Champaran Satyagraha an Historic event

Champaran Satyagraha was a historic event that showed the way to the nation and brought India closer to the victory of freedom.

Champaran Satyagraha an ultimate experiment or a research article reveals some lesser known facts and figures. There are many articles on champaran Satyagraha on the internet but you are here to know the facts and you are at the right place, so let’s explore the unexplored story of the struggle of Champaran.

Bihar’s role in the history of India’s struggle for freedom has been honorable and highly significant. We are intended to give you an outline in the full knowledge that ending the British rule in India was a mighty task and the whole of India applied its physical and mental effort to its utmost in this direction.

The Bihar quest and struggle to overthrow the British, can be noticed in its role in the freedom movement of India and many examples are prevalent like Kunwar Singh of Jagadishpur, whose tale is highly inspiring. Revolt at the regiment of Danapur, The Wahabi Movement in Bihar and Champaran Satyagraha is most prevalent. 

Champaran Satyagraha
Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi’s Champaran Mission

Champaran is an area of historic significance. It has a unique importance in the history of Indian freedom. It was here that Mahatma Gandhi, after his return from Africa, made for the first time a bold and successful experiment of Satyagraha that he had copied abroad.

It was a unique method in social dynamics and he called it soul-force, developed through service and sacrifice with truth and non-violence.

This practice of soul-force of Mahatma Gandhi was aimed at curing all human ills, the awakening and salvation of downtrodden masses, the eradication of economic inequality and the purification of society.

Why Champaran Satyagraha and its Background

European Indigo(Nil) Planters in North Bihar were practicing indigo cultivation under two systems.

  • Zerait
  • Assamiwar

Zerait

Under the zerait system, Indigo cultivation was under their direct management. They engaged tenant-labourers who were always ill-paid and were dissatisfied.

Assamiwar

In this system, the factory chiefs had the indigo lands cultivated by tenants. The most prevalent method under this system was known as Tinkathia.

In this a tenant has to cultivate indigo on three kathas per bigha of his holding during a long period (20-30 years) and was formally entitled to get a price for it as per Sattas or written agreements.

It was calculated for maximum interests of the planters at the cost of tenants.

Champaran Satyagraha
Mahatma Gandhi

Forced and tortured to them for converting their lands into indigo-producing fields, extortion of forced labour from them under all kind of threats, extremely marginal payment and sometimes even no payment, painful heavy fines for failure to grow indigo for any reason whatsoever, were some the notorious reason of this oppressive and crushing system. 

Their occasional protest and cries were wasted on the air. At last their act of being free was wonderfully effected through the effort of Mahatma Gandhi and some of his Bihari co-workers.

Who Bring GandhiJi into Champaran Satyagraha

It is very interesting to know how a leader of Champaran farmers, Raj Kumar Shukla, managed to bring GandhiJi into Champaran. He met Gandhiji and presented their grievances before him at the time of the Lucknow session of the Congress in December 1916.

After the Congress, the Bihar delegates, especially Raj Kumar Shukla, urged Gandhiji to visit Champaran to witness the miseries of the farmers.

Gandhiji promised to tour Champaran about the following March or April. Raj Kumar Shukla again Met Mahatma Gandhi at Calcutta. He started from Calcutta with Shukla on 9 April 1917 and reached Patnaon the morning of the next day. The same night both proceeded to Muzaffarpur.

Champaran Satyagraha
Dr Rajendra Prasad with Villagers

The Government however, did not like Gandhiji to probe into the hardships of the oppressed peasants. The Magistrate ordered him not to enter the villages but Gandhiji insisted on his right to see thighs for himself despite orders and case was lodged against him. 

Mahatma Gandhi engages himself heart and soul in recording statements of the oppressed peasants. Typewritten copies in thousands of such pathetic statements are still available in the library of the Bihar Vidyapeeth, Patna. 

In Jun 1917, Governor, Sir Edward Gait, had invited Gandhi ji at Ranchi to discuss the issue and outcome was the appointment of a committee of enquiry to investigate and report on agrarian conditions in Champaran. Mahatma Gandhi became a member of committee but he continues to be an advocate of peasants.

On the recommendations of this committee, a bill was passed called ‘Champaran Agrarian Bill’ which served to alleviate the long-standing and acute miseries of the vast body of men and was a moral victory of peasants. 

Mahatma Gandhi’s method in Champaran proved a complete success. It is a landmark in the history of Satyagraha, as also in the history of Bihar as well as of India. Some of the most patriotic leaders of Bihar zealously worked at Champaran under the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Anugraha Narain Sinha were among them. 

Mahatma Gandhi’s great appreciation for Bihar leader’s work at Champaran was expressed in a letter as below

“I treasure the memory of the faithful co-workers of Champaran. I shall never have and never had a more faithful band to work with. It i had such a band throughout India, Swaraj would not be long in coming to India”

Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhiji And Bihar

Gandhiji and Bihar, it was a matter of ‘he came, he saw, he conquered.’ After the successful Satyagraha of Champaran, Gandhiji became the idol of the people. All those who cooperated with him became his devoted disciples and remained so to the end. Bihar came to known throughout India as a ‘Gandhi-province’

Do you know how simple Dr Rajendra prasad life was, click the link to know more about first president of India.

Anish Kumar Singh

Amature Photographer and Content Writer. From History to Street to landscape to Food everything.

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