and methods employed by government, there was no let go of this situation. After series of discussions, events and troubles, government had finally agreed to let go off the tax with intervention from Parsi member from Bombay government.
It was ensured by Patel, that all the lands of farmers be provided back to each one. Along with the help from wealthy men from Bombay and his tactics, he was able to accomplish that.
Vallabhbhai Patel was conferred the title “Sardar” by the women of Bardoli, after the success of Bardoli Satyagraha.
Bardoli Satyagraha, a success
Bardoli Satyagraha was a successful movement by the farmers of Bardoli, which ignited a sense of confidence and power in the leaders and people of the country who were fighting for freedom. Various other small such movements and satyagraha, led to a overall major movements like Civil Disobedience, Non-cooperatin movement and many other such.
Sardar, the Title
Vallabhbhai Patel was confered the title “Sardar” by the women of Bardoli, after the success of this Satyagraha. Sardar here locally and many parts of the country means Chief or Leader. Since then Patel has been called as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who later went on to become the Iron Man of India. He was monumental in the integrating the nation after Independence. Status of Unity, worlds tallest statue, is built near Narmada Sarovar Dam, in the memory of his contribution to the nation during Independence Struggle and Post Independence national integration efforts.