Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

Swaraj was an all embracing word to cover everything

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Swaraj was an all-embracing word to cover everything. Yet the two movements nonco-operation and the agrarian were quite separate, though they overlapped and influenced each other greatly in our province. As a result of Congress preaching, litigation went down with a rush and villages established their panchayats to deal with their disputes. Espe cially powerful was the influence of the Congress in favor of peace, for the new creed of nonviolence was stressed wherever the Congress worker went. This may not have been fully appreciated or understood, but it did prevent the peasantry from taking to violence. This was no small result. Agrarian upheavals are notoriously violent, leading to jacqueries, and the peasants of part of Oudh in those days were desperate and at white heat. A spark would have .lighted a flame. Yet they remained amazingly peaceful. The only instance of physical violence on a talukdar that I remember was when a peasant went up to him as he was sitting in his own house, surrounded by his friends, 61
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and slapped him on the face on the ground that he was immoral and inconsiderate to his own wife! There was violence of another kind later which led to conflicts with the Government. But this conflict was bound to come, for the Govern ment could not tolerate this growing power of a united peasantry. The fyisans took to traveling in railway trains in large numbers with out tickets, especially when they had to attend their periodical big mass meetings which sometimes consisted of sixty or seventy thousand persons. It was difficult to move them, and, unheard-of thing, they openly defied the railway authorities, telling them that the old days were gone. At whose instigation they took to the free mass traveling I do not know. Stricter railway control prevented this later. In the autumn of 1920 a few Jysan leaders were arrested for some petty offense. They were to be tried in Partabgarh town, but on the day of the trial a huge concourse of peasants filled the court compound and lined the route to the jail where the accused leaders were kept. The magistrate's nerve gave way, and he postponed the trial to the next day. But the crowd grew and almost surrounded the jail. The Tysons can easily carry on for a few days on a handful of parched grain. Ultimately the tysan^ leaders were discharged, perhaps after a formal trial inside the jail. I forget how this came about, but for the tysans this was a great triumph, and they began to think that they could always have their way by weight of numbers alone. To the Government this position was intolerable, and soon after a similar occasion arose; this time it ended differently. At the beginning of January 1921 I received a telegram from Rae Bareli asking me to go there immediately as trouble was expected.
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