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Swaraj in the Plantations

Workers too had their own understanding of Mahatma Gandhi and the notion of swaraj. The working class in the tea plantations of Assam is perhaps the most oppressed in the organised sector of the economy.

  • Low wages, poor housing and lack of avenues for social mobility have been a recurring theme since the inception of the plantations.

  • Plantation workers were not permitted to leave the tea gardens without permission, under the Inland Emigration Act of 1859. They were rarely given such permission.

When they heard of the Non-Cooperation movement many people left the plantations and started going to their hometowns. They thought that they were going to get land in their hometowns itself through the Gandhi Raj. But caught by a few police men on a railway track, these people were beaten and were asked to return.


Bal Gangadhar Tilak


Imagining it to be a time when all suffering and all troubles would be over, they interpreted the term swaraj in their own ways. They were identifying with a movement which went beyond the limits of their immediate locality, when they acted in the name of Mahatma Gandhi, or linked their movement to that of the Congress.

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