Selected Subaltern Studies

By Ranajit Guha; Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak | Go to book overview

Gandhi as Mahatma: Gorakhpur District, Eastern UP, 1921-21

SHAHID AMIN

'Many miracles, were previous to this affair [the riot at Chauri Chaura], sedulously circulated by the designing crowd, and firmly believed by the ignorant crowd, of the Non-co-operation world of this district'.

--M. B. Dixit, Committing Magistrate,

Chauri Chaura Trials.


I

Gandhi visited the district of Gorakhpur in eastern UP on 8 February 1921, addressed a monster meeting variously estimated at between 1 lakh and 2.5 lakhs and returned the same evening to Banaras. He was accorded a tumultuous welcome in the district, but unlike in Champaran and Kheda he did not stay in Gorakhpur for any length

____________________
1
Research for this paper was funded by grants from the British Academy and Trinity College, Oxford. I am extremely grateful to Dr Ramachandra Tiwari for letting me consult the back numbers of Swadesh in his possession. Without his hospitality and kindness the data used in this paper could not have been gathered. Earlier versions of this essay were discussed at St Stephen's College, Delhi, the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and the Conference on the Subaltern in South Asian History and Society, held at the Australian National University, Canberra, in November 1982. I am grateful to David Arnold, Gautam Bhadra, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Partha Chatterjee, Bernard Cohn, Veena Das, Anjan Ghosh, Ranajit Guha, David Hardiman, Christopher Hill, S. N. Mukherjee, Gyan Pandey, Sumit Sarkar, Abhijit Sen, Savyasaachi and Harish Trivedi for their criticisms and suggestions. My debt to Roland Barthes, "'Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narratives'", in Stephen Heath (ed.), Image-Music-Test ( Glasgow, 1979), Peter Burke, Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe ( London, 1979), Ch. 5 and Ranajit Guha, Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India ( Delhi, 1983), Ch. 6 is too transparent to require detailed acknowledgement.

-288-

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