INDIGO

About the Author

 Louis Fischer was born on 29 February 1896 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. First, he worked as a schoolteacher. Then he served as a volunteer in the British Army during the First World War and then he made a career as a journalist and wrote for ‘The New York Times’, ‘The Saturday Review’ and for ‘European and Asian Publications’. As a journalist he lived through and reported the Second World War.  he was a Jewish-American who was greatly influenced by Gandhiji’s use of non-violence and spiritualism as political tools.  he wrote highly acclaimed books on Gandhi and Lenin.  he died at the age of 73 on 15 January 1970 in Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

About the Chapter

This chapter is an excerpt from Louis Fischer’s famous book ‘The Life of Mahatma Gandhi’. The writer observed Gandhiji’s work to fight for the cause of the voiceless, downtrodden Indians who reeled under the rule of the indifferent, oppressive colonial British rule. ‘Indigo’ is one of the many episodes of Gandhi’s long political struggle.

The chapter describes the Champaran visit of Mahatma Gandhi which was undertaken casually on the entreaty of a poor peasant, Rajkumar Shukla, in the expectation that it would last a few days, occupied almost a year of Gandhi’s life.

The story describes Gandhiji’s struggle for the cause of the sharecroppers of Bihar and how he asked the Britishers to leave the country.

It highlights the leadership shown by Gandhi to secure justice for oppressed people.

 

About the Characters

Gandhiji- A prominent political leader of India (The Father of The Nation.

Rajkumar Shukla- A poor, emaciated but resolute peasant of Champaran.

Rajendra Prasad- A lawyer who later became the First President of India.

J.B. Kripalani- A professor of the Arts College in Muzzafarpur. Malkani- A Government school teacher.  

Sir Edward Gait- The Lieutenant Governor.

Mahadev Desai and Narhari Parikh- Volunteer teachers.

Kasturbai- Gandhi’s wife.

Devadas- Gandhi’s youngest son.

 

 Theme

 

The chapter ‘Indigo’ emphasizes the fact that an effective leadership can solve any kind of problem without any harm to anybody. This chapter deals with the way Mahatma Gandhi solved the problem of poor sharecroppers of Champaran in a non-violent way.

 

POINTS TO REMEMBER

 

Rajkumar Shukla- A poor sharecropper from Champaran wishing to meet Gandhiji.

  • Raj Kumar Shukla- an illiterate but resolute hence followed Gandhiji Lucknow, Cawnpore, Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Patna, Muzzafarpur & then Champaran.

  • Servants at Rajendra Prasad’s residence thought Gandhiji to be an untouchable.

  • Gandhiji considered as an untouchable because of simple living style and wearing, due to the company of Rajkumar Shukla.

  • Decided to go to Muzzafarpur first to get detailed information about Champaran sharecropper.

  •  Sent telegram to J B Kriplani &stayed in Prof Malkani home- a government servant.

  • Indians afraid to show sympathy to the supporters of home rule.

  • The news of Gandhiji’s arrival spread- sharecroppers gathered in large number to meet their champion.

  • Gandhiji chided the Muzzafarpur lawyer for taking high fee.

  •   Champaran district was divided into estate owned by English people, Indians only tenant farmers.

  • Landlords compelled tenants to plant 15% of their land with indigo and surrender their entire harvest as rent.

  • In the meantime, Germany had developed synthetic indigo –British landlords freed the Indian farmers from the 15% arrangement but asked them to pay compensation.

  •  Many signed, some resisted engaged lawyers, and landlords hired thugs.

  • Gandhiji reached Champaran- visited the secretary of the British landlord association to get the facts but denied as he was an outsider.

  • Gandhiji went to the British Official Commissioner who asked him to leave Trihut, Gandhiji disobeyed, went to Motihari the capital of Champaran where a vast multitude greeted him, continued his investigations.

  • Visited maltreated villagers, stopped by the police superintendent but disobeyed the order.

  • Motihari black with peasants’ spontaneous demonstrations, Gandhiji released without bail Civil Disobedience triumphed.

  • Gandhiji agreed to 25% refund by the landowners, it symbolized the surrender of the prestige.

  • Gandhiji worked hard towards social economic reforms, elevated their distress aided by his wife, Mahadev Desai, Narhari Parikh.

  • Gandhiji taught a lesson of self-reliance by not seeking help of an English man Mr. Andrews.

 

SUMMARY

 

Gandhi had gone to the December 1916 annual convention of the Indian National Congress in Lucknow where he made a poor peasant named Rajkumar Shukla who pleaded Gandhi to visit Champaran. Under an old agreement the peasants of the Champaran district were sharecroppers. Rajkumar Shukla was one of them who was determined enough to accompany Gandhi everywhere till he fixed a date to visit his district. Impressed by the resolution of the peasant, Gandhi agreed to meet him in Calcutta and go with him to Champaran from there.
After a few months when Gandhi went to Calcutta, Shukla met him there and took him to Patna with him. There Shukla took him to meet with a lawyer named Rajendra Prasad who later became the President of the Congress Party and of India. Rajendra Prasad was not there to welcome him, but the servants recognized Shukla as a sharecropper who needed help and let him inside the house with Gandhi who was also considered another peasant. However, Gandhi was not allowed to draw water from the well as they thought that he might turn out to be an untouchable.

Gandhi decided to go to Muzzafarpur to gather more information about the condition of the peasants in Champaran. He sent a telegram to Professor J.B. Kripalani, of the Arts College in Muzzafarpur. When Gandhi reached the station, Kripalani was waiting with a large number of students. Gandhi stayed with Professor Malkani for two days and appreciated him for being courageous enough to harbour a person like him who was fighting for the country’s freedom, despite being a government official.
The news of Gandhi’s advent and his mission spread rapidly through Muzzafarpur and Champaran. Gandhi came to know that the lawyers were charging a fee from the peasants. Gandhi advised them against taking their cases to the law court as he felt that all that was needed was to make them feel liberated from fear.
Most of the arable lands in the Champaran district were divided into estates owned by Englishmen who employed Indian tenants to work for them. The peasants were forced to be a part of a long-term contract to plant fifteen percent of their land with indigo. When the landlords got to know that Germany had developed synthetic indigo, they compelled the sharecroppers to pay them compensation for being released from the 15 percent agreement. When the sharecroppers protested against this injustice and hired lawyers to fight for them, the landlords hired thugs. Meanwhile, the news of the synthetic indigo reached the illiterate peasants who had already signed and wanted their money back.
Gandhi had arrived to Champaran at this point of time and he decided to get his facts right before proceeding to do anything. He visited the secretary of the British landlord’s association who refused to give information to an outsider, to which Gandhi replied that he was no outsider. Next, he called the British official commissioner of the Tirhut division who advised Gandhi to leave Tirhut immediately.

Gandhi proceeded to Motihari with several lawyers where he was greeted by a vast crowd and found out that a peasant had been maltreated. He decided to pay and visit. On his way he was stopped by the police superintendent’s messenger who warned him to leave the town. The messenger served Gandhi an official notice to quit Champaran immediately. Gandhi signed a receipt for the notice and wrote on it that he would disobey the order. He was summoned to court the next day. That night Gandhi telegraphed Rajendra Prasad to come from Bihar with influential friends, sent instructions to the ashram and forwarded a full report to the viceroy.
In the morning, Motihari was swarming with peasants. They had only heard that some Mahatma who wanted to help them, was in trouble with the British authorities. This spontaneous courage to support Gandhi and to stand up against the British marked the beginning of their freedom from their fear of the British.
The officials were unable to handle the crowd without Gandhi’s cooperation. Perplexed by this incident that served as a proof that the British would be challenged by the Indians, the prosecutor requested the judge to postpone the trial. But Gandhi protested against the delay and read a statement pleading guilty. He was in a conflicting state of being. On one hand, he did not want to set a bad example as a lawbreaker and on the other hand, he had to follow his conscience to stand up for his people. The magistrate asked Gandhi to furnish bail for 120 minutes during the recess, but Gandhi refused. Finally, the judge released him without bail.

Rajendra Prasad, Brij Kishor Babu, Maulana Mazhatul Huq and other prominent lawyers had arrived from Bihar. Gandhi demanded that the lawyers should fight against the injustice if he went to jail. They thought that if a stranger like Gandhi was prepared to go to jail for the peasants then it would be a shame if they did not contribute their bit. Finally, they assured Gandhi that they were ready to follow him to jail. The unity and courage of the people to stand up against the British made Gandhi exclaim- “The battle of Champaran is won.”
Several days later, Gandhi learnt from the magistrate that the case against him was ordered to be dropped. For this first time, civil disobedience had triumphed in modern India.
Gandhi delved deep into the enquiry and collected relevant documents from the peasants which led the landlords to protest violently.
In June, Gandhi had four interviews with the Lieutenant Governor. The appointed commission consisted of landlords, government officials and Gandhi, as the only representative of the sharecroppers.
Finally, the committee agreed to reimburse the peasants as a mountain of evidence was gathered against the planters. Everyone thought that Gandhi would ask for the full refund but to everyone’s surprise, he only asked for 50 percent of the money that the landlords had illegally taken from the peasants. However, he finally settled for only 25 percent. Gandhi felt that the money was less important than the fact that the landlords had to submit to the peasants. They had to surrender their self-esteem. Also, the peasants realized their rights and became more courageous to stand up against injustice.
Within a few years, the British planters left their estates because of which indigo sharecropping disappeared. Gandhi saw the cultural and social backwardness in Champaran and felt like doing something for its upliftment. He requested twelve teachers to teach the people at Champaran. Two young disciples of Gandhi, Mahadev Desai and Narhari Parikh and their wives volunteered for the work. Gandhi’s youngest son, Devadas and his wife also joined in. Kasturbai educated the village about ashram rules on personal cleanliness and community sanitation.
Gandhi got a doctor to serve the community for six months. Castor oil, quinine and sulphur ointment were available. Gandhi maintained communication with the ashram and sent regular instructions and asked for financial accounts.
The Champaran movement had a deep impact on Gandhi’s life as it made it evident that the British could not orders Indians in their own country. It was not a political agenda to begin a movement by defying the British. The Champaran movement grew out of an attempt to release the tension of the poor peasants. Politics, for Gandhi, was intertwined with the day-to-day problems of the ordinary mass. Gandhi’s attempt was to mould a self-reliant India. When Gandhi’s lawyer friends thought that it was a good idea to have the English pacifist, Charles Freer Andrews, stay in Champaran and help, Gandhi refused. He said that having an Englishman by their side in the time when every Indian should be strong and self-reliant, would just indicate the weakness of their minds. Rajendra Prasad proudly comments that Gandhi had successfully taught everyone a lesson in self-reliance.

 

 Short Answer Type Questions (3 Marks, 30-40 words)

Question.1. Why did Gandhiji feel that taking the Champaran case to court was useless?
Answer. When Gandhiji got to know about the plight of the peasant groups in Champaran from his discussion with the lawyers, he came to the conclusion that the poor peasants were so crushed and fear-stricken that law courts were useless in their case. Going to courts overburdened the sharecroppers with heavy litigation expenses. What really needed to be done was to make them free from fear.

 

Question.2. How did the Champaran peasants react when they heard that a Mahatma had come to help them?
Answer. When the Champaran peasants heard that a Mahatma had come to help them, they assembled in Motihari in large number. Thousands of peasants held a demonstration around the courthouse where Gandhiji was supposed to appear. The crowd was so uncontrollable that the officials felt powerless, and Gandhiji himself helped the authorities to regulate the crowd.

 

Question.3. What made the Lieutenant Governor drop the case against Gandhiji?
Answer. When Gandhiji was asked to appear in the court in Motihari, thousands of peasants held a demonstration around the courthouse. The officials felt helpless and the government was baffled. The trial was postponed, as the judge did not want to aggravate the situation. He held up the sentence for several days, after which Gandhiji was released without bail. All these events made the Lieutenant Governor drop the case against Gandhiji.

 

Question.4. Why did Gandhiji oppose when his friend Andrews offered to stay in Champaran and help the peasants?
or
Why did Gandhiji object to CF Andrews’ stay in Champaran?

Answer. CF Andrews, an English pacifist, was a devoted follower of Gandhiji. The lawyers thought that being an Englishman, Andrews could be of immense help to them in their cause of fighting the battle of Champaran. Gandhiji, however, was against this because he felt that enlisting an Englishman’s help showed weakness. Their cause was just, and they had to win the battle by relying on themselves. This would make them self-reliant.

 

Question.5. Why do you think Gandhi considered the Champar an episode to be a turning point in his life?

Answer. The Champaran episode began as an attempt to alleviate the distress of poor peasants. Ultimately it proved to be a turning point in Gandhiji’s life because it was a loud proclamation that made the British realise that Gandhiji could not be ordered about in his own country. It infused courage to question British authority in the masses and laid the foundation of non-cooperation as a new tool to fight the British tooth and nail.

 

Question.6. What did the peasants pay to the British landlords as rent?
Answer. The British landlords had entered a long-term contract with the farmers according to which they compelled all tenants to plant 15% of their holdings with indigo. The sharecroppers had to surrender the entire indigo harvest as rent.

 

Question.7. Why did Gandhiji decide to go to Muzaffarpur before going to Champaran?
Answer. Rajkumar Shukla had given quite a lot of information to Gandhiji about the indigo sharecroppers of Champaran. However, Gandhiji wished to obtain more complete information about the conditions than Shukla had imparted. He visited Muzaffarpur, which was en route to Champaran, to inquire from the lawyers there about the issue, as they frequently represented the peasant groups in the court.

 

Question.8. Why do you think the servants thought Gandhi to be another peasant?
Answer. The servants knew that Rajkumar Shukla was a poor farmer who pestered their master to help the indigo sharecroppers. Since Gandhiji accompanied Shukla and was dressed simply, they mistook him for a peasant. Gandhiji’s modesty and unassertiveness also led to the assumption that he was a peasant.

 

Question.9. “The battle of Champaran is won!” What led Gandhiji to make this remark?
Answer. The lawyers first decided to return home if Gandhiji. was arrested. But they soon realised their mistake. When they declared that they would fight for the peasants’ cause in the event of Gandhiji’s arrest and volunteered to court arrest for the cause of the sharecroppers, Gandhiji was very pleased and exclaimed, “The battle of Champaran is won!.”

Question.10. Why did Gandhi agree to the planters’ offer of a 25% refund to the farmers?

Answer. Gandhiji agreed to a settlement of 25% refund to the farmers to break the deadlock between the landlords and peasants. For him, the amount of the refund was not very important. The fact that the landlords had been obliged to surrender a part of their money as well as their prestige gave a moral victory to the farmers. Thus, Gandhiji not only made the landlords accept their dishonesty but also made the farmers learn a lesson in defending their rights with courage.

 

Question.11. How was Gandhi able to influence the lawyers? Give instances.
or
How was Gandhiji able to influence the lawyers?

Answer. Gandhiji’s sincerity towards the peasants’ cause and convincing arguments and negotiations, thoroughly influenced the lawyers. He chided them for overcharging the peasants and encouraged them to court arrest for the peasants’ noble cause. He even rejected their proposal to seek Mr Andrews help in their battle against the Britishers to be self-reliant and independent.

Long Answer Type Questions (6 Marks, 120-150 Words)

Question.1. Why is the Champaran episode considered to be the beginning of the Indian struggle for independence?
Answer. The Champaran episode was one of the major events in the struggle for independence. It was in the course of this small but significant movement that Gandhiji decided to urge the departure of the British from India.
A close examination of the problems of the Champaran peasants opened Gandhiji’s eyes to the unjust policies of the British. He realised that people had to be made free from fear and only then could they be freed from foreign oppression. The spontaneous demonstration of the people proved that Gandhiji had the nation’s support in his fight against the Britishers. It also aroused patriotism in the heart of the Indians.
The triumph of The. Civil disobedience at Champaran motivated the launching of the movement on a large scale during the freedom movement. Gandhiji’s winning the case of the sharecroppers proved that British authority could be challenged. Hence, the Champaran episode served as a steppingstone to the Indian struggle for independence.

 

Question.2. Gandhiji’s loyalty was not a loyalty to abstractions; it was a loyalty to living human beings. Why did Gandhiji continue his stay in Champaran even after indigo sharecropping disappeared?
Answer. After the Champaran battle was won and the land reverted to the peasants, Gandhiji continued to stay on in the region. His loyalty was, indeed, to living human beings and he realised that a lot needed to be done for the upliftment of the peasants in the villages of Champaran. Gandhiji took the initiative and began the work of eradicating their cultural and social backwardness. Primary schools were started so that the poor peasants and their children could be educated. Gandhiji appealed to teachers, and many of his disciples, including his wife and son, volunteered for the work.
Health conditions in the area were also miserable. Gandhiji got a doctor to volunteer his services for six months. All this-goes to prove that Gandhiji’s loyalty was not to abstractions, but his politics was always intertwined with the practical day to day problems of the millions.

 

Question.3. Describe how, according to Louis Fischer, Gandhiji succeeded in his Champaran campaign.
Answer. The Champaran campaign was an attempt to free the poor peasants of Champaran from injustice and exploitation at the hands of the Britishers. Gandhiji succeeded in this campaign using his method of satyagraha and non-violence. He visited Muzaffarpur to obtain complete information about the actual condition of the sharecroppers. He first appealed to the concerned authorities, but when there was no positive response, he organised a mass civil , disobedience movement with the support of the peasants.
Gandhiji’s main objective was to remove the fear of the British landlords from the heart of the poor peasants and mould a new free Indian, who could participate in the freedom movement of the country.
He made the peasants aware of their rights and gave them a new-found confidence for fighting their own battles. He also taught them to be self-reliant by refusing to take the help of CF Andrews, his English friend.

 

Question.4. Why did Gandhiji agree to a settlement of 25% refund to the farmers? How did it
influence the peasant-landlord relationship in Champaran?

Answer. Under an ancient arrangement, the peasants of Champaran were sharecroppers. The landlords forced the Indian tenants to plant 15% of their holding with indigo and surrender the entire indigo harvest as rent.
After Germany developed synthetic indigo, the landlords wanted to dissolve the agreement, as synthetic indigo would be cheaper. They asked the peasants for compensation to release them from this arrangement. Most of them signed it willingly but felt cheated after they learned about synthetic indigo.
Gandhiji fought their case and the evidence that he collected was so overwhelming that the landlords were asked to repay. When Gandhiji asked for 50% repayment, the landlords offered to pay only 25%, as they wanted to create a deadlock, and thus prolong the dispute. To everybody surprise, Gandhiji agreed to a refund of only 25%. Gandhiji explained that the amount of refund was not important. What mattered was that the landlords were obliged to surrender a part of their money and with it, part of their prestige.

 

Question.5. Give an account of Gandhiji’s efforts to secure justice for the poor indigo sharecroppers of Champaran.

Answer. During his journey to Champaran with Rajkumar Shukla, Gandhiji stayed at Muzaffarpur where he met the lawyers and concluded that fighting through courts was not going to solve the problem of the poor sharecroppers of Champaran. He declared that the real relief for them was to be free from fear.
With this intention, he arrived in Champaran and contacted the Secretary of the British Landlord’s association. The Secretary refused to provide him any information. After this, Gandhiji met the Commissioner of the Tirhut division who served a notice on him to immediately leave Tirhut.
Gandhiji accepted the notice by signing it and wrote on it that he would not obey the order. He was even willing to court arrest for the cause of the peasants.
After four rounds of talks with-the Governor, an official commission of inquiry was appointed in which Gandhiji was made the sole representative of the peasants.
Through this commission Gandhiji succeeded in getting 25% of the compensation award for the poor sharecroppers from the British landowners.

 

Question.6. The Champaran episode was a turning point in Gandhiji’s life. Elucidate.
Answer. Gandhiji himself accepted the proposition that the Champaran episode was a turning point in his life. It was then that he decided to urge the departure of the British from India.
In fact the Champaran episode was the first experiment of civil disobedience in India. When Gandhiji was on his way to Champaran, he stayed in Muzaffarpur, where he met the lawyers who were fighting cases for the sharecroppers. The peasants were so crushed, and fear stricken. that Gandhiji concluded that law courts were useless. The real relief for them was to be free from fear. The spontaneous demonstration by the peasants showed that they were instilled with a new strength and spirit. Gandhiji showed the poor peasants how to fight the British with ‘satyagraha’. He made them aware of their power and the power of ahimsa.
All this laid the foundation of his future movements and served as a great source of strength and motivation for all Indians.

 

TEXTUAL QUESTIONS

 

Ques:  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         (iii) illiterate.

Answer:       (a) (ii) a politician

                     (b) (ii) physically strong

Ques: Why is Rajkumar Shukla described as being ‘resolute’?

Answer: 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.

 

Ques: 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 villager. Gandhi was also clad in a simple dhoti. He was the companion of a peasant. Hence, the servants thought Gandhi to be another peasant.

 

Ques: List the places that Gandhi visited between his first meeting with Shukla and his arrival at Champaran.

Answer: 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.

 

Ques: 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 percent arrangement. The prices of natural indigo would go down due to the synthetic Indigo.

 

Ques: 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 were peaceful and a fight for truth and justice…This was linked directly to his ideas of Satyagraha and non-violence.

 

Ques: Why did Gandhi agree to a settlement of a 25 percent refund to the farmers?

Answer: 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 a settlement of a 25 percent refund to the farmers.

 

Ques: 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.

 

Ques: Why do you think Gandhi considered the Champaran episode to be a turning- point in his life?

Answer: The Champaran episode began as an attempt to ease the sufferings of a large number of poor peasants. He got spontaneous support from thousands of people. Gandhi admits that what he had done was a very ordinary thing. He declared that the British could not order him in his own country. Hence, he considered the Champaran episode as a turning- point in his life.

 

Ques: 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 concluded that it would be shameful desertion if they went home. So, they told Gandhi that they were ready to follow him into jail.

 

Ques: “What was the attitude of the average Indian in smaller localities towards advocates of ‘home rule’?

Answer: The average Indians in smaller localities were afraid to show sympathy for the advocates of home-rule. Gandhi stayed at Muzaffarpur for two days at 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.

 

Ques:  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 courtroom. This shows that ordinary people too contributed to the freedom movement in India.

 

Ques: Discuss the following:

“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: For the poor of India means of survival is far more important than freedom or legal justice. I do not 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 objecting of terror for them.

The poor, landless workers must still work hard to make both ends meet. Peasants and tenant-farmers must borrow money from rich moneylenders on exorbitant rates of interest, which usually they fail to repay due to the 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?

 

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, the 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 exceedingly 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.

 

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