Swaraj in the Plantations: Non-Cooperation Movement

In this blog, we are going to learn about the Swaraj in the Plantations. Workers too had their own understanding of Mahatma Gandhi and the notion of swaraj. For plantation workers in Assam, freedom meant the right to move freely in and out of the confined space in which they were enclosed, and it meant retaining a link with the village from which they had come. Under the Inland Emigration Act of 1859, plantation workers were not permitted to leave the tea gardens without permission, and in fact, they were rarely given such permission.

When they heard of the Non-Cooperation Movement, thousands of workers defied the authorities, left the plantations, and headed home. They believed that Gandhi Raj was coming and everyone would be given land in their own villages. They, however, never reached their destination. Keep reading to understand more about the swaraj in the plantations.

Stranded on the way by a railway and steamer strike, they were caught by the police and brutally beaten up. The visions of these movements were not defined by the Congress program. They interpreted the term swaraj in their own ways, imagining it to be a time when all suffering and all troubles would be over.

Yet, when the tribals chanted Gandhiji’s name and raised slogans demanding ‘Swatantra Bharat’, they were also emotionally relating to an all-India agitation. When they acted in the name of Mahatma Gandhi or linked their movement to that of Congress, they were identifying with a movement that went beyond the limits of their immediate locality.

Read More: The Dilemma of Colonial Education: History – Chapter 10

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