Question: The Champaran episode was a turning point in Gandhiji’s life. Elucidate. [CBSE (AI) 2013]
Answer: Before the Champaran episode, Gandhiji was not aware of the reality of the peasants of his motherland. On the insistence of Rajkumar Shukla, a sharecropper, Gandhiji went to Champaran and saw the miserable condition of the poor illiterate farmers. It was an eye-opener for him. The Britishers exploited the farmers to grow indigo. When it was not needed, they had to render compensation in order to be freed from the old agreement. Gandhiji was shocked to see them going to the court. He gathered them. This was the first step to free them from their fear of the British. The officials felt powerless without Gandhiji’s co-operation. He made them realise that the power of the British could be challenged by India were The peasants were made to realise they too had rights. The British landlords left the estate to the peasants and returned to their land after some time, thus ending indigo sharecropping. Through the Champaran episode, he made it clear to the British that they could not order Indians in their own country and through his personal example taught masses to be self-reliant and motivated them into civil disobedience.
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