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Indigo Lesson Summary in English
By- Louis Fischer
Short and Simple Summary of the lesson in English- Indigo/ Summary in simple Words/ Critical appreciation of the lesson – Indigo
Indigo is written by Louis Fischer, who narrates Gandhiji’s struggle at Champaran for the poor people. The peasants at Champaran were sharecroppers with the British planters. The peasants produced Indigo on 15% of the land area and according to an old agreement, they had to give it as rent to the landlords. It was around 1917, the Germans started developing synthetic Indigo and this mitigated the requirement of Indigo for British planters. In order to release the peasants from the 15 per cent old agreement, the British landlords demanded compensation from them. Most of the illiterate peasants agreed to it except a few. During that period, Gandhiji appeared in Champaran.
He looked into the matter, stood by the side of the poor peasants and fought a long battle of one year, managing to get justice for them. This made the peasants courageous and made them aware of their fundamental rights. Gandhiji’s work at Champaran wasn’t just confined to political or economic struggle. He also worked on social issues like arrangements for education, health and hygiene for the families of the poor peasants. He taught them lessons of self-reliance and self-dependence.
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Summary of the lesson in English- Indigo (2) :
‘Indigo’ details numerous events in the life of Gandhi which he witnessed in Champaran, Bihar. It was in 1916 that Gandhi was approached by a peasant, RajkumarShulda, from Champaran. He wanted Gandhi to visit Champaran and do something for the condition of peasants there. Due to his persistent efforts, he was successful in bringing Gandhi to Champaran after a few months. On the way to Champaran from Calcutta, Gandhi, in order to understand the problems of the sharecroppers, decided to meet a lawyer, Rajendra Prasad, in Patna and Professor J.B. Kriplani at Muzzafarpur.
By the time Gandhi reached Champaran, the news of his mission had spread like wildfire. After reaching Champaran, Gandhi learnt that arable areas were divided into large estates owned by the Englishmen and were worked by the peasants. Indigo was the main commercial crop of the area as the landlords forced all the tenants to grow indigo on 15% of their land and surrender the entire crop as rent. When the landlords learnt that synthetic indigo had been developed by the Germans, they asked the tenants to pay them compensation for releasing them from 15% arrangement that they had signed. This brought misery to the peasants and they wanted Gandhi to help them.
Gandhiji, first of all, collected all the facts and information. He also dealt with the resistance of the British. While going to investigate the maltreatment of a peasant in a village near Motihari, Gandhi was ordered to return midway and was served a summons to report to the court the following morning. The peasants came in huge numbers outside the court to support Gandhi and the officials were unable to control the crowd. As a result, the trial was postponed and so allowed Gandhi to move around freely. All the prominent lawyers, including Rajendra Prasad, BrijKishorBabu, MaulanaMazharulHuq arrived in Champaran to support Gandhi and decided to go to jail with Gandhi if he was sent to jail. But Gandhi received a written communication that the Lieutenant Governor had dropped the case. This was the beginning of the triumph of civil disobedience in India.
Gandhi along with his team of lawyers continued his investigation and met the Lieutenant Governor four times. Finally, an official inquiry was ordered. Gandhi accepted 25% of the money offered to the farmers as a refund. This instilled courage among the farmers and marked their victory over injustice and exploitation. After this, Gandhi worked for the economic and cultural development of the area. With the help Desai and Narhari Parikh, their wives, Gandhi’s wife and his son, Gandhi opened schools and taught cleanliness and sanitation. A volunteer doctor came to improve the appalling state of health services.
Gandhi taught a lesson of self-reliance to his followers by refusing the idea of keeping Charles Freer Andrews in India to help him. As per Gandhi, it was a sign of weakness to seek the help of an Englishman to bower their efforts.
Thus, Champaran became a symbol of self-reliance and Indian Independence.
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