Cham­paran to spruce up for 100 years of Satya­graha

Hindustan Times (Patna) - - METRO - Sa­gar Su­raj

MOTI­HARI: Cham­paran will soon be cel­e­brat­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of the first visit of Ma­hatma Gandhi and plans are al­ready afoot to make the oc­ca­sion a big event.

While cel­e­bra­tions have al­ready started at a low key, the state web­site on the area does not list the sites as­so­ci­ated with his visit.

Abhijit Sinha, dis­trict mag­is­trate of East Cham­paran, said that the places as­so­ci­ated with the Fa­ther of the Na­tion were to be ren­o­vated. A blue­print for their con­ser­va­tion has been sent to the gov­ern­ment for sanc­tion of ad­e­quate funds.

Gandhi Sanghralaya-cum­li­brary lo­cated near the sta­tion road and the Gandhi memo­rial col­umn in­au­gu­rated on Au­gust 23, 2000, are among the me­mo­ri­als listed for a facelift. Sev­eral mem­o­rablia re­lated to Gandhi have been pre­served in the San­gra­ha­laya.

Gandhi’s visit to Cham­paran, which later proved to be the first Satya­graha against the British, was based on an in­vi­ta­tion from farm­ers who had ear­lier re­volted against the con­di­tions of indigo cul­ti­va­tion in 1914 at Pipra and Turkau­lia. Then, Pan­dit Raj Ku­mar Shukla per­suaded Ma­hatma Gandhi to visit Cham­paran and the ‘Cham­paran Satya­graha’ be­gan. Gandhi’s his­toric visit to Cham­paran was op­posed by the British rulers. An or­der ask­ing him to leave Cham­paran was served upon him as soon as he ar­rived at Moti­hari. Gandhi de­fied the or­der.

The move­ment saw the ral­ly­ing to­gether of sev­eral im­por­tant per­son­ages such


as Dr Ra­jen­dra Prasad, Bra­jk­ishore Prasad, Acharya Kri­plani, Dr Anu­grah Narayan Sinha, Ma­hadeo De­sai, C F An­drews, H S Pol­lock, Raj Kishore Prasad, Ram Nawami Prasad, Shambhu Sha­ran, Ra­marshi Dev Trivedi and Dharnid­har Prasad and this re­sulted in the en­act­ment of the Cham­paran Agrar­ian Law (Bi­har and Orissa Act I) of 1918. That ended the tyranny of British indigo planters

In 1920, Gandhi made an ex­ten­sive tour of Bi­har be­fore launch­ing the non-co­op­er­a­tion move­ment, which earned full sup­port in the dis­trict as well. In 1929, a group of vol­un­teers from Cham­pran dis­trict came to demon­strate against the Si­mon Com­mis­sion. In the same year, the 21st ses­sion of the Bi­har students con­fer­ence was held at Moti­hari. Later, as a re­ac­tion against the fail­ure of the round ta­ble con­fer­ence held in 1932, there was a pop­u­lar gath­er­ing at Moti­hari to take the pledge for in­de­pen­dence.

The East Cham­paran DM said, an­other pro­posal has been sent to the art, cul­ture as well as tourism depart­ment re­gard­ing ac­qui­si­tion of the house and land of Go­rakh Babu, where Gandhi stayed dur­ing Satya­grah for seven days from Au­gust 15 on­wards in 1917. The house was sold to one Mad­husu­dan Singh and later the sale was em­broiled in le­gal ad­ju­di­ca­tion.

Be­sides Gand­hian sites, the birth places of Eric Arthur Blair, bet­ter known as cel­e­brated writer Ge­orge Or­well, the au­thor of 1984 and An­i­mal Farm, too would be ren­o­vated to at­tract for­eign vis­i­tors. Be­sides, light and sound sys­tem and well ap­pointed parks are to be laid out at his birth place.

Pramod Ku­mar, lo­cal MLA, said, the bud­get for ren­o­va­tion of Gandhi sites has been pitched at R50 lakh. There are plans to lay a chil­drens park, lawns be­sides procur­ing a gen­er­a­tor. Be­sides, R2.48 crore would be needed to turn Go­rakh Babu’s house into a memo­rial.

The de­ci­sion to va­cate and ren­o­vate the house of Go­rakh Babu came fol­low­ing the in­ter­ven­tion of well known Gand­hian, Tarkesh­war Prasad, who had sought chief min­is­ter Ni­tish Ku­mar’s help dur­ing his sewa ya­tra last year.

Ge­orge Or­well’s house in East Cham­paran that is also in the list of places to be spruced up for the oc­ca­sion.

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