Indigo Class 12 Questions and Answers | Chapter 5 | Summary | Flamingo
Summary of Indigo
Indigo is an apt description of Gandhi’s typical style of politics and how he made Champaran (A small district of Bihar) free from the atrocities of the Britishers. At the outset, the narrator (Louis Fischer) narrates his brief meeting with Gandhi ji in 1942 wherein he had discussed the urge of Britishers’ departure from Champaran. Besides, the narrator sheds light on meeting between Gandhi and Raj Kumar Shukla (A poor and emaciated sharecropper) at Lucknow in 1916 which changes the course of Champaran and its plight altogether.
Raj Kumar Shukla requests Gandhi to accompany him to Champaran for he was unhappy with the injustice being done to them and the landlord system of that place. Gandhi, in his reply, asks him to come to Calcutta for he has prior appointments in Cawnpore and other place. Raj Kumar Shukla, being resolute, follows him everywhere wherever he goes.
They both board a train to Patna and have deliberations about Champaran episode on the way. Raj Kumar Shukla narrates him how the poor sharecroppers of Champaran are forced to grow Indigo on their land and submit the whole harvest as rent to the British Landlords. Gandhi understands the gravity of situation and moves on to his mission.
Gandhi Ji is welcomed warmly with open arms at the railway station by J.B. Kriplani whereas he puts up at Malkani’s house, a school lecturer for two days. Having established his presence, he is invited to address a meeting of lawyers wherein he chides them for charging high fee from the poor peasants. He advises the sharecroppers to boycott the law courts for they do nothing but crush them.
His meeting with the secretary of British Landlord Association and the Commissioner of Tirhut Division produce nothing but despondence. Having met them, he decides to fights himself along with the help of poor peasants.
While he is going to see a maltreated peasants, he is stopped on the way and ordered to leave Champaran but he decides to disobey the orders of the higher officials.
Later on he is produced to court where he justifies himself in front of the Magistrate giving valid reasons and logical reasons. Having heard him, the judge releases him without bail and he continues working for the welfare and humanity of local people.
He meets the Governor Sir Edward Gait and narrates the whole incidents and grievances to him. The Governor sets up a commission to look into the matter and do the needful. In their reports, the British landlords are found guilty and ordered to return the amount that was illegally extorted from the poor peasants in order to free them from the agreement of the sharecroppers.
The agreement settles at 25 percent. Although the poop peasants object to this decision but Gandhi Ji makes them understand the money is least important and prestige is more important than money. On the other hand, Gandhi Ji brings social and cultural changes to Champaran for the welfare of the people with the help of his wife, youngest son and some other volunteers.
While Gandhi was going to leave Champaran, people express their desire of making C.F. Andrews their leader but this application of theirs is rejected by Gandhi Ji for he wanted Indians to learn the lesson of Self-Reliance.
Q1. Why did Raj Kumar Shukla want Gandhi ji to visit Champaran?
Rajkumar Shukla was a poor peasant who was not happy with the ongoing landlord system in Bihar. Moreover, he had heard of Gandhi’s ability to sort out the most complicated things easily. Therefore he had been to Lucknow to bring him to Champaran and help them out to get their rights & due money back.
Q2. Why did Gandhi ji not go to Champaran straight forwardly?
Gandhi Ji had no idea about what was happening in and around Champaran. Moreover, he had prior appointment in Cawnpore and Calcutta which he could not skip at any cost. Before leaving to Champaran, he wanted to get to the bottom of the case and collect some information. Therefore, he requested Shukla to wait for a while.
Q3. What did the peasants pay the British landlords as rent? What did the British now want instead and why? What would be the impact of synthetic indigo on the prices of natural indigo?
Sharecroppers of Chamaparan were illiterate and did not know much about their rights. They had to grow or forced to grow 15 % indigo on their land which was handed in to the British landlords as rent. When the news, from Germany, came to the ears of the British that it had started developing synthetic indigo, some British landlords started extorting money from the poor peasants on the pretext of freeing them from this agreement forever. Now they wanted a particular amount for there was no need of natural indigo. Due to the advent of synthetic indigo, the prices of natural indigo would fall and there would be no demand of it.
Q4. How was Gandhi ji welcomed at Muzzafarpur railway station? Where did he stay for two days?
Gandhi ji was a renowned leader with worldly presence. When he reached Muzzafarpur, he was welcomed warmly at the station by Professor J.B.Kriplani along with his students. But he stayed at Professor Malkani’s home for two days during the days of home rule.
Q5. Why made Gandhi ji chide the lawyers?
Gandhi ji was unhappy with the size of the fee being charged by the lawyers for representing the poor sharecroppers in the court. Therefore, he chided the lawyers for not supporting the poor peasants in their respective cases and charging heftily for trifles. Before leaving, he requested the lawyers to extend their support to poor peasants by being just and honest.
Q6. What was the outcome of Gandhi Ji’s meeting with the Commissioner and the Secretary of British landlords’ association?
Gandhi wanted to go to depth of the case before initiating any action. Therefore, he went to meet The Secretary of British Landlord association and The Commissioner of Tirhut division. On the contrary, the Secretary refused to provide any information to him calling him an outsider whereas the Commissioner bullied & threatened him to leave Champaran immediately.
Q7. What did Gandhi ji get to hear about a peasant in a nearby village?
While Gandhi was meeting the officials to collect the facts and figures, he got to hear that one of the poor peasants was maltreated in a nearby village by the British landlords. When Gandhi Ji was going to meet him, he was stopped on the way by a messenger of police and ordered to turn up.
Q8. “The battle of Champaran is won” What made Gandhi ji utter those words?
Gandhi ji uttered those words when he felt and saw the integrity among the peasants and the lawyers who accompanied him to the court. They all were also ready to follow him to jail if Gandhi was arrested. On seeing their unity, Gandhi ji felt that nothing was inaccessible for them.
Q9. How did Gandhi ji justify himself in the court in front of the magistrate?
Gandhi ji justified himself in front of the Magistrate in the court stating that he was not a law breaker and his intention was not to disregard the law of his country. According to him, he was merely fighting for the rights and dignity of poor peasants of Champaran not for himself.
Q10. Why was Gandhi ji released without bail?
Gandhi ji was falsely implicated in a case by the British officials. He was innocent yet he justified himself in the court stating that he was a law-abiding citizen. Seeing his innocence and the demonstration and anger of the peasants outside the court, he was released without bail.
Q11. What was the outcome of the commission set up by the Governor?
This commission consisted of landlords, government officials and Mahatma Gandhi. The commission, set up the Lieutenant Governor, figured out in its investigation, that British landlords were at fault. Therefore, it was decided by the commission that the landlords would return their amount, which was illegally extorted, back to the sharecroppers as soon as possible.
Q12. Why did Gandhi ji agree to a settlement of 25 per cent to the farmers? What was the reaction of the poor peasants?
Gandhi thought that money was the least important thing but prestige of an individual mattered a lot to him. He agreed at the settlement of 25 percent because his motive was accomplished that was to get the rights of poor peasants back. At first, the poor peasants were not happy but when explained by Gandhi, they too agreed at 25 % settlement.
Q13. What were the consequences of Gandhi ji’s agreement of 25 percent?
When Gandhi ji agreed at 25 percent agreement, some of the sharecroppers got annoyed with his decision. Later on, all the British officers & landlords left Champaran forever and abandoned all the lands which they had extorted illegally from the poor peasants.
Q14. Explain the changes brought by Mahatma Gandhi in Champaran socially and culturally?
Mahatma Gandhi brought some social and cultural changes in Champaran. He called his wife Kasturbai to looked after the cleanliness of the town. Six primary schools were opened, old latrine trenches were shut down & new were dug, doctors were called for their voluntary services and people were aware as much as possible. Every needed step was taken to improve the health and sanitation of the town.
Q15. Who was Charles Freer Andrews? Why did he want to stay in Champaran?
C.F. Andrews was one of the followers of Mahatma Gandhi and a pacifist. He wanted to stay in Champaran so that he could lead and help the people of Champaran. The lawyers and other educated people of the town thought that staying under his leadership could bring a massive transformation in their lives.
Q16. Why did Gandhi ji forbid C.F. Andrews to stay in Champaran?
Gandhi was a renowned leader and had a fair-enough idea of politics. He knew that appointing a Britisher as a leader again could cost dearly to Indians. Therefore, he forbade him to stay in Champaran and lead for he wanted the sharecroppers of Champaran to be self-reliant.
Q17. Why is Rajkumar Shukla described as being ‘Resolute’?
Rajkumar Shukla wanted Gandhi ji to come to Champaran, sort out the issues arising due to landlord system and get them their rights back. When Gandhi said he had prior appointments and he could not accompany him to Champaran, he started following the mahatma everywhere wherever he went. Seeing his adamancy, he was described as being ‘Resolute’.
Q18. What was the news that came from Germany? How did the peasants respond to the news?
The news that came from Germany was about the synthetic production of indigo. Actually, Germany had started developing synthetic indigo with the help of machines. This news spread in entire Champaran. When the poor peasants got to hear that news, they got infuriated and wanted their money back.
Q19. Why do you think the servants thought Gandhi to be another peasant?
The servants of Rajendra Prasad knew Rajkumar Shukla as a poor peasant who often came to pester their master. Therefore the servants considered Gandhi an ordinary peasant for he was accompanied by Rajkumar Shukla. Consequently, when Gandhi reached Rajendra Prasad’s home, he was maltreated by them. They made him sit on the ground and did not let him fetch water from the well.
Long Answer Type Questions of Indigo
Q1. How did Gandhi’s stay at Champaran change the plight of the poor peasants?
When Gandhi ji reached Champaran and observed the entire episode, he found that the poor peasants and sharecropper were being exploited by the British landlords. They had extorted money from the innocent peasants for not growing indigo on their field which was being demanded back by the peasants and sharecroppers. When Gandhi ji visited higher officials for help, he was not only disregarded by bullied by the Commissioner of British landlord association. Having seen their behavior, Gandhi ji decided to put up the fight himself without being supported by anybody. He got more than 10000 testimonials in black and white from the victims for further evidence. He had deliberation with the Governor regarding the case. As a result, positive outcome came from the commission set up with the help of Mahatma Gandhi. The landlords got ready to return their money. Even after winning the battle, he did not leave Champaran. He stayed their and develop it socially and culturally. Schools were opened, new latrine trenches were dug, doctors were called and so many steps were taken for the advancement of Champaran. He taught them the lesson of self reliance of independence. In this way Gandhi ji changed the plight of the poor peasants completely.
Q2. Explain the atrocities done by the British landlords over the poor peasants.
The British landlords insisted the poor peasants to grow indigo on their land. That grown indigo was taken as rent by them. They extorted money and the land of the poor peasants who were so innocent that they had no idea what was good and bad for them. When the news of synthetic indigo reached the ears of the poor peasants, they got angry and wanted their money back at any cost. So they resorted to Mahatma Gandhi who became a ray of hope for their retuning of the money and rights back. They knew it was extremely difficult to throw all the British landlords out of Champaran yet they did not give up their chase. They were not only molested by the British landlords but also by the lawyers who charged high fee from them and did not support them anyhow. They were completely stricken with the exploitation of the landlords and wanted to get rid of them as soon as possible.