Table of Contents
When the narrator (Louis Fischer) visited Gandhi at his ashram, he told him a story. At the annual convention of Indian National Congress party, a peasant visited Gandhi and told him to visit the area of Champaran, an area in the kingdom of Nepal.
His name was Rajkumar Shukla. He came to Gandhi to complain about the injustice of the landlord system in Bihar. Mahatma Gandhi was very busy, so he told him to take him to Champaran from Kolkata (where he would attend a meeting later).
The Wait is Over
Months later, Shukla waited for Gandhiji in Kolkata. After Gandhiji was free, he took the train to Bihar with Shukla. He took Gandhi to a man named Rajendra Prasad, but this man was not at home. His servants knew Shukla as a peasant, so they permitted him and Gandhi to stay there.
Gandhi went to Muzzafarpur to obtain more information about this lousy treatment of peasants. He also came in contact with J.B. Kripalani. Gandhi stayed with Professor Malkani also.
The whole sharecroppers came to know about Gandhi’s plan. The advocates also visited Gandhi and briefed him about their fees. Gandhi chided the lawyers for extracting too much money from the poor farmers.
The whole land was owned by Englishmen who forced the farmers to grow fifteen per cent of their holdings as Indigo and handover the entire Indigo produce to them.
The sharecroppers’ release came at the cost of compensation (that they must pay the landlords). Gandhi learned of this injustice and visited all the high officials of the area but all in vain. They advised him to leave Tirhut.
Injustice at Its Peak
The high officials poorly treated a peasant at a nearby village, Gandhiji went to see him the next day. The superintendent of the police stopped him. Gandhiji wrote to him that he would disobey the order. In consequence, the court summoned Gandhiji. He told Rajendra Prasad and the Viceroy the whole story.
The next morning thousands of peasant reached at Gandhiji’s residence. This gathering shook the government, and the judge suspended the trial against Gandhiji. He also released Gandhiji without bail.
The Beginning of Something Big
The next day, many prominent lawyers such as Rajendra Prasad. Brij Kishor Babu and Maulana Mazharul Huq arrived in to advise Gandhiji. Gandhiji demanded full justice for the peasants. They felt ashamed for not helping the sharecroppers. They decided to go to jail along with Gandhiji.
This turn of events marked the civil disobedience victory for the first time as the lieutenant governor of the province ordered to drop the case.
Sir Edward Giat, the lieutenant governor, summoned Gandhiji. He laid down all the plan with his supporters on how to disobey the govt. If he never returned. The Lieutenant governor appointed an inquiry commission in order to probe the while indigo scam. Gandhiji was the sole representative of the peasants.
After the whole probe, the big planters offered twenty-five per cent repayment of all the money they looted from poor peasants. Gandhiji agreed, on behalf of the peasants. The indigo landlords disappeared soon after.
While Gandhiji won the case, he observed the village’s cultural backwardness and opened six schools there. Gandhiji also summoned a doctor to check the villagers for any health conditions.
The Champaran event was an important one in Gandhiji’s life. In this way, Gandhiji taught a valuable life-lesson like self-reliance and Indian independence.