Indigo Movement / Champaran Movement

Indigo Movement / Champaran Movement
Posted on 03-06-2022

Indigo Movement / Champaran Movement

What was the Indigo Movement / Champaran Movement: The Indigo Movement / Champaran Movement started when India was occupied by the British. Let us know when the Neel Movement / Champaran Movement or also known as Champaran Satyagraha started and what were its results.

About 100 years ago today, Indian farmers in Champaran Bihar were not only being forced to cultivate indigo while facing British tyranny but they were also being exploited in many ways. This was the time when Mahatma Gandhi decided to participate in this movement.

Meaning of indigo cultivation or what is the cultivation of indigo?

Meaning of Indigo Cultivation: Indigo is a dyestuff used for dyeing in the textile industry. Due to its great demand in Britain, its cultivation was started by the British in South Africa as well as India. Due to this the Indian farmer, who was more inclined to grow grain and other cash crops, was forced by the British to cultivate indigo.

Why did the farmer not want to do indigo cultivation?

  1. Indigo cultivation requires only fertile land, indigo cannot be grown on less fertile land, also indigo cultivation negatively affects the fertility of the land.
  2. Along with the cultivation of indigo, farmers also had to work in the process of extraction of indigo from its plants, due to which they could not work on their other crops.
  3. Buying the produce of indigo at very low prices by the indigo sahibs of the village, forcibly torturing the farmers, and forcibly doing the cultivation of indigo was also a major reason for the farmers' fury.

Indigo Movement / Nile's Revolution

The Indigo Movement was a peasant movement against the forced cultivation of indigo. This movement proved to be a milestone in the Indian independence movement. Even before this, from time to time there were movements against the cultivation of indigo.

  1. Indigo Movement of 1859: - In the year 1859-60, the Nilhe Sahibs had implemented a system called "Dadni" in Bengal. Under which farmers were compelled to cultivate at the rate of Rs 2 per bigha. There were agitations in Bengal against this and later a Nile Commission was formed by the British, whose chairman was Sachin Sitnankar. Following the report of this commission, forcible cultivation of indigo was banned in Bengal.
  2. Champaran Movement: - At the beginning of the 20th century, the "Tinkathia" system was implemented in this area by the Nilhe Sahibs with the help of the British government. Under this system, it was mandatory to cultivate indigo in three kathas out of twenty kathas (the scale of local land measurement) falling under 1 bigha of land.

Leader of Champaran Indigo Movement / Who led the Champaran Indigo movement?

Champaran Neel Movement was first led by Pt. Rajkumar Shukla. Being a farmer, he himself had to face this exploitation. So he started raising his voice against it. When Mahatma Gandhi came to India in the year 1915, he met Gandhiji in Calcutta, Kanpur, and Lucknow and made him aware of the atrocities happening in Champaran, and invited him to come to Champaran and join this movement.

When did Gandhiji come to Champaran? When did Gandhiji reach Champaran?

Gandhiji reached Bankipur on 10 April 1917 at the invitation of Pandit Rajkumar Shukla and then reached Champaran in Bihar on 15 April 1917 via Muzaffarpur. At that time Champaran used to be a district of Bihar state which has now been divided into two districts East Champaran District and West Champaran District.

Champaran Movement / Champaran Satyagraha

When did the Champaran movement happen? When did Champaran Satyagraha happen?

The Champaran movement started on 19 April 1917. Which was led by Gandhiji. When Gandhi started the indigo movement against indigo cultivation from Champaran in Bihar, it came to be known as Champaran Movement or Champaran Satyagraha.

Gandhiji got the support of the farmers of Champaran as well as the big lawyers of Bihar. Gandhiji held many public meetings, held many meetings with Nilehe sahibs, and kept giving information about it to the British officials through letters. This movement lasted for a total of one year and in the end, an inquiry committee was constituted by the British Government, in which Gandhiji was also made a member. As a result which Champaran Agriculture Act-1918 was made and the farmers got freedom from the compulsion of indigo cultivation.


During this movement, Gandhiji met Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who later became the first President of India.

Reasons for the success of Champaran Movement / What were the reasons for the success of Champaran Satyagraha

  1. To be a non-violent movement based on truth and non-violence – the Champaran movement led by Gandhiji was a peaceful non-violent movement. Due to this, the British government was finding it difficult to suppress it.
  2. Correct publicity and dissemination of the movement - Champaran movement was prominently printed by the then newspapers. Due to this the popularity of the movement increased among the farmers and the educated class also got involved in this movement of Gandhiji.
  3. Getting the support of lawyers - Because Gandhiji himself was also a barrister (lawyer), he got a lot of support from the big lawyers of Bihar.

Results of Champaran Movement / What were the results of Champaran Satyagraha

  1. The farmers got rid of the Tinkathia system/Nilhe Sahib and the oppressive British agricultural policies – the farmer was no longer obliged to cultivate indigo. Now the farmer was free to do the cultivation of cash crops as per his wish.
  2. Early Development Initiative – During this movement, Gandhi was successful in convincing Indians that cleanliness is more important than freedom. Along with this, schools, hospitals, khadi institutions, and ashrams were also established in Champaran, from which the initial development started there.
  3. Journey of Gandhiji to become Mahatma - This movement also started the journey of Mohan Das Karam Chandra Gandhi to become a Mahatma. With the advent of this movement, his personality progressed from Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi to Mahatma Gandhi.
  4. Farmers' self-confidence increased - Before this movement, the mood of the farmers of Champaran had turned to suicide. But after this successful movement edited by Gandhiji, the confidence of Indian farmers increased and they realized the power of Satyagraha and unity.
  5. Helpful in the independence movement - The first experiment of Satyagraha at the national level of India was successful in the Champaran movement. Being non-violent, the British government also had to bow down to it. It proved to be a milestone in the Indian independence movement. It was believed that if satyagraha was carried out with unity, the British could be forced to leave India.
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