|Patriot, Champaran. Rajkumar Shukla. en.wikipedia.org|
|Chanparan Stayagraha Gandhiji and others thewire.in|
|Indigo farmers Champaran, Bihar. en.wikipedia.org|
To add insults to injuries, the poor farmers were not allowed to raise food crops much needed for their families including children during off-season. This artificially created famine-like situation due to poor availability of food grains like rice and pulses for their daily needs. They stoically brooked untold miseries and pain. Upon his return from South Africa in 1915, Gandhiji established the Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat. Then he undertook a long journey across India to understand the various problems being faced by the natives and he did it on the advice of his mentor, Gopal Krishna Gokhale. He traveled widely and met with lots of people and leaders.
It was Rajkumar Shukla, a representative of farmers from Champaran, who met Gandhiji during the 31st session of the Congress (INA) in Lucknow in 1916. He requested Gandhiji to visit his village and other places to see for himself the precarious conditions of the Indigo ryots (tenant farmers) there and the famine like situation prevailing there. At that point of time, Gandhiji had no idea whatsoever about either the Indigo plantation or the miseries of farmers there. On 17 April 1917 Gandhiji was greeted at the Mothari railway station by Shukla and a large gathering of farmers. When infuriated Gandhiji Gandhiji visited another near-by village, the police arrested him and he told the Magistrate, “This cannot be, I came here to render humanitarian services to the people of this region. I shall make Champaran my home and not leave till I have helped these suffering people''.Raj Kumar Shukla, diligently approached the right person to expose the atrocities of the British rule under the Crown. Their lousy treatment of Indians was as much disgusting and repressive as it was under the unjust East India company rule that plundered many parts of India and Indian resources as much as they could until 1857 that culminated in the ''Great Rebellion''. Shukla found a savior in Gandhiji and made him aware of the plight of the poor cultivators in Champaran and persuaded him to visit the villages in Bihar. He was an Indigo cultivator of the area as well as a money lender from village Murli Bharahwa near Narkatiaganj in West Champaran, earning, according to his own statement before the enquiry committee set up by the provincial government, a sum of Rs.2000 a month from interest
Gandhi later wrote in his autobiography, “I must confess that I did not then know even the name, much less the geographical position, of Champaran, and I had hardly any notion of indigo plantations.”
|Rajkumar Shukla, Champaran hero. currentriggers.com|
Anyway, Sri Rajkumar Shukla provided an opportunity for Gandhiji to experiment his concept of Satyagraha as a tool to fight against the tyrannical British Raj. So, the Champaran Satyagraha of 1917 happened to be the first Satyagraha movement inspired by Gandhi and a major revolt in the Indian Independence Movement that gave a new direction to the freedom fighters. It was a farmer's effective uprising that took place in Champaran district of Bihar, India during the British colonial period that formed the solid platform to go ahead with his new tool with vigor and vitality. http://champaransatyagrah.org/2017/01/17/how-champaran-transformed-gandhi-india/