Flamingo Class 12 Indigo Summary | Question Word Meanings

CBSE class 12 NCERT English book Flamingo chapter 5 “Indigo” Summary, Difficult word meaning, solved Extra important questions and answers, theme are given below.

Indigo Summary

Flamingo Class 12 Indigo Summary | Question Word Meanings
Class 12 English [Flamingo] 
Chapter 5 "Indigo"
By Louis Fischer

Core Idea of the Chapter

Rajkumar Shukia 'The Resolute Peasant'

Gandhi starts narrating the incident which made him decide to urge the departure of the British from India. The incident occurred in 1917. Gandhi attended the annual session of the Indian National Congress in Lucknow in December 1916. 

Rajkumar Shukla, a poor and weak farmer, approached Gandhi. Shukia was one of the sharecroppers of Champaran. Shukla wanted Gandhi to visit his district and see the condition of the farmers there. He came to the Congress session to complain about the injustice of the Landlords system in Bihar.

Gandhi had other commitments but Shukia accompanied him everywhere; for weeks, he never left Gandhi's side. Gandhi was very impressed by his tenacity and agreed to accompany him to Champaran. He told him to come to Calcutta and take him from there. When Gandhi visited Calcutta after a few months, he found that Shukla was already there.

Visit to Rajendra Prasad's House and then to Muzaffarpur

Shukia and Gandhi went to Patna in Bihar to meet a lawyer named Rajendra Prasad, the man who later became the Congress Party and President of India. Rajendra Prasad was out of town. 

The servants knew Shukla as a poor farmer who inspired his boss to help the Indigo sharecropper. Along with Gandhi, he considered him another farmer. Gandhi was not allowed to drink water from the well because he thought he was an untouchable.

Gandhi decided to visit Muzaffarpur before Champaran to get more information about the prevailing conditions in the area.

Gandhi sent a telegram to Professor JB Kripalani, which he received at the station with a large body of students. Gandhi stayed in Muzaffarpur at Professor Malkani's home for two days. A government school teacher, he recalled that his stay in a government employee's house was an extraordinary thing in those days. In small areas, Indian people were afraid to show sympathy for the advocates of home rule.

Gandhi Chided the Lawyers 

The news of Gandhi's arrival spread like wildfire. Sharecroppers started arriving in large numbers from Champaran. Lawyers in Muzaffarpur met Gandhi. They tell him about their cases and reported the size of their charge.

Gandhi tricked lawyers into charging huge fees from poor shareholders. Gandhi visited that the peasants were so crushed and frightened that even going to the law courts was useless. The real relief for him was to be free from fear.

The Sharecropping Arrangement

Most of the land suitable for farming in Champaran was divided into large estates owned by the British. He forced the Indian tenants to hold their 15% stake with Indigo and surrendered the entire Indigo crop as rent.

Landlords came to know that Germany had developed synthetic indigo, they demanded compensation from shareholders for freeing them from the 15% arrangement. The system of sharecropping was irregular and many farmers signed on voluntarily. Some of them engaged lawyers. Meanwhile, the news of synthetic indigo reached the sharecropper and he felt cheated and became unhappy and angry. They wanted their money back.

Gandhi Disobeys the Official Order

Amid such chaos, Gandhi reached Champaran. He called on the secretary of the British Zamindar Association to put all the facts together. He met with resistance. The secretary told him that no information would be given to any outsider. 

Gandhi replied that he was not an outsider. He then met the British Commissioner. Gandhi told that he was threatened and asked to leave Tirhut.

Gandhi left for Motihari, the capital of Champaran. He was greeted by a large crowd. Using a house as the headquarters, he continued his investigation. A report came that a farmer was misbehaved with a farmer in a nearby village. Gandhi decided to investigate the matter himself. On the way, he was ordered by a superintendent of police to return to the city.

Subsequently, he was given an official notice to leave Champaran. Gandhi signed a receipt of the notice and further wrote that he would disobey the order. As a result, he was called to appear in court the next day.

Spontaneous Demonstration of the Peasants 

Gandhi could not sleep all night. He telegrams Rajendra Prasad to come from Patna with influential friends and send directions to the ashram. He also wired a full report to the Viceroy.

Next day, several thousand peasants reached Motihari and started demonstrating around the court house. He had only heard that a certain Mahatma who wanted to help the officers had trouble with the officials. Gandhi felt that this was the beginning of his liberation from the fear of the British.

The officials felt powerless, but Gandhi helped them regulate the crowd. He gave them proof that British atrocities would no longer arise. The government was baffled.

The trial was adjourned. Gandhi opposed the delay. He confesses that he has broken the law but only because of his conscience. The magistrate announced a two-hour holiday and asked Gandhi to be granted bail. Gandhi refused. The verdict did not pass judgment for days and Gandhi was allowed to remain at liberty.

Gandhi Influences the Lawyers

Rajendra Prasad along with many prominent lawyers conferred with Gandhi. Gandhi asked them what they would do if he was sent to jail. The senior lawyer replied that they were there to help Gandhi; if he had been arrested, he would have gone home. Gandhi reprimanded him for the injustice being done to the Patidars.

The lawyers consulted among themselves. He thought that when Gandhi, a total stranger, was ready to go to jail for translating the peasants in his area. It would be a shame for them to leave the farmers whom these lawyers had claimed to serve.

He told Gandhi that he was ready to go to jail. Gandhi said, "The fight is won by Champaran."

Civil Disobedience Triumphs, Lieutenant-Governor Summons Gandhi 

Gandhi was informed that the Lt. Governor of the province had ordered the case to be dropped. Civil disobedience was first conquered in modern India. Remote inquiries started on the complaints of the farmers. About ten thousand testimonials were stated. The notes were made of evidence. There was activity throughout the area and the landlords staged vigorous protests against the inquiry.

In June, the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Edward Gatte, called Gandhi. Gandhi made elaborate plans for civil disobedience if he should not return. The Lt. Governor, after holding four lengthy meetings with Gandhi, appointed an official commission to investigate the situation. Gandhi was the sole representative of the farmers in the commission.

Gandhi Agrees to 25% Compensation

The evidence against the landlords was overwhelming. He asked Gandhi how much he should pay. He thought that he would demand a full refund of the money obtained illegally and from fraudsters. Gandhi only asked for 50%. Landlords offered to refund 25%. To surprise everyone, Gandhi agreed.

Gandhi explained that the amount of the refund was not significant. What mattered was that the landlords were obliged to surrender part of the money, and with it, part of their reputation. The planters behaved as lords over the law, but after this incident, the peasants saw that they had rights and protectors. He earned courage.

Champaran and Gandhi's Typical Method

Gandhi wanted to immediately do something about cultural and social backwardness in the villages of Champaran. He appealed to the volunteers for help. His wife Kasturba and his youngest son also reached out to help. 

Primary schools were opened in six villages. Kasturba taught Ashram rules on personal hygiene and community hygiene. Oil, quinine and sulfur ointment were given to the sick.

Gandhi noted the dirty condition of women's clothing. He asked Kasturba to talk about him. A woman took Kasturba to her hut. 

He showed her that there were no boxes or cupboards for clothes. The sari she wore was with her. Gandhi kept a long distance watch over the ashram. He sent regular information by post and asked for financial accounts.

The Champaran incident was a turning point in Gandhi's life. He explained that what he did was a normal thing. He declared that the British could not order him about his country. Champaran was an attempt to free the poor farmers from exploitation and it did not start as an act of defiance. This was the typical Gandhi pattern. His politics was linked to the day-to-day problems of millions of people.

Self-reliance- The Making of a Free Indian

In everything Gandhi did, he tried to mold a newly independent Indian, who could stand on his feet and thus make India independent.

Charles Freer Andrews, an English pacifist who had become a devoted follower of Gandhi, came to say goodbye to him. Gandhi's lawyer friends wanted Andrew to help him. Gandhi strongly opposed the suggestion. 

According to him, Andrews' help was showing weakness in his heart. He assured them that the only reason for this was that they should trust themselves to win the war. In this way Gandhi taught him the lesson of self-reliance. Self-reliance, Indian independence and help to shareholders were all tied together.

Class 12 Indigo Extra Questions

Flamingo Class 12 Indigo Summary | Question Word Meanings
  1. Who was Rajkumar Shukla? Why is he referred to as resolute?
  2. Why does Gandhi decide to accompany him?
  3. How were Shukla and Gandhi treated in Rajendra Prasad's house? Why?
  4. Why was Gandhi not permitted to draw water from the well?
  5. Professor Malkani's offering Gandhi a shelter in his home was an extraordinary thing. Why?
  6. Why did Gandhi chide the lawyers from Muzzafarpur?
  7. Why did Gandhi feel that going to the courts with the peasant's cases was useless?
  8. What was the sharecropping arrangement?
  9. What was the impact of the development of synthetic indigo on this arrangement?
  10. Who called Gandhi an outsider and why?
  11. Why was Gandhi ordered to leave Champaran immediately? What was his response?
  12. What did the spontaneous demonstration of peasants at Motihari signify?

Difficult Word Meaning

The given page numbers correspond to the pages in the class 12 NCERT flamingo textbook.

Page - 46
  • Convention - a meeting or formal assembly
  • Delegates - representatives
  • Proceedings - series of activities
  • Recounted - told, narrated
  • Emaciated - abnormally thin or weak, especially because of illness or lack of food
  • Towering - very tall or high
  • Sharecroppers - tenant farmers who give a part of each crop as rent
  • Resolute – determined

Page - 47
  • Tenacity - persistence, determination
  • Haunches - the fleshy part of the body including the buttocks and thighs
  • Yeoman - a man holding and cultivating a small landed estate
  • Pestered - troubled or annoyed with frequent requests
  • Indigo - a dark blue dye obtained from the indigo plant
  • En route - on the way
  • Imparting – disclosing or making known

Page – 48
  • Harbour - give shelter to
  • Advent - arrival
  • Conveyance - vehicle for transportation
  • Champion - a person who defends or fights for a cause
  • Chided - rebuked, scolded
  • Crushed - suppressed
  • Arable – a land suitable for growing crops
Flamingo Class 12 Indigo Summary | Question Word Meanings

Page- 49
  • Estates - areas of land or property, in particular
  • Tenants - those who hold or occupy land under a landlord
  • Holdings - areas of land held on lease or rent
  • Harvest - the amount of crop that is gathered in a season
  • Synthetic Indigo - indigo obtained from a chemical process which is just like the natural product
  • Irksome - irritating, annoying
  • Thugs - criminals
  • Bully - used strength or influence to force someone to do something
  • Forthwith – immediately

Page- 50
  • Complied - obeyed
  • Summons - an order to appear before a judge or magistrate
  • Spontaneous - voluntary, unplanned
  • Concrete - solid, real
  • Baffled - confused
  • Reconvened – met again after a break in proceedings

Page- 51
  • Conferred - consulted or discussed
  • Desertion - abandonment, leaving
  • Far-flung - deep, extende
  • Grievances -  complaints
  • Deposition (s) – out-of-court oral testimony of a witness that is reduced to writing for later use in court
  • Vehement – forceful

Page- 52
  • Associates - companions
  • Protracted - longer than expected
  • Entreaty - earnest request, appeal
  • Unlettered - illiterate
  • Crushing - forceful
  • Adamant - resolute, refusing to change one's mind
  • Deadlock - a situation in which no progress can be made
  • Unanimously - without opposition
  • Prestige – honour

Page- 53
  • Defenders - protectors
  • Reverted - went back
  • Sanitation - cleanliness and other conditions relating to public health
  • Eruptions - rashes or spots
  • Trenches – deep pits

Page- 54
  • Defiance - bold disobedience
  • Alleviate - reduce or lessen
  • Distress – suffering
  • Intertwined - closely linked or connected
  • Pacifist - one who believes in adopting peaceful means rather than war or violence


indigo The chapter Indigo is an excerpt from Fischer's book 'The Life of Mahatma Gandhi'. The book has been reviewed as one of the best books ever written on Gandhi by the Times Educational Supplement. The author visited Gandhi in 7942 and Gandhi narrated him the incident which prompted him to fight against the British. Rajkumar Shukla, a poor farmer, came to Gandhi over the problem of exploitation in his district. Gandhi visited the place and liberated the people of Champaran from tyranny.

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