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Indigo Summary, Questions, Answers 12th English

 Flamingo - Chapter 5 Indigo - Louis Fischer Summary, Glossary, Questions, And Answers Summary - The lesson, " Indigo" is written ...

 Flamingo - Chapter 5

Indigo - Louis Fischer

Summary, Glossary, Questions, And Answers

Summary - The lesson, " Indigo" is written by Louis Fischer and it is an extract from his book " The Life of Mahatma Gandhi" which is one of the best books ever written on Gandhi. The writer was a volunteer in the British Army between 1918 and 1920, and made his carrier as a journalist and wrote for," The New York Times", " The Saturday Review", and European and Asian publications. This lesson brings out Gandhiji's struggle for poor and illiterate sharecroppers of Champaran in the state of Bihar in the year 1916. As per the long-term agreement between farmers and British landlords, farmers were forced to grow " Indigo" at least 15% of their landholdings, and the total harvest of indigo to surrender to landlords as rent. But when Germany had developed synthetic indigo and demand for natural indigo fell down, landlords were demanding money as compensation to disqualify the agreement

On the continuous insistence of a poor farmer, Rajkumar Shukla, Gandhiji went to Champaran and fought against landlords and in one year with the support of the lawyers and masses, finally succeeded in giving them justice and taught a lesson of self-reliance and self-dependence, and removed fear and threat of the British Rule.

Glossary -

1. emaciated - very weak person

2. sharecropper - who cultivates a farm in partnership, with a tenant farmer

3. tenacity - determination, urge

4. haunches - sitting ideally

5. yeoman - a small farmer

6. pestered - trouble or annoy someone with frequent requests or interruptions

7. chided - scolding

8. arable land - land under cultivation

9. irksome - irritating, annoying

10. multitude - sort of crowd

11. complied - act under a wish or command

12. hitherto - till ( until ) the point in time under discussion

13. baffled - to defeat or check by confusing or puzzling

14. reconvened - resume, restart

15. desertion - abandonment, neglect, betrayal

16. far-flung - distant or remote

17. grievances - a real or imagined cause for complaint

18. throbbed - beating with a strong, regular rhythm

19. vehement - in a forceful manner with great feeling

20. protracted-lasting for a long time

21. deceitfully - misleading others

22. adamant - unmovable, stable, determined

23. unanimously - collectively

24. defiance - opposition

25. alleviate - minimize sufferings or a problem

26. abstractions - the quality of dealing with ideas rather than events

Think as you read - 

1. Strike out what is not true in the following.

a ) Rajkumar Shukla was

1. a sharecropper

2. a politician

3. delegate

4. a landlord

Ans - a politician

b) Rajkumar Shukla was

1. poor  2. physically strong  3. illiterate

Ans - physically strong 

2. why is Rajkumar Shukla described as being resolute?

Ans - Rajkumar Shukla was a poor sharecropper. He was from Champaran, Bihar, and he wanted to do something against the injustice of the landlord system after a bit of wise advice from somebody who," spoke to Gandhi", he was determined to take Gandhiji to Champaran and therefore he accompanied Gandhiji, wherever he went, and because of his urge, Gandhiji called him resolute.

3. Why do you think the servants thought Gandhi to be another peasant?

Ans - When Gandhiji with Rajkumar Shukla went to meet Rajendra Prasad, he was out of town, but servants knew Rajkumar Shukla as a poor farmer and as Gandhiji was with him, they considered Gandhiji to as another peasant. They had never seen Gandhiji before.

4. List the places that Gandhiji visited between his first meeting with Shukla and his arrival at Champaran?

Ans - Shukla met Gandhiji in Lucknow, then he went to Kanpur, Ahmedabad, and Calcutta. Patna, Muzzafarpur, and then finally to Champaran.

5. 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 - As per the long-term agreement between British landlords and tenant farmers, the farmers were forced to plant indigo in 15% of their landholdings and surrender the entire harvest to them as rent. Now they wanted the money as compensation to disqualify or to be released from the agreement. and they wanted so because of falling down the prices of natural indigo a cause that Germany had developed synthetic indigo.

6. 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 - To fight against British Rule, Gandhiji's main weapons were truth and non-violence, and "Satyagraha' is to protest for truth and justice by adopting non-violent methods. Other examples are the civil disobedience movement, quit India movement, Swadeshi movement, non-cooperation movement, and salt march. In this lesson, we have come across many incidences where Gandhiji refused to obey the laws, and it is an example of the civil disobedience movement.

7. Why did Gandhiji agree to the settlement of a 25 percent refund to the farmers?

Ans - Gandhiji agreed to a settlement of a 25% refund to the farmers because he believed that the amount of the refund was less important than the fact the landlords had agreed to surrender part of the money and with it, part of their prestige, otherwise they never parted anything to the poor farmers, rather they always exploited the farmers and always considered themselves as lords above the law.

8. How did the episode change the plight of the peasants?

Ans - This episode had a tremendous impact on the mindset of the peasants. They came to know their rights, regained their lands solely, gained confidence that they could fight against the British Empire, and managed to remove the fear of British Rule and landlords. They had realized the power of unity because landlords had parted their money with prestige with the peasants which had never happened before.


1. Why do you think  Gandhiji considered the Champaran episode to be a turning point in his life?

Ans - Gandhiji gave a very clear message to British Rule that the British could not order Indians in their own country in this episode, and it led to a foundation stone for the departure of British Rule from India. The peasants and other Indians came to know about their rights, how to unite and fight against British Rule, started believing and following Gandhiji, removal of fear, and importantly the civil disobedience movement had started in Champaran, which later became an important weapon in the path of India's freedom struggle, therefore the Champaran episode became a turning point in Gandhiji's life.

2. How was Gandhi able to influence lawyers? Give instances.

Ans - First of all, Gandhiji scolded the lawyers, who were pleading the case of the peasants in the law courts, that they were charging high fees from the poor farmers, at the same time he advised them that in such cases, there was no point in going to law courts but more important was to remove the fear of British rule and landlords from the peasants. Also, when they saw that Gandhiji was ready to go to jail forsake and the welfare of the peasants, they thought that even a stranger like him was prepared to go to jail, on the other hand, they were the residents of the adjoining districts, they were going home instead of doing something for the peasants, They felt ashamed of themselves and after observing the determination and urge of Gandhiji, they inspired and became ready to support him. In this way, he influenced the lawyers.

3. What was the attitude of the average Indian in smaller localities towards advocates of," home rule"?

Ans - The people like Gandhiji, who were struggling to make India free, were known as advocates of home rule. When Gandhiji was heading towards Champaran, on the way he stayed with professor J.B.Kriplani, at Muzzafarpur for two days. He was received by the professor with a large body of students. Gandhiji was amazed to see that because, during those days, it was very uncommon to support people like Gandhiji. Common Indians were afraid of helping people like Gandhiji in fear of British rule.

4. How do we know that ordinary people too contributed to the freedom movement?

Ans - In British Rule, Indians were not aware of their rights, they had a great fear of British Rule and were considered slaves. While fighting for the rights of sharecroppers of Champaran, Gandhiji was summoned to appear in the court from the British Rule and when people realized this without knowing what Gandhiji did in South Africa, started gathering on roads and court premises in large numbers. They were illiterate but always wanted to be with Gandhiji, supported, and followed him vigorously in every movement, and after watching such huge support from the mass of people, the officials of British Rule felt powerless. In this way, with the active support, of the belief of ordinary people, Gandhiji made every movement a successful movement.


1. " 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 - Indeed, It's true. Fear is the worst evil, that hampers the growth in all the streams of life. A fearful person lacks confidence, rights, and goals in life. Legal justice may give materialistic benefits at once, but the fear sticks with the person throughout his life. The poor, with fear, can not achieve anything in life.

No, the poor of India are not still from fear. Earlier, they were in fear of the British Empire, and the landlords and now they are under politicians, bureaucrats, moneylenders, corrupt authorities, partial behaviour, social injustice, and many more. If we really want to bring them, we need to provide them all the basic needs of life such as food, shelter, clothing, education, health, proper and respectful employment infrastructure, and equal opportunities with other improved sectors.

2. The qualities of a good leader. 

Ans - A leader is a person who leads the nation or masses. He must have certain unique qualities such as honesty, willpower, patriotism, forecasting, determination, humanity, impartiality, cooperation, decision-making capacity, the welfare of mankind, etc. Whenever a command man faces any problem or trouble, he looks towards the leader, and therefore, the leader should become a torchbearer to the masses. He must have the ability to solve the problem of a person, whoever comes to him. At the same time, he must have other qualities like good listening power, and excellent logical sense and show the path to success and prosperity. Good leaders should solve the problems of the people irrespective of caste, creed, nationality, language, or province. India has produced many great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Subhash Chandra Bose, Swami Vivekanand, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, etc. 

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