Chapter Indigo class 12- explanations, Questions and answers
Table of content:
- points to Remember
- problems of peasants
- Gandhi ji arrived at champaran
- Gandhi ji foresight-beyond political & economic solution
- Questions and answers
Louis Fischer (1896-1970) Chapter Indigo class 12 was born in philadelphia he served as a volunteer in the British Army between 1918 and 1920. Fischer made a career as a journalist and wrote for the new york times, the saturday Review and for European and Asian publications. he was also a member of the faculty at princeton university the following is an excerpt from his book -the life of Mahatma Gandhi. the book has been reviewed as one of the best book ever written on Gandhi by times Educational supplement.
Points to Remember
- Gandhi ji’s meetings with shukla
- Gandhi ji at Indian National congress Annual convention
- shukla, a poor Indigo peasant, requested him to come to champaran
- Gandhi ji agreed to do so after completing task in calcutta
- visited Rajendra prasad’s place in way to champaran
- peasants came to meet him at Muzaffarpur
- Gandhi ji met lawyers and scolded them for charging fee from poor peasants.
- Delegates-representatives sent. to a conference
- En route-on the way
- fear-stricken -frightened
- Estates -landed property
- spontaneous -come naturally, at once
Problems of Peasants
- landlords forced sharecroppers to grow indigo in 15% of the land
- Germany developed synthetic indigo
- landlords demanded compensation for freeing the peasants from 15% arrangement.
- some agreed but later demanded money back.
Gandhi ji Arrived at champaran
- wanted to meet secretary to British landlord’s Association but was refused
- tired bullied and ordered to leave champaran but he defied orders.
- prohibited from meeting peasants
- disobeyed notice to leave champaran
Gandhi ji’s foresight-beyond political & economic solution
- aimed to improve social and cultural status of champaran
- aimed at improving health services
- took help of volunteers
- taught villagers about cleanliness and hygiene and to be self-reliant and independent
- freedom from fear more important than freedom from legal justice
- real relief for peasants was to be free form fear, courts were useless for fear stricken peasants
- self reliance , strong will and courage to win battles, must protest against justice.
when I first visited Gandhi ji in 1942 at his ashram in sevagram, in central India. he said I will tell you how it happened that I decided to urge the departure of the British, it was in 1917″ he had gone to the December 1916 annual convention of the Indian national congress party in Lucknow there were 2,301 delegates and many visitors, during the proceedings Gandhi recounted “
a peasant came up me looking like any other peasant in India, poor and emaciated and said I am Rajkumar shukla I am from champaran and I want you to come to my district Gandhi had never heard of the place, it was in the foothills of the towering Himalayas , near the kingdom of Nepal
Under an ancient arrangement, the champaran peasants were sharecroppers, Rajkumar shukla was one of them, he was illiterate but resolute, he had come to the congress session to complain about the justice of the landlord system in bihar ,. and somebody had probably said speak to Gandhi”
Gandhi told shukla he had an appointment in cawnpore and was also committed to go to other parts of India, shukla accompanied him everyeher them Gandhi returned to his ashram near Ahmedabad , shukla followed him to the ashram, for weeks he never left Gandhi’s side
Fix a date” he begged Impressed by the sharecropper’s tenacity and story Gandhi said, I have to be in calcutta on such-and -such a date come and meet me and take me from there ” Months passed shukla was setting on his haunches at the appointed spot in calcutta when gandhi arrived he waited till gandhi was free then the two of them boarded a train for the city of patna in Bihar there shukla led him to the house of a lawyer nemed Rajendra prasad who later became president of the congress party and of India Rajendra prasad was out of town,
but the servants knew shukla as a poor yeoman who pestered their master to help the indigo sharecroppers so they let him stay on the grounds with his companion Gandhi , whom they took to be another peasant , but Gandhi was not permitted to draw water from the well lest some drops from his bucket pollute the entire source, how did they know that he was not an untouchable?
Gandhi decided to go first to Muzzafarpur, which was en route to champaran to obtain more complete information about conditions than shukla was capable of imparting he accordingly sent a telegram to professor J.B kripalani , of the Arts college in muzzafarpur whom he had seen at tagore’s shantiniketan school. the train arrived at midnight, 15 april 1917 kripalani was waiting at the station with
a large body of students, Gandhi stayed there for two days in the home of professor malkani, a teacher in a government school, it was an extraodinary thing in those days, Gandhi commented ” for a government professor to hardbour a man like” me In smaller localities, the Indians were afraid to show sympathy for advocates of home-rule
the news of Gandhi’s advent and of the nature of his mission spread quickly through muzzafarpur and to champaran, sharecroppers from champaran began arriving on foot and by conveyance to see their champion muzzafarpur lawyers called on Gandhi to brief him they frequently represented peasant group in court they told him about their cases and reported the size of their fee.
Gandhi chided the lawyers for collecting big fee from the sharecroppers. he said I” have come to the conclusion that we should stop going to law courts taking such cases to the courts does little good. where the peasant are so crushed and fear-stricken, law courts are useless. the real relief for them is to be free fear.
most of the arable land in the champaran district was divided into large estates owned by Englishmen and worked by Indian tenants. the chief commercial crop was Indigo the landlord compelled all tenants to plant three twentieths or 15 % of their holdings with indigo and surrender the entire indigo harvest as rent this was done by long-term contract,
presently , the landlord leaned that Germany had developed synthetic indigo. they thereupon . obtained agreements from the sharecroppers to pay them compensation for being released from 15% arrangement. the sharecropping arrangement was irksome to the peasant and many signed willingly. those who resisted engaged lawyers the landlord hired thugs meanwhile. the information about synthetic indigo reached the illiterate peasant who had signed, and they wanted their money back,
At this point Gandhi arrived in champaran he began by trying to get the facts, first he visited the secretary of the British landlord’s association the secretary told him that they could give no information to an outsider. Gandhi answered that he was no outsider. Next, Gandhi called on the British official commissioner of the tirhut division in which the champaran advised district lay, the commissioner Gandhi reports, proceeded to bully me and advised me forthwith to leave Tirhut,
Gandhi did not leave Instead he proceeded to Motihari, the capital of champaran several lawyers accompained him, at the railway station, a vast multitude greeted Gandhi, he went to a house and using, it as headquarters continued his investigations, A report came in that a peasant had been maltreated in a nearby village. Gandhi decided to go and see, the next morning he started out on the back of an elephant. he had not proceeded far when the police superintendent;s
messenger overtook him and ordered him to return to town in his carriage gandhi complied the messenger drove Gandhi home where he sarved him with an official notice to quit champaran immediately . Gandhi signed a receipt for the notice and wrote an it that he would disobey the order.
In consequence, Gandhi received a summons to appear in court the next day. all night Gandhi remained awake, he telegraphed Rajendra prasad to come from bihar with influential friends, he sent instructions to the ashram he wired a full report to the viceroy
Morning found the town of Motihari black with peasants. they did not known Gandhi’s record in south Africa they had merely heard that a Mahatma who wanted to help them was in trouble with authorities their spontaneous demonstration, in thousands, around the courthouse was the beginning of their liberation from fear of the British
the officials felt powerless without Gandhi’s cooperation he helped them regulate the crowd he was polite and friendly . he was giving them concrete proof that their might, hitherto dreaded and unquestioned could be challenged by Indians, The government was baffled the prosecutor requested the judge to postpone the trial apparently, the authorities wished to consult their superior,
Gandhi protested against the delay, he read statement pleading guilty . he was involved, he told the court, in a confict of duties, on the one hand, not to set a bad example as a lawbreaker: on the other hand to render the humanitarian and national service, for which he had come he disregarded to leave, not for want of respect for lawful authority , but in obedience to the higher law of our begin, the voice of conscience ” he asked the penalty due,
the magistrate announced that he would pronounce sentence after a two-hour recess and asked Gandhi to furnish bail for those 120 minutes, Gandhi refused . the judge released him without bail when the court reconvened, the judge said he would not deliver the judgement for several days, Meanwhile he allowed Gandhi to remain at liberty
Rajendra prasad , brij kishor babu, maulana Mazharul huq and several other prominent lawyers had arrived from bihar, they conferred with Gandhi, what would they do if he was sentenced to prison Gandhi asked why, the senior lawyer replied , they had come to advise and help him, if he went to jail there would be nobody to advise and they would go home,
what about the injustice to the sharecroppers, Gandhi demanded, the lawyers withdrew to consult Rajendra prasad has recorded the upshot of their consultations-they” thought, amongst themselves, that Gandhi was prepared to go to prison for the sake of the peasants. if they on the other hand being not only residents, of the adjoining district but also those who claimed to have served these peasants, should go home, it would be shameful desertion”
They accordingly went back to Gandhi and told him they he were ready to follow him into jail, the battle of champaran is won” he exclaimed then he took a piece of paper and divided the group into pair and put down the order in which each pair was to court arrest, several days later Gandhi received written communication from the magistrate informing him that the Lieutenat-Governor of the province had ordered the case to be dropped, civil disobedience had triumphed, the first time in modern India.
Gandhi and the lawyers now proceeded to conduct a far-flung inquiry into the grivevances of the farmers, Depositions by about ten thousand peasants were written down, and notes made on other evidence Documents were collected the whole area throbbed with the activity of the investigators and the vehement protests of the landlords,
In june , Gandhi was summoned to sir Edward gait, lieutenant-governor. before he went he met leading associates and again laid detailed plans for civil disobedience if he should not return. Gandhi had four protracted interviwes with the Lieutenant-governor who as a result appointed an official commission of inquiry into the indigo sharecroppers” situation the commission consisted of landlord government officials, and Gandhi as the Gandhi as the sole representative of the peasants,
Gandhi remained in champaran for an initial uninterrupted period of seven months and then again for several shorter visit. the visit undertaken casually on the entreaty of an unlettered peasant in the expectation that it would last a few days, occupied almost a year of Gandhi’s life
the official inquiry assembled a crushing mountain of evidence against the big planters, and when they saw this they agreed in principle, to make refunds to the peasants but how much we pay? they asked Gandhi, they thought he would demand repayment in full of the money which they had illegally and deceitfully extorted from the sharecroppers, he asked only 50 % there he seemed adamant,
writes Reverend J;Z hodge,a British missionary in champaran who observed the entire episode at close range, thinking probably that he would not give way, the representative of the planters offered to refund to the extent of 25 % and to his amazement, Mr Gandhi took him at his word thus breaking the deadlock
this settlement was adopted unanimously by the commission Gandhi explained that the amount of the refund was less important than he fact that he landlords had been obliged to surrender part of the money and, wit it part of their prestige therefore, as far as the peasant were concerned the planters had behaved as lords above the law. now the peasant saw that he had rights and defenders, he learned courage,
Events justified Gandhi’s position within a few years the British planters abandoned their estates which reverted to the peasants, Indigo sharecroppers disappeared Gandhi never contented himself with large political or economic solutions, he saw the cultural and social backwardness for teachers, Mahadev Desai and Narhari parikh, two young men who had just joined Gandhi as disciples, and their wives, volunteered for the work several more came from bombay poona and so did Mrs. Gandhi. primary schools were opened in six villages. kasturbai taught the ashram rules on personal cleanliness and community sanitation
Health conditions were miserable Gandhi got a doctor to volunteer his services for six months three medicines were available -castor oil, quinine and sulphur ointment anybody who shoed a coated tongue was given a dose of castor oil, anybody with malaria fever received quinine plus castor oil, anybody with skin eruptions received ointment plus castor, oil,
- surrender–हथियार डालना
- consult–परामर्श करना
- Regulate–नियंत्रित करना
Questions and Answers;
Question:1 why do you think Gandhi considered the Champaran episode to be a turning-point in his life?
Answer; Gandhi considered the Champaran episode to be a turning point because from now the peasants have come out of the fear from the Britishers, he had come to Champaran to visit shukla for few days but after seeing the miserable conditions, he lived their for 7 months, the British landlords used to treat peasants as their slaves. the peasants have to cultivate indigo for them but when germany discovered synthetic indigo was stopped in india, as now the price of indigo will come down. this issue was moved into the court where Mr. Gandhi was declared the winner. the peasant got s small part of money as compensation their fear towards British was now shattered
Question:2 how was Gandhi able to influence lawyers? give instances.
Answer: Gandhi ji uplifited the voice against British landlords so that he can free the peasant from their fear the lawyers is were in the support of Gandhi ji first alarmed the lawyers that what they are doing? charging a poor peasant so much amount is not good thing to do, by seeing Gandhi ji fighting foe the sake of peasant the lawyers realised that they were wrong and now started to fight for the rights of poor peasant .
Question:3 how do we know that ordinary people too contributed to the freedom movement?
Answer: there are many instances in the story that shows that ordinary people do contributed to the freedom movement, when Gandhi ji was in problem with the authorities, thousands of peasants gathered around the court building. during the uplift of Champaran ordinary people helped in making the people go for social upliftment by teaching them, providing medical facilities and many mor.
Question:4 why did Gandhi agree a settlement of 25 % refund to the farmers?
Answers: gandhi ji had fought to win a moral victory for the peasant as. the explained the amount of money was not of so much importance the British landlords used to consider them selves above law they treated their share-croppers as their slaves now they lost their prestige the peasant on the other hand were no longer afraid of them,
Question: 5 how did the episode change the plight of the peasant ?
Answer: this episode liberated the peasant from the fear of the British now they could face the British with courage the british landlords felt so demoralised that they left heir estates which reverted to the peasant the peasants hadn’s to plant indigo any more besides they got back a jart of the money they-had paid to the British as compensation