SATYAGRAHA / CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE > Speech at Bareja
Speech At Bareja
March 13, 1930
This is our second halt after the march began. As at our first halt, here too I was given the required information about this village. I was pained to read it. It is strange that a place so near Ahmedabad has zeroes against the columns for consumption of khadi, the number of habitual khadi-wearers and spinning-wheels at work. During my tours of North and South India, I used to follow a rule, namely, that the barber cutting my hair should be a khadi-wearer. But here you keep yourselves far away from such a thing as khadi. Khadi sis the foundation of our freedom struggle. All like khadi, but people are nowadays deterred by the fear that those wearing khadi will have to go to jail and die. Bareja has not a single khadi-wearer, which is indeed a very painful fact. There is a khadi store here and you can certainly remove this blot. We do not disown our mother because she is fat or ugly to look at and adopt another women, more beautiful, to fill her place. Foreign cloth will never bring us freedom. I request you to renounce luxuries and buy khadi from this heap before you.
At present Sardar is in jail, and I have come here to ask you to join in our common struggle for freedom. Think over the matter and get ready to join. The state of our villages is pitiable in various ways. With the help of these soldiers of freedom, you will be able to make your village clean. It does not take much time to do so. Diligence and care are all that is necessary. The people of this place number twenty-five hundred. If you so resolve, you can make the village beautiful and have as many amenities as you choose. By doing so, you will help agriculture here and also add to your strength. The education imparted in present-day schools is, according to me, no education at all. The village has a large number of Christians and Muslims also. If you all come together, you will be able to achieve much for the village. For winning complete freedom, all these communities will have to unite.
As for the Bhangis, I believe that they are the scum of the earth. We do nothing at all for their betterment. We only lower ourselves by believing them to be of low birth.
Now, having said this, let me turn to other things. (We have come forward to win our freedom from this tyrannical and oppressive Government. If we cannot put our own house in order in an organized manner, how shall we run the country's Government? I ask you, therefore, to learn order and organization). Think of cow-protection also. In this band marching with me, there are experts on animal husbandry who will be able to help you. Introducing improvements by slow degrees, you can solve the question of cow-protection. Do think about these things. This struggle against the Government on which we have embarked is not going to reach its conclusion with five, or twenty-five, or even millions of men getting killed. We have to look after other things also simultaneously.