Gandhi in Chhattisgarh

1920: Mahatma Gandhi’s first visit to Chhattisgarh

Balgangadhar Tilak, who was conferred with the title of Lokmanya, the most popular leader of that era, died on 1 August 1920. Although Mahatma Gandhi’s identity and his important place in Indian politics had already been established. But after the death of Tilak ji, he became the focal point not only of Congress but also of Indian politics. Congress took the reins of Mahatma Gandhi.
Meanwhile, in Kandel village of Dhamtari district, the farmers’ satyagraha was going on under the leadership of Chhotelal Srivastava. Pt. Sunderlal Sharma and Pt. Narayanrao Meghawale were also supporting the Satyagraha. The government’s irrigation department accused Kandel farmers of stealing water from the canal. It was the month of August, it was raining heavily. There was enough water in the fields. Therefore, the charge of farmers stealing water from the canal was false. A policy of repression was adopted to collect forced irrigation tax. The allegations were baseless so the farmers were also adamant on not paying tax. A fine of Rs 4030 was confiscated on their cattle during the farming period. Both sides were unswerving. Therefore, it was decided to hand over the leadership of the movement to Gandhiji. Pt. Sunderlal Sharma went to Calcutta on 2 December to pick up Gandhiji. They reached Raipur on 20 December 1920 with them. Pt. Ravi Shankar Shukla, Thakur Pyarelal Singh, Sakharam Dubey etc. welcomed him on the platform. Gandhiji was lodged in the barrister Thakkar’s bungalow in Raipur. Gandhiji was accompanied by prominent leaders of the Khilafat Movement Shaukat Ali and Muhammad Ali. Ali was also the mother of the brothers. In the evening Mahatma Gandhi addressed a huge general meeting. This place is famous today as Gandhi Chowk in Raipur.

1933: Mahatma Gandhi’s second visit to Chhattisgarh

In November 1933, Gandhiji announced a visit to India for Harijan revival. He started a nationwide campaign from Chhattisgarh. His journey started from Durg Nagar. On 22 November, Gandhiji reached the fort, Ghanshyam Singh Gupta, the then influential leader of the Congress, made a visit to the school run by the 1926 Corporation to Gandhiji. In this school, students used to sit together on a strip without any discrimination. Gandhiji was very happy with this. Gandhiji addressed a large gathering in the Motilal Bavli campus after the school visit. The responsibility of arranging Gandhiji’s visit to Mahakoshal was on the behavior of Rajendra Singh and Pt. Ravi Shankar Shukla. Gandhiji reached Raipur by motor the same night after addressing a huge gathering in the fort. As a procession from Amapara School (present-day RD Tiwari School) at nine o’clock in the night, they reached the residence of Pt. Shukla at Budhapara position. The crowd can only be estimated from the fact that it took them more than three hours to reach Shukla Niwas from Amapara. His aarti was performed at every step, Mahatma Gandhi was loaded with flower garlands. Florals and pylons were decorated on both sides of the road and lamps were lit all the way. Such a historical welcome can only be from the heart emperor. Gandhi lived in Raipur till 28 November. They would visit other cities in the morning and take meetings and return for rest of the night.
On 25 November, Gandhiji met at Dhamtari at ten thirty in the morning. He was presented with a memorandum on behalf of the Local Board Municipal Corporation. Gandhiji auctioned the certificate in the assembly itself, a bid of 15 rupees was made. After the meeting, he went to Nathuji Jagtap’s house at one o’clock, where he received milk and dry fruits. Meanwhile, a bundle of letters reached him. On his instructions, his secretary Mahadev Desai would reply to the letters. From Jagtap’s house, Gandhiji reached the home of Chhotalal Srivastava. A women’s meeting was held in front of his house. At the meeting, Gandhiji called for an end to untouchability and caste-sect discrimination. After the meeting, Satnamis received fruits from the food brought by the head of the society. He was very impressed with the cleanliness of the Harijan locality.

Gandhism and women in Chhattisgarh

Mahatma Gandhi’s influence was also awakening political consciousness among women of Chhattisgarh. In 1920, Mahatma Gandhi addressed a gathering of women at Imambara in Dhamtari Nagar and appealed to him to donate for Tilak Swaraj Fund. These women freely donated to the fund. Like men, women were also going from house to house promoting Khadi and Swadeshi and spinning yarn at home. Babu Chhotalal’s house became the center of the activities of these women. (5) Older women of Dhamtari Nagar and adjoining village had learned cotton spinning as a child, they were now working as apprentices and due to the revival and revival of this business extremely Was pleased Middle class women, after completing homework, were giving full share in this program of non-cooperation movement for the remaining time. Cotton spinning became popular from house to house.

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