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January 27, 2012 in class 12th


A Brief Synopsis of the Chapter

December 1916

· Gandhi went to the December Annual Convention of the Indian National Congress party in Lucknow.
· Raj Kumar Shukla approaches Gandhi – tells Gandhi to visit Champaran.
· Gandhi heard of the place for the first time.
· He told Shukla to meet him in Calcutta after a few months.



· After months Shukla met him there again.
· Both proceeded from Calcutta towards Champaran.
· First they stopped at the house of Rajendra Prasad who was not at home.
· Shukla and Gandhi stay overnight at his place.
· Gandhi considered being an untouchable by them.
· BEFORE going to Champaran Gandhi decided to collect information about the Indigo Sharecropping.
· Decided to go to Muzzaffarpur.


· Received at the railway station by J B Kripalani along with many of his students of the Arts College in Muzzaffarpur whom Gandhi had first seen at Tagore’s Shanti Niketan School.
· Gandhi stayed at the house of Prof. Malkani.
· GANDHI’S presence in Muzzaffarpur made people think of the fact that their problems may find a solution.
· News about his arrival spreads like fire.
· Sharecroppers started coming from Champaran to see him.
· Muzafarpur lawyers called on Gandhi to brief him. Also informed him about their cases and reported the size of their fee.
· Gandhi showed his annoyance towards the lawyers & tells them that law courts are useless for them.
· Decides to make the peasants free from fear.
· Indigo sharecropping troublesome for peasants for generations.
· The farmers were exploited by the landlords in the name of sharecropping.
· When Germany developed synthetic indigo they told the peasants to pay a compensation for being released from the 15% arrangements.
· Many peasants did not agree – so the landlords started applying force and illegal methods.
· At this point Gandhi reached Champaran.
· Gandhi started working for the solution of the problem.

Started collecting facts to support the case of the peasants

· Visited the Secretary of the British landlord’s association.
· Secretary told that he could not give info to an outsider.
· Next Gandhiji visited British Official Commissioner of the Tirhut division who tried to bully him.
· Gandhiji proceeded to Motihari – the capital of Champaran – accompanied by lawyers.
· Used a house as Headquarters – continued his investigations.
· Came to know about a peasant being maltreated – Gandhi went to see him.
· Overtook by police Superintendent’s messenger – ordered Gandhi to return back.
· ((VERY IMP.)) Gandhi returned – messenger served an official notice to Gandhi to quit Champaran – Gandhi signed a receipt for the notice and wrote on it that he would disobey the order.


Triumph of the Civil Disobedience Movement

· Gandhi received summons to appear in court the next day.
· He made preparations before going to the court.
· Next morning a huge number of peasants came to Motihari and made a public appearance outside the courthouse.
· This was a beginning of their liberation from fear of the British.
· British officials felt powerless – required Gandhi’s help to control the crowd.
· The baffled/confused government wanted to postpone the trial – Gandhi did not agree to it.
· Magistrate asked Gandhi to furnish bail for 2 hrs. –Gandhi refused – the judge released him without bail.
· Gandhi made the other lawyers realize that they needed to help the poor peasants.
· Several days later, Gandhi received a written communication from the magistrate informing him that the Lieutenant Governor of the province had ordered the case to be dropped.


Gandhi starts a deeper inquiry into the case and the fact collection process.

· Collected facts and figures from about 10,000 peasants.
· June 1917 – Gandhi summoned by Sir Edward Gait, the LG.
· Gandhi made required preparations before going.
· Had 4 interviews –LG appointed an official commission of inquiry –it consisted of landlords, government officials and Gandhi as the only representative of the peasants.

Official inquiry crushed the landlords

· They agreed to pay back the refunds.
· Gandhi asked for 50% and ultimately accepted 25% with the reason that refund was less important than the fact that the landlords were made to part with their prestige.
· Peasants came to realize that landlords are not lords above the law and they learnt courage.

Gandhi not satisfied with political and economic solutions only…

· More important were cultural & social backwardness for him.
· Arranged for teachers, doctors, medicines for the people.
· Called his wife Kasturba to teach the local women

Champaran episode – turning point in Gandhi’s life.

· Decided that British could not govern him in his own land.
· A small request of an illiterate peasant made Gandhi spend almost a year in Champaran.
· Gandhi realized that an average Indian was like the poor peasants of Champaran.
· So he tried to mould a new free Indian who could stand on his own feet and thus take India forward on the path of Independence.