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  • IAS NEXT, Lucknow
  • 25, Nov 2022
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Ahmedabad Mill strike-1918

• The immediate reason for the industrial conflict was the withdrawal of plague-bonus. This withdrawal came at a time when the workers were already facing hard times from unusual high prices caused by World War One, and there were wildcat strikes and the formation of a weavers' association.


What happened in Ahmedabad:

Gandhi was invited by Anusuya Sarabhai, a social worker, and his brother Ambalal Sarabhai, the president of the Ahmedabad Mill-owners, Association, to intervene as an arbitrator. However, this method failed.
• Gandhi decided to champion the worker's cause but persuaded them to tone down their demand to a wage hike of 35 percent, instead of their original demand of 50 percent.
• He and his Sabarmati ashram volunteers mobilised the workers and held regular meeting
• Still, the mill owners stood their ground and the workers began to lose their.
• Gandhi now used his last weapon of a hunger strike; the mill owners gave in and agreed to send the matter to the arbitration board.
The workers ultimately got only 27.5 percent wage rise.

Kheda Movement-1917, Gujarat

• Peasants were already struggling with the destruction of crops by late rains, a sudden rise in agricultural wages, high rate of inflation and the outbreak of bubonic plague.
• The peasants of Kheda could not pay the revenue and were demanding that revenue collection be relaxed instead British government raised the revenue. pg. 2
• Local leaders, already running no revenue Campaign, through the Gujarat Sabha they got in touch with Gandhi in January 1918, but it was not until 22 March that Gandhi decided to launch a satyagraha in their support.

What happened in Kheda:

• Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and a close coterie of devoted Gandhians, namely Narhari Parikh, Mohanlal Pandya, Indulal Yagnik and Ravi Shankar Vyas toured the countryside, organized the villagers and gave them political leadership and direction.
• Many aroused Gujaratis from the cities of Ahmedabad and Vadodara joined the organizers of the revolt, but Gandhi and Patel resisted the involvement of Indians from other provinces, seeking to keep it a purely Gujarati struggle.
• By April the Bombay government partially fulfilled the peasants' demands by not confiscating the properties of defaulting peasants who could not pay, and in June Gandhi withdrew the campaign.
• British government after facing a united opposition agreed on a compromise and the revenue was waived for that year and next year.

Gains from these Movements:

• Gandhi gained nationwide popularity by championing these localised causes.
• It broke the barriers of fear in the minds of people.
• In the process, all these regions became strongholds of political support for Gandhi, as people here responded eloquently to his later calls for political action.
New leadership emerged such as Rajendra Prasad, J.B Kriplani, Jawahar lal Nehru, Vallabh bhai Patel etc.
• Ahmedabad movement paved the way for the foundation of the Textile Labour Association in February 1920.