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Indigo

Very Short Answer Type Questions: (1 Marks)

1. Who is the author of the lesson, ‘Indigo’?
Ans: The author of the lesson, ‘Indigo’ is Louis Fischer.

2. Which book by Louis Fischer has been reviewed as one of the best books ever written on Gandhi by Times Educational Supplement?
Ans: Louis Fischer’s book – The life of Mahatma Gandhi has been reviewed as one of the best books ever written about Gandhi by Times Educational Supplement.

3. When did Gandhi decide ‘to urge the departure of the British?
Ans: Gandhi decided to urge the departure of the British in 1917.

4. Who was Rajkumar Shukla? [2012, 2016]
Ans: Rajkumar Shukla was one of the poor sharecropper peasants of Champaran.

5. Where was Rajkumar Shukla from?
Ans: Rajkumar Shukla was from Champaran in the foothills of Himalayas, near Nepal.

6. What did Shukla want Gandhi to do? [2015]
Ans: Shukla wanted Gandhi to visit his district and seek a way out of the unfair situation prevailing there owing to the injustice of the landlord system.

7. Where was Champaran? [2014, 2018]
Ans: Champaran was in the foothills of the Himalayas, near the kingdom of Nepal.

8. Where did Gandhi and Shukla board a train to?
Ans: Gandhi and Shukla boarded a train to the city of Patna in Bihar.

9. Whom did Gandhi and Shukla want to meet at Patna? [2013]
Ans: They met Rajendra Prasad there.

10. Where did Gandhi decide to go first from Patna?
Ans: Gandhi decided to go first to Muzaffarpur.

11. Which country had developed synthetic indigo? [2019]
Ans: Germany had developed synthetic indigo.

12. What was the capital of Champaran?
Ans: Motihari was the capital of Champaran.

13. What happened when Gandhi refused to furnish bail at the Muzaffarpur Court?
Ans: When Gandhi refused to furnish bail, the Judge released him without bail.

14. Who is Sir Edward Gait? [2012, 2015]
Ans: Sir Edward Gait was the Lieutenant Governor who appointed an official commission of inquiry into the indigo sharecroppers’ situation.

15. Why was Gandhi visiting Lucknow in 1916? [2013]
Ans: Gandhi visited Lucknow to attend the annual Convention of the Indian National Congress.

16. What was Gandhi’s politics intertwined with? [2016]
Ans: Gandhi’s politics intertwined with the practical day to day problem of the millions.

17. Where did Gandhi stay in Muzzafarpur? [2019]
Ans: Gandhi stayed in the house Professor Malkani in Muzzafarpur.

Short Answer Type Questions: (2 Marks)

1. Who was Rajkumar Shukla? Why was he described as being resolute?
OR: Why was Gandhi impressed with Rajkumar Shukla?
Ans: Rajkumar Shukla was a poor sharecropper of the Champaran District.
Rajkumar Shukla wanted Gandhi to visit his district to look into the condition of the peasants there. Gandhi had other commitments but Shukla accompanied him everywhere; for weeks, he never left Gandhi’s side until Gandhi agreed to accompany him to Champaran to help the poor sharecroppers. That was why he was described as being resolute.

2. Why did servants Rajendra Prasad’s house mistake Gandhi to be and why?
OR: Why was Gandhi not allowed to draw water from the well?
Ans: The servants knew Shukla as a poor peasant, who always troubled their master (Rajendra Prasad) to help the indigo sharecroppers. As Gandhi accompanied him, they thought him to be another farmer. Gandhi was not allowed to drink water from the well as they thought he was untouchable.

3. What was the incident that prompts Gandhi to raise his voice of protest against the British? [2013, 2017]
Ans: Gandhi had gone to attend the December 1916 annual convention of the National Congress Party Lucknow, there a poor peasant, Rajkumar Shukla, approached him. He wanted Gandhi to visit his district to help the poor sharecropper, on his request Gandhi went there and fight against the injustice done to the sharecroppers by the British landlord and forced out a way for honourable settlement. This episode of Champaran prompts Gandhi to raise his voice of protest against the British as Gandhi was very clear that the Britishers must quit India soon.

4. Why was Gandhi decided to go to Muzzafarpur first before going to Champaran? [2018]
Ans: Gandhi decided to go to Muzzafarpur first before going to Champaran because he wanted to obtain more complete information about the conditions of the sharecropper of Champaran. He did not want to act blindly. It did prove helpful as the lawyers in Muzzafarpur, who frequently represented the peasant groups in the court, brief Gandhiji about the cases.

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5. Why did Gandhi chide the lawyers?
Ans: Gandhi chided the lawyers for collecting a huge fee from the poor sharecroppers as the peasant was so crushed and fear-stricken that going to law court was useless. The real relief for them was to be free from fear.

6. What did the British commissioner of Tirhut division in Champaran district ask Gandhi to do?
Ans: When Secretary of British landlord Association refused to give information to Gandhi, he went to meet British Commissioner. The British Commissioner bullied Gandhi and asked him to leave Tirhut.

7. Why was Professor Malkani’s section of offering shelter to Gandhi ‘extraordinary’?
Ans: The average Indians in smaller localities were afraid to show sympathy for advocates of ‘home rule’. They probably feared some bad consequences. It is for this reason that Gandhiji recalls Professor Malkani’s offering him shelter in his own home as an extraordinary thing.

8. Why do you think Gandhi considered the Champaran episode to be a turning point in his life? [2012]
Ans: Gandhi considered the Champaran episode to be a turning point in his life because it was the first successful civil disobedience movement for him. Though it began as an ordinary attempt to free the poor peasants from injustice and exploitation, it was important because it wiped out the moral fear of the Britishers from the hearts of the simple farmers.

9. Why did Gandhi agree to a settlement of 25% refund to the farmers?
OR: Why did Gandhi agree to the planter’s offer of a 25% refund to the farmers?
Ans: When the landlords agreed to pay a refund of only 25%, they wanted to create a deadlock which would prolong the dispute. To everybody’s surprise, Gandhi accepted the offer. According to him, the amount of refund was less important than the fact that the landlords had been obliged to surrender part of their money and with it, part of their prestige.

10. Why did Rajkumar Shukla want to take Gandhiji to Champaran?
Ans: Rajkumar Shukla was one of the poor impoverished sharecroppers of the Champaran district. He had gone to the Lucknow session of the Indian National Congress to take Gandhiji to Champaran to fight the injustice and exploitation of the sharecroppers.

11. 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?
Ans: The British landlords forced all tenants to plant 15% of their holdings with indigo and surrender the entire indigo harvest as rent. This was done on a long term contract.
When the landlords learned that Germany had developed synthetic indigo, they wanted to dissolve the agreement. However, they asked the sharecroppers to pay them compensation for being released from the 15% arrangement. Obviously, synthetic indigo would be cheaper and more readily available and thus would bring down the price of natural indigo.

12. List the places that he visited between his first meeting with Shukla and his arrival at Champaran.
Ans: After his first meeting with Shukla, Gandhiji did not visit Champaran immediately because he had prior commitments in other parts of the country. He was expected to visit Kanpur after which he returned to his ashram near Ahmadabad. It was only after his visit to Calcutta was he able to attend to the problem highlighted by Shukla.

13. Why did Gandhiji oppose when his friend Andrews offered to stay in Champaran and help the peasants?
OR: Why did Gandhiji object to CF Andrews’ stay in Champaran?
Ans: CF Andrews wanted to stay in Champaran and help the peasants, but Gandhiji objects to it because he wanted to mould ‘a new free Indian’. He wanted Indians to stand on their own feet. So, he taught everybody a lesson in self-reliance.

14. What made the Lieutenant-Governor drop the case against Gandhiji?
Ans: Thousands of peasants held a spontaneous demonstration in Motihari. The officials felt helpless and the government was baffled. The pressure of the people was mounting. The judge didn’t want to aggravate the situation. He held up the sentence for several days and finally released Gandhi without bail, thus dropping the case against Gandhiji.

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15. Why did Gandhi tell the court that he was involved in a ‘conflict of duties’?
Ans: Gandhi told the court that he was involved in a ‘conflict of duties’, i.e. he must not set a bad example by breaking the law (by refusing to comply with the eviction order), but he must also render the humanitarian and national service for which he had come to Champaran.

16. ‘The battle of Champaran is won!’ What led Gandhiji to make this remark?
Ans: Gandhiji asked the lawyers what they would do if he was arrested. The lawyers first replied that they would return home, but when Gandhiji asked them for a solution about the injustice to the sharecroppers, they realised their mistake. They thought that when a total stranger was ready to go to jail for the poor peasants, their going home would be utterly shameful.

They decided to follow Gandhiji into jail. This made Gandhiji exclaim, “The battle of Champaran is won’, as he was happy to have convinced the lawyers and won their trust.

17. Why was the Champaran episode so significant in Gandhi’s life? [2016]
Ans: The Champaran episode was really very significant in Gandhi’s life. It was an effort to remove the distress (कष्ट) of poor peasants. The success of Champaran justified Gandhi’s ways and meAns: It gave a message. The Britishers who were dreaded and unquestioned could now be challenged by the Indians. The success of Champaran was the success of peaceful Civil Disobedience in modern India.

18. How was a solution to the problem of indigo sharecroppers of Champaran found? [2019]
Ans: Gandhiji, with the lawyers of Muzzafarpur, conducted an inquiry into the grievances of the farmers. The investigations, documentation, and evidence collected favoured the peasants. Hence, Gandhiji asked for only 50% of the money as compensation as opposed to the landlord’s thinking that he might demand the whole amount they had extorted. However, an agreement was reached at 25% of the money to be compensated to the peasants.

19. Whom did Gandhi send a telegram to in Muzzafarpur?
Ans: Gandhi sent a telegram to Prof. J. B. Kripalani of the Arts College of Muzzafarpur, whom he had seen at Tagore’s Shantiniketan School.

20. What did the British Commissioner of the Tirhut division in Champaran district ask Gandhi to do?
Ans: With a view to getting the facts about Champaran Gandhi called on the British Commissioner of the Tirhut Division in which the Champaran district lay. But the commissioner bullied him and asked Gandhi to leave Tirhut at once.

21. Why was Professor Malkani’s action of offering shelter to Gandhi ‘extraordinary’?
Ans: Professor Malkani was a teacher in a Government school. It was an extraordinary thing in those days for a Government officer to harbor or show sympathy to an advocate home-rule for India.

22. Why did Gandhi write to J.B. Kripalani?
Ans: Gandhiji wanted to get more information about the sharecroppers than Shukla could provide. He decided to stop at Muzzafarpur which was en-route to Champaran. So he wrote to J.B. Kripalani whom he met at Tagore’s Shantiniketan.

23. Why did Gandhi think that ‘it was an extra-ordinary thing in those days to harbor a man lime me (him)’?
Ans: Gandhiji thought that it was an extraordinary thing in those days to harbor a man like Gandhi because in those days people were afraid to show sympathy to the advocates of home-rule. But Mr. Malkani, though he was a government teacher, gave Gandhi his house to stay for two days.

24. What do you know about the arable lands in the Champaran district?
Ans: In the Champaran district most of the arable land was divided into large estates owned by Englishmen and worked by Indian tenants. All tenants were made bound to plant three twentieth or 15 percent of their holdings with indigo and then surrounded it entirely as harvest.

25. How did Gandhi prepared himself after receiving summons to appear in court?
Ans: After receiving summons to appear in the court, Gandhiji remained awake all night. He telegraphed Rajendra Prasad to come from Bihar with influential friends. Then he sent instructions to the ashram. He also wired a full report to the viceroy.

26. What proved to be the beginning of the liberation of the peasant of Motihari, from fear of the British?
Ans: The spontaneous demonstration of the peasants, in thousands around the courthouse proved to be the beginning of the liberation of the peasants of Motihari from fear of the British.

27. What is the ‘concrete proof’ that Gandhi gave to the British to show that they might could be challenged by Indians?
Ans: The British officials could not control demonstration of the peasants in thousands around the court house without Gandhi’s cooperation. So Gandhi helped them regulate the crowd and gave them concrete proof that they might be challenged by Indians too.

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Long Answer Type Questions: (6 Marks)

1. ‘The battle of Champaran is won’, he exclaimed. Explain the context in which this was said. [2015, 2016]
Ans: The lawyers played a very vital role in the Champaran movement. The news of Gandhi’s advent spread among the lawyers of Muzaffarpur. They called on Gandhi to brief him. Gandhi chided the lawyers for collecting big fees from the poor sharecroppers. Law courts were useless for them.

The lawyers from Bihar were again in the news. Gandhi was going to be tried in court. Rajendra Prasad and several other prominent lawyers had arrived from Bihar to support him. Gandhiji asked the lawyers what they would do if he was arrested. The lawyers first replied that they would return home, but when Gandhiji asked them for a solution about the injustice to the sharecroppers, they realised their mistake.

They thought that when a total stranger was ready to go to jail for the poor peasants, their going home would be utterly shameful.
They decided to follow Gandhiji into jail. This made Gandhiji exclaim, “The battle of Champaran is won’, as he was happy to have convinced the lawyers and won their trust.

2. “Civil disobedience had triumphed the first time in modern India”. How? Explain with reference to the chapter “Indigo.”
Ans: Ans: When Gandhiji visited Champaran to look into the grievances of the peasants, he was served with an official notice to quit Champaran immediately. Gandhiji returned the notice with the remark that he would disobey the order. This was the beginning of civil disobedience.

As a result, Gandhiji was ordered to appear in the court the next day. Thousands of peasants put up a demonstration at the courthouse. The powerless officials appealed to Gandhiji to help them manage the crowd, which he no doubt did. The magistrate demanded Gandhiji furnish bail, but Gandhiji did not comply with the orders. Then he released Gandhiji without bail. After several days, the case was dropped by the Lieutenant-Governor. This was the start of the triumph of civil disobedience in India.

3. Give an account of the problems faced by the Indigo sharecroppers. What was Gandhiji’s role in solving the problem?
OR: Describe the exploitation of the indigo sharecroppers by the English landlords. Did Gandhi help them to get an honourable statement? [2013, 2017, 2019]
Ans: Most of the arable land in Champaran was divided into large estates owned by Englishmen and worked on by Indian tenants. The chief commercial crop was indigo. The landlords compelled all the tenants to plant 15% of their holdings with indigo and surrender the entire indigo harvest as rent. This was done through a long-term contract.

When the landlords learned Germany had developed synthetic indigo, they obtained agreements from the sharecroppers to pay them compensation for being released from the 15% arrangement.

Gandhiji, with the lawyers of Muzzafarpur, conducted an inquiry into the grievances of the farmers. The investigations, documentation, and evidence collected favoured the peasants. Hence, Gandhiji asked for only 50% of the money as compensation as opposed to the landlord’s thinking that he might demand the whole amount they had extorted. However, an agreement was reached at 25% of the money to be compensated to the peasants. Gandhiji accepted the settlement because he did not want to deadlock between the landlords and the peasants. Thus, Gandhiji played a very proactive role in resolving the issue.

4. Describe the efforts made by R. K. Shukla persuade Gandhi to go to Champaran. [2014]
Ans: Rajkumar Shukla a poor peasant from Champaran went to the annual convention of the Indian National Congress party in Lucknow, to meet Gandhi. He told Gandhi that he wanted him to come to their district. Gandhi told Shukla that he had an appointment in Cawnpore. From Cawnpore, he had to visit other parts of India. Shukla followed Gandhi everywhere. Then Gandhi returned to his ashram near Ahmadabad and Shukla followed him to the Ashram also.

He did not leave Gandhi’s side for weeks and pleaded Gandhi to fix a date to come to Champaran. Gandhi was impressed by Shukla’s steadfastness and asked the latter to come to Calcutta on such and such a date Gandhi asked him to come and take him from there. Months later Shukla met Gandhi at the Calcutta station and both left for Champaran.

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