Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav
Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India
Contact No. – 09415777229, 094055338
NON-CO-OPERATION OR CIVIL RESISTANCE
Fear has been entertained in Government circles that the movement going on in Bardoli is one of non-co-operation. It is necessary therefore to distinguish between non-co-operation and civil resistance. Both are included in the wider term ‘satyagraha’ which covers any and every effort based on truth and nonviolence. The term ‘non-co-operation’ was designed to include among other things the items named in the programme of 1920 at the special session of the Congress at Calcutta and re-affirmed the same year at Nagpur with the object of attaining swaraj. Under it no negotiation with or petition to the Government of the day was possible except for the purpose of attaining swaraj. Whatever the Bardoli struggle may be, it clearly is not a struggle for the direct attainment of swaraj. That every such awakening, every such effort as that of Bardoli brings swaraj nearer and may bring it nearer even than any direct effort is undoubtedly true. But the struggle of Bardoli is to seek redress of a specific grievance.
It ceases the moment the grievance is redressed. The method adopted in the first instance was through conventional prayer and petition. And when the conventional method failed utterly, the people of Bardoli invited Sjt. Vallabhbhai Patel to lead them in civil resistance. The civil resistance does not mean even civil disobedience of the laws and rules promulgated by constituted authority. It simply means non-payment of a portion of a tax which former the aggrieved ryots contend has been improperly and unjustly imposed on them. This is tantamount to the repudiation by a private debtor of a part of the debt claimed by his creditor as due to him. If it is the right of a private person to refuse payment of a debt he does not admit, it is equally the right of the ryot to refuse to pay an imposition which he believes to be unjust. But it is not the purpose here to prove the correctness of the action of the people of Bardoli. My purpose is to distinguish between non-co-operation with attainment of swaraj as its object and civil resistance as that of Bardoli with the redress of a specific grievance as its object. This I hope is now made clear beyond doubt. That Sjt. Vallabhbhai and the majority of the workers under his command are confirmed non-co-operators is beside the point. The majority of those whom they represent are not. National non-cooperation is suspended. The personal creed of a non-co-operator does not preclude him from representing the cause of those who are helplessly co-operators.