Gandhi Journal Article-I ( MAY 2017 )
What Champaran gave to Gandhi and India's freedom struggle
By Ramchandra Guha
A hundred years ago on April 10, 1917, Mohandas K Gandhi arrived in the district of Champaran in North Bihar. He spent several months there, studying the problems of the peasantry, who had been forced by European planters to cultivate indigo against their will. Farmers who refused to meet this obligation had their land confiscated.
Through his interventions with the colonial State, Gandhi was able to get substantial concessions for the peasantry. Rents were radically reduced, and the compulsion to grow indigo replaced by a system of voluntary compliance. This was a major victory for the peasants, and a significant triumph for Gandhi himself, since it established his credibility as a leader within India (as distinct from South Africa).
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