The present volume is the fourth in a series of ten volumes of the Selected Works of C. Rajagopalachari being published in association with Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. This volume begins with Rajaji’s enthusiasm for constructive work and ends with his active participation in the civil disobedience movement and imprisonment, covering five momentous years of his life from 1926 to 1930—a very significant phase in India’s freedom struggle. Having established the Gandhi Ashram at Tirichengodu in 1925, Rajaji continued to propagate khadi and the spinning wheel as crucial to relieving rural economic distress. Carrying on crusades for total prohibition and the removal of untouchability, Rajaji became the voice of the Mahatma in the South. Gandhiji spoke of Rajaji as one of satyagraha’s finest exponents and also as his ‘consciencekeeper’, a remark that underscored their personal relationship.
In March 1930 when Gandhiji gave the clarion call for civil disobedience, Rajaji took upon himself the task of carrying his message to the masses. On 30 April 1930, with a band of 100 followers, Rajaji led a civil disobedience campaign to protest the salt tax at Vedaranyam. He was arrested and sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment.
Besides speeches, articles and notes on khadi and prohibition, letters to Gandhiji, Purushotamdas Thakurdas, Mahadev Desai and his co-workers, the volume also includes the full collection of informal talks with young political prisoners at Bellary Jail, titled Chats Behind Bars. It gives an insight into life in prison.
This volume is a collector’s edition that will be a useful tool of reference on the life of Rajaji. It narrates a very important phase in the history of India’s struggle for freedom, making it a reference for scholars, researchers, academics, and lay readers studying the Indian national movement.
Mukesh Kumar is Assistant Research Officer, Research and Publications Division, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML)
Shilpa Menon is Senior Research Assistant, Research and Publications Division, NMML.
List of Illustrations
Appendix I: Resolution moved by C. Rajagopalachari 10 February 1929 on Hindi in Kerala
Appendix II: Court Proceedings against 25 October 1930 Mr. C. Rajagopalachari
Appendix III: Joint Statements
Appendix IV: Miscellaneous Items