Q. Strike out what is not true in the following
- Rajkumar Shukla was:
- a sharecropper
- a politician
- a landlord
- Rajkumar Shukla was:
- physically strong
- a politician
- physically strong
Q .Why is Rajkumar Shukla described as being ‘resolute’?
Ans. He had come all the way from Champaran district in the foothills of Himalayas to Lucknow to speak to Gandhi. Shukla accompanied Gandhi everywhere. Shukla followed him to the ashram near Ahmedabad. For weeks he never left Gandhi’s side till Gandhi asked him to meet at Calcutta.
Q. Why do you think the servants thought Gandhi to be another peasant?
Ans. 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.
Q. List the places that Gandhi visited between his first meeting with Shukla and his arrival at Champaran.
Ans. Gandhi’s first meeting with Shukla was at Lucknow. Then he went to Cawnpore and other parts of India. He returned to his ashram near Ahmedabad. Later he went to Calcutta, Patna and Muzaffarpur before arriving at Champaran.
Q. 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?
Ans. 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.
Q. 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?
Ans. 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.
Q. Why did Gandhi agree to a settlement of 25 per cent refund to the farmers?
Ans. For Gandhi the amount of the refund was less important than the fact that the landlords had been forced to return part of the money, and with it, part of their prestige too. So he agreed to settlement of 25 per cent refund to the farmers.
Q. How did the episode change the plight of the peasants?
Ans. 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.
Q. Why do you think Gandhi considered the Champaran episode to be a turning-point in his life?
Ans. The Champaran episode began as an attempt to ease the sufferings of large number of poor peasants. He got spontaneous support of thousands of people. Gandhi admits that what he had done was a very ordinary thing. He declared that the British could not order him about in his own country. Hence he considered the Champaran episode as a turningpoint in his life.
Q. How was Gandhi able to influence lawyers? Give instances.
Ans. 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.
Q. What was the attitude of the average Indian in smaller localities towards advocates of ‘home rule’?
Ans. The average Indians in smaller localities were afraid to show sympathy for the advocates of home-rule. Gandhi stayed at Muzaffarpur for two days in the home of Professor Malkani, a teacher in a government school. It was an extraordinary thing in those days for a government professor to give shelter to one who opposed the government.
Q. How do we know that ordinary people too contributed to the freedom movement?
Ans. 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.
Q. “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?
Ans. For the poor of India means of survival are far more important than freedom or legal justice. I don’t think the poor of India are free from fear after Independence.The foreign rulers have been replaced by corrupt politicians and self-serving bureaucracy. Power-brokers and moneylenders have a field day. The situation has improved in cities and towns for the poor but the poor in the remote villages still fear the big farmers and moneylenders. The police and revenue officials are still objects of terror for them. The poor, landless workers have to still work hard to make both ends meet. Peasants and tenant-farmers have to borrow money from rich moneylenders on exorbitant rates of interest, which usually they fail to repay due to failure of monsoon or bad crops. Cases of small farmers committing suicide are quite common. If this is not due to fear, what is the reason behind it?
Q. The qualities of a good leader.
Ans. 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.
Q. List the words used in the text that are related to legal procedures. For example: deposition
Ans. Notice, summons, prosecutor, trial, plead, guilty, order, penalty, sentence, bail, judgment, prison, case, inquiry, evidence, commission.
Q. List other words that you know that fall into this category.
Ans. Complaint, complainant, decree, defendant, witness, prosecution, defence, sessions, jury, verdict, decision.
Q. Notice the sentences in the text which are in ‘direct speech’. Why does the author use quotations in his narration? Ans.
The following sentences in the text are in ‘direct speech’.
- He said, “I will tell you how it happened that I decided to urge the departure of the British. It was in 1917.”
- Gandhi recounted. “A peasant came up to me looking like any other peasant in India, poor and emaciated. and said, ‘I am Rajkumar Shukla. I am from Champaran, and I want you to come to my district!”
- Gandhi said, “I have to be in Calcutta on such-and-such a date. Come and meet me and take me from there”.
- “It was an extraordinary thing ‘in those days,” Gandhi commented, ‘for a government professor to harbour a man like me.’
- He said, “I have come to the conclusion that we should stop going to law courts. Taking such cases to the courts does litte good. Where the peasants are so crushed and fear-stricken, law courts are useless. The real relief for them is to be free from fear.”
- “The commissioner,” Gandhi reports, “proceeded to bully me and advised me forthwith to leave Tirhut”.
- ‘But how much must we pay?’ they asked Gandhi.
- One woman took Kasturbabai into her hut and said, “Look, there is no box or cupboard here for clothes. The sari I am wearing is the only one I have”.
- “What I did”, he explained, “was a very ordinary thing. I declared that the British could not order me about in my own country”.
- He said, “You think that in this unequal fight it would be helpful if we have an Englishman on our side. This shows the weakness of your heart. The cause is just and you must rely upon yourselves to win the battle. You should not seek a prop in Mr Andrews because he happens to be an Englishman”.
- “He had read our minds correctly,” Rajendra Prasad comments, “and we had no reply… Gandhi in this way taught us a lesson in self-reliance”.
The choice of the direct form strengthens the effectiveness of narration. The author uses quotations to highlight certain points which may not appear so effective in reporting indirectly.