Extra Questions, Notes, Assignment and study material for Class 12th as Per CBSE Syllabus
Chapter- 5 English Language and Literature
By- -Louis Fischer
About the Author
Name – A Short Biography
Louis Fischer (1896 — 1970) was a Jewish-American journalist. Among his works were a contribution to the ex-Communist treatise The God that Failed (1949), Life of Mahatma Gandhi (1982), as well as Life of Lenin, which won the 1965 National Book Award in History and Biography. The following is an excerpt from his book the life of Mahatma Gandhi. The book has been reviewed as one of the best books ever written on Gandhi by Times Educational Supplement
Theme / Central Idea of the Lesson. Analysis of Indigo
The leadership is shown by Mahatma Gandhi to secure justice for oppressed people through convincing argumentation and negotiation.
The chapter ‘Indigo’ emphasizes the fact that effective leadership can solve any kinds of problems without any harm to anybody. This chapter deals with the way Mahatma Gandhi solved the problem of poor sharecroppers of Champaran in a non-violent way.
Justify the title of Indigo
Justification of Title
The title ‘Indigo’ focuses our attention on the issue of exploitation of indigo sharecroppers at the hands of cruel British planters. The British compelled them through a long-term agreement to plant indigo on 15 per cent of their land and surrender the entire harvest as rent. After the development of synthetic indigo by Germany, the British planters extracted money from the peasants as compensation for being released from the 15 per cent agreement. The peasants who wanted their money back filed civil suits. Rajkumar Shukla persuaded Gandhi to take up the case of Indigo sharecroppers. So indigo sharecropping exemplifies the injustice of the British and the Indians’ submission to British authority.
The Champaran movement that centred on indigo sharecropping led to the social and cultural upliftment of the peasants. Thus the title ‘Indigo’ is highly suggestive and appropriate.
Moral/ Message of the lesson – Indigo
The story ‘Indigo’ highlights the unequal economic system that existed during colonial British rule. It resulted in Indian peasants suffering, while the British planters exploited them. It also highlights the importance of Gandhi’s decision to take up their case, which exposed the unjust system.
Role of Rajkumar Sukla
- Poor, emaciated peasant from Champaran.
- Contacted Gandhi in 1916 in Lucknow.
- Gandhi dismissed him.
- Shukla came to complain about the injustice and the landlord system in Bihar.
- Shukla followed Gandhi to Cawnpore Later at Calcutta.
- Impressed by the sharecropper’s tenacity and story Gandhi relented.
- Arable land in Champaran divided into estates owned by Englishmen, worked by Indian tenants.
- Chief commercial crop indigo.
- Tenants to plant on 15% indigo.
- To surrender entire indigo as rent.
- Synthetic indigo in the market.
- Landlords force new agreements.
- Ask for 15% compensation.
- Peasants resist, widespread unrest.
How Gandhi reached Champaran
- Went to Muzaffarpur with Shukla.
- Obtained complete information.
- Discussed with Kriplani.
- Met lawyers, chided them, understood legal angle.
- Met peasants sensed unrest.
- Realised peasant fear-strikes.
- Feels he should arm them with the tool of courage, fearlessness.
Role of Lawyers
- They represented cases in courts, collected fee.
- Gandhi criticised them for being duping/misguiding the peasants.
- They gave legal support.
- However, they were non-committal if he was arrested.
- Gandhi appealed for justice for sharecroppers when arrested.
- Lawyers feel guilty of desertion.
- They supported Gandhi’s Civil Disobedience Movement.
- They helped him file grievances against landlords.
Steps were taken by Gandhi
- Approached British landlord association.
- Commissioner, cold-shouldered.
- Proceeded to Motihari, got mass support from peasants, continued investigation.
- Served official notice to leave Champaran.
- Signed, said would disobey the order.
- Served summons, Motihari black with peasants.
- Peasants demonstrate outside the courtroom.
- Officials powerless, Government baffled.
- Gandhi was encouraged by mass support.
- Court arrest, says obeying the voice of conscience.
- Convinces lawyers to join the movement.
- Continues to collect legal evidence.
- The government forced to set up the Inquiry Commission.
- Meeting, the deadlock overcompensation.
- Agrees to 25%, landlords learned they were not above the law, peasants got courage.
- Battle of Champaran won.
Qualities of Gandhi
- Appreciates loyalty/commitment.
- Understands the issue e.g., meets Kriplani/lawyers/peasants.
- Connect with masses.
- Organised e.g., civil disobedience plan.
- Fairleader e.g. won lawyers’ support.
- Visionary e.g., improves social, the cultural backwardness of Champaran.
Short and Simple Summary of the lesson in English– (Lesson Name)/ Summary in simple Words/ Critical appreciation of the lesson – (Lesson Name)
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.
‘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.
Following is the complete question bank for -Indigo
MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS
MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS (MCQ – TEST)
1. When did Gandhiji go to Lucknow?
(a) December 1917 (b) October 1916
(c) February 1917 (d) December 1916
- What did he go to Lucknow for?
(a) to attend the annual convention of the INC
(b) to meet Rajendra Prasad
(c) to look into the sharecropper’s problems
(d) to go to Champaran via Lucknow
- What was the full name of the peasant from Champaran?
(a) J.B Shukla (b) Rajkumar Shukla
(c) Ramkumar Shukla (d) Roopkumar Shukla
- In 1917, Gandhi and Shukla boarded a train in Calcutta for
(a) Patna (b) Ahmedabad
(c) Cawnpore (d) Champaran
- Shukla led Gandhi to the house of a lawyer who later became the President of India. He was
(a) J.B Kriplani (b) Rajendra Prasad
(c) Zakir Hussain (d) Mahadev Desai
- Gandhi decided to— to obtain complete information about the go first to conditions
(a) Patna (b) Calcutta
(c) Muzaffarpur (d) Lucknow
- Who received Gandhi at the Muzaffarpur station?
(a) Shukla (b) J.B Kriplani
(c) Rajendra Prasad (d) Nehru
- Gandhi —–the lawyers for collecting big fees from the sharecroppers
(a) condoned (b) rebuffed
(c) chided (d) admired
- What were the places visited by Gandhi between his first meeting with Shukla and his arrival at Champaran?
(a) Cawnpore, Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Patna, Muzaffarpur
(b) Calcutta, Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarnagar
(c) Cawnpore, Ahmedabad, Gaya, Calcutta, Patna, Muzaffarpur
(d) Cawnpore, Ahmedabad, Patna and Muzaffarnagar
- What did the peasants pay the British landlords as rent?
(a) 25% of the crop (b) Indigo
(c) 50% of their produce (d) 10% of their indigo produce
- What did the British landlords and from the peasants after synthetic indigo was developed?
(a) indigo as rent (b) 15% of produce
(c) money as compensation (d) a new settlement
- What would be the impact of synthetic indigo?
(a) prices of natural indigo would go down
(b) sharecroppers would lose their land
(c) british landlords would trouble them further
(d) demand for natural indigo would increase
- Where is Champaran district situated?
(a) in the south-west of Orissa
(b) in the foothills of the Himalayas in Bihar
(c) in the northeast of Orissa (d) in the south of Bihar
- What did the peasants of Champaran grow?
(a) Wheat (b) Rice
(c) Cotton (d) Indigo
- Why was Gandhi not permitted to draw water from Rajendra Prasad’s well?
(a) the servant thought Gandhi was another peasant
(b) as Rajendra Prasad was not at home
(c) Gandhi looked like a vagabond
(d) Gandhi was a Harijan
- How did Gandhi begin his mission in Champaran?
(a) he chided the lawyers (b) he tried to get the facts
(c) he met the peasants (d) he met the commissioner
- What happened when Gandhi visited the secretary of British landlord’s association?
(a) the secretary proceeded to bully him
(b) the secretary advised him forthwith to leave Tirhut
(c) the secretary said that they could not give any information to an outsider
(d) the secretary was very helpful
- What did the British Official commissioner advise Gandhi?
(a) to leave Tirhut (b) to proceed to Motihari
(c) to go to the Secretary of British Landlords Association
(d) to consult lawyers
- After Tirhut, where did Gandhi go?
(a) Lucknow (b) Motihari
(c) Cawnpore (d) Ahmedabad
- Who accompanied Gandhi to the Capital of Champaran9
(a) Rajendra Prasad (b) Shukla
(c) several lawyers (d) crowd of peasants
- Why did Gandhi start out on the back of an elephant?
(a) a peasant had been maltreated in a village nearby
(b) he set out to meet the secretary of British Landlords Association
(c) he set out to meet British official commissioner
(d) he was summoned by Sir Edward Gait, the Lt. Governor
- What did the police superintendent’s messenger serve Gandhi?
(a) an invitation (b) an official notice
(c) summon to appear in court (d) an arrest warrant
- How did Gandhi behave with the officials outside the court?
(a) demonstrated his power (b) was firm and resolute
(c) he said that he would disobey the order
(d) cooperated with them
- What was the beginning of liberation from fear of the British?
(a) the people gathered in large numbers
(b) the support of lawyers
(c) Gandhi’s presence (d) the prevailing laws
- The magistrate asked Gandhi to furnish bail for—— minutes
(a) 30 (b) 60
(c) 90 (d) 120
- Gandhi was informed by the magistrate that the case
(a) had been dropped (b) had been postponed
(c) was a weak one (d) would be heard immediately
- Who were ready to follow Gandhi into jail?
(a) peasants (b) lawyers
(c) Shukla (d) J.B. Kriplani
- How many peasants deposed?
(a) about a hundred (c) about ten thousand
(b) about a thousand (d) about hundred thousand
- Gandhi was summoned by—— the Lt. Governor
(a) Sir Edward Gait (b) Sir Henry Gait
(c) Sir Richard Andrews (d) Sir Freer Andrews
- How many times did Gandhi meet the Lt. Governor?
(a) four times (b) six times
(c) eight times (d) ten times
- What amount of repayment did the big planters think Gandhi would demand?
(a) repayment in full (b) double the amount
(c) fifty percent of the amount (d) no payment, just an apology
- What was the result of Gandhi’s meetings with the Lt. Governor?
(a) the Lt. Governor rejected Gandhi’s plea
(b) an official commission of inquiry was appointed
(c) a compensation of 25% was set
(d) the Lt. Governor dropped the cases against Gandhi
- For how long did Gandhi remain in Champaran?
(a) seven weeks (b) three months
(c) one and a half year (d) seven months
- Gandhi asked the big planters for—– percent refund to the peasants.
(a) 10 (b) 25 (c) 50 (d) 65
- The representative of the planters offered to refund—– percent to the peasants
(a) 5 (b) 10 (c) 20 (d) 25
- Why did Gandhi appeal for teachers?
(a) to remove the cultural and social backwardness
(b) to increase the literacy standard
(c) he did not trust teachers of Champaran
(d) he contented himself with large political and economic solutions
- Who volunteered to work in Champaran?
(a) two disciples of Gandhi and their wives
(b) Kasturba and the eldest son of Gandhi
(c) Mahadev Desai and his wife
(d) Narhari Prasad and his wife
- Kasturba taught rules of——
(a) basic learning (b) mathematics
(c) personal cleanliness (d) civil disobedience were
- Health conditions in Champaran
(a) miserable (b) tolerable
(c) under control (d) fairly good
- What lesson did Gandhi teach by opposing Andrew’s stay in Champaran? equals
(a) British could not be trusted (b) self-reliance
(c) civil disobedience (d) a fight should always be amongst
1.(d) December 1916
2.(a) to attend the annual convention of the INC
3.(b) Rajkumar Shukla
4. (a) Patna
5.(b) Rajendra Prasad
6. (c) Muzaffarpur
7.(b) J.B. Kriplani
8. (c) chided
9.(a) Cawnpore, Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Patna, Muzaffarpur
11. (c) money as compensation
12.(a) prices of natural indigo would go down
13. (b) in the foothills of the Himalayas in Bihar
15. (a) The servant thought Gandhi was another peasant
16.(b) he tried to get the facts
17.(c) the secretary said that they could not give any information to an outsider
18.(a) to leave Tirhut
19. (b) Motihari
20.(c) several lawyers
21.(a) a peasant had been maltreated in a village nearby
22.(b) an official notice
23. (d) cooperated with them
24. (a) the people gathered in large numbers
26.(a) had been dropped
27. (b) lawyers
28.(c) about ten thousand
29. (a) Sir Edward Gait
30.(a) four times
31. (a) repayment in full
32.(b) an official commission of inquiry was appointed
33.(d) seven months
34. (c) 50
36.(a) to remove the cultural and social backwardness
37.(a) two disciples of Gandhi and their wives
38.(c) personal cleanliness
39. (a) miserable
SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Q1. Why is Rajkumar Shukla described as being ‘resolute’?
Ans. Rajkumar Shukla was a man with a strong willpower and determination. He had come all the way from Champaran district to Lucknow to speak to Gandhiji. He accompanied Gandhiji everywhere, even to the Ashram near Ahmedabad. For weeks he never left Gandhiji’s side till the latter asked him to meet him at Calcutta.
Q2. Why do you think the servants thought Gandhiji to be another peasant?
Ans. Shukla took Gandhiji to Rajendra Prasad’s house. Gandhi was dressed in a simple dhoti and was accompanying a poor peasant. Hence the servants mistook him to be a peasant and forbade him to draw water from well.
Q3. List the places that Gandhi visited between his first meeting with Shukla and his arrival at Champaran.
Ans. Gandhi first met Shukla at Lucknow. Then he was in Cawnpore and other parts of India. He returned to his Ashram near Ahmedabad. Later he visited Calcutta, Patna and Muzaffarpur before arriving at Champaran.
Q4. What did the peasants pay the British landlords as rent? What did the British now want instead and why?
Ans. The peasants used to pay indigo as rent to the British landlords. Germany had now developed synthetic indigo. So the British landlords wanted money as compensation for being released from the natural arrangement. The prices of natural Indigo would go down due to production synthetic indigo which was better and much cheaper.
Q5. The events of this part of the text illustrate Gandhi’s method of working. Can you identify some instances of this method and link them to his ideas of Satyagraha and non-violence?
Ans. Gandhiji opposed unjust laws. His politics were intermingled with the day to day problems of millions of Indians. He was willing to oppose the unjust laws and go to jail. The famous Dandi March is an example of his law-breaking action. He broke the Salt Law. His disobedience was always peaceful and a fight for truth and justice. This had a direct link to his ideas of Satyagraha and non-violence.
Q6. Why did Gandhi agree to a settlement of 25 per cent refund to the farmers?
Ans. For Gandhi, the amount of the refund was less important than the fact that the landlords had been forced to return part of the money and with it, part of their prestige. So he agreed to the settlement of 25 per cent refund to the farmers.
Q7. How did the episode change the plight of the peasants?
Ans. The peasants were saved from spending time and money on court cases. After some years the British planters gave up control of their estates. These were now reverted to the peasants, and indigo sharecropping disappeared.
Q8. Why do you think Gandhi considered the Champaran episode to be a turning point in his life?
Ans. The Champaran episode began as an attempt to ease the sufferings of a large number of poor peasants. He got the whole-hearted support of thousands of people. Gandhiji admitted that he had done a very ordinary thing. He declared that the British could not order him about in his own country. Hence he considered the Champaran episode as a turning point in his life.
Q9. How was Gandhi able to influence lawyers? Give instances.
Ans. Gandhi asked the lawyers what they would do if he was sentenced to prison. They said that they had come to advise him. If he went to jail, they would return. Then Gandhi asked them about the injustice to the sharecroppers. The lawyers held consultations. They concluded that it would be a shameful desertion if they returned home. So they told Gandhi that they were ready to follow him into jail.
Q10. What was the attitude of the average Indian in smaller localities towards advocates of ‘home rule’?
Ans. The average Indians in smaller localities were afraid to show sympathy for the advocates of home-rule. Gandhi stayed at Muzaffarpur for two days in the home of Professor Malkani, a teacher in a government school. It was an extraordinary thing in those days for a government professor to give shelter to one who opposed the government.
Q11. How do we know that ordinary people too contributed to the freedom movement?
Ans. Gandhi was received by Professor J.B Kriplani at Muzaffarpur railway station at midnight. He had a large body of students with him. Sharecroppers from Champaran came on foot and by transport to see Gandhi. The lawyers at Muzaffarpur also called on him. A vast multitude greeted Gandhi when he reached Motihari railway station. Thousands of people demonstrated around the courtroom. This shows that ordinary people also contributed to the freedom movement.
Q12. How did the development of synthetic indigo affect English estate owners?
Ans. Most of the arable land in Champaran belonged to the English landlords who had signed a long-term contract with the peasants. The farmers planted 15% of their holdings with indigo and surrendered it as rent. With the development of synthetic indigo, its cultivation was no longer profitable. The landlords wanted to release the peasants of the contract and take money from them as compensation.
Q13. Why did Gandhi meet the Secretary of the British Landlords Association on arriving in Champaran? What was the secretary’s response?
Ans. When Gandhi arrived in Champaran, he first set out to ascertain the facts. He wanted the viewpoints of the landlords and the peasants. He visited the secretary of the British Landlords Association to get to know their point of view. The secretary told Gandhi that he could give no information to an outsider. Gandhi’s efforts proved futile.
Q14. Why did Gandhi meet the British official commissioner of the Tirhut division?
Ans. To understand the situation at Champaran, Gandhi wanted to understand the of the landlord’s point of view. The secretary of the British Landlords Association refused to impart any information. Gandhi then called on the British official commissioner of the Tirhut division. The commissioner bullied Gandhi and advised him to leave Tirhut.
Q15. What was the conflict of duties in which Gandhi was involved?
Ans. In court, Gandhi pleaded guilty for having disobeyed the official notice to quit Champaran. He read out a statement claiming he was involved in a conflict of duties. He clarified that he disobeyed not to break the law and set a bad example but to render the humanitarian and national service for which he had come to Champaran.
Q16. Why did Gandhi stay on in Champaran even after the sharecropper’s problems were solved?
Ans. Gandhi aimed at improving Champaran culturally and socially. The problems were many. Health conditions were miserable. There were poverty, illiteracy and lack of sanitation. So he stayed on even after the sharecropper’s problems were solved.
Q17. How did Gandhi teach his followers a lesson in self-reliance?
Ans. Charles Freer Andrews, the English pacifist and follower of Gandhi came to bid him farewell. Gandhi’s lawyer friends asked Andrews to stay on and support them. Gandhi vehemently opposed the suggestion and asked them to face the crisis independently. If their cause was just, Gandhi said, they would win the battle by relying on themselves.
Q18. Why did Gandhi feel that taking the Champaran case to count was useless?
Ans. The Muzzafarpur lawyers called on Gandhi and brief him as he represented peasant groups in court. They also told him about their cases and reported the size of their fees. Gandhi chided them as the poor peasants were already so crushed and fear-stricken that saw courts were useless in their case. The real relief for them would be to make them free from fear.
Q19. How did the Champaran peasants react when they heard that a Mahatma had come to help them?
Ans. When the Sharecroppers heard that a Mahatma had come to help them, they assembled in Motihari in large numbers to see their champion. Their spontaneous demonstration, in thousands, around the courthouse was uncontrollable that the officials felt powerless, and Gandhiji himself helped the authorities to regulate the crowd.
Q20. What made the Lieutenant Governor drop the case against Gandhi?
Ans. When Gandhi was asked to appear in the court in Motihari, thousands of peasants held a demonstration around the court. The officials were baffled and the trial was postponed. The judge said he would not deliver the judgement for several days. Gandhi was allowed to remain at liberty. Subsequently, the Lieutenant-Governor ordered the case to be dropped.
Q21. What did the peasants pay the British Landlords as rent?
Ans. The British landlords had entered into a long-term contract with the farmers. The landlords compelled all tenants to plant three-twentieths or 15 per cent of their holdings with indigo, the chief commercial crop, and surrender the entire indigo harvest as rent.
Q22. Why did Gandhi decide to go to Muzaffarpur before going to Champaran?
Ans. Raj Kumar Shukla had apprised Gandhi about the injustice meted out the indigo sharecroppers in Champaran. Gandhi wished to obtain corn.
Q23. Where is Champaran situated?
Ans. Champaran district in Bihar is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas, near the kingdom of Nepal. Raj Kumar Shukla was a poor peasant from the Champaran district. He had come to meet Gandhi in Lucknow to complaint about the injustice of the landlord system in Bihar.
Q24. How did Gandhi work for the upliftment of education in Champaran villages?
Ans. Gandhi appealed for teachers. Two young disciples of Gandhi, Mahadev Desai and Narhari Parikh and their wives volunteered themselves for work. Several others responded from distant parts of the country. Mrs Kasturba Gandhi and Devdas, Gandhi’s youngest son, arrived from the Ashram. Primary schools were opened in six villages.
Q25. How did the woman respond when Kasturba talked to her about her filthy clothes?
Ans. Kasturba taught the Ashram rules on personal cleanliness and hygiene. Gandhi notices the filthy state of women’s clothes. He asked Kasturbai to talk to them about it. One woman took Kasturbai into her but and pointed out that there was no box or cupboard there for clothes. The sari she was wearing was the only one she had.
26. How were Shukla and Gandhiji received in Rajendra Prasad’s house?
Ans. When Shukla and Gandhiji reached Rajendra Prasad’s house, he was out of town. The servants knew Shukla as a poor peasant who always used to pester their master. They thought Gandhiji to be a peasant. They both were treated like peasants and were made to sit on the floor and were not to draw water from the well.
27. How did Gandhiji begin his mission in Champaran?
Ans. After reaching Champaran, first of all, Gandhiji collected all the facts and information. He visited the secretary of the British Landlords Association, but could not get any information. He also called on the British Official Commissioner of Tirhut division, but could not get any positive response. So, finally, he proceeded to Motihari, the capital of Champaran.
28. How did Gandhiji react to the Commissioner’s advice and where did he go?
Ans. When Gandhiji was served an official notice with advice from the Commissioner to leave Champaran immediately, he refused to obey it. He was then served a summons to appear in the court the following day. Then Gandhi sent a telegram to Rajendra Prasad to come along with his influential friends.
29. Why is Rajkumar Shukla described as being resolute?
Ans. Rajkumar Shukla was a poor, illiterate peasant from Champaran. When he came to know that Gandhi was in Lucknow, he decided to meet him and ask him to help the poor sharecroppers of Champaran. He requested Gandhi to come to Champaran but Gandhi was not free. He had appointments in Cawnpore and in other parts of India. Shukla followed him everywhere and even to his Ashram at Ahmedabad and urged him to fix a date. Finally, Gandhi had to agree to visit Champaran. This clearly shows that Shukla was resolute.
30. How did the Champaran peasants react when they heard that a Mahatma had come to help them?
Ans. When Gandhiji reached Muzzafarpur, on his way to Champaran, peasants came to know about his arrival. They all gathered in large numbers to show their support to their saviour. Moreover, When Gandhiji was to appear in the court after he was served a summons, peasants in large numbers filled the streets of Motihari. The British officials became helpless to handle them.
31. What made the Lieutenant Governor drop the case against Gandhiji?
Ans. The Lieutenant Governor had to drop the case against Gandhiji after realising the support of the masses that he had. When Gandhiji arrived in the court in response to the summons he was served, the town of Motihari was filled with large crowds. The British officials felt helpless and had to take Gandhiji’s help to control the mob. Fearing the consequences, the case was postponed and later dropped.
32. Why did Gandhiji oppose when his friend Andrews offered to stay in Champaran and help the peasants?
Ans. Gandhiji opposed when his friend Andrews offered to stay in Champaran to help the peasants because he wanted the people of Champaran to be self-reliant. He wanted them not to depend on others to win their battle but build up their self-confidence.
33. How is Gandhi critical of lawyers?
Ans. Gandhiji came to know about the plight of poor peasants of Champaran. He was told that Muzzafarpur lawyers frequently represented peasant groups in court. Gandhiji chided them for collecting a big fee from the sharecroppers. After his chiding the lawyers realised that it was shameful for them not to help peasants as Gandhi being a stranger was ready even to go to jail for the peasants.
34. Why did Gandhi tell the court that he was involved in a ‘conflict of duties’?
Ans. Gandhiji told the court that he was involved in a ‘conflict of duties’. On the one hand, he did not want to be a lawbreaker but, on the other hand, couldn’t ignore his humanitarian and national service as demanded by his conscience. He told the court that finally, he had decided to listen to the voice of his conscience and help the poor peasants of Champaran.
35. Why did Gandhi feel that taking the Champarancase to the court was useless?
Ans. Gandhi felt that taking the Champaran case to the court was useless. He believed that where the peasants were so crushed and fear-stricken, law courts were useless. The real relief for them would be to be free from fear.
36. What were the terms of the indigo contract between the British landlords and the Indian farmers?
Ans. The arable areas of Champaran were divided into large estates owned by British landlords. The peasants worked on this land as tenants. The peasants were forced to grow indigo on 15% of their land and give the entire crop of indigo as rent. This was the indigo contract between the British landlords and the Indian peasants.
37. “The battle of Champaran is won.” When and why did Gandhiji utter these words?
Ans. The eminent lawyers from the nearby areas came to help Gandhiji. They decided to go back in ease Gandhiji was arrested. At this Gandhiji made them realise their duty towards the peasants. They realised that it would be shameful for them to leave these peasants at a time when a stranger was ready even to go to jail for them. So they all approached Gandhiji and said that they would accompany hits to jail. At this point, Gandhiji said, “The battle of Champaran is won.”
38. Why did Gandhiji go to Muzzafarpur before going to Champaran? What sort of reception did he get ‘ there and why was it unusual?
Ans. In order to get complete information about the condition of peasants at Champaran, Gandhiji decided to go to Muzzafarpur. He was received by Prof. J.B. Kriplani, who was a professor at Arts College, along with a large body of students. He was hosted by Prof. Malkani, a Government schoolteacher. It was an unusual thing because in those days people were afraid to show sympathy for the advocates of home rule.
39. What was the condition of sharecroppers at the time that Gandhiji arrived at Champaran?
Ans. Sharecroppers were in a miserable condition when Gandhi arrived at Champaran. They were supposed to grow indigo on 15% of their land and give it as rent to the landlords. But with the invention of the synthetic indigo, landlords had obtained agreements from the sharecroppers to pay them compensation for being released from 15% agreement and cheated them.
40. Why did Gandhi protest against the delay in the trial?
Ans. Gandhi protested against the delay in the trial as the prosecutor had asked for the postponement of the trial. Gandhi read a statement pleading guilty and asked the due penalty. But the magistrate announced that he would pronounce sentence after a recess and asked Gandhi to furnish a bail but Gandhi refused. In fact, Gandhi wanted the victory of civil disobedience which finally happened when the case was dropped.
41. What made the British realise that Indians could challenge their might?
Ans.When Gandhi received a summons to appear in the court, within a night multitudes of peasants gathered in Motihari. The presence of thousands of peasants outside the courthouse made the British realise that Indians could challenge their might. As they were not able to control them they had to take the help of Gandhiji to control the situation.
42. Why was Gandhiji’s trial delayed?
Ans. The entire town of Motihari was flooded with thousands of peasants protesting Gandhi’s arrest. The courthouse was surrounded by the peasants demonstrating and the British were unable to control them. The government got baffled. The prosecutor requested the judge to postpone the trial and the authorities had to consult their superiors.
43. How did Gandhi manage the working of the ashram at Ahmedabad while he was at Champaran?
Ans. Gandhiji kept a long distance watch on his ashram at Ahmedabad. He sent regular instructions by wire and asked for financial accounts. He was well informed about the minute details of the ashram.
44. What did Gandhiji do for social and cultural upliftment of the people of Champaran?
Ans. Gandhiji was not content with the large political or economic solution. He wanted to do something for the social and cultural backwardness of Champaran. He appealed to teachers and his disciples Mahadev Desai and Narhari Parikh came with their wives, primary schools were opened in six villages. His son and wife Kasturba also joined him. He arranged for a volunteer doctor and his wife took care of personal hygiene and cleanliness.
Important Long/ Detailed Answer Type Questions- to be answered in about 100 -150 words each Value based questions-
ESSAY TYPE QUESTIONS
Q1.Why did Gandhi consider freedom from fear more important than legal justice for the poor peasants of Champaran?
Ans. The poor peasants were ruthlessly exploited by the landlords of Champaran. Germany had developed synthetic indigo which resulted in a steep fall in indigo prices. The landlords had a long-term contract by which peasants grew indigo in 15% land and handed it over as rent. The landlords no longer needed indigo and very cleverly wished to give up this arrangement for compensation. When the news of synthetic indigo reached the peasants, they demanded their money back and engaged lawyers to fight their battles. There was no respite for the farmers under the unjust system. When Gandhi came to Champaran, he realised that the fear-stricken peasants got no help from courts. The real relief for them was to be free from fear of the British. Gandhi was summoned to appear in court for having refused the official notice to quit Champaran. The news of Gandhi being in trouble with the authorities spread fast. The peasants gathered in thousands around the courthouse. They shook off their fear and held demonstrations. The officials were baffled and helpless.
This voluntary uprising of the peasants was their liberation from fear. For them, the British power was no longer unchallengeable. This was more important than legal justice as revealed in future events.
Q2. Civil disobedience had triumphed the first time in modern India. Relate the events during Gandhi’s stay in Champaran that led to the triumph.
Ans. Gandhi visited Champaran to look into the problems of the poor peasants. At Motihari, he was greeted by thousands of peasants. This was the beginning of the peasant liberation from fear of the British. A peasant had been maltreated in a nearby village. Gandhi set out to see him. The police superintendent’s messenger overtook him and ordered him to return. Gandhi complied. At home, he was served an official notice to quit Champaran. Gandhi signed the receipt and wrote on it that would disobey the order. This was the beginning of Civil disobedience.
Gandhi received a summons to appear in court the next day. The peasants thronged the courtroom. They wanted to help the ‘Mahatma’ who was in trouble with the authorities for trying to help them. The officials were powerless. Gandhi helped them regulate the crowd. This baffled the officials.
The magistrate postponed announcing the sentence by two hours and asked Gandhi to furnish bail. Gandhi declined. The judge released him without bail. The judge said he would not deliver the judgment for several days. Later, the case was dropped by the Lt. Governor himself. Civil disobedience had triumphed.
Q3. What idea do you get about Gandhiji from the lesson ‘Indigo’?
Ans. The lesson ‘Indigo’ highlights the greatness of Gandhiji who was simple, unassuming and yet a force to be reckoned with. His humility is revealed by his comment on the victory of civil disobedience ‘What I did was a very ordinary thing’. He was even mistaken as a peasant by Dr Rajendra Prasad’s servants. He was a simple and unassuming man.
At the same time, Gandhi was firm and resolute. He faced the officials with boldness and with conviction. He also disregarded the orders to leave Champaran. The case against him had to be dropped.
He fearlessly faced four protracted interviews with the Lt. Governor for the justice of the indigo sharecroppers. Even though he was the sole representative of the peasants, he proved his point. He broke the deadlock settling for only a 25% refund. He was wise and judicious. He agreed because the refund instilled courage in the peasants as the landlords were obliged to surrender part of their money and prestige.
Gandhi demonstrated by his actions an important lesson of self-reliance in the freedom struggle. He refused the help of Mr Andrews and claimed that if the cause was just one must rely on oneself.
4. Give an account of Gandhiji’s efforts to secure justice for the poor indigo sharecroppers of Champaran.
Ans. In 1916, during the annual meet of Indian National Congress at Lucknow, Gandhiji met a poor fanner from Champaran, who told him about the plight of the sharecroppers at Champaran and requested him to visit his state. After persistent efforts of Rajkumar Shukla, a peasant from Champaran, Gandhijifinagy went to Champaran after many months. Gandhiji came to know that the arable land in Champaran was divided into large estates owned by British landlords. Earlier these landlords had compelled the peasants to grow indigo on 15% of their land and give it as rent but later with the invention of synthetic indigo in Germany, the landlords got the agreement signed by these farmers for compensation.
Gandhiji tried to collect all facts but was asked to go back. When he refused, he was summoned to appear before the court. But due to the massive support of farmers, the case was dropped. It brought the first triumph of civil disobedience. After this, a committee was formed after Gandhiji met the Lieutenant Governor four times. Gandhiji accepted a 25% refund of the money to break the deadlock. This instilled confidence in farmers and within a few years, the landlords relinquished their claims over the estates.
5. Why did Rajkumar Shukla invite Gandhiji to Champaran? How did Gandhiji solve the problem of the indigo farmers?
Ans. Rajkumar Shukla was a poor, illiterate peasant who requested Gandhiji to visit Champaran and told him about the plight of the sharecroppers. Gandhiji, first of all, instilled fearlessness and confidence in the farmers. He was served a summons to appear in the court as he had refused to obey the civil order. The entire town of Motihari was crowded with the peasants who had come to support him. This demonstration around the courthouse was the showcase of the beginning of fearlessness in the farmers. Finally, the case was dropped and it marked the first triumph of civil disobedience. Gandhiji instilled the farmers with the courage to speak for their right. Due to continuous efforts of Gandhiji, a committee was formed and 25% money was refunded to the farmers. In this way, Gandhiji solved the problem of the indigo farmers by making it a people’s struggle, involving everyone from sharecroppers to the lawyers.
6. Self-reliance, Indian Independence and help to sharecroppers were all bound together. Elucidate with reference to the excerpt ‘Indigo’.
Ans. When Gandhiji reached Champaran, he came to know that the arable areas of Champaran were divided into large estates owned by British landlords. As per the long-term contract, these sharecroppers were supposed to grow indigo on 15% of the land and give it as rent. But due to the advent of synthetic indigo in Germany, landlords got the compensation agreement signed by these peasants, who later on felt cheated.
Gandhiji’s first triumph in the form of civil disobedience at Motihari laid the foundations of the Indian Independence Movement. No doubt this brought a good result for sharecroppers in the form of a committee through which 25% of the money was given by the landlords. Gandhiji taught the lesson of unity and courage to the sharecroppers. His refusal to keep his friend Andrews at Champaran to help him emphasized the importance of self-reliance for him. He trained the peasants to be self-reliant and not to be dependent on others.
Thus, self-reliance, Indian Independence and help to sharecroppers were all tied together.
7. Gandhi was impressed by the sharecropper’s tenacity and this led to a series of events which had a far-reaching impact on Indian freedom struggle. Discuss with reference to the excerpt by Louis Fischer’s ‘Indigo’.
Ans. Rajkumar Shukla was resolute, whose persistent efforts brought Gandhiji to Champaran to help the poor farmers. On his arrival at Motihari, Gandhiji was summoned to appear before the court as he had refused to obey the civil order to leave the place immediately. The case was dropped as the British got scared of the multitudes of farmers who demonstrated in support of Gandhi outside the courthouse. This brought this first triumph of civil disobedience.
In fact, this triumph embarked on the civil disobedience movement in the Indian freedom struggle. Moreover, the courage that the farmers had shown proved the fact that Indians were coming out of their fears and were ready to fight for their rights. Thus, all the events at Champaran strengthened the Indian freedom movement.
VALUE BASED QUESTIONS
Answer the following questions
Q1. What values do we learn from Gandhi’s campaign (Indigo) to combat the present day problems of exploitations? (120-150 words)
Ans. The Indigo share-croppers were exploited at the cruel hands of the British planters. Rajkumar Shukla persuaded Gandhi to take up the case of the Indigo sharecroppers. When Gandhi came to Champaran, he realised that the fear-stricken peasants got no help from courts. He was firm and broke the deadlock. He instilled courage in the peasants.
The lesson learnt from the Champaran episode is that if the cause is just, one must rely on oneself. In the face of exploitation, in society or in professional life, one must be resolute and confront the problem. Gandhi gathered information before going to the governor. With evidence and determination, exploitation can be dealt with.
Q2. What qualities helped Shukla and Gandhi, respectively, to initiate one of the most powerful movements in the history of our freedom struggle?
Ans. Rajkumar Shukla was a man with strong willpower and determination. He came all the way from Champaran to Lucknow to speak to Gandhi. He followed Gandhi everywhere until Gandhi relented to go to Champaran.
Gandhi himself opposed the unjust laws and first made the British officials hear their side of the story. He felt that if their cause was right, they did not need the help of a British man in the form of Charles Freer Andrews giving proof of self-reliance. Gandhi gathered all the information and could, therefore, prove to the British administration that the sharecroppers had been wronged. These qualities can assist each of us to lead a fulfilling life and to combat the problems that come our way.
3. Rajkumar Shukla, a poor, unassuming peasant, became a catalyst for change by taking Gandhi to Champaran, an act which later culminated into the first successful instance of civil disobedience in India. What qualities do you think helped Shukla and Gandhi respectively to initiate one of the most powerful movements in the history of our national struggle?
Ans. Rajkumar Shukla was a poor, illiterate peasant but he was resolute. He wanted Gandhiji to visit Champaran and for that he made efforts. He was determined to meet Gandhi and persuade him to help the sharecroppers. It was only due to RajkumarShukla’s persistent efforts and requests that Gandhiji consented to visit Champaran. After reaching Champaran, Gandhiji initiated the civil disobedience movement by refusing to obey the civil orders to quit the place. It was Gandhiji’s courage and honesty that brought him the victory when the case was dropped. Gandhiji was full of empathy for the poor peasants and was determined to help them. Thus, courage, determination, truthfulness, honesty and, above all, patriotism exemplified by Gandhiji and determination and being resolute the qualities in Rajkumar Shukla, initiated the Civil Disobedience Movement in India.
4. Gandhiji taught a lesson of self-reliance to the sharecroppers of Champaran. His focus was more on making the peasants free from fear rather than on the refund and he was successful in this endeavour. In this present scenario, we are free but shackled by the chains of intolerance and bigotry.
As the head boy/head girl of the school, you decide to speak in the morning assembly to stress the need to live in peace, harmony, tolerance and respect for each other. Write the speech.
Ans. Respected principal, teachers and dear students!
We are proud to be the citizens of the world’s largest democracy. We belong to the country of Budha, Nanak, Ram and Krishna. India is called a multicoloured mosaic as we have an amalgamation of different cultures, religions, castes and creeds in our country. With so much variety from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, we are united with the thread of love for our motherland.
But what we are hearing nowadays about the increasing intolerance, is a shock for all of us. We call ourselves a free nation. But are we really free? Are we free from the narrow domestic walls of caste, creed, religion and community? We have to understand the fact that being a secular country we have to respect each other. The increasing incidents of intolerance and bigotry are a testimony to the fact that the youth of today need to sit for a minute and think about the direction in which we are moving. Finally, I would like to urge all of you to consider the past glory of our country and present development and progress. Let’s break the shackles of ignorance and learn to live in harmony and peace with each other.