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INDIGO

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.

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1917

· 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.

April,1917

· 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.

THIS WAS THE VICTORY OF THE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MODERN INDIA.

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.

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