GANDHI IN ACTION network

the Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi lives through every nonviolent action

Dr. Yogendra Yadav

Gandhian Scholar

Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, M.S.

Contact No. – 09404955338

 

Sugarcane in perspective of Mahatma Gandhi

 

India is the largest producers of the world. Of the several agriculture crops, Sugarcane is the most remunerative crop and has very high biomass. Crop stands in the field 12 to 18 months. Indian farmers are expert in its cultivation. In Gandhi age, farmers sent to South Africa as a girmitia because they were expert in it. Mahatma Gandhi knew it very well that it must be cultivated by Indian farmers. Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Where tawan has not been exacted, the factories have forced the raiyats to grow oats, sugarcane, or such other crops under the tinkathia system.”1

He wrote again, “Speaking of sugarcane sattas, Mr. Gordon Canning said that there were sattas entered into when he started sugarcane, but they were not enforced and might be regarded as a dead letter”.2

“Chewing sugarcane is the best way of taking in sugar. When the season for sugarcane is at an end, one should use jaggery. Nevertheless, if one cannot do without sugar, one should try to get swadeshi sugar and should risk the possibility of shopkeepers making spurious mixtures.”3

“We use up all the sugarcane we produce. The use of sugar has increased disproportionately in India as well as in the whole world.”4

Mahatma Gandhi described, “About the year 1860 the Europeans in Natal, finding that there was considerable scope for sugarcane cultivation, felt them in need of labour. Without outside labour the cultivation of cane and the manufacture of sugar were impossible, as the Natal Zulus were not suited to this form of work. The Natal Government therefore corresponded with the Indian Government, and secured their permission to recruit Indian labour. These recruits were to sign an indenture to work in Natal for five years, and at the end of the term they were to be at liberty to settle there and to have full rights of ownership of land. Those were the inducements held out to them, for the whites then had looked forward to improving their agriculture by the industry of the Indian labourers after the term of their indentures had expired.”5

“They should have sugar and jaggery in very small quantity only. Instead, they may be allowed to suck juice from lots of sugarcane in the season. When the season is over, the children may be given fruits containing sugar, like figs, munakka, dates, etc. Moreover, the mother should stand by the side of the children when they brush their teeth in the morning and teach them to clean the teeth with the babool stick vigorously, and also see that they use a mixture of powdered coal and salt which has been properly sifted. They should be taught to gargle properly after every meal and to massage the teeth and the gums with their fingers.”6

“I have been keeping good health. For the past three months, I have been taking fresh milk, uncooked vegetables and fruit. Hot drinks include only warm water with honey or heated sugarcane juice. This regimen has had no ill effect at all.”7

“I was sorry to hear that your sugarcane crop had dried up. But that is the common lot of all farmers. In taking up farming one must make due allowance for such contingencies. Weren’t golden crops worth crores ruined here this year because of frost?”8

“While it is true that it is difficult to keep gur for long time especially during the rainy season, I have been told by one who ought to know that rab, which the juice becomes before being boiled down to gur, will keep indefinitely and is supposed to become better for keeping. This experiment is worth trying when the sugarcane season commences.”9

“My sole objection is to fermented toddy which has alcoholic properties like any other spirituous liquor whether made from sugarcane, grape or apples.”10

 “Let me remind the objectors that prohibition does not affect unfermented toddy which is called nira. Therefore no Parsi will be deprived of his nira which, I admit, is as healthy as sugarcane juice and perhaps cheaper if a means can be discovered of preventing quick fermentation which nira undergoes more than other sweet juices.”11

“I have your letter. It does not matter if you give up hip-bath. It is sufficient if you continue with the mud-packs. Take buttermilk only 1 Omissions as in the source.”12

 “in the quantity you like to have. Take sugarcane and oranges as much as you like.”13 So now Maximum farmers of India are growing sugarcane for improving their economical condition.

 

1. REPORT ON CONDITION OF RYOTS IN CHAMPARAN; May 13, 1917

2. LETTER T0 REVENUE SECRETARY; January 24, 19181

3. THE COLLECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI, 29, Page: 10

4. LETTER TO CHHAGANLAL GANDHI; December 18, 1927

5. VOL. 44 : 16 JANUARY, 1929 - 3 FEBRUARY, 1929 207

6. LETTER TO NARAHARI D. PARIKH; February 4, 1933

7. LETTER TO MANILAL AND SUSHILA GANDHI; December 24, 1934

8. LETTER TO MANILAL AND SUSHILA GANDHI; May 24, 1935

9. Harijan, 21-9-1935

10. Harijan, 9-10-1937, and Harijanbandhu, 19-9-1937

11. Harijan, 8-4-1939

12. LETTER TO PUNJABHAI H. SHAH;

Kartik Vad 1

13.THE COLLECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI, 98, Page: 418

 

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