XXV. END OF KHEDA SATYAGRAHA
The campaign came to an unexpected end. It was clear
that the people were exhausted, and I hesitated to let
the unbending be driven to utter ruin. I was casting
about for some graceful way of terminating the struggle
which would be acceptable to a Satyagrahi. Such a one
appeared quite unexpectedly. The Mamlatdar of the Nadiad
Taluka sent me word that, if well-to-do Patidars paid up,
the poorer ones would be granted suspension. I asked for
a written undertaking to that effect, which was given.
But as a Mamlatdar could be responsible only for his
Taluka, I inquired of the Collector, who alone could give
an undertaking in respect of the whole district, whether
the Mamlatdar's undertaking was true for the whole
district. He replied that orders declaring suspension in
terms of the Mamlatdar's letter had been already issued.
I was not aware of it, but if it was a fact, the people's
pledge had been fulfilled. The pledge, it will be
remembered, had the same things for its object, and so we
expressed ourselves satisfied with the orders.
However, the end was far from making me feel happy,
inasmuch as it lacked the grace with which the
termination of every Satyagraha campaign ought to be
accompanied. The Collector carried on as though he had
done nothing by way of a settlement. The poor were to be
granted suspension, but hardly any got the benefit of it.
It was the people's right to determine who was poor, but
they could not exercise it. I was sad that they had not
the strength to exercise the right. Although, therefore,
the termination was celebrated as a triumph of
Satyagraha, I could not enthuse over it, as it lacked the
essentials of a complete triumph.
The end of a Satyagraha campaign can be described as
worthy, only when, it leaves the Satyagrahis stronger and
more spirited than they are in the beginning.
The campaign was not, however, without its indirect
results which we can see today and the benefit of which
we are reaping. The Kheda Satyagraha marks the beginning
of an awakening among the peasants of Gujarat, the
beginning of their true political education.
Dr. Besant's brilliant Home Rule agitation had
certainly touched the peasants, but it was the Kheda
campaign that compelled the educated public workers to
establish contact with the actual life of the peasants.
They learnt to identify themselves with the latter. They
found their proper sphere of work, their capacity for
sacrifice increased. That Vallabhbhai found himself
during this campaign was by itself no small achievement.
We could realize its measure during the flood relief
operations last year and the Bardoli Satyagraha this
year. Public life in Gujarat became instinct with a new
energy and a new vigour. The Patidar peasant came to an
unforgettable conciousness of his strength. The lesson
was indelibly imprinted on the public mind that the
salvation of the people depends upon themselves, upon
their capacity for suffering and sacrifice. Through the
Kheda campaign Satyagraha took firm root in the soil of
Although, therefore, I found nothing to enthuse over
in the termination of the Satyagraha, the Kheda peasants
were jubilant, because they knew that what they had found
the true and infallible method for a redress of their
grievances. This knowledge was enough justification for
Nevertheless the Kheda peasants had not fully
understood the inner meaning of Satyagraha, and they saw
it to their cost, as we shall see in the chapters to