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Posted at: Apr 11, 2016, 1:53 AM; last updated: Apr 11, 2016, 1:53 AM (IST)STATE OF AFFAIRS: BIHAR

Work on to revive Gandhian thought

Work on to revive Gandhian thought
Mahatma Gandhi started the Champaran Satyagraha in 1917.

Jitendra K Shrivastava

To make the centenary celebrations of Champaran Satyagraha memorable, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has held a meeting with eminent academicians, Gandhian scholars and members of the Legislative Council. The year-long celebrations will begin on April 10, 2017, and end on April 10, 2018. 

The state government is likely to develop the villages that Gandhiji toured during the Champaran Satyagraha. Since Gandhiji had launched basic education schools during his visit to Champaran in 1917, these would now be revived. 

“The schools are in a dilapidated condition. These will be renovated and basic amenities provided,” says Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, adding that “plaques displaying Gandhiji’s connection with these villages will be installed on various routes.

During the celebrations, farmers’ welfare is likely to be the key focus as Gandhiji had launched the Champaran Satyagraha specially for the farmers. “The state government will pay special attention to the Musahars and Tharus communities besides the uplift of landless farmers,” says Nitish. He has instructed the officers to act on the advice of noted Gandhian scholars.

The government is planning a Gandhi memorial in Champaran to mark the centenary. Besides displaying articles used by Gandhiji while in Bihar, it will depict the life and times of Gandhiji. Gandhian literature may be digitalised for the benefit of the younger generation in the hope that they would be inspired by Gandhiji’s philosophy of ahimsa. 

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has set up a committee headed by Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh to work out various programmes during the year-long celebrations. 

In pursuance of Gandhiji’s prohibition programme, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar banned the sale of alcohol in Bihar last week. 

About the satyagraha

Gandhiji started the Champaran Satyagraha in 1917. In Champaran district  of Bihar, tens of thousands of landless serfs, indentured labourers and poor farmers were forced to grow indigo and other cash crops instead of food crops, which were necessary for their survival. These goods were bought from them at a very low price, leaving them in abject poverty. The peasants revolted  in 1914 (at Pipra) and in 1916 at (Turkaulia). Raj Kumar Shukla, an indigo cultivator, persuaded Gandhiji to visit Champaran and the Champaran Satyagraha was launched. Gandhi arrived in Champaran on April 10, 1917, with a team of eminent lawyers comprising Brajkishore Prasad, Rajendra Prasad, Anugrah Narayan Sinha and others. They provided strength and direction to the peasants’ movement.

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