Unsung Heroes | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

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Paying tribute to India’s freedom fighters

Babu Chotelal Shrivastava

Dhamtari, Chhattisgarh

August 12, 2021


Shri Babu Chotelal Shrivastava was a freedom fighter, born on 28th February 1889 in village Kandel, Dhamtari district, Chhattisgarh. He was a true devotee and follower of Mahatma Gandhi. He started participating in national movements by coming in contact with Pt. Sundarlal Sharma and Pt. Narayanrao Meghawale. In the year 1915, he established the Srivastava Library. His house in Dhamtari was a major center of the freedom struggle in Indian independence movement. Also, he was among the principal organizers of the Dhamtari Tehsil Political Council in the year 1918.

Chotelal Srivastava started Kandel Nahar Satyagraha agitation, a rebellion against the Britishers who had imposed too much taxes on farmers and perpetrated cruelty to recover the levy. With the agitation gaining momentum, Mahatma Gandhi had visited Kandel villageon 21st December 1920.The Kandel Nahar Satyagraha also drew Mahatma Gandhi to visit the village. During his visit, Mahatma Gandhi praised the leadership and active role of Babu Chotelal Srivastava in the freedom struggle. Gandhiji had said that this is the first Satyagraha in the fight against British rule.

Babu Chotelal organized the peasants against the tyranny of the British Raj. This was the first unprecedented demonstration of organized manpower against English imperialism. In the year 1921, he established Khadi Production Center for Swadeshi movement. The Jungle Satyagraha was held in Sihawa in 1922 under the leadership of ShyamlalSom where Babu Chhote Lal Shrivastava gave full support in that Satyagraha. He was arrested and sent to jail. He was tortured hard in jail and there after Mahatma Gandhi joined the movement.