Rajkumar Shukla and Mahatma Gandhi - first Satyagraha esperiment at Champaran, Bihar- a brief note

Rajkumar Shukla, Champaran, Bihar, patriot. patnabeats.com

Rajkumar Shukla, champaran englishempire3292.blogspot.com

Above  image: Rajkumar Shukla, a patriot   helped Gandhiji launch his very first ''Satyagraha'' movement in  his village Champaran, Bihar................

During the Raj under the British Crown administration, scores of patriots  supported the National leaders to get India freed from the British. There are many unsung heroes about whom we know a little or nothing. One can hardly find them in the pages of Indian History. Have  you ever heard of  Raj Kumar Shukla, the man  who provided a  comfortable and visible platform  for Gandhiji to experiment his non violence tool - Satyagraha, the non-cooperation movement against the British who never wanted to loosen their grip on India, as this country happened to a ''Cash Cow'' - a perennial source of income for them to keep their economy in good nick. First Satyagraha movement was launched by Gandhiji in 1917 and this civil disobedience agitation created an awareness among the people across India to have free democratic country. . Shukla's seminal support paved the way for the successful launch of  the Champaran Satyagraha in 1917;  this highly hyped  silent protest saw Gandhi moving upward to a  new dizzy peak. 

 Champaran movement. General knowledge quiz blog.com

Raj Kumar Shukla, son of  Kolahal Shukla, being a land owner in Murli Bharahwa, another village in Champaran, district, Bihar  took pity on the the plight of farmers like him  who were compelled to cultivate  indigo. which the British exported  overseas after processing. it here.  As a native of Satwaria village, Shukla who was born  in 1875, through his ancestors, knew that the farmers  in that  district had to live hand to mouth life  as they got poor pay for the indigo crops  raised by them.on the lands owned  mostly by the British. They must raise Indigo on 15% of their land and hand over the entire harvest - produce to the owner. As most of the lands were owned by them a samll land was left out  for raising food grains. 

The farmers did not want to risk their livelihood by protesting against  the unscrupulous, greedy British and their cohorts, so they were living in fear and agony. Any protest or objection to the pay  would force them to  cough up  heavy taxes. It was a sort of indirect threats being faced by the poor farmers. If they refused to raise Indigo, the British master would ask their agents - Gumasthas to thrash them under their nose. They would provide loans to the poor farmers to plant Indigo from the local rulers. This way the local rulers would charge very high interest.on the loan. No profits and heavy burden was pushed on their head.  

One disgusting fact is during the off-season  the farmers were not allowed to raise food grains either to meet their family food needs. Exploitation galore, they stoically  went through  untold miseries and pain, pushing them to appalling  pathetic condition with no remedy in sight. After establishing the Sabarmati Ashram  near Ahmedabad, Gujarat.Gandhiji, on the advice of   his mentor, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, went on a long trip across India and, face to face, saw the miserable condition of the farmers. Rajkumar Shukla, a representative of farmers from Champaran  met Gandhiji  during the 31st session of the Congress (INA) in Lucknow in 1916. He requested him to visit Champaran  to  see for himself  the precarious conditions of the Indigo ryots (tenant farmers). Both of them never thought their ensuing struggle would make history.

On 17 April 1917 Gandhiji  landed  at the Mothari railway where he met Rajkumar Sukhla and others. . After his arrival, when  arrested by the police and stood before the local Magistrate, he told him in no uncertain words  that he won't leave this place till the grievances of the farmers were well taken care of  by the  administration. Gandhiji, at the request of Shukla, visited other villages, where people   had problems up to their neck. Soon Gandhiji decided to stay there to speed up steps to get the farmers' problems resolved for good.  He visited many village and had long discussion with the people there. His persistent efforts with full cooperation from Shukla and others bore fruits. 

Sri Rajkumar Shukla, an illiterate share cropper, inadvertently  provided an opportunity for Gandhiji to experiment his concept of Satyagraha  as a tool to fight against the tyrannical British Raj. Movement at Champaran  gave a new direction to the freedom fighters. as well as farmers across India to revolt against the land owners who had exploited them for decades.  It was a farmer's  effective uprising that took place in Champaran district of Bihar

Champaran Satyagraha movement was an important event in the history of India's freedom struggle. As for Gandhiji, he used the given opportunity well and  had begun to shake the foundation of the British
empire. About Champaran event, Gandhiji mentioned in his autobiography,“I must confess that I did not then know even the name, much less the geographical position, of Champaran, and I had hardly any notion of indigo plantations.” It was Shukla, who painstakingly apprised Gandhiji of the appalling conditions of the Indigo farmers.

Indian postage stamp, 2000 currentaffairs.gktoday.in

The Department of Posts had released a postage stamp in  2000 to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Pandit Raj Kumar Shukla, the man who convinced Gandhiji to visit Champaran village, Bihar. .Sukhla died on 20 May 1929 at Motihari.