Indigo | Louis Fischer | Chapter 5 | Summary | Flamingo |

Indigo | Louis Fischer | 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.

Rajkumar 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.

He is welcomed 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 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 settlement in done at 25 percent. Although the poop peasants object to this decision but Gandhi Ji make them understand the money is least important and prestige is more important than money. On the other hand, Gandhi 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.


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Short Answer Type Questions of Indigo

Q1. Why did Raj Kumar Shukla want Gandhi ji to visit Champaran?

Rajkumar Shukla was a poor peasant who was not satisfied with the landlord system in Bihar. That’s why he wanted him to come to Champaran and help them to get their rights & money back.

Q2. Why did Gandhi ji not go to Champaran straight forwardly?

Gandhi ji did not go to Champaran straight forwardly because he wanted to get to the bottom of the case before reaching Champaran. He wanted to collect some more evidence and information before reaching there.

Q3. Explain the injustice happening to the sharecroppers of Champaran.

Sharecroppers of Chamaparan were illiterate and did not much about their rights. They had to grow 15 % indigo on their land which they handed over to the landlords as rent. When news came from Germany that it had started developing synthetic indigo, some landlords illegally extorted money from the poor peasants. In that way, the poor peasants were molested by the landlords.

Q4. How was Gandhi ji welcomed at Mujjafarpur railway station? Where did he stay for two days?

Gandhi ji 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 did Gandhi ji chide the lawyers?

Gandhi ji chided the lawyers for charging high fee & not supporting the poor peasants in their respective cases. Moreover, he requested them to support the poor peasants who felt helpless in the courts.

Q6. What was the outcome of Gandhi ji’s meeting with the Commissioner and the Secretary of British landlords’ association?

The outcome to Gandhi ji’s meeting with both the officials was negative. 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?

Gandhi ji got to hear that one of the poor peasants was maltreated in a nearby village. He was not only beaten but also cursed for his inability and helplessness to do anything.

Q8. “The battle of Champaran is won” Why did 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. On seeing their unity, Gandhi ji felt that nothing was inaccessible for them.

Q9. How did Gandhi ji justify himself in the court?

Gandhi ji justified himself 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 of poor peasants of Champaran not for himself.

Q10. Why was Gandhi ji released without bail?

Gandhi ji was released without bail due to lack of evidence against him. Moreover, he was released seeing the demonstration and anger of the peasants. They all were united and could do anything for their leader if he was sent to the jail.

Q11. What was the outcome of the commission set up by the Governor?

The outcome brought prosperity for the sharecropper. It was decided by the commission that the landlords would return their amount back as soon as possible. This commission consisted of landlords, govt. officials and Mahatma Gandhi.

Q12. Why did Gandhi ji agree at the settlement of 25 percent? What was the reaction of the poor peasants?

Gandhi ji agreed at the settlement of 25 percent because his motive was accomplished that was to get the rights of poor peasants back. Moreover, he thought that money was the least important thing. At first, the poor peasants reacted negatively but later on, they realized that Gandhi ji was right in his decision.

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 who 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.

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. He wanted to stay in Champaran so that he could help its people. The lawyers and other educated people thought that his staying could add to their benefits & help.

Q16. Why did Gandhi ji forbid C.F. Andrews to stay in Champaran?

Gandhi ji forbade him to stay in Champaran because he wanted the sharecroppers of Champaran to be independent. Moreover, he wanted them to learn the lesson of self reliance & to take their decisions themselves.

Q17. Why has Rajkumar Shukla been called ‘Resolute’?

Rajkumar Shukla has been called resolute because he wanted Gandhi ji to come to Champaran. As a result, he followed Gandhi ji wherever he went which shows that he was determined to take Mahatma Gandhi along with him.

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.

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 made up his ashram in Motihari and started working from there with the help of poor peasants. 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 could not understand about their good and bad. 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.

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