Question 1 : Why did Gandhiji oppose CF Andrews helping him in Champaran?
Answer : Gandhiji was opposed to his friend. CF Andrews, helping him in Champaran as he thought that his cause was just and urged his lawyer friends to rely on themselves. He also considered taking help from an Englishman a weakness.
Question 2 : Why did Gandhiji agree to a settlement of mere 25%?
Answer : Gandhiji agreed to a settlement of 25% refund to the farmers in order to break the deadlock between the landlords and peasants. The fact that the landlords had been obliged to surrender a part of their prestige with the money gave a moral victory to the farmers.
Question 3 : How did Rajkumar Shukla establish that he was resolute?
Answer : Rajkumar Shukla established himself as a resolute man by going along with Gandhiji wherever he went until Gandhiji agreed to go to Champaran with him to solve the problems of the peasants there.
Question 4 : How was Gandhiji treated at Rajendra Prasad’s house?
Answer : The servants at Rajendra Prasad’s house took Gandhiji to be another untouchable person. So, he was not allowed to draw water from the well lest some drops from his bucket pollute the entire source of water.
Question 5 : What were the terms of the indigo contract between the British landlords and the Indian peasants?
Answer : The British landlords had entered into a long-term contract with the farmers according to which they compelled them to plant 15% of their holdings with indigo and the farmers had to surrender the entire indigo harvest as rent.
Question 6 : Why did Gandhiji feel that taking the Champaran case to court was useless?
Answer : Gandhiji got the details of the case and came to the conclusion that taking such a case to the court would do little good. He also felt that as the peasants were fear-stricken, the real relief would be to make them fearless.
Question 7 : How did the Champaran peasants react when they heard that a Mahatma had come to help them?
Answer : A large number of peasants from Champaran came to Muzaffarpur when they came to know that a Mahatma (Gandhiji) had come to help them. They came by foot and by conveyance to meet their champion.
Question 8 : What made the Lieutenant Governor drop the case against Gandhiji?
Answer : When Gandhiji appeared in the court at Motihari, thousands of peasants held a demonstration. The officials felt helpless and the trial was postponed, and Gandhiji was released wtihout bail. All this made the Lieutenant Governor drop the case against Gandhiji.
Question 9 : What made Gandhiji demand 50% refund from the British landlords?
Answer : Gandhiji demanded 50% refund of the money collected from the peasants by the landlords as he had a lot of evidence against the landlords. He also wanted to break the deadlock between the peasants and landlords.
Question 10 : While at Champaran how did Gandhiji keep a long distance watch on his ashram?
Answer : Gandhiji kept a long distance watch on his ashram by sending regular instructions by mail. This way he asked for the financial accounts of the ashram and gave instructions to the concerned persons there.
Question 11 : How were Shukla and Gandhiji received in Rajendra Prasad’s house?
Answer : The servants at Rajendra Prasad’s house knew Shukla as he used to come there to meet Rajendra Prasad. However, they thought that Gandhiji was just another untouchable peasant and hence did not allow him to draw water from the well.
Question 12 : “The battle of Champaran is won!” When and why did Gandhiji exclaim this?
Answer : The lawyers first decided to return home if Gandhiji was arrested. But when they declared that they would fight for the peasants’ cause in the event of Gandhiji’s arrest and volunteered to court arrest, Gandhiji exclaimed, “The battle of Champaran is won!”
Question 13 : Why did Gandhiji decide to go to Muzaffarpur before going to Champaran?
Answer : Rajkumar Shulka had given a lot of information to Gandhiji about the indigo sharecroppers of Champaran. However, Gandhiji visited Muzaffarpur to inquire from the lawyers about the issue, as they frequently represented the sharecroppers in the court.
Question 14 : Why do you think Gandhiji considered the Champaran episode to be a turning point in his life?
Answer : The Champaran episode began as an attempt to reduce the distress of poor peasants. It proved to be a turning point in Gandhiji’s life beause it was a loud proclamation that made the British realise that he could not be ordered about in his own country.
Question 15 : Why did the servants think Gandhiji to be another peasant?
Answer : The servants knew that Rajkumar Shukla was a poor farmer who pestered their master, Rajendra Prasad to hep the indigo sharecroppers. Since Gandhiji accompanied Shukla and was dressed simply, they mistook him to be a peasant.
Question 16 : How did Gandhiji help the peasants of Champaran?
Answer : Gandhiji helped the peasants of Champaran by fighting with the British authorities and getting their land and money back. He also opened primary schools and arranged doctors for them.
Question 17 : How was Gandhiji able to influence the lawyers at Champaran?
Answer : Gandhiji’s sincerity towards the peasants’ cause and convincing arguments and negotiations, thoroughly influenced the lawyers. He criticised them for overcharging the peasants and encouraged them to court arrest for the peasants’ noble cause.
Question 18 : Why did Rajkumar Shukla want to take Gandhiji to Champaran?
Answer : Rajkumar Shukla wanted to take Gandhiji to Champaran to see the injustice caused to the peasants of Champaran due to the landlord system in Bihar. He wanted Gandhiji to solve the issues faced by the peasants.
Question 19 : How did Shukla succeed in persuading Gandhiji to visit Champaran?
Answer : Shukla wanted to take Gandhiji to Champaran to see the injustice of the landlord system in Bihar. As Gandhiji had a few meetings scheduled in various cities, he followed Gandhiji everywhere till Gandhiji was impressed by his tenacity and fixed a date to visit Champaran.
Long Answer Type Questions : 6 Marks (120 – 150 Words)
Question 1 : What did Gandhiji do to remove the cultural and social backwardness in the Champaran villages?
Answer : After the Champaran battle was won and the land given back to the peasants, Gandhiji continued to stay there as he saw the cultural ad social backwardness of the people of Champaran and wanted to do something about it immediately. His loyalty was, indeed, to living human beings and he took the initiative and began the work of eradicating their cultural and social backwardness. Primary schools were started so that the poor peasants and their children could be educated. Gandhiji appealed to teachers, and many of his disciples, including his wife and son, volunteer for the work.
Health conditions in the area were so miserable. Gandhiji got a doctor to volunteer his services for six months. All this goes to prove that Gandhiji’s loyalty was not to abstractions, but his politics was always interwined with the practical say to day problems of the millions.
Question 2 : The Champaran episode was a turning point in Gandhiji’s life. Elucidate.
Answer : Gandhiji himself accepted the proposition that Champaran episode was a turning point in his life. It was then that he decided to urge the departure of the British from India.
In fact the Champaran episode was the first experiment of Civil Disobedience in India. When Gandhiji was on his way to Champaran, he stayed in Muzaffarpur, where he met the lawyers who were fighting cases for the sharecroppers. The peasants were so crushed and fear-stricken that Gandhiji concluded that law courts were useless. the real relief for them was to be free from fear. The spontaneous demonstration by the peasants when Gandhiji was produced in court showed that they were instilled with a new strength and spirit. Gandhiji showed the poor peasants how to fight the British with satyagraha. He made them aware of their powers and the power of ahimsa. He fought for the peasants’ concerns and stayed there (in Champaran) to help them.
This episode laid the foundation of his future movements and served as a great source of strength and motivation for all Indians.
Question 3 : Why is the Champaran episode considered to be the beginning of the Indian struggle for independence?
Answer : The Champaran episode was one of the major events in the struggle for independence. It was in the course of this small but significant movement that Gandhiji decided to urge the departure of the British from India.
A close examination of the problems of the Champaran peasants opened Gandhiji’s eyes to the unjust policies of the British. He reaslied that people had to be made free from fear and only then could they be freed from foreign oppression. The spontaneous demonstration of the people proved that Gandhiji had the nation’s support in his fight against the Britishers. It also aroused patriotism in the heart of the Indians.
The triumph of the civil disobedience at Champaran motivaed the launching of the movement on a large scale during the freedom struggle. Gandhiji’s winning the case of the sharecroppers proved that the British authority could be challenged. Hence, the Champaran episode served as a stepping stone to the Indian struggle for independence.
Question 4 : Describe how, according to Louis Fischer, Gandhiji succeeded in his Champaran campaign.
Answer : The Champaran campaign was an attempt to free the poor peasants of Champaran from the injustice and exploitation at the hands of the Britishers. Gandhiji succeeded in this campaign using his method of satyagraha and non-violence. He visited Muzaffarpur to obtain complete information about the actual condition of the sharecroppers. He first appealed to the concerned authorities, but when there was no positive response, he organised a mass civil disobedience movement, with the support of the peasants.
Gandhiji’s main objective was to remove the fear of the British landlords from the heart of the poor peasants and mould a new free Indian, who could participate in the freedom movement of the country. He made the peasants aware of their rights and gave them a new-found confidence for fighting their own battles. He also taught them to be self-reliant by refusing to take the help of CF Andrews, his English friend.
Question 5 : Why did Gandhiji agree to a settlement of 25% refund to the farmers? How did it influence the peasant-landlord relationship in Champaran?
Answer : Under an ancient arrangement, the peasants of Champaran were sharecroppers. The landlords forced the Indian tenants to plant 15% of their land with indigo and surrender the entire indigo harvest as rent.
After Germany developed synthetic indigo, the landlords wanted to dissolve the agreement, as synthetic indigo would be cheaper. They asked the peasants for compensation to release them from this arrangement. Most of them signed it willingly, but felt cheated after they learned about the synthetic indigo.
Gandhiji fought their case and the evidence he collected was so overwhelming that the landlords were asked to repay. When Gandhiji asked for 50% repayment, the landlords offered to pay only 25% as they wanted to create a deadlock, and thus prolong the dispute. To everybody’s surprise, Gandhiji agreed to a refund of only 25%. Gandhiji explained that the amount of refund was not important. What mattered was that the landlords were obliged to surrender a part of their money and with it, part of their prestige. He also wanted to end the deadlock between the peasants and the landlords.
Question 6 : Give an account of Gandhiji’s efforts to secure justice for the poor indigo sharecroppers of Champaran.
Answer : In the course of his journey to Champarn with Rajkumar Shukla, Gandhiji stayed at Muzzafarpur where he met the lawyers and concluded that fighting through courts was not going to solve the problem of the poor sharecroppers of Champaran. He declared that the real relief for them was to be free from fear. With this intention, he arrived in Champaran and contacted the Secretary of the British Landlord’s Association. The Secretary refused to provide any information to him. After this, Gandhiji met the Commissioner of the Tirhut division who served a notice on him to immediately leave Tirhut.
Gandhiji accepted the notice by signing it and wrote on it that he would not obey the order. He was even willing to court arrest for the cause of the peasant. After four rounds of talks with the Governor, an official commission of inquiry was appointed in which Gandhiji was made the sole representative of the peasants.
Through this commission, Gandhiji succeeded in getting 25% of the compensation award for the poor sharecropper from the British landowners.
Question 7 : Why did Rajkumar Shukla invite Gandhiji to Champaran? How did Gandhiji solve the problem of the indigo farmers?
Answer : Rajkumar Shukla who was an illiterate and oppressed indigo farmer from Champaran, invited Gandhiji to visit his district so that he could solve the problems faced by the miserable peasants.
Gandhiji’s truthfulness, sincerity of purpose and fearless efforts enabled him to solve the problem of the indigo farmers. He began by trying to get the facts. The British landlords as well as Commissioner of Tirhut were non-cooperative and did not entertain Gandhiji. Lawyers from the Murzaffarpur briefed him about court cases of these peasants.
Gandhiji and lawyers collected depositions by about ten thousand peasants. Notes were made on other evidence. Documents were collected. The whole area throbbed with the activities of the investigators and forceful protests of landlords.
The Lieutenant Governor summoned Gandhiji. After four long interviews between Gandhiji and Lieutenant Governor, an official commission of inquiry was appointed to look into the indigo sharecroppers’ situation. Gandhiji was the sole representative of the peasants. The official inquiry assembled huge quantity of evidence against the big planters. After negotiation a settlement of 25% refund to the farmers was agreed on. This was a moral victory for the peasants. They recognised their rights and learned courage.
Question 8 : How did Gandhiji use satyagraha and non-violence at Champaran to achieve his goal?
Answer : Gandhiji reached Champaran with a goal to alleviate the peasants’ sufferings at the hands of the British landlords. He met the Secretary of the Landlords’ Association and the Commissioner who told him to leave Champaran. He signed the order but also wrote that he would disobey it and sent a full report to the Viceroy. This was followed by spontaneous demonstrations by thousands of peasants around the court house. The lawyers too resolved to follow Gandhiji to jail forcing the case against him to be dropped. This was the first victory of Civil Disobedience. Then an official enquiry into the indigo sharecropper situation was instituted and the landlords agreed to refund the peasants. Gandhiji accepted the 25% refund. The landlords surrendered part of their prestige with the money. So, Gandhiji achieved the objective of removing the fear from the minds of the poor peasants and getting justice for them through satyagraha and non-violence.
Value Based Answer Type Questions : 6 Marks (120 – 150 Words)
Question 1 : Exploitation is a universal phenomenon. The poor indigo farmers were exploited by the British landlords to which Gandhiji objected. Even after our independence we find exploitation of unorganised labour. What values do we learn from Gandhiji’s campaign to counter the present day problems of exploitation?
Answer : Gandhiji’s campaign in Champaran is relevant even in the present day to counter the problems of exploitation. What we must keep in mind is to teach the oppressed to be courageous. Unless they overcome the fear within them, they will never be able to fight for their rights. Therefore, priority has to be given to empowering and making the labour class bold and fearless and to give them the courage to oppose injustice and exploitation. Another thing we must remember is to focus not on the problems but on the solution of the problems. We must possess a humanitarian approach and should be ready to brave harships with non-violence, patience and perseverance. Only then can we overcome the present-day problems of exploitation.
Question 2 : Our scriptures tell us that determination and perseverance are cardinal virtues of a good human being. Rajkumar Shukla succeeded in taking Gandhiji to Champaran with the help of these two. How can young students today use these two qualities to make successful careers for themselves?
Answer : Determination is your decision to do something against all odds. Perseverance is to keep doing something for the time needed to achieve your goal no matter how long or difficult the path is. No wonder these two qualities should be the mantra for young students to make a successful career for themselves. If there is one quality, one personality trait that is most correlated with success, it is the trait of persistence – the ability to endure till the end. With a little more perseverance , what once seemed a hopeless failure may turn to glorious success. Determination and perseverance gives us hope that the righteous suffer no other failure except that of giving up and no longer trying.
Question 3 : “Several days later, Gandhiji received a written communication from the magistrate informing him that the Lieutenant Governor of the province had ordered the case to be dropped. Civil Disobedience had triumphed, the first time in modern India.”
Since our childhood we are taught not to indulge in disobedience to anyone. But Gandhiji did not and finally, Civil Disobedience won.
After reading ‘Indigo’ and the above statement, how can we display disobedience occasionally and succeed? Explain.
Answer : Disobedience is usually not considered a characteristic of desirable behaviour. Here, in this chapter, we see someone as great as Gandhiji indulge in disobedience, and still achieve success. However, Gandhiji practised disobedience against he unjust rules laid down by the Britishers. He waged a ‘peaceful war’ against the Britishers by the method of Civil Disobedience. Disobedience is not permitted in society. However, if we are fighting for a noble cause, it does not matter if we are disobedient. If our disobedience can solve the problems of innocent sufferers, we may need to be disobedient sometimes.
A child should normally be obedient to his elders, but when they are exploiting him, then he has to be disobedient. This disobedience will be justified because he has a right to raise his voice against exploitation.