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Indigo NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo Chapter 5
Indigo NCERT Text Book Questions and Answers
Indigo Think as you read
Q1. Choose the correct options.
(a) Rajkumar Shukla was
(i) a sharecropper
(ii) a politician
(iii) a delegate
(iv) a landlord
Answer:(i) a sharecropper
(b) Rajkumar Shukla was
(ii) physically strong
Q2. Strike out what is not true in the following:
(a)Rajkumar Shukla was:
(i)a sharecropper (ii)a politician
(iii)delegate (iv)a landlord.
(b) Rajkumar Shukla was:
(i) poor (ii)physically strong
Answer: (a) (ii) a politician
(b) (ii) physically strong
Q2. Why is Rajkumar Shukla described as being “resolute”?
Answer:Rajkumar Shukla was a “resolute” man. He was determined to take Gandhi to Champaran, to champion the cause of the poor sharecroppers. When Gandhi said that he had a prior arrangement to go to Kanpur and to other parts of India, Shukla went everywhere with him. He also followed Gandhi to his ashram near Ahmedabad and stayed there for weeks and begged him to visit Champaran. Gandhi finally agreed to go with him, and asked him to take him to Champaran from Calcutta.
Q3. Why do you think the servants thought Gandhi to be another peasant?
Answer: Shukla led Gandhi to Rajendra Prasad’s house. The servants knew Shukla as a poor yeoman. Gandhi was also clad in a simple dhoti. He was the companion of a peasant. Hence, the servants thought Gandhi to be another peasant.
Q4. List the places that Gandhi visited between his first meeting with Shukla and his arrival at Champaran.
Answer:Gandhi met Shukla in Lucknow. From there, Gandhi went to Kanpur and to other parts of India. Then Gandhi returned to his ashram near Ahmedabad. He later went to Calcutta and from there to Patna in Bihar. Gandhi then decided to go to Muzzafarpur, which was en route to Champaran, and finally to Champaran
Q5. 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?
Answer: The peasants paid the British landlords indigo as rent. Now Germany had developed synthetic indigo. So, the British landlords wanted money as compensation for being released from the 15 per cent arrangement. The prices of natural indigo would go down due to the synthetic Indigo.
Q6. What did the peasants pay the British landlords as rent? What did the British subsequently want and why?
What would be the impact of synthetic indigo on the prices of natural indigo?
Answer:Most of the cultivable land in the Champaran district was divided into large estates owned by Englishmen where Indian tenants worked. The chief commercial crop was indigo. The landlords forced the tenants to plant fifteen per cent of their land with indigo and give up the whole indigo harvest as rent. The landlords had learned how Germany had developed synthetic indigo. Thus, they forced the sharecroppers to sign agreements to pay them compensation to be released from the fifteen per cent arrangement.
The sharecroppers, who refused this arrangement, engaged lawyers, and to counter them, the landlords hired thugs. But, when the information about synthetic indigo reached the peasants who had signed the agreement, they wanted their money back.
Q7. The events in this part of the text illustrate Gandhi’s method of working. Can you identify some instances of this method and link them to his ideas of Satyagraha and non-violence?
Answer: Gandhi’s politics was intermingled with the day-to-day problems of the millions of Indians. He opposed unjust laws. He was ready to court arrest for breaking such laws and going to jail. The famous Dandi March to break the ‘salt law’ is another instance. The resistance and disobedience was peaceful and a fight for truth and justice…This was linked directly to his ideas of Satyagraha and non-violence.
Q8. Why did Gandhi agree to a settlement of 25 per cent refund to the farmers?
Answer:After the inquiry committee report, the peasants expected the refund of the entire sum of money but Gandhi asked for only fifty per cent of the sum. However, when the representative of the planters offered to refund twenty-five per cent, Gandhi accepted it.
Gandhi felt that money was less important at that stage. What was more important was that for the first time, the landlords had been made to surrender their self-esteem. Moreover, the peasants realized that they had rights as citizens and the agitation taught them their first lesson in courage.
Q9. How did the episode change the plight of the peasants?
Answer: The peasants were saved from spending time and money on court cases. After some years the British planters gave up control of their estates. These now reverted to the peasants. Indigo sharecropping disappeared.
Indigo Understanding the text
Q1. Why do you think Gandhi considered the Champaran episode to be a turning point in his life?
Answer:Gandhi went to Champaran in 1917 and it was then that he decided on insisting that the British leave India. It was there that he raised his voice against the injustice of the landlord system in Bihar and also freed the peasants from their fear. First, he defied the secretary of the British landlords’ association, who refused to give information to an “outsider”. Next, he refused to leave Tirhut division in which the Champaran district lay despite being told to do so. He also arranged a gathering of peasants in huge numbers which was the beginning of their freedom from fear of the British.
The officials felt powerless without Gandhi’s cooperation. This was his proof that the power of the Englishmen could be challenged by the Indians.The peasants realized that they had rights and it was their first lesson in courage. Soon, within a few years, the British planters returned the estates to the peasants. This was the end of indigo sharecropping in India.
Through the Champaran incident, Gandhi declared for the first time that the British could not order Indians in their own country. He, through personal example, was able to motivate the masses into civil disobedience and teach them to be self-reliant.
Q2. How was Gandhi able to influence lawyers? Give instances.
Answer: Gandhi asked the lawyers what they would do if he was sentenced to prison. They said that they had come to advise him. If he went to jail, they would go home. Then Gandhi asked them about the injustice to the sharecroppers. The lawyers held consultations. They came to the conclusion that it would be shameful desertion if they went home. So, they told Gandhi that they were ready to follow him into jail.
Q3. What was the attitude of the average Indian in smaller localities towards advocates of “home rule”?
Answer:Gandhi, on his way to Champaran, decided to meet J B Kripalani of the Arts College in Muzzafarpur, whom he had seen at Tagore’s Shantiniketan school. The train reached there at midnight on 15 April 1917. Gandhi stayed there for two days in the home of Professor Malkani, a teacher in a government school. This was an extraordinary thing in those days. It was highly unlikely that a government professor would give shelter to a rebel like him, for fear of termination from service by the government. In smaller regions, the Indians were afraid to show compassion for the supporters of home-rule.
Q4. How do we know that ordinary people too contributed to the freedom movement?
Answer: Professor J.B. Kriplani received Gandhi at Muzaffarpur railway station at midnight. He had a large body of students with him. Sharecroppers from Champaran came on foot and by conveyance to see Gandhi. Muzaffarpur lawyers too called on him. A vast multitude greeted Gandhi when he reached Motihari railway station. Thousands of people demonstrated around the court room. This shows that ordinary people too contributed to the freedom movement in India.
Indigo Talking about the text
Discuss the following.
Q1. “Freedom from fear is more important than legal justice for the poor.” Do you think that the poor of India are free from fear after Independence?
Answer:As the rich and well-heeled made preparations to ring in the new year in style across a new, shining India, a wave of revulsion swept through the country after the report of mass killings in a sleepy, poor housing area. This was in Nithari, no more than eighteen miles from the capital, Delhi, and in one of India’s most prosperous and upcoming districts, Noida. Violent death involving such larger numbers is not so rare in India, especially where the poor are concerned. Nithari provoked a different response, because this case illustrates best the most barbaric and basic truth about the Indian state.
The incident reveals how the country’s poor is still under the threat of injustice. It is one example of how the poor and weak have just no place in the Indian system. It also deeply concerns how the Indian media has been sucked into covering the relatively more mundane, but sensational issues. The media had heard of reports of children disappearing but no one took the trouble to take up the issue. The inefficiency of the police is just a cover- up as this could never have happened if the victims belonged to a rich or middle-class neighbourhood.
Speaking to a BBC Hindi service show, one of India’s most celebrated police officers, Kiran Bedi, said that the Nithari case was an example of how, for the common man in the country, there is no police or justice system. “The system needs to be completely overhauled and wide-ranging reforms are needed in the police structure,” she said.
But only police reforms are insufficient, the entire system and attitudes desperately need to be reformed. India’s economic prowess and potential is much talked about but can we say with the same degree of optimism that there will not be another Nithari, when India does realise its dreams?
Q2. The qualities of a good leader.
- Answer: A good leader has a mass appeal. He rises from the masses, thinks for them and works for them. He is sincere in his approach. He is a man of principles. Truth, honesty, patriotism, morality, spirit of service and sacrifice are the hallmarks of a good leader. He never mixes politics with religion or sect. He believes in working for the welfare of the nation and does not think in the narrow terms of class, caste or region. Corruption and nepotism are two evils that surround a leader in power. The life of a good leader is an open book. There is no difference between his words and actions. Such good leaders are very rare. What we find today are practical politicians, who think of achieving their end without bothering about . the purity of means. The law of expediency gets the better of morality.
- Self knowledge
- Consistency of purpose
- Willingness to admit a mistake
- Ability to listen
- Openness to change
- Ability to go the extra mile
- Positive Communication
- Impartial approach
Indigo Working with words
Q1. List the words used in the text that are related to legal procedures.
For example: deposition
List other words that you know that fall into this category.
Answer:The words used in the text that are related to legal procedures are:
proceedings, brief, cases, agreements, notice, summons, prosecutor, pleading, pronounce sentence, bail, court, reconvened, judgment, sentenced, entreaty, evidence, defenders, trial, deposition, etc.
Indigo Extra Questions and Answers
Answer the following briefly.
Q1. When and where did Louis Fischer first meet Gandhi? What did they talk about?
Answer:Louis Fischer served as a volunteer in the British Army between 1918 and 1920. He wrote a book on Gandhi named ‘The Life of Mahatma Gandhi’. He met Gandhi when he first visited him, in 1942, at his ashram in Sevagram, in central India. That was the time when Gandhi told him how he had decided to urge the departure of the British from India, in 1917.
Q2.Who was Rajkumar Shukla? Why did he come to Lucknow?
Answer: Rajkumar Shukla was a poor peasant from Champaran district in Bihar. He had come to Lucknow, where a Congress session was being held, to complain about the injustice of the landlord system in Bihar.
Q3. Why was Gandhi in Lucknow in 1916? What happened there that was to change the course of Indian history?
Answer:In December 1916, Gandhi had gone to the annual convention of the Indian National Congress in Lucknow, where there were 2,301 delegates and many visitors. There, he met with a poor peasant, Rajkumar Shukla from Champaran. Shukla pleaded with Gandhi to visit his hometown and brought to Gandhi’s notice the miserable plight of the indigo farmers. This fuelled his campaign in 1917 to drive out the British from India.
Q4. Where is Champaran district situated? What did the peasants grow there? How did they use their harvest?
Answer: Champaran district of Bihar is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas, near the kingdom of Nepal. Under an ancient arrangement, the Champaran peasants were sharecroppers. They had to grow indigo on 15 per cent of the land and give it to the English estate owners as rent.
Q5. How did Rajkumar Shukla decide to meet Gandhi?
Answer:Rajkumar Shukla was one of the many sharecroppers of Champaran. He was illiterate but resolute. He had been advised to go to the Congress session to complain to Gandhi about the injustice of the landlord system in Bihar. He was told that Gandhi could help them. He followed Gandhi through his travels and stayed with him in the ashram till Gandhi promised to accompany him for the cause of the poor peasants.
Q6. How did the development of synthetic indigo affect the English estate owners and the Indian tenants?
Answer: The English estate owners saw that indigo cultivation was no longer profitable.Ihey wanted money from the sharecroppers as compensation for being released from the 15 per cent arrangement. They obtained agreements from their tenants to this effect and extorted money illegally and deceitfully.
Q7. What episode in Patna showed Gandhi the existence of a rigid caste system?
Answer:Shukla took Gandhi to Patna. He led him to the house of a lawyer, Rajendra Prasad, who was out of town, but the servants recognized Shukla as a poor indigo peasant. They let him and his companion, Gandhi, stay on his premises but forbade them to draw water from the well. They presumed Gandhi to be another peasant and treated him as an untouchable. Gandhi was made aware of the menace of the caste system.
Q8. How did the Indian peasants react to the new agreement released them from sharecropping arrangement?
Answer: The sharecropping arrangement was troublesome to the peasants. Many of them signed the new agreement willingly. Some resisted and engaged lawyers. Then they came to know about synthetic indigo. The peasants wanted their money back.
Q9. What was Gandhi’s first step to help Rajkumar Shukla and the indigo sharecroppers?
Answer: Gandhi decided, first, to go to Muzzafarpur en route to Champaran, to obtain more information about the prevailing conditions of the indigo sharecroppers. He, consequently, sent a telegram to Professor J.B. Kripalani of the Arts College in Muzzafarpur, whom he had seen at Tagore’s Shantiniketan school requesting a meeting.
Q10. Why do you think Gandhi was not permitted to draw water from Rajendra Prasad’s well at Patna?
Answer: The servants of Rajendra Prasad thought Gandhi to be another peasant. They did not know him. They were not certain whether he was an untouchable or not. They feared that some drops from his bucket might pollute the entire well. So, he was not permitted to draw water from the well.
Q11. Why was Gandhi’s stay with Professor Malkani an astonishing experience?
Answer:Gandhi stayed for two days in the home of Professor Malkani, a teacher in a government school. It was unlikely for a government professor to provide shelter to a rebel like Gandhi for fear of termination from service by the government. In smaller localities, the Indians were afraid to show sympathy for the advocates of home-rule. Professor Malkani’s defiance to fall in line revealed his sympathy for the movement.
Q12. Why did Gandhi decide to go first to Muzaffarpur before going to Champaran:
Answer: Gandhi wanted to obtain more complete information about conditions than Shukla was capable of imparting. Muzaffarpur lawyers, who frequently represented peasant groups in courts, brief Gandhi about their cases
Q13. Why did Gandhi decide against taking the cases of the sharecroppers to the court of law?
Answer:When Gandhi reached Muzzafarpur, the lawyers told him about their cases and revealed how they charged ‘ the peasants hefty sums of money as fees. Gandhi reprimanded the lawyers and discouraged them from charging the sharecroppers. He said taking such cases to the courts would do no good. He felt that because the peasants were so crushed and fear-stricken, the law courts were useless. The real relief to them would be to free them from fear.
Q14. On his refusal to quit Champaran, Gandhi received summons to appear in court the next day.
Answer:He telegraphed Rajendra Prasad to come from Bihar with his influential friends. He sent instructions to the ashram. He wired a full report to the Viceroy. By morning, Motihari was full of peasants. They demonstrated around the courthouse when Gandhi was summoned to court. This was the beginning of their liberation from fear of the British. The officials felt powerless without Gandhi’s cooperation. Gandhi finally helped them regulate the crowd.
Q15. How did the gathering of peasants in Motihari help them tremendously?
Answer:The peasants who had collected in Motihari did not know Gandhi’s achievements in South Africa. They knew that a Mahatma who wanted to help them was in trouble with the authorities. Their unplanned demonstration, in thousands, around the courthouse was the beginning of their freedom from fear of the British. Thus, Gandhi knew that this was a leap in the right direction and would go a long way in helping them achieve home-rule.
Q16. How did Ga n dhi begin his mission in Champaran ? How far did his efforts prove successful ?
Answer: He began by trying to get the facts. First, he visited the secretary of the British landlord’s association. He told Gandhi that they could give no information to an outsider. Then Gandhi called on the British official commissioner of the Tirhut Division. The commissioner tried to bully Gandhi and advised him to leave Tirhut.
Q17. How did Gandhi react to the commissioner’s advice? Where did he go and how did people react to his arrival?
Answer: Gandhiji did not leave Tirhut division. Instead, he went to Motihari, the capital of Champaran. Several lawyers accompanied him. At the railway station, a very large crowd of people greeted Gandhi.
Q18. ‘In consequence, Gandhi received a summons to appear in the court next day.’Which events of the previous day led to this state of affairs?
Answer: The police superintendent’s messenger served an official notice on Gandhi. It ordered him to quit Champaran immediately. Gandhi signed a receipt for the notice. He wrote on the receipt that he would disobey the order. Hence, he was summoned to appear in the court.
Q19. Why did Gandhiji feel that taking the Champaran case to the court was useless?[Delhi 2014]
Answer: Gandhiji felt that taking the Champaran case to the court was useless. Because the real relief for the peasants would come only when they become fearless. The peasants were in acute panic.
Q20. What according to Rajendra Prasad, was the upshot of the consultations of the lawyers regarding the injustice to sharecroppers?
Answer: They thought that Gandhi was a total stranger. Yet he was ready to go to prison for the sake of the peasants. On the other hand, the lawyers were the residents of nearby districts. They also claimed to have served these peasants. It would be shameful desertion if they should go home then.
Indigo Long Answer Questions
Q1. Rajkumar Shukla unwittingly played an important role in freeing the peasant community in India. Discuss.
Answer:Rajkumar Shukla met Gandhi in December 1916, when he had gone to attend the annual convention of the Indian National Congress in Lucknow. He informed Gandhi about the injustice of the indigo sharecropping arrangement that preyed on the poor Champaran peasants. He informed him about the injustice of the landlord system in Bihar.
Though Rajkumar was illiterate, he was resolute to convince Gandhi to take up their cause. He accompanied Gandhi to Kanpur and other parts of India and to his ashram near Ahmedabad, and for weeks he never left Gandhi’s side. Finally, when Gandhi went to Calcutta, Rajkumar Shukla convinced him to visit Champaran.
Q2. What solution to the problems of the poor did Gandhi suggest? How far did the Champaran movement help in this direction?
“The real relief for them is to be free from fear”, remarked Gandhi. What do you think, was “the beginning of their liberation from the fear of the British” ?
Answer. The sharecropper peasants had to grow indigo on 15 per cent of their holdings and surrender the indigo harvest as rent to the landlord. When Germany developed synthetic indigo, the British planters started extracting money illegally and deceitfully as compensation from the peasants for being released from the 15 per cent arrangement. The peasants were made to sign new agreements and pay money. The planters behaved as lords above the law. Many peasants engaged lawyers at hefty fees and went to courts.
The Muzaffarpur lawyers briefed Gandhi about the peasants for whom they frequently represented in courts. Gandhi realised that these peasants were badly crushed and fear- stricken. Freedom from fear was more important than legal justice for them. Gandhiji was ready to court arrest for them. Thousands of peasants demonstrated spontaneously around the court. The government had to release Gandhi without bail. This voluntary uprising of the peasants marked the beginning of their liberation from the fear of the British.
Q3. Give a detailed account of the problem of sharecroppers in Champaran.
Answer:In Champaran, most of the arable land was owned by Englishmen who had engaged Indian tenants to cultivate their lands. The landlords of the area compelled all tenants to plant fifteen per cent of their holdings with indigo, the chief commercial crop, and surrender the entire indigo harvest as rent. This was done by long-term contract. When the landlords learned that Germany had developed synthetic indigo, they forced the sharecroppers to enter into an agreement to rake in compensation to free them of their fifteen per cent arrangement. Many peasants signed it willingly. Those who resisted, engaged lawyers but the landlords hired thugs to beat them into accepting their terms. Meanwhile, the information about synthetic indigo reached the illiterate peasants, and they demanded their money back.
Q4. Why was Gandhi summoned to appear in the court? How did he gain his liberty ?
‘Civil disobedience had triumphed, the first time in modern India.’Relate the events during Gandhi’s stay in Champaran that led to the triumph.
Answer. Gandhi had reached Motihari, the Capital of Champaran, to study the problems of the sharecropper peasants. He was on his way to a neighbouring village, where a peasant was ill-treated. On the way, he was stopped by the police superintendent’s messenger and ordered to return to town. When he reached home, he was served with an official notice to quit Champaran at once. Gandhi wrote on the receipt that he would disobey the order. So Gandhi received a summons to appear in the court the next day.
Next morning the town of Motihari was black with peasants. Thousands of peasants demonstrated voluntarily outside the court. The prosecutor requested the judge to postpone the trial. Gandhi protested against the delay. He read out a statement pleading guilty. He asked the penalty. The judge announced that he would pronounce the sentence after a two-hour recess. He asked Gandhi to furnish bail for that period. Gandhi refused. The judge released him without bail. After the recess, the judge said that he would not deliver the judgement for several days. Meanwhile he allowed Gandhi to remain at liberty.
Several days later Gandhi received a letter. The case against him had been dropped. Thus, civil disobedience had triumphed, for the first time in India.
Q5. What was the first order of the British government that Gandhi refused to obey?
Answer:In Bihar, to find out about the sharecropping arrangement, Gandhi first visited the secretary of the British
landlords’ association. The secretary refused to give information to an “outsider”. Next, the British commissioner of Tirhut asked him to leave Tirhut, which he did not. Instead, he proceeded to Motihari, accompanied by several lawyers. There he heard that a peasant had been maltreated in a nearby village. Gandhi decided to go and see him but he was interrupted by the police superintendent’s messenger who ordered him to return. Gandhi agreed but the messenger who drove him home served him with an official notice to quit Champaran immediately. Gandhi signed a receipt for the notice and wrote on it that he would disobey the order
Q6. Give an account of Gandhi’s efforts to secure justice for the poor indigo sharecroppers of Champaran.
“Indigo sharecropping disappeared.” Which factors do you think, helped to achieve freedom for the fear-stricken peasants of Champaran?
Answer. Gandhi went to Champaran on receiving reports of exploitation of the poor sharecropper peasants at the hands of British planters. He began by trying to get the facts. The British landlords as well as the Commissioner of Tirhut were non-cooperative. Lawyers from MuZaffarpur briefed him about the court cases of these peasants.
Gandhi and the lawyers collected depositions by about ten thousand peasants. Notes were made on other evidence. Documents were collected. The whole area throbbed with the activities of the investigators and forceful protests of landlords.
The lieutenant governor summoned Gandhi. After four protracted interviews an official commission of inquiry was appointed to look into the indigo sharecroppers’ condition. Gandhi was the sole representative of the peasants. The official inquiry assembled huge quantity of evidence against the big planters. They agreed, in principle, to make refunds to the peasants. After consultation, a settlement of 25 per cent refund to the farmers was agreed on. This was a moral victory of the peasants. They recognised their rights and learned courage.
Within a few years the British planters gave up their estates. These now went back to the peasants. They became the masters of land. Thus, indigo sharecropping disappeared.
Q7. Why did the officials feel powerless without Gandhi’s cooperation? How did they react?
Answer:When Gandhi was summoned to appear in court, he telegraphed Rajendra Prasad to come with his influential friends. The town of Motihari was filled with peasants, who had come because they had heard that the Mahatma, who wanted to help them, was in trouble with the authorities. The demonstration, in thousands, was the first step toward their liberation from fear. The officials felt powerless without Gandhi’s cooperation.
He helped them regulate the crowd. He proved that their might could be challenged by Indians. The government was taken aback and wanted to consult their superiors. The prosecutor requested the judge to postpone the trial but Gandhi protested against the delay. He read a statement stating that he was guilty of flouting the law but he expressed no regret for helping the cause of the poor peasants. He also refused to furnish bail and was eventually released without bail.
Q8. How did Gandhi work for rural uplift during his stay in Champarant
Answer. Gandhi wanted to do something to remove the cultural and social backwardness in Champaran villages. He appealed for teachers. Two young disciples of Gandhi, Mahadev Desai and Narhari Parikh and their wives volunteered themselves for work. Several others responded from distant parts of the country. Mrs. Kasturba Gandhi and Devdas, Gandhi’s youngest son, arrived from the Ashram. Primary schools were opened in six villages. Kasturba taught the ashram rules on personal cleanliness and community cleanliness. She also talked to women about their filthy clothes.
Health conditions were miserable. Gandhi got a doctor to volunteer his services for six months. Only three medicines were available: Castor oil, quinine and sulphur ointment. Anyone who showed a coated tongue was given a dose of castor oil; anybody with malaria fever received quinine plus castor oil; anybody with skin eruptions received ointment plus caster oil.
Thus, Gandhi never contented himself with large political or economic solutions. He worked for total uplift of villages and the poor sections of the society.
Q9.Civil disobedience had triumphed for the first time in modem India. When was it?
Answer:Gandhi received summons to appear in court when he defied the order to leave Motihari. By morning, the peasants demonstrated to lend Gandhi support. Their spontaneous demonstration in thousands, around the courthouse was the beginning of their liberation from fear of the British. The officials were powerless and had to seek Gandhi’s help to regulate the crowd.
Several prominent lawyers from Bihar came to confer with Gandhi about his impending sentence. Gandhi convinced them to lend their voice and support to the sharecropping cause. The lawyers promised to follow Gandhi into jail. Gandhi viewed the support of the countrymen as true victory. A few days later, the case against Gandhi was dropped. Civil disobedience triumphed for the first time in modem India
Q10. ‘Self-reliance, Indian independence and help to sharecroppers were all bound together.’ Elucidate on the basis of reading ‘Indigo’ by Louis Fischer.
‘The Champaran episode was a turning-point in Gandhi’s life. Explain with examples from ‘Indigo’ by Louis Fischer.
Answer. Gandhi stayed in Champaran for a long time. The Champaran episode was a turning point in his life. It was during this struggle in 1917 that he decided to urge the departure of the British.
Champaran episode did not begin as an act of defiance. It grew out of an attempt to make the sufferings of large numbers of poor peasants less severe. Gandhi concentrated on their practical day to day problems. He analysed the root cause of the problem-fear, and tried to eradicate it. The voluntary demonstration of the poor peasants against the government for putting Gandhi in trouble was the beginning of the end of their fear of the British.
In everything Gandhi did, he tried to mould a new free Indian who could stand on his own feet and thus make India free. He taught his lawyer friends a lesson in self-reliance by opposing the involvement of C.F. Andrews, an Englishman in .their unequal fight. His help would be a prop. This would reflect their weakness. Their cause was just and they must rely on themselves to win the battle. Thus self-reliance, Indian independence and help to sharecroppers were all bound together.
Q11. Cultural and social backwardness of the people was Gandhi’s chief concern. Explain.
Answer:Gandhi was never satisfied with only political or economic solutions. He wanted to rectify the cultural and social backwardness in Champaran. He appealed for teachers and social workers to serve at Champaran.
Mahadev Desai and Narhari Parikh, two of Gandhi’s disciples, and their wives, volunteered for the work.
Several other arrived from Bombay, Poona and other distant parts of the land. Devadas, Gandhi’s youngest son, and Kasturba arrived from the ashram. Primary schools were opened in six villages. Kasturba taught the ashram rules on personal cleanliness and community sanitation. Gandhi also worked towards improving the health conditions and arranged for a doctor to volunteer his services for six months. Three medicines were made available to the poor farmers—castor oil, quinine, and sulphur ointment.
Q12. Justify the appropriateness of the title ‘Indigo’ to this extract.
Answer. The title ‘Indigo’ is quite appropriate, to the point and suggestive. It at once focuses our * attention on the central issue-the exploitation of the indigo sharecropper peasants at the hands of cruel British planters. They compelled them through a long term agreement to raise indigo on 15 per cent of their landholding and surrender the entire indigo harvest as rent.
After the development of synthetic indigo by Germany, the British planters extracted money from the peasants as compensation for being released from the 15 per cent agreement. The peasants who wanted their money back had filed civil suits. The planters who behaved as lords above the law and were dreaded by the poor were obliged to surrender part of money and with it part of their prestige.
The extract also points out the work done by Gandhi and his associates to improve the economic, political, cultural and social fife of the indigo sharecroppers. Their education, health and hygiene also received due attention. The plight of indigo sharecroppers, then- struggle under Gandhi’s leadership and ultimate victory when Indigo sharecropping disappeared from important landmarks. Thus, the title ‘Indigo’ is highly suggestive and apt.
Q13. Why is the Champaran episode considered to be the beginning of the Indian struggle for Independence? [All India 2014]
Answer. The Champaran episode began as an attempt to ease the sufferings of a large number of ’ peasants. He got spontaneous support of thousands of people. Gandhi declared that the British could not order him about in his own country. Under his leadership, the peasants became aware of their rights. Raj Kumar Shukla, a farmer of Champaran helped him a lot in bringing about the change. Other peasants too fought courageously and contributed in their own way to the movement. It resulted in their winning the battle of Champaran. The effects of Gandhi’s method of non-violence and non-cooperation proved very fruitful in this movement. Hence, it can be said that the Champaran episode is the beginning of the Indian struggle for independence.
Q14. What impression do you form about Gandhi on reading the chapter ‘Indigo’ ?
Answer. The chapter ‘Indigo’ pays a tribute to the leadership shown by Mahatma Gandhi to secure justice for oppressed people through convincing argumentation and negotiation. Gandhi had a magnetic attraction and great persuasive power. He could draw people of all classes to himself and make them partners in the freedom movement. Even ordinary people were inspired to make contribution to the freedom movement.
Gandhi emerges as a champion of the downtrodden and the oppressed. Rural uplift was his favourite programme. His knowledge of legal procedure and respect for law is also highlighted. He does not want to be a lawbreaker. At the same time he wants to render the humanitarian and national service in obedience to the higher law of our being, the voice of conscience. He also appears as a polite and friendly person. Gandhi’s ability to read the minds of others made them speechless. He believed in self-reliance, just cause and purity of means to achieve India’s Independence.
Q1. Patriotism is in political life what faith is in religion. John F Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. Those who sacrifice their comfort for the welfare of the state get recognition. Write an article on the topic ‘Patriotism’. You can take ideas from the following hints:
“They thought, amongst themselves, that Gandhi was totally a stranger, and yet he was prepared to go to prison for the sake of the peasants; if they, on the other hand, being not only residents of the adjoining districts but also those who claimed to have served these peasants, should go home, it would be shameful desertion.”
Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
who never to himself hath said,
this is my own native land! —Scott
Patriotism implies love for one’s nation. A patriot is ready to sacrifice his comfort for the service of his nation. It was for his country’s sake that Sardar Bhagat Singh kissed the gallows. It was for the love for their land that Shivaji, Rana Pratap and Guru Govind Singh suffered untold hardships. True patriots respect other nations and religions but don’t allow anyone to insult their nation. A great philosopher said, “It is not gold that makes a nation great. It is the sacrifice and martyrdom of patriots that raises a nation to the heights of glory.” India is a land where patriots are in abundance. It got its freedom only because of the efforts of its patriots. Patriotism is a religion and an ideal. It is an ideology that guides the people of a nation. It is a feeling and a bond that unites the people of various sects, beliefs and backgrounds together. A patriot must not be narrow minded. He should develop an international progressive outlook. It would be pertinent to quote the words of Seneca here “No one loves his country for its size or eminence, but because it is his own.”
Q2. Gandhi compromised on the material terms because the peasants had gained what no money could buy. Explain.
Answer:Gandhi was summoned to the offices of Sir Edward Gait, the Lieutenant Governor, with whom he had four interviews and an official commission of inquiry was ordered into the indigo sharecroppers’ situation. The commission that had Gandhi as the sole representative of the peasants, gathered a lot of evidence against the big planters, and they agreed to offer refunds to the peasants. The peasants expected repayment of the money in full but Gandhi asked for only fifty per cent. When the representative of the planters offered to refund twenty-five per cent, Gandhi agreed.
Gandhi realized that the monetary benefit that he achieved for the peasants in the way of the settlement was of less significance in comparison to the spirit of liberation they had gained. He explained that the amount of the refund was less important than the fact that the landlords had been forced to surrender a part of their money and bow down to law, bridging the divide between the landowners and the poor peasants.The peasants were made aware of their rights, their plights received a voice and they were consequently . liberated from their fear of the British.
Q3. Undoubtedly, only a socially just country has the right to exist. In the modern world justice is a concept. Muscle is the reality. Corruption has become the way of the world. The destitute are exploited ruthlessly. People feel that ‘to make a living, craftiness is better than learnedness’. Write an article on the topic mentioned above taking ideas from the given lines:
“Gandhi protested against the delay. He read a statement pleading guilty… when the court reconvened, the judge said he would not deliver the judgement for several days.”
Answer. Corruption in Contemporary India
Corruption has engulfed all the educated, skilled and semi-skilled workers. Corruption means dishonesty and illegal behavior especially of the people in authority. A person resorts to corruption because of his poverty, lack of moral strength and other psychological and financial problems. Moreover, the path of righteousness is full of thorns. Some of the youngsters are misguided by the friends to multiply their benefits within a short span of time. One should always remember that corruption starts from the top. If the head of the family is corrupt, the other members will also imitate his actions. Our politicians and bureaucrats are corrupt and unscrupulous. They don’t have any moral authority. Such corrupt politicians and bureaucrats should be punished and the honest persons should be rewarded if we intend to create a congenial atmosphere in our country. The system of justice is outdated and obsolete. It is said that ‘justice delayed is justice denied’. People do not get justice in the court of law. If corruption is not checked, the poor will be exploited without any inhibition.
Q4. “Self-reliance, Indian independence and help to sharecroppers were all bound together.” Justify.
Answer:In Champaran, the landlords forced the peasants to enter into an arrangement to relieve them of the fifteen per cent sharecropping arrangement in return for compensation. The poor peasants were duped out of their money and they were demanding a refund. They appealed to Gandhi to fight for their cause. He resisted and was produced in a court in Motihari. Peasants flocked from around the area, and turned up in thousands to offer Gandhi their support. This planted the seeds of the first civil disobedience movement in India. Gandhi finally succeeded in making the British authorities order for reimbursement to the sharecroppers.
Though the peasants were compensated in part, they won against the system of landlord and the British government. It taught them an essential lesson in self-reliance and instilled them with courage to stand against injustice and British rule. The civil disobedience movement was the first of its kind in India, and paved way for the struggle to achieve Indian independence
Q5. Obstacles determine the quality of life. Hermits feel convinced that ‘sweet are the uses of adversity’. Problems are opportunities. Elucidate the saying taking ideas from the given lines: “Events justified Gandhi’s position. Within a few years the British planters abandoned their estates, which reverted to the peasants. Indigo sharecropping disappeared.”
Answer. Sweet are the Uses of Adversity
The Bible proclaims that ‘Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward’. Adversity is the first path that leads towards the truth. Emerson opines that ‘every calamity is a spur and valuable hint’. But one cannot forget the truth that ‘there is no wind that always blows a storm’. Problems are only opportunities in work clothes. Every individual aspires to attain phenomenal success in this era of consumerism. No one can refuse to accept the fact that material pleasures and prosperity bring happiness. But one cannot dare to ignore the significance of trying circumstances. One wishes to be away from the situations which can be troublesome and irksome. But one must not despair in those situations and should face the music of life. Prosperity makes a person lazy and ease loving. Adversity, on the other hand, though trying and full of hardships, has a chastening effect. One’s character and personality become dynamic and vibrant if one fights bravely against the odd circumstances. It will not be wrong if we say that “as gold shines in fire, man shines in adversity.
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment” —Marcus Aurelius
Q6. Education sets the tone of a nation. Joseph Addison has rightly said, “What sculpture to a block of marble, education is to the soul”. But the quality of education is deteriorating gradually. Discuss the defects of our education system in your own words. Do remember the following expressions:
“Gandhi never contented himself with large political or economic solutions. He saw the cultural and social backwardness in the Champaran villages… He appealed for teachers.”
Answer. Defects of our Education System
“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence”. Education does not mean teaching people to know what they do not know; it means teaching them to behave as they do not behave, says John Ruskin. The prime objective of our education system is to develop a child’s over all personality. It should train not only the mind, but also the body and soul. Unfortunately, our present education system fails to achieve these objectives. The present education system does not make a child creative. It makes him a crammer. A child/pupil has to mug up nearly 200¬300 pages a year to pass his examination. Students are not given any practical training. They never go to laboratories to verify the theories. Moreover, the present admission system has become the laughing stock of society. The school authorities have a provision for those tiny tots who seek admission to pre-nursery. This is the height of absurdity. We need not the people who can only read and write. Our nation requires engineers, scientists, technicians and doctors. Vocational education is the need of the hour but not at the cost of values. An educated man should not have only bookish knowledge. He must have the knowledge of practical things. Maria Montessori conceived that ‘The first idea that the child must acquire in order to be actively disciplined is that of the difference between good and evil; and the task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility, and evil with activity.
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NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo
- Class 12 English Chapter 1 The Last Lesson
- Class 12 English Chapter 2 Lost Spring
- Class 12 English Chapter 3 Deep Water
- Class 12 English Chapter 4 The Rattrap
- Class 12 English Chapter 5 Indigo
- Class 12 English Chapter 6 Poets and Pancakes
- Class 12 English Chapter 7 The Interview
- Class 12 English Chapter 8 Going Places
NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo Poetry
- Poem 1 My Mother at Sixty-six Class 12 English
- Poem 2 An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum Class 12 English
- Poem 3 Keeping Quiet Class 12 English
- Poem 4 A Thing of Beauty Class 12 English
- Poem 5 A Roadside Stand Class 12 English
- Poem 6 Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers Class 12 English
NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Vistas
- Class 12 English Chapter 1 The Third Level
- Class 12 English Chapter 2 The Tiger King
- Class 12 English Chapter 3 Journey to the end of the Earth
- Class 12 English Chapter 4 The Enemy
- Class 12 English Chapter 5 Should Wizard hit Mommy
- Class 12 English Chapter 6 On the face of It
- Class 12 English Chapter 7 Evans Tries an O-level
- Class 12 English Chapter 8 Memories of Childhood