“Indigo” English class 12 NCERT Summary and Question answers

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INDIGO (Louis Fischer)


The background of the chapter, Indigo, was set in 1916 at the annual convention of the Indian National Congress party in Lucknow. Where a peasant , Rajkumar shukla from Champaran came to meet him. It highlights Gandhi’s struggle to bring them justice and equality as well as the cruelty of Britishers.

In those days most of arable land in the Champaran district was divided into large estate owned by Englishmen and worked by Indian tenants. The chief commercial crop was Indigo. The landlords compelled all tenants to plant 15% of their Indigo and surrender the entire Indigo harvest as rent. This system was known as sharecropping . This was done by long term contract. However, Germany starts developing synthetic Indigo. Thus, the British do not require the Indigo crop any more. Thus, in order to release the poor peasant from their agreement of 15%, they start demanding compensation. While some of the uneducated peasants agreed on this, the other did not agree.

Raj Kumar Shukla was one of the aggrieved sharecropper and he wanted to meet met Gandhiji in this regard and compelled him to visit Champaran because of the long term injustice of landlords. Then the two of them boarded a train for the city of Patna in Bihar. From there Shukla led him to the house of a lawyer named Rajendra Prasad.

Mahatma Gandhi’s humble and simple attire made the servants mistook him as another poor peasant. He surveyed before taking any vital step in order to get those peasants justice. It was the time when British government punished those who in any condition gave shelter to national leaders or protesters.

when Gandhi arrived in the place, the news of his arrival and mission spread across the town like wildfire. This resulted in a lot of lawyers and peasant groups pouring in large numbers in his support. There Gandhiji got to know that the lawyers charge quite unreasonable fees to represent them in the court. Gandhiji bashed them about the same.

He managed to get justice after a yearlong battle for the peasants. He also made arrangements for the education, health, and hygiene for the families of the poor peasants. He gave them the lesson of self-reliance.

The final settlement on indigo was adopted, and Gandhiji explained that the amount of the refund was less important than the fact that the landlord had been obliged to surrender part of their prestige. Therefore, this movement helped the farmers to know their rights, and finally, they learned courage, which was more important than money. Thus, the British planters abandoned their estates, and indigo sharecropping disappeared

Indigo – Imp Question and answers

Why do you think Gandhi considered the Champaran episode to be a turning-point in his Life?

The Champaran event had solved various problems faced by the poor peasants. They were relieved from the torture they had to face at the hands of the landlords. Thousands of People supported him. This was considered as a turning point in the life of Gandhi. He once said that what he did was an ordinary thing as he didn’t want the Britishers to order him in his own country.

How was Gandhi able to influence lawyers? Give instances.

 Gandhi asked the lawyers about their course of action if he was sentenced to jail. They answered that they would return back. He then asked them about the plight of the peasants. This made them realize their duty towards the social issue and they decided to go to jail with Gandhi.

What was the attitude of the average Indian in smaller localities towards advocates of ‘home rule’?

The average Indians in smaller localities did not support the advocates of Home Rule as they feared to go against the British government. For Gandhi it was surprising that Professor Malkani allowed him to stay at his home even though he was a government teacher.

“The battle of Champaran is won”. What led Gandhiji to make this statement.

When Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Brij Kishor, Maulana Mazharul Haque and others prominent lawyers decided to help Gandhi and said that they were ready to follow him to the prison. Then Gandhi made this statement.

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