On 10th April 1917, Mahatma Gandhi came to Patna Railway station for the first time in his life.
On the behest of Raj Kumar Shukla, Gandhiji visited Bihar to meet the farmers from Champaran who were being forced by the British to cultivate indigo on their land. This had made their lands infertile leading to lower production of other essential crops. The denial to indigo farming resulted in imposition of taxes. The farmers were in a miserable condition.
In his autobiography, Mahatma Gandhi, acknowledged to have not known the name or geographical location of Champaran before his visit to this place and was astonished to receive an overwhelming welcome and support from the farmers of Champaran. During his stay, he went to several villages in Champaran to listen to the problems of the farmers. After spending days, hearing the struggles and pain of the farmers in the villages of Bettiah and Motihari, he decided to do way with all of them. He established local schools to educate the people and started teaching them the importance of cleanliness and hygiene. He launched the Civil disobedience movement which finally led to British government enact laws to abolish indigo farming. It is a lesser known fact that it was during this movement that Gandhiji was first called Bapu or Mahatma. Champaran, Bihar became the origin of the Satyagraha movement which later became a vital tool in the freedom movement of India.
Travelbaits brings to you the list of places in Bihar that mark the incidents and proceedings of the Champaran movement:
- Gandhi Memorial, Chandrahiah:- On his way to Jasaulipatti in East Champaran, Gandhiji was stopped at a village called Chandrahiah by British official and asked to leave the district. Gandhiji returned to Motihari but refused to leave Champaran. A Gandhi memorial was built in Chandrahiah as a mark of respect to him. The exact words in the notice served to him are inscribed on a marbel piece and are a must visit for Gandhian travellers.
2. Gandhi Memorial Pillar, Motihari:– The 48 feet long Chunar stone pillar stands exactly on the place where Mahatma Gandhi was produced before the court of the then S.D.M., Motihari in violation of orders under section 144 Cr. P. C. as far back as April 18, 1917 during his stay in Champaran.
3. Bhitiharawa Ashram, West Champaran:- It is a village in Gaunaha block, 58 km from the district headquarters from where Gandhiji started his freedom movement that came to be known as ‘Champaran Satyagraha’ in India history. The village houses the hut which is called Ashram and has become a place of Gandhian pilgrimage.
4. Brindavan, West Champaran:- Situated at a distance of 10 Kms. from Bettiah, in Gaunaha Block, this village had the honour of being the venue of the annual conference of ‘All India Gandhi Seva Sangh’ in 1937. It was attended by Mahatama Gandhi, Dr.Rajendra Prasad and Shri J.B. Kripalani. From that time a basic school founded by Gandhiji, has been functioning there.
5. Hazarimal Dharmshala, West Champaran:- Hazarimal Dharamshala, located at Bettiah in the Lal Bazar area, was regarded as the ‘epicenter’ of Satyagraha movement and a campsite for Gandhiji and his companions.
6. Koeldih:- Koeldih, located under Gaunaha block under belwa panchayat in West Champaran was visited by Mahatma Gandhi on 16th November, 1917.
7. Sri Rampur:- Located in Gaunaha block under Bhitiharawa panchayat in West Champaran, Sri Rampur is the place where Mahatma Gandhi stayed on 16th November, 1917.
8. Hardiya Kothi:- House of G.D Edward, a British indigo planter, Hardiya kothi is located in the Bishnupur panchayat of the Nautan block. The remains of this monument are in better conditions than the other old buildings of that time. It is worth mentioning that Gandiji launched the Champaran Satyagraha for the indigo farmers of Bihar.
9. Gandhi Sangrahalaya, Patna:- Established in 1967, Gandhi museum is located north of Gandhi Maidan,Patna. It depicts a visual biography of life events of Mahatma Gandhi with the help of paintings, photographs,sculptures and manuscripts related to him. The museum also has a library with rich collection of books,literature, magazines and audio-video materials
10. Gandhi Ghat, Patna:- Named after Mahatma Gandhi, this ghat along the river ganga has been beautifully transformed into a riverfront. One can enjoy a cruise along the river Ganga or just sit back and enjoy a perfect sunrise/sunset along the river.
11. Gandhi Maidan, Patna:- The historic ground in Patna earlier referred to as Patna Lawns by the British was renamed as Gandhi Maidan as tribute to Bapu. It houses world’s tallest bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi.The statue is 72 feet high and revers the Champaran Satyagraha started by Bapu from the Champaran district in Bihar