Tag Archive: gandhi champaran movement


The first Satyagraha revolutions inspired by Mahatma Gandhi in the Indian Independence Movement occurred in Kheda district of Gujarat and the Champaran district of Bihar between the years of 1918 and 1919. Champaran Satyagraha was the first to be started but the word Satyagraha was used for the first time in Anti Rowlatt agitation.

Champaran, Bihar

In Champaran, a district in state of Bihar, tens of thousands of landless serfs, indentured laborers and poor farmers were forced to grow indigo and other cash crops instead of the food crops necessary for their survival. These goods were bought from them at a very low price. Suppressed by the ruthless militias of the landlords (mostly British), they were given measly compensation, leaving them mired in extreme poverty. The villages were kept extremely dirty and unhygienic, and alcoholism, untouchability and purdah were rampant. Now in the throes of a devastating famine, the British levied an oppressive tax which they insisted on increasing in rate. Without food and without money, the situation was growing progressively unlivable and the peasants in Champaran revolted against indigo cultivation in 1914 (at Pipra) and 1916(Turkaulia) and Raj Kumar Shukla took Mahatma Gandhi to Champaran and the Champaran Satyagraha began.[1]
[edit] Kheda, Gujarat

In Kheda, a district of villages and small towns in Gujarat, the peasants mostly owned their own lands, and were economically better-off than their compatriots in Bihar, although on the whole, the district was plagued by poverty, scant resources, the social evils of alcoholism and untouchability, and overall British indifference and hegemony.

However, a terrible famine had struck the district and a large part of Gujarat, and virtually destroyed the agrarian economy. The poor peasants had barely enough to feed themselves, but the British government of the Bombay Presidency insisted that the farmers not only pay full taxes, but also pay the 23% increase stated to take effect that very year.
[edit] Gandhi’s solution
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v • d • e

While many civic groups sent petitions and published editorials, Gandhi proposed satyagraha – non-violence, mass civil disobedience. While it was strictly non-violent, Gandhi was proposing real action, a real revolt that the oppressed peoples of India were dying to undertake.

Gandhi also insisted that neither the protestors in Bihar nor in Gujarat allude to or try to propagate the concept of Swaraj, or Independence. This was not about political freedom, but a revolt against abject tyranny amidst a terrible humanitarian disaster. While accepting participants and help from other parts of India, Gandhi insisted that no other district or province revolt against the Government, and that the Indian National Congress not get involved apart from issuing resolutions of support, to prevent the British from giving it cause to use extensive suppressive measures and brand the revolts as treason.
[edit] In Champaran

Gandhi established an ashram in Champaran, organizing scores of his veteran supporters and fresh volunteers from the region. He organized a detailed study and survey of the villages, accounting the atrocities and terrible episodes of suffering, including the general state of degenerate living.
Dr. Rajendra Prasad(Sitting left) & Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha(sitting right) during 1917 Champaran Satyagraha movement

Building on the confidence of villagers, he began leading the clean-up of villages, building of schools and hospitals and encouraging the village leadership to undo purdah, untouchability and the suppression of women. He was joined by many young nationalists from all over India, including Dr. Sri Krishna Sinha, Ramarshi Deo Trivedi “Rishi Ji”, Brajkishore Prasad, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha and Jawaharlal Nehru.

But his main assault came as he was arrested by police on the charge of creating unrest and was ordered to leave the province. Hundreds of thousands of people protested and rallied outside the jail, police stations and courts demanding his release, which the court unwillingly did. Gandhi led organized protests and strike against the landlords, who with the guidance of the British government, signed an agreement granting more compensation and control over farming for the poor farmers of the region, and cancellation of revenue hikes and collection until the famine ended. It was during this agitation, that Gandhi was addressed by the people as Bapu (Father) and Mahatma (Great Soul).
[edit] In Kheda
Gandhi in 1918, when he led the Kheda Satyagraha.

In Gujarat, Gandhi was only the spiritual head of the struggle. His chief lieutenant, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and a close coterie of devoted Gandhians, namely Narhari Parikh, Mohanlal Pandya and Ravi Shankar Vyas toured the countryside, organized the villagers and gave them political leadership and direction. Many aroused Gujaratis from the cities of Ahmedabad and Vadodara joined the organizers of the revolt, but Gandhi and Patel resisted the involvement of Indians from other provinces, seeking to keep it a purely Gujarati struggle.

Patel and his colleagues organized a major tax revolt, and all the different ethnic and caste communities of Kheda rallied around it. The peasants of Kheda signed a petition calling for the tax for this year to be scrapped in wake of the famine. The government in Bombay rejected the charter. They warned that if the peasants did not pay, the lands and property would be confiscated and many arrested. And once confiscated, they would not be returned even if most complied. None of the villages flinched.

The tax withheld, the government’s collectors and inspectors sent in thugs to seize property and cattle, while the police forfeited the lands and all agrarian property. The farmers did not resist arrest, nor retaliate to the force employed with violence. Instead, they used their cash and valuables to donate to the Gujarat Sabha which was officially organizing the protest.

The revolt was astounding in terms of discipline and unity. Even when all their personal property, land and livelihood were seized, a vast majority of Kheda’s farmers remained firmly united in the support of Patel. Gujaratis sympathetic to the revolt in other parts resisted the government machinery, and helped the shelter the relatives and property of the protesting peasants. Those Indians who sought to buy the confiscated lands were ostracized from society. Although nationalists like Sardul Singh Caveeshar called for sympathetic revolts in other parts, Gandhi and Patel firmly rejected the idea.

The Government finally sought to foster an honorable agreement for both parties. The tax for the year in question, and the next would be suspended, and the increase in rate reduced, while all confiscated property would be returned.

Gujaratis also worked in cohesion to return the confiscated lands to their rightful owners. The ones who had bought the lands seized were influenced to return them, even though the British had officially said it would stand by the buyers.

According to the history of West Champaran District, it was carved out of the old Champaran District in the year 1972. It suggests that West Champaran District was formed as a result of re-organization of old Champaran District in the state. It was formerly a subdivision of Saran District and then Champaran District with its headquarters at Bettiah. The history of West Champaran District says that Bettiah got its name from Baint (Cane) plants, which are commonly found in this district. Further, it also says that the name Champaran is a degenerate form of Champaka Aranya, a name which dates back to the time when the district was a vast forest tract of Champa (Magnolia) trees and was the abode of solitary ascetics.

As per historical accounts, Champaran was occupied at an early period by races of Aryan descent and formed part of the country in which the Videha Empire ruled. After the fall of Videha Empire the district formed part of Vaishali of which Lichhavis were the most powerful and prominent. Ajatashatru, the emperor of Magadh, by annexed Lichhavis and occupied its capital, Vaishali. He extended his sovereignty over West Champaran which continued under the Mauryan rule for the next hundred years. After the Mauryas, the Sungas and Kanvas ruled over the Magadh territories. The district thereafter formed part of the Kushan Empire and then came under Gupta Empire. Along with Tirhut, Champaran was possibly annexed by Harsha during whose reign the Palas of Bengal were in the possession of eastern India and Champaran formed a part of their territory.

The history of West Champaran District during the late medieval period and the British period is linked with the history of Bettiah Raj. Bettiah Raj has been mentioned as a great estate. It traces its descent from Ujjain Singh and his son, Gaj Singh, who received the title of Raja from Shah Jahan, Mughal Emperor (1628-58). The family came into prominence as independent chief in the 18th century during the downfall of the Mughal Empire. Bettiah Raj was succeeded by the descendents of Raja Jugal Kishore Singh. Harendra Kishore Singh, the last Maharaja of Bettiah, died in 1893.

Rise of nationalism in Bettiah in early 20th century is intimately connected with indigo plantation. Further, by 1918 the long standing misery of the indigo cultivators came to an end and Champaran became the hub of Indian National Freedom Movement and the launch pad of Satyagraha movement of Mahatma Gandhi.

History of East Champaran

First Creation of Champarn District : 1866

On 1st of December 1971 Champaran district was split up Into two districts, viz. Purbi Champaran and Paschim Champaran ,

The headquarter of Purbi Champaran district is at Motihari .

Presently Purbi Champaran consists of Six Subdivisions and Twenty Seven Blocks.

Nepal makes its northern boundary, Sitamadhi and Sheohar eastern while Muzaffarpur South and with part of Gopalganj bounds it in western side.

Origin of Name

            The name Champaran owes its origin to Champa-aranya or Champkatanys. Champa or Champaka means Magnolia and  aranya mess forest. Hence, Champaranya means Forest of  Magnolia (CHAMPA) trees. It is popularly believed that the nomenclature here was made while the vest forest part was inhabited by solitary ascetics. It is needless to say that has Purbi means Eastern Side.

    

Ancient History

The history of Purbi Champaran is a part of parent Champaran district. In the prehistoric period, Champaran constituted a part of the ancient kingdom of Videha .The Aryan Videhas were ordained to settle east of the Gandak or Narayani river. Among the Greatest of the Videha kings was Sirdhwaj

Janak an erudite scholar as well as lord temporal and lord spiritual for his subjects. Yajnavalkya was his chief priest who codified the Hindu law known as Yajnavalkya Smriti. Both of his wife Gargi and Maitreyi was renowned scholar. It is Gargi who is credited to compose some of mantras. After the fall of Videhan empire Champaran was ceded to oligarrochial republic of Vrijjan confederacy, with Oligarchcal Vaishali as its capital of the Vriggian confederacy Lichohavis were the most powerful and prominent.

For a true imperialist Ajatshatru the emperor of Magadh the power and fame of Vaishali was eyesore. By tact and force he annexed Lichhavis and occupied its capital, Vaishali. He extended his way over the present district of Purbi Champaran which lasted for nearly hundred years. After the Mauryas , the Sungas and the kanvas ruled over Magadh and its vast territories. Archaeological evidences found in Champaran bear testimony of Sunga and Kanva rules here.

The Kushans, who were migrant Turks, overran the entire northern India in the first century AD Probably Champaran was a part of the Kushan empire at that time. Banphar Rajputs in the 3rd century AD got way by the Kushans . Champaran later become a part of the Gupta empire. Alongwith Tirhut, Champaran was possibly annexed by Harsha during whose reign Huen- Tesang, the famous Chines pilgrim, visited India. During 750 to 1155 AD Palas were in the possession of Eastern India and Champaran formed the part of their territories. Towards the close of the 10th century Gangaya Deva of the Kalacheeri dynasty conquered Champaran .He gave way to Vikramaditya of the Chalukya dynasty, who was accompanied by adventures from the Carnatic .It is believed that one of the adventures counted the Saka dynasty of Bangal another, Nanyadeva, founded the Carnatic dynasty of Mithila with its capital at Siaraon on the Indo- Nepal border.

MEDIEVAL PERIOD

During 1211 and 1226 first Muslim influences was experienced when Ghyasuddin Iwaz the muslim governor of Bangal extended his a way over Tribhukti or Tirhut .It was however, not a complete conquest and he was only able to have Tirhut from Narsinghdeva a simyaon king, in about 1323 Gnyas- Uddip.Tughiar annexed irabhuk and placed it under Kameshwar Thakur established Sugaon or Thakur dynasty, As Harsinghdeo the last simraon king had taken shelter in Nepal Kameshwar Thakur a Brahmin Rajpandit was installed to regal status. The sugaon dynasty hold Tirabhukti as a tributary province for about a century after the capture of Harsinghdeo . The most famous of the dynasty was Raja Shiva Singh who was adorned by the immortal poet laureate Vidyapati, during the period of Lakshmi Nath Deva Tirabhukti was attached by Sultan Alleuddin Hussain Shah of Bengal and Sikender Lodi of Delhi . A treaty was concluded in 1499 according to which ‘Tirahukti , left to Sikandar Lodi subsequently, Sikander Lodi attacked Tirabhukti and made the prince a tributary chief. However, in contravention of the treaty conducted by his father .Nasrat Shah, son of Allauddin Shah attacked Tirbhukti in 1530 annexed the territory, killed the Raja and thus put an end to the Thakur dynasty .

Nasrat Shah appointed his son -in -law as viceroy of Tirhut and the coformard it was governed by Muslim Governor .In 1526 Babar dynosted Sikandar Lodi but Champaran could not coming  prominence till the last days of the Muslim rule.

During  the close of the Mughal empire, Champaran witnessed ravages of contending armies. prince Al Gauhar later known as Shah Alam invaded Bihar in 1760 and Khadin Hussain, the Governor of Purnit invited with his army to join him. In the mean time, Nawab Sirajudaulla of Bengal had already been  defeated and killed as a result of the joint conspiracy of  Mir Jagarkhan and the British, in June, 1757 . Before Khadim Hussain could meet Shah Alam’s forces captain Knox led a British force and defeated him at Hajipur. There after he fled to Bettiah.

BRITISH PERIOD

With the rest of Bengal Champaran passed into the hands of East India Company in 1764  but military expeditious were still I. necessary to curb the independent spirit of the chiefs. In 1766 , Robert Barkar easily defeated the local chiefs and forced them to pay tribute or revenue  which they had destined till them. however , the Raja of Bettiah did not pay revenues regularly and revolted but was crushed. He fled to Bundelkhand and his estate was consequently confiscated. But to the British it was difficult to manage the affairs of the estate in the make of strong popular resentment. At the time of uprising the estate was restored by the Raja in 1771 .

In the mean time for reaching consequences were taking place in neighboring Nepal. A confrontation was going,. In between the Gurkhas, under Prithvi Narayan of Newar line and British forces. Ultimately a treaty was concluded at Sugauli .There remained peace for 25 years followed by  treaty but trouble started after 1840 when a Gurkha troops entered the estate of Raja Ramnagar and extended their claim over his territory. However, Gorkha troops had to retreat due to determined resistance. Later, the Nepalese proved faithfully allies of the British in suppressing the National Movement of  1857.

The repression of the Wahabi movement at Patna furthered of seething discontent of tenants against the activities of the administration as well as the Indigo –Planters. The cultivators were forced to grow indigo even in the face of recurring losses in this account . More over many kinds of illegal realization were effected by the landlords. The administration was the cut do – sac of the oppressions.

In the beginning of 1857 movement the position of Britishers was precarious. Major Hoimes who was commanding the 12th Irregular cavalry, stationed at sugauli was apparently panicked and proclaimed martial law on his own authority. This measure had not attracted hole-hearted support of higher authorities. Major Holmes lad repressive measures and executed some sepoys. Consequently members of the cavalry  revolted again the authority. The Major his wife and other members of his family were stained. The Soldiers proceeded towards Siwan to join other forces who had risen against the British authority. The revolt was, however calmed down to enlist support Honorary Magistrates from among the indigo planters were appointed and also authorized them to recruit local police. Some of the big estate holders like the Raja of Bettiah even gave support to the British Gurukha troops of  the British were asset to them.

The later history of the district is inter woven with the saga of exploitation of the indigo planters. Britain used to get supplies of indigo from her American colonies which ceased after war of .Independence fought in 1776 leading to their freedom. Britain had to depend upon India for supplies of  Indigo. Europeans steered many factories in the indigo producing areas of Bengal and Bihar.

Estate of Bettiah and Ramnagar gave lease of land to them on easy terms for cultivation of indigo. The arrangement made for the cultivation of indigo were (1) Zirat and (2)Tenkuthiya . Apparently ,nothing went wrong by the introduction of  both the systems. But actually, the peasants suffered a lot due to both the systems. The wages paid to laborers were extremely low and entirely inadequate. The were forced to labor hard and were severely punished for alleged slackness on their part Sri Raj kumar shukla, an indigo cultivator of  the district having heard about the None Co-operation Movement had by Gandhijee in South Africa met and apprised him about miserable plight of indigo Cultivators in the Champaran District. He persuaded him to visit the district. Almost at same time;The Indian Nation congress in December ,1916 passed at Lucknow a resolution for requesting Government to appoint a committcd of both officials and non-officials to enquire into the agrarian trouble facing the district.

Gandhijee paid historic visit to Champaran. His visit was stoutly opposed by the British rulers. An order asking him to leave Champaran was served upon him as soon as he arrived at Motihari. Gandhijee defied the order of the several prominent persons who rallied round him mention may be made of Dr .Rajendra Prasad Acharya Kriplani ,Mahadeo Desai, C.F. Andrews, H.S.Pollock, Anugrah Narayan Singh, Raj Kishore Prasad, Ram Nawami Prasad and Dharnidhar Prasad after considerable struggle Govt. was compelled to lift the ban on Gandhi’s stay here for he first time on Indian soil Satyagarh, was successfully put to test. Eventually, a committee of enquiry was appointed by the Govt. under the chairmanship of Sri Frank shy, Gandhijee was also made one of the member of the committee. On the basis of vauled a recommendations of the committee, the Champaran Agraria low (Bihar and Orissa Act I of 1918) was passed. In course of time, the development of synthetic dyes made the cultivation of indigo redundant.

In 1920,Gandhijee made an extensive tour of Bihar before launching the non-co-operation movement, which earned full support in the district as well. In 1929 a group of volunteers from Champran district came to demonstrate a against the Simon commission in the same year the 21st session of the Bihar students conference was held at Motihari. As a reaction against the failure of Round table conference held in 1932 there was popular gathering at Motihari to take pledge for Independence. Police lathi charge and fired upon the gatherings. people of Champaran will be remember for their active and significant participation in the National movement.

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS OF GANDHI JI’S (Gandhi Jee) FIRST SATYAGRAH MOVEMENT IN CHAMPARAN

 

10th Apr 1917             Gandhiji arrives Patna in way to Champaran with Raj Kumar Shukla. Stayed for some moment with Mazharul Haq. Started for Muzafferpur. Prof J. B. Kriplani welcomes at Muzafferpur Station. Stayed in Hostel during Night.

11th Apr 1917             In Muzafferpur met James Willsin the secretary of Bagan Malik Sangh and told him the reason of his coming.

12th Apr 1917             Wrote letter and sought permission to meet from commissioner of Tirhut.

13th Apr 1917             Gandhiji met Commissioner Mars Head and later wrote a letter about subject of his Enquiry.

15th Apr 1917             Gandhiji arrives Motihari at 3P.M. and stayed at the residence of Gorakh Prasad, advocate.

16th Apr 1917             In the way to Jasualipatti village, Gandhiji was served order by government  of leaving district by first available train. Gandhiji returned to Motihari and gave letter of his intension of not obeying the order to District Magistrate W B Hekak.

17th Apr 1917             Wrote a letter to District Magistrate showing his willingness to go to nearby village.

18th Apr 1917             Appeared in the court of Sub Divisional Magistrate of Motihari and gave Historic Statement of reason for not obeying the order. Case was adjourned till 21st Apr. Gandhiji changed his residence due to increase in rush.

19th Apr 1917             In protest against the order of leaving the district, executive committee of Bihar Provincial Union decided to a letter to viceroy.

20th Apr 1917             Government ordered for withdrawal of case against Gandhiji and instructed the District Collector for making arrangements during his enquiry period. First Victory of Satyagrah in Champaran.

21st Apr 1917             Gandhiji telegrammed the Lt. Governor of Bihar & Orrisa thanking him for withdrawal of Case. Issued statement in Press.

22nd Apr 1917            Gandhiji arrived at Bettiah and stayed at Hazarimal Dharmshala.

23rd Apr 1917                        Met Sub Divisional Magistrate of Bettiah.

24th Apr 1917             In the morining, in way to Lohariya and Laukaria, stayed at Bariah Kothi for some moment. He was accompanied by Raj Kumar Shukla and Braj Kishore Prasad advocate. Returned Bettiah in the evening.

25th Apr 1917             Gandhiji went to Shivrajpur Kamouni in Laukaria and registered the statement of Farmers.

26th Apr 1917             From Bettiah Dharmashala, went to Shingachhapar with Ramnaumi Prasad.

27th Apr 1917             Gandhiji arrives Narkatiagang Station with Raj Kumar Shukla, Brajkishore Prasad and Ram Navmi Prasad and then went to Murli Bharharwa, village of Raj Kumar Shukla. In night stayed in Amolwa in the house of Sant Raut.

28th Apr 1917             In the morning started for Bettiah.

30th Apr 1917             Started for Sathi at 4O ‘clock in the morning. Reached court on foot.

1st May 1917              Gandhiji reached Motihari. Asked for details about fire at Olhan Kothi in Turkaulia

5th May 1917              Union of Neel(Indigo) Garden Owner passed resolution against the way of enquiry of Gandhiji.

9th May 1917              Gandhiji arrives Patna with rousing welcome. Met W Maad, Marsh Head, Hekak, Lui and Hiti, the members of Provincial executive committee

10th May 1917            Gandhiji accepted to present primary report of enquiry

13th May 1917            Gandhiji arrives Bettiah. Sent the report on condition of Raiyat(Farmer) to H MacFersion.

16th May 1917            Started at 5AM in morning for Sariswa on foot with Rajendra Prasad, J.B. Kriplani, Prabhudas and Raj Kumar Shukla. Investigated at Lal Garh and Dhokraha.

17th May 1917            Gandhiji sent contradiction on news about fire at Olhan broadcasted by A.P. and UPI.

18th May 1917            In Dokraha, big loss of proprty reported due to fire at Loharia Factory Court Building.

19th May 1917            Wrote letter to manager of Loharia Neel Factory regarding atrocities committed on Raiyat(Farmer)

20th May 1917            Gandhiji wrote letter complaining the District Magistrate about threatning given to Farmers of Belwa and Dhokraha.

21st May 1917            Hiti wrote to Maad saying Gandhiji is the man behind movement aginst British Government.

22nd May 1917           District Magistrate Hekak wrote to Mars Head alleging Gandhiji is responsible for fire at Dhokraha.

24th May 1917            British Government telegrammed MacFersion advising him to form a High Poered Committee for enquiry.

26th May 1917            Gandhiji wrote letter to Asther Farring comparing the Farmer of Champaran with slave.

27th May 1917            Lt Governor invited Gandhiji on 4th Jun in Ranchi. MacFersion advised the British Government for making Gandhiji member of the Committee.

30th May 1917            Gandhiji wrote letter to Macfersion for meeting the Lt. Governor and complained about non cooperation by Owner of Neel Factory.

31st May 1917            Gandhiji wrote letter to W S Erwin about atrocities committed on Farmers of Gajpura-Ramsingh Chhtauni of Motihari Subdivision.

1st Jun 1917                Ower of Neel Garden demanded for removal of Gandhiji from Champaran.

2nd Jun 1917              Gandhiji arrives Patna, started for Ranchi after meeting with Malwiaji and others.

4th Jun 1917               Gandhiji met   Lt. Governer.

5th Jun 1917               Gandhiji started for Patna.

7th Jun 1917               Came to Patna. After Consultation with Malwiyeji, sent his consent for membership of Enquiry Committee.

8th Jun 1917               Gandhiji arrives Bettiah.

10th Jun 1917             Formation of Enquiry Committee. Subject and name of seven members announced. Gandhiji was one of the member.

12th Jun 1917             Gandhiji arrives at Motihari.

13th Jun 1917             Gandhiji changed the Ashram office from Bettiah to Motihari. Recording of statement of farmers stopped for the moment.

14th Jun 1917             Gandhiji informed MacFersion by letter that he has recorded the statement of 8000 farmers of 850 villages and they against the 60 Neel Factory.

16th Jun 1917             In Madras Government Ordered confinement of Mrs. Besant and Arunadel.

17th Jun 1917             Gandhiji started for Ahmedabad.

22nd Jun 1917            The District Magistrate informed the Commissioner that enquiry of Dhokrah Fire is danger against the peace.

28th Jun 1917             Gandhiji arrives Motihari with Dr. Dev of Bharat Sewak Samaj.

29th Jun 1917             Gandhiji proposed the District Magistrate for sending Dr. Dev for helping Villagers.

30th Jun 1917             Death of Dada Bhai Navroji.

1th Jul 1917                Gandhiji wrote against the criticism of his way of dressing. Governmet informed that enquiry committee will start his work from mid Jul.

5th Jul 1917                Gandhiji arrives Ranchi with Braj Kishore Babu.

11th Jul 1917              Gandhiji attended the primary meeting for deciding the leagality and subject of his Champaran enquiry in Ranchi.

14th Jul 1917              Gandhiji arrives Bettiah. Appealed for help for donation for his ashram expense.

15th Jul 1917              All members of Enquiry Committee arrives Betiah. Smt kasturba, Dr. Dev, Braj Kishore Prasad, Dharnidhar Prasad, Anugrah Narayan Singh, Ram Navmi Prasad and Dr. Rajendra Prasad arrives Bettiah. Other than these J.B. Kriplani and Devdas Gandhi and prabhudas was also there.

16th Jul 1917              Notification of starting of work of Champaran Enquiry committee was published in News Paper. More than ten thousand farmers and laborer were present in front of Dharmshala for lodging their complain.

17th Jul 1917              Champaran Enquiry Committee started his work in hostel of school of Raj School. Press Reporter from all over the country were present to cover the news. Enquiry started at 11 AM in morning. People registered their complain.

19th Jul 1917              Raj Kumar Shukla and Sant Raut appeared before committee and lodged their complain.

23rd Jul 1917              In presence of Chairman of committee F.G. Slai, members L.C. Adami, Maharaja Krityanand Singh, D.J. Road, G. Rainy, M.K. Gandhi and E.N. tainer (prosecution) was done. Statement of manager of Belwa Kothi A C Emman and manager of Sathi Kothi(Neel Factory) L Stal was recorded

24rd Jul 1917              Gandhiji arrives Motihari.

25th Jul 1917              Meeting of Enquiry Committee started at officer of Jila Parishad (District Council) at 11 AM. In front of committee the District Magistrate W.B. Hekak and manager of Rajepur Kothi(Neel Factory) E.A. Hudson gave their statement

26th Jul 1917              Manager of Motihari Kothi, W.S. Erwin gave his statement.

28th Jul 1917              Member of Committee went to Parsa Kothi for Enquiry.

29th Jul 1917              Statement recorded at Kuriya Kothi.

30th Jul 1917              Meeting of Enquiry Committee held.

31st Jul 1917               Committee investigated at Dhokraha and Loharia Kothi of Bettiah, Gandhiji arrives Motihari in night.

2nd Aug 1917             Gandhiji went to Rajepur Kothi with members of committee, where more than six thousand farmers were waiting for them.

3rd Aug 1917              Gandhiji recorded the statement of farmers at Pipra Kothi.

4th Aug 1917              Gandhiji recorded the statement of farmers at Turkaulia and Olhan Kothi where more than five thousand farmers were waiting.

5th Aug 1917              Gandhiji registered the complain of Farmers at Gajpura-rajpur Sriram singh chhatauni.

6th Aug 1917              Investigated at Raj Ghat and Hardia Kothi.

10th Aug 1917            Enquiry Committee decided to end Tin Kathia Pranali.

15th Aug 1917            Gandhiji complained to Manager of Pipra Kothi about atrocities committed against farmers. Gandhiji advised the Manager of Turkaulia Kothi, Hil,  manager of Pipra Kothi Narman and manager of Motihari kothi Erwin.

16th Aug 1917            Gandhiji advised to continue the helping the people and started for Ahmedabad.

11th Sep 1917             Started for Madras from Ahmedabad.

19th Sep 1917             Superintendent of Police Marsham advised the government that Gandhiji is danger of Law and Order.

22nd Sep 1917            Gandhiji arrives Ranchi and fallen sick but continued to prepare report of Enquiry committee.

23rd Sep 1917             Gandhiji  Met Lt. Governer and talked about Champaran.

24th Sep 1917             Gandhiji continued to participate till 28th Sep in the concluding meeting of Champaran Enquiry Committee.

29th Sep 1917             Gandhiji signed on agreement with Garden Owner for reduction of ‘shar haweshi’.

3rd Oct 1917               Report of Champaran Enquiry Committee completed. Gandhiji signed along with other members.

4th Oct 1917               Report handed over to government. Gandhiji demanded for publication of Decision of government on enquiry report in regional language.

5th Oct 1917               Gandhiji arrives Patna from Ranchi. Started for Allahabad for attending meeting of Congress Committee.

6th Oct 1917               Lt. Governor accepted the report of Champaran Enquiry Committee.

7th Oct 1917               Gandhiji layed foundation for Goshala (Cow Shelter) at Bettiah.

15th Oct 1917             Gandhiji Presided over meeting of Bihar Student Convention and started for Gujrat.

18th Oct 1917             Government accepted the recommendation of Champaran Enquiry Committee and published his opinion. AND THIS WAS THE VICTORY OF FIRST PEACEFUL MOVEMENT (SATYAGRAH) BY GANDHIJI IN CHAMPARAN.

19th Oct 1917             Volunteer distributed the pamphlet of government decision.

8th Nov 1917              Gandhiji arrives with his wife Kasturba and volunteer in Motihari for educating people.

9th Nov 1917              Gandhiji met the District Magistrate J.L. Meriman.

14th Nov 1917            Gandhiji started first school at Barharwa Lakhansen near Dhaka.

15th Nov 1917            Meeting with manager of Bettiah Estate.

16th Nov 1917            Gandhiji met with farmers at Amolwa.

20th Nov 1917            Started second school at Bhitiharwa.

22nd Nov 1917           Left for other place

12th Jan 1918              Gandhiji returned to Motihari from Ahmedabad.

17th Jan 1918              Started third school at Madhuban.

24th Jan 1918              Left for Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad.

4th Mar 1918              Governor General of India signed on Agreain Bill and all black law along with ‘Tinkathia ‘ abolished.

1st May 1918              Governor General finally signed the Act and thus the end of “NEEL KA ABHISHAP”

17th May 1918            Started for Motihari from Ahmedabad.

24th May 1918            Layed the Foundation of Ashram at Motihari and left for Ahmedabad. THUS THE END OF CHAMPARAN SATYAGRAH ANDOLAN(MOVEMENT).

14th Mar 1934            Gandhiji visited Motihari, Dhaka, Patahi, Phenhara after Earth Quack and looked after relief work.              

History

Ancient history

In the prehistoric period, Champaran constituted a part of the ancient kingdom of Videha. The Aryan Videhas settled east of the Gandak or Narayani river. Among the greatest of the Videha kings was Sirdhwaj Janak, an erudite scholar as well as the temporal and spirutal lord for his subjects. Yajnavalkya was his chief priest who codified the Hindu law known as Yajnavalkya Smriti. Both of his wives Gargi and Maitreyi were renowned scholars. It is Gargi who is credited with composing some mantras. After the fall of Videhan empire Champaran was ceded to the oligarrochial republic of Vrijjan confederacy, with Vaishali as its capital of the Vriggian confederacy. Lichohavis were the most powerful and prominent.

Ajatshatru, the emperor of Magadh, found the power and fame of Vaishali an irritant. By diplomacy and force he annexed Lichhavis and occupied its capital, Vaishali. He extended his way over the present district of Champaran which lasted for nearly a hundred years. After the Mauryas, the Sungas and the kanvas ruled over Magadh and its vast territories. Archaeological evidence found in Champaran is testimony of Sunga and Kanva rule in the area.

The Kushans, who were a Central Asian Tribe (Other view, they were Turks, or Mongolian Tribe or a Chinese Tribe), overran the entire north of India in the first century. Probably Champaran was a part of the Kushan empire at that time. Champaran later became a part of the Gupta empire. Along with Tirhut, Champaran was possibly annexed by Harsha during whose reign Huen-Tesang, the Chinese pilgrim, visited India. During 750 to 1155 Palas were in the possession of eastern India and Champaran formed a part of their territories. Towards the close of the 10th century Gangaya Deva of the Kalacheeri dynasty conquered Champaran. He gave way to Vikramaditya of the Chalukya dynasty, who was accompanied by adventurers from the Carnatic .It is believed that one of the adventurers encountered the Saka dynasty of Bangal another, Nanyadeva, founded the Carnatic dynasty of Mithila with its capital at Siaraon on the India-Nepal border.

Medieval period

Between 1211 and 1226, Ghyasuddin Iwaz, the Muslim governor of Bengal, attempted to invade Tirabhuktiand Tirhut. His successors were only able to claim Tirhut from Narsinghdeva, a Simyaon king, in about 1323.

As Harsinghdeo, the last Simyaon king, had taken shelter in Nepal, Kameshwar Thakur, a Brahman, was crowned king in his place. The Sugaon dynasty held Tirhut as a tributary province for a century after Harsinghdeo‘s capture. The most famous of this dynasty was Raja Shiva Singh who was adorned by the immortal poet laureate Vidyapati.

During the period of Lakshmi Nath, Deva Tirabhukti was attacked by Sultan Alleuddin Hussain Shah of Bengal and Sikandar Lodi of Delhi. A treaty was concluded in 1499 according to which Tirabhukti was left to Delhi. Subsequently, Delhi attacked Tirabhukti and made the prince a tributary chief. However, Nasrat Shah, son of Allauddin Shah, attacked Tirabhukti in 1530 and annexed the territory, killed the Raja and thus put an end to the Thakur dynasty.

Nasrat Shah appointed his son-in-law as viceroy of Tirhut and the governate was ruled by a Muslim. In 1526, Babur dynasted Sikandar Lodi but Champaran did not regain prominence until the last days of the Muslim rule.

During the close of the Mughal empire, Champaran witnessed ravages of contending armies. Prince Al Gauhar, later known as Shah Alam, invaded Bihar in 1760 and Khadin Hussain, the Governor of Purnit was invited with his army to join him. Nawab Sirajudaulla of Bengal had already been defeated and killed as a result of the conspiracy of Mir Jagarkhan and the British, in June, 1757. Before Khadim Hussain could meet Shah Alam’s forces Captain Knox led a British force and defeated him at Hajipur, after which he fled to Bettiah.

British period

Champaran passed into the hands of the British East India Company with the rest of Bengal in 1764 but military expeditions were still necessary to curb the independent spirit of the chiefs. In 1766, Robert Barkar defeated the local chiefs and forced them to pay tribute. The Raja of Bettiah did not pay this tribute and revolted but was crushed. He fled to Bundelkhand and his estate was confiscated. The British found it difficult to manage the estate in the make of strong popular resentment. The estate was restored by the Raja in 1771.

There was a confrontation taking place in Nepal between the Gurkhas, under Prithvi Narayan of the Newar line and British forces. Ultimately a treaty was concluded at Sugauli. The ensuring 25 years of peace ended in 1840 when Gurkha troops entered the estate of Raja Ramnagar and claimed his territory. Gurkha troops had to retreat due to determined resistance from the inhabitants. Later, the Nepalese proved faithfully allies of the British in suppressing the National Movement of 1857.

The repression of the Wahabi movement at Patna furthered seething discontent of tenants and sharecroppers against the administration and landholders. The cultivators were forced to grow indigo even in the face of recurring losses. Many illegal activities were effected by the landlords. The administration was composed of the oppressors.

In early 1857, the British position was precarious. Major Holmes, who was commanding the 12th Irregular cavalry, stationed at Sugauli, panicked and unilaterally proclaimed martial law, a measure was supported by the authorities. Holmes led repressive measures and executed some sepoys, causing the cavalry to revolt. The major and his family were detained. The soldiers proceeded towards Siwan to join other forces who had risen against the British authority. The revolt was calmed down when Honorary Magistrates were selected from among the indigo planters, and these magistrates were authorized to recruit local police. Some of the big estate holders like the Raja of Bettiah even supported the British as the Gurkha troops of the British were an asset to them.

The later history of the district is inter woven with the indigo planters. Britain had obtained indigo from its American colonies but after American independence Britain turned instead to India. Europeans established many factories in the indigo producing areas of Bengal and Bihar.

The estates of Bettiah and Ramnagar gave leased land to the British on easy terms for cultivation of indigo. The arrangements made for the cultivation of indigo were (1) Zirat and (2)Tenkuthiya. On the surface, the introduction of systems was straightforward, but in fact the peasants suffered a great deal in both systems. The wages paid to laborers were below subsistence level. They were forced to labor hard and were severely punished for alleged slackness.

Involvement of Gandhi

Bhumihar Brahmins in Champaran had earlier revolted against the conditions of indigo cultivation in 1914 (at Pipra) and 1916 (Turkaulia). Then Pandit Raj Kumar Shukla persuaded Mahatma Gandhi to visit Champaran and the “Champaran Satyagraha” began.[2] At around the same time the Indian National Congress in December 1916 passed at Lucknow a resolution requesting the Government to appoint a committee of both officials and non-officials to inquire into the agrarian trouble facing the district.

Gandhi’s historic visit to Champaran was opposed by the British rulers. An order asking him to leave Champaran was served upon him as soon as he arrived at Motihari. Gandhi defied the order. Of the several prominent persons who rallied round him, mention may be made of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Acharya Kriplani, Mahadeo Desai, C. F. Andrews, H. S. Pollock, Dr. Anugrah Narayan Singh, Raj Kishore Prasad, Ram Nawami Prasad and Dharnidhar Prasad. After considerable struggle the Government was compelled to lift the ban on Gandhi’s stay here. For the first time on Indian soil Satyagraha (Non-Violence) was successfully put to the test. Eventually a committee of inquiry was appointed by the Government under the chairmanship of Frank Shy. Gandhi was also made one of the members of the committee. On the basis of valued recommendations of the committee, the Champaran Agraria Law (Bihar and Orissa Act I of 1918) was passed.

In 1920, Gandhi made an extensive tour of Bihar before launching the non-co-operation movement, which earned full support in the district as well. In 1929, a group of volunteers from Champran district came to demonstrate against the Simon commission. In the same year the 21st session of the Bihar students conference was held at Motihari.

As a reaction against the failure of the round table conference held in 1932 there was a popular gathering at Motihari to take the pledge for Independence. Police fired upon the gatherings and charged the demonstrators, armed with lathis.

In course of time, the development of synthetic dyes made the cultivation of indigo redundant.

 

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