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Mayhem at Chauri Chaura - Essay Example

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Mayhem at Chauri Chaura

Such an immense effort involved the coalescing of a range of ideologies and ethos, some of which blatantly crossed the limits of the much cherished Gandhian principles of non-violence and non-cooperation. Indian freedom struggle stands to be unique in the sense that it achieved its objectives not through one single onslaught or revolution, but did so through a series intermixed and interspersed active and passive movements and incidents that are prominently or blurredly scattered across the landscape of the Indian national movement.
The so called mayhem at Chauri Chaura that took place on 4 February, 1922 has always been a dilemma for the modern historians. On that ominous day, the peasant volunteers affiliated to the Gandhi's non-cooperation movement ran amuck on being provoked by the cops and burned to ground the police station at Chauri Chaura. The unsuspecting and ill prepared policemen who tried to escape were hacked to death. On hearing about this incident, Gandhi immediately decided to withdraw the nascent civil disobedience movement, despite the contrary opinion of a number of prominent Congress leaders. He also successfully managed to persuade the Congress Working Committee to ratify his decision. Thus on 12 February, 19222, the non-cooperation movement that had attracted the hopes and aspirations of the entire nation, abruptly came to an end. According to Shahid Amin, "this dramatic occurrence simply had to be quickly forgotten as a stain upon the clean sheets of Gandhian non-violence (14)". However, the ghost of Chauri Chaura refused to die on that ill fated day and still off and on pops out from the dark nooks and recesses of the Indian history. The meaning and interpretation of the incidents at Chauri Chaura have many a times, changed and altered and are even today being redefined and reanalyzed by the contemporary historians and the students of history.
The very fact that Gandhi vociferously disassociated himself from the violence at Chauri Chaura and openly criticized and denounced the incident under consideration as "The Crime of Gorakhpur" set the pace for the imperialist and the nationalist historians. For a long time the imperialist and the nationalist historians managed to maintain their hegemony, so far as the task of assigning meaning to the events at Chaura Chauri were concerned. In the words of Theodore Piggott, the judge who presided over the hearings of the Chaura Chauri accused, "If we treated the mob of deluded peasants as rebels we may possibly dignify the riot as waging war against the King. The only alternative was to deal with the offenders as ordinary criminals (Amin 111). Thus the imperialist historians left no stone unturned in dubbing the violence at Chauri Chaura as a regular breach of law and order and succeeded in diluting the significance of this epoch making incident. The nationalist interpretation also hovers around the imperialist ...Show more

Summary

There is no denying the fact that the Indian national movement happens to be one of the predominant episodes in the world history that involved the combined and concerted efforts of millions of people hailing from all classes and ideologies, that contributed immense efforts and sacrifices, as per their convictions and beliefs and eventually brought the British empire to its knees…
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