Council of State and Govind Das ji as a young Parliamentarian

General Election of 1926 and the condition in Central Province

Simon Commission

Govind Das ji as President of Regional Congress committee:

Seth Govinddas with Pandit D.P. Mishra

The clouds of financial crisis were hovering over Govind Das ji’s family. Though crisis had been there since 1913 but the situation now became worse as the expenses of Govind Das ji’s social life increased by 1925 election to Council of State.

The situation became worse as all responsibility pertaining to the Congress party fell upon Govind Das ji. It was a period which also saw the bringing out of publication under the name ‘Lokmat’. Pt. Dwarika Prasad Mishra was entrusted with the responsibility of Chief Editor. Slowly with time, it gained popularity and became the first choice of the people.

The period also witnessed the rise of new leadership in the form of Govind Das ji. Keshavramchandra Khandekar of Sagar had been the President of Regional Congress Committee. During the 1926 election of the committee, Govind Das ji was elected as member of the committee. The following year Khandekar proposed to elect Govind Das as President, which was unanimously accepted. Govinddasji appointed Pt. Dwarika Prasad Mishra and Lakshman Singh Chauhan as Secretaries.

Lahore Congress Session:

The Bardoli Satyagraha enhanced the enthusiasm, which was aroused among the people of the country during the boycott of the Simon Commission. Sadar Vallabhbhai Patel successfully undertook the Satyagraha. Lord Irwin, then the Viceroy of the country returned from England with declaration that British government would lend an ear to the Indian demands and for this a Round Table Conference has been called.

A conference was convened at Delhi where Congress accepted the declaration on some conditions. But somehow the terms were not accepted. Gandhiji, Mr. Jinnah and Mr. Patel made last attempt by holding discussion with Viceroy just before the Lahore Congress Session. But it proved to be futile.  

The country was all set for struggle. The National Congress soon reflected this new mood. The first step was to reconcile the militant left wing of the Congress. Jawaharlal Nehru was now made the President of the Congress at the historic session of the Congress at Lahore in 1929, son had succeeded father (Motilal Nehru was the President of the Congress in 1928) as the official head of the national movement. The Lahore session of the Congress gave voice to the new spirit. It passed a resolution declaring Poorna Swaraj (Complete Independence) to be the Congress objective. On December 31, 1929 was hoisted the newly adopted tri-colour flag of freedom. At the same time, January 26, 1930 was fixed as the first Independence Day. The session was also marked by official announcement of the launch of ‘Civil Disobedience movement’.

Civil Disobedience movement:

Gandhiji started the movement on March 12, 1930 with the famous Dandi March. Together with 78 chosen followers, Gandhiji walked nearly 375 km from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi, a village on Gujarat seacoast.  On April 6, he picked up salt and broke the salt law as the symbol of the Indian people’s refusal to live under British made-laws and therefore under British rule.

Salt Satyagrah

The significant development in the Central Province during this period was the naming of the Hindustani Central Province as Mahakoshal. As Gandhiji was on Dandi March, a meeting of All India Congress Committee was organised at Ahmedabad. The atmosphere of the region was filled with enthusiasm. This was much highlighted through the articles of ‘Lokmat’.

The Political council laid the plan for the Satyagraha in the Mahakoshal area. Since the province was not on the cost ‘Namak Satyagraha’ could not be carried out, therefore ‘Jungle Satyagarha’ was chalked out. Pt. Ravishankar Shukla took the responsibility for the programme in Chattisgarh while Govind Das ji took responsibility for Jubbulpore.

It was decided by consensus to organise public meetings and read literature banned by the British government. This step proved to be a successful one. The speech given by Seth Govind Das ji on one occasion during the Civil Disobedience was indeed a turning point, for he condemned the actions of his great grandfather Seth Kushalchand ji for extending assistance to the British government during the revolt of 1857. This step by drew the attention of the British government. Arrest warrants were issued.

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