Champaran, is a district in the state of Bihar. Under Colonial era laws, many tenant farmers were forced to grow some indigo on a portion of their land as a condition of their tenancy. This indigo was used to make a dye. The Germans had invented a cheaper artificial dye so the demand for indigo fell. Some tenants paid more rent in return for being let off having to grow indigo. However, during the First World War the German dye ceased to be available and so indigo became profitable again. Thus many tenants were once again forced to grow it on a portion of their land- as was required by their lease. Naturally, this created much anger and resentment.
Many tenants alleged that Landlords had used strong-arm tactics to exact illegal cesses and to extort them in other ways. This issue had been highlighted by a number of lawyer/politicians and there had also been a Commission of Inquiry. Raj Kumar Shukla, a money lender who also owned some land, persuaded Gandhi to go to Champaran and thus, the Champaran Satyagraha began. Gandhi arrived in Champaran 10 April 1917 with a team of eminent lawyers: Brajkishore Prasad, Rajendra Prasad, Anugrah Narayan Sinha Ramnavmi Prasad, and others including Acharya Kripalani
- Oppression: It ended the long oppression of the peasant by the hands of planters in terms of forced cultivation and poor returns.
- Assessment:A through assessment of the conditions was presented to the British.
- Champaran Agrarian Act,1918:Based on the assessment, the legislation was made to protect the interests of the peasants.
- Gandhi Proved:Gandhi hitherto, had not involved actively in grassroot activity in India, saw him gaining all attention due to success of the Champaran attempt to restore justice.
- Team developed: It saw Gandhi adding to his team, powerful leaders like Kriplani, and Rajendra Prasad who later were his powerful itinerants.
- Fact based fight: Gandhi here relied on collecting documentary evidence, from the exploited peasants, which helped him build a case for them, this proved that data based disproval of British policies have greater chance of winning
- Denying Authority: Gandhi, when he landed in Champaran was asked to leave but he said he would court an arrest than leave, and went on with his task. This is a major initial example of civil disobedience and satyagraha practised first hand.
- Satyagraha: Convinced people of the power of Satyagraha to counter injustice.
- Future Struggles:Set the stage for future struggles that ultimately culminated into India’s independence.
Gandhi’s win in Champaran, made him a hero among the masses and existing leadership, who were already his admirers for his work in south Africa, so this set a stage for him to take batons of movement until its success.