1. List the places that Gandhi visited between his first meeting with Shukla and his arrival at Champaran.
Ans. Gandhi visited Cawnpore, Ahmedabad, Calcutta and Patna between his first meeting with Shukla and his arrival at Champaran.
2. What did the peasants pay the British landlords as rent? What did the British now want instead and why? What would be the impact of synthetic indigo on the prices of natural indigo?
Ans. Peasants were compelled to plant 15 per cent of their holdings with indigo and surrender the entire harvest as rent. With the advent of synthetic indigo, they wanted agreements from the tenants to pay them compensation for being released from 15 per cent agreement. As the synthetic indigo was much cheaper so the rates of natural indigo would also go down.
3. Why did Gandhi agree to a settlement of 25 per cent refund to the farmers?
Ans. Gandhiji believed that the amount of refund was less important than the fact that the landlords had been forced to return part of the money. With this refund, they were leaving some of their prestige. So he agreed to a settlement of 25% refund.
4. How did the episode change the plight of the peasants?
Ans. The Champaran episode filled the peasants with courage and self-confidence. They realised their potential and strength.
Understanding the Text
5. Why do you think Gandhiji considered the Champaran episode to be a turning point in his life?
Ans. The Champaran episode was a turning point in Gandhiji’s life because it brought him his first victory of civil disobedience. Gandhiji went to Champaran to help the poor peasants. He got an opportunity to test the basic principle of his movement in India. It proved as a testimony for the success of his non-violent way to get freedom for India.
The peasants of Champaran suffered exploitation, injustice and atrocities at the hands of British landlords. First, they compelled them to grow indigo on 15% of the land and give it to them as rent but later with the invention of synthetic indigo in Germany they obtained agreement from them to pay them compensation. Peasants were badly exploited. Gandhi, first of all, united them and then took out the fear out of their hearts and made them fearless to fight for their right. His victory, at Champaran, gave Gandhi strength and courage to fight for the freedom of the nation.
6. Now was Gandhi able to influence the lawyers? Give instances.
Ans. Gandhi influenced the lawyers through his earnestness and conviction. First, he chided them for charging a heavy fee from peasants to fight their cases. Second, when lawyers thought of returning back to their places in case Gandhi would get arrested, Gandhi made them realise that it would be very sad and impudent on their part to not to do anything for their own people when a stranger was ready to go jail for them. Lawyers realised their moral duty and decided to accompany Gandhiji in prison in case he got arrested. Gandhi evoked a sense of belongingness and duty in the lawyers for the people of their area. He did this by giving them a textbook example of selfless service for them.
7. What was the attitude of the average Indian in smaller localities towards advocates of ‘home’ rule?
Ans. Advocates of ‘home rule’ were considered the enemies of the British government. Anyone who would show sympathy towards them was treated badly by the British. In smaller localities, the average Indian was afraid to show sympathy to the advocates of ‘home’ rule due to the fear of dire consequences. But there was a surprising drastic change that Gandhiji experienced in Muzzafarpur. Here he was welcomed at the station by J.B. Kriplani, who was a British employee, along with a large group of students. Not only this but his host was a government schoolteacher.