Chapter 5 – Indigo Questions and Answers: NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English (Flamingo Prose)

Class 12 English (Flamingo Prose) NCERT book solutions for Chapter 5 - Indigo Questions and Answers.


Q1. 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.

Ans: (a) (ii) a politician
(b) (ii) physically strong

Q2. 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.

Q3. 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.


Q1. 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.

Q2. 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.


Q1. 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.


Q1. 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.

Q2. 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.


Q1.Why do you think Gaffdhi 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 turning- point in his life.

Q2. 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.

Q3. “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 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.

Q4. 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 in India.


Q1. “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?

Q2. 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.


Q1.Who was Rajkumar Shukla? Why did he come to Lucknow?

Ans: Rajkumar Shukla was a poor peasant from Champaran district in Bihar. He had come to Lucknow, where a Congress session was being held, to complain about the injustice of the landlord system in Bihar.

Q2. Where is Champaran district situated? What did the peasants grow there? How did they use their harvest?

Ans: Champaran district of Bihar is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas, near the kingdom of Nepal. Under an ancient arrangement, the Champaran peasants were sharecroppers. They had to grow indigo on 15 per cent of the land and give it to the English estate owners as rent.

Q3. How did the development of synthetic indigo affect the English estate owners and the Indian tenants?

Ans: The English estate owners saw that indigo cultivation was no longer profitable.Ihey wanted money from the sharecroppers as compensation for being released from the 15 per cent arrangement. They obtained agreements from their tenants to this effect and extorted money illegally and deceitfully.

Q4. How did the Indian peasants react to the new agreement released them from sharecropping arrangement?

Ans: The sharecropping arrangement was troublesome to the peasants. Many of them signed the new agreement willingly. Some resisted and engaged lawyers. Then they came to know about synthetic indigo. The peasants wanted their money back.

Q5. Why do you think Gandhi was not permitted to draw water from Rajendra Prasad’s well at Patna?

Ans: The servants of Rajendra Prasad thought Gandhi to be another peasant. They did not know him. They were not certain whether he was an untouchable or not. They feared that some drops from his bucket might pollute the entire well. So, he was not permitted to draw water from the well.

Q6. Why did Gandhi decide to go first to Muzaffarpur before going to Champaran:

Ans: Gandhi wanted to obtain more complete information about conditions than Shukla was capable of imparting. Muzaffarpur lawyers, who frequently represented peasant groups in courts, brief Gandhi about their cases.

Q7. Why did Gandhi chide the lawyers? What according to him was the real relief for the sharecroppers?

Ans: Gandhi chided the lawyers for collecting big fee from the poor sharecroppers. He thought that taking such cases to the court did little good to the crushed and fear-stricken peasants. The relief for them, according to Gandhi, was to be free from fear.

Q8. How did Gandhi begin his mission in Champaran ? How far did his efforts prove successful ?

Ans: He began by trying to get the facts. First, he visited the secretary of the British landlord’s association. He told Gandhi that they could give no information to an outsider. Then Gandhi called on the British official commissioner of the Tirhut Division. The commissioner tried to bully Gandhi and advised him to leave Tirhut.

Q9. How did Gandhi react to the commissioner’s advice? Where did he go and how did people react to his arrival?

Ans: Gandhiji did not leave Tirhut division. Instead, he went to Motihari, the capital of Champaran. Several lawyers accompanied him. At the railway station, a very large crowd of people greeted Gandhi.

Q10. Where did Gandhiji want to go? What happened to him on the way?

Ans: Gandhiji wanted to go to a nearby village where a peasant had been maltreated. He had not gone far when the police superintendent’s messenger overtook him and ordered him to return to town in his carriage. Gandhiji obeyed the order and returned with him.

Q11. ‘In consequence, Gandhi received a summons to appear in the court next day.’Which events of the previous day led to this state of affairs?

Ans: The police superintendent’s messenger served an official notice on Gandhi. It ordered him to quit Champaran immediately. Gandhi signed a receipt for the notice. He wrote on the receipt that he would disobey the order. Hence, he was summoned to appear in the court.

Q12. What according to Gandhi was the beginning of the poor peasants’ ‘Liberation front fear of the British’ ?

Ans: The next morning the town of Motihari was black with peasants. They had heard that a Mahatma who wanted to help them was in trouble with the authorities. They spontaneously demonstrated, in thousands, arround the courthouse. Gandhiji called their action of protest as their liberation from fear of the British.

Q13. Why did Gandhiji feel that taking the Champaran case to the court was useless?

Ans: Gandhiji felt that taking the Champaran case to the court was useless. Because the real relief for the peasants would come only when they become fearless. The peasants were in acute panic.

Q14. What was the “conflict of duties” in which Gandhi was involved?

Ans: First, he did not want to set a bad example as a law breaker. Second, he wanted to render the “humanitarian and national service” for which he had come. He respected the lawful authority, but disregarded the order to leave to obey the voice of his conscience.

Q15. What according to Rajendra Prasad, was the upshot of the consultations of the lawyers regarding the injustice to sharecroppers?

Ans: They thought that Gandhi was a total stranger. Yet he was ready to go to prison for the sake of the peasants. On the other hand, the lawyers were the residents of nearby districts. They also claimed to have served these peasants. It would be shameful desertion if they should go home then.

Q16. “Civil disobedience had triumphed, the first time in modern India.” How?

Ans: A case against Gandhi was initiated for disregarding government orders. The spontaneous demonstration of thousands of peasants baffled the officials. The judge was requested to postpone the trial. Gandhi refused to furnish bail. The judge released him without bail. Several days later Gandhi received an official letter. The case against him had been dropped. Thus, civil disobedience had triumphed.

Q17. What do you think, led Gandhi to exclaim “The battle of Champaran is won”?

Ans: Gandhi was ready to go to jail fighting against the injustice to the sharecroppers. Many prominent lawyers had come from all over Bihar to advise and help him. At first, they said they would go back if Gandhi went to prison. Later, they had consultations. They told Gandhi they were ready to follow him into jail. This support made Gandhi extremely happy and confident. This confidence led him to exclaim that the battle of Champaran was won.

Q18. How did Gandhi and the lawyers try to secure justice for the sharecroppers?

Ans:They started conducting a detailed enquiry into the grievances of the peasants. Depositions by about ten thousand peasants were written down. Notes were made on other evidence. Documents were collected. The whole area came alive with the activities of the investigators. The landlords raised loud protests.

Q19. What was the reaction of Gandhi and his associates when he was summoned to the lieutenant governor?

Ans: In June, Gandhiji was summoned to Sir Edward Gait, the Lieutenant Governor. Anything could happen. Gandhi met his leading associates before going. Detailed plans for civil disobedience were chalked out in case he should not return.

Q20. What was the outcome of the four protracted interviews Gandhiji had with the Lieutenant Governor?

Ans: An official commission of enquiry into the sharecroppers’ situation was appointed. This commission consisted of landlords, government officials and Gandhi as the sole representative of the peasants.

Q21. Why did the big planters agree in principle to make refund to the peasants?

Ans: The official inquiry assembled a huge quantity of evidence against the big planters. The crushing evidence forced the big planters to agree in principle to make refund to the peasants.

Q22. What amount of repayment did the big planters think Gandhi would demand? What did Gandhi ask? What amount was finally settled?

Ans: They thought Gandhi would demand repayment in full of the money they had extorted from the sharecroppers. Gandhi asked only 50 per cent. The planters offered to refund up to 25 per cent. Gandhi was adamant on 50 per cent. The deadlock was broken when Gandhi agreed to a settlement of 25 per cent refund to peasants.

Q23. HQW did the refund-settlement influence the peasant-landlord relationship in Champaran?

Ans: Before the settlement of the refund, the planters had behaved as lords above the law. Now the peasant saw that he had rights and defenders. He learned courage. Within a few years, the British planters abandoned their estates. The peasants became masters of the land. There were no sharecropers now.

Q24. Which other spheres besides political or economic fields received Gandhi’s attention during his long stay in Champaran?

Ans: The cultural and social backwardness of the Champaran areas pained Gandhi. He appealed for teachers. Several persons responded to his call. Primary schools were opened in six villages. Kasturba taught the ashram rules on personal cleanliness and community sanitation. With the help of a doctor and three medicines, they tried to fight the miserable health conditions.

Q25.“This was typical Gandhi pattern” observes Louis Fischer. What do you learn about Gandhian politics from the extract ‘Indigo’?

Ans: Gandhi’s politics was intermixed with the practical, everyday life of the millions of Indians. This was not a loyalty to abstractions. It was a loyalty to living human beings. In everything Gandhi did, he tried to mould a new free Indian who could stand on his own feet and thus make India free.

Q26. How did Gandhi teach his followers a lesson of self-reliance?

Ans. During the Champaran action, Gandhi’s lawyer friends thought it would be good if C.F. Andrews stayed on in Champaran and helped them. Gandhi opposed this idea as it showed the weakness of their heart. Their cause was just and they must rely upon themselves to win this unequal fight. They should not seek the support of Mr Andrews because he happened to be an Englishman.