Champaran peasant movement:

The Champaran peasant movement, also known as the Champaran Satyagraha, was one of Mahatma Gandhi’s first organized movements in India and a significant episode in the Indian independence movement. It took place in the Champaran district of Bihar, India, in 1917, and it marked the beginning of Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance against British colonial rule in India.
Here are the key aspects of the Champaran peasant movement:


In Champaran, indigo cultivation was prevalent, and British landlords compelled Indian peasants to grow indigo on a portion of their land, known as the Tinkathia system. The peasants were forced to cultivate indigo instead of essential food crops, and they were paid meager wages for their labor. This system led to widespread exploitation and poverty among the local farmers.
Background and Gandhi's Involvement - Negotiations and Reforms - Impact of Champaran peasant movement
Champaran peasant movement

Gandhi’s Involvement:

In 1917, Mahatma Gandhi was invited by Raj Kumar Shukla, a local farmer from Champaran, to investigate the grievances of the peasants. Gandhi visited Champaran and decided to support the farmers’ cause, making it one of the first instances where he applied his principles of Satyagraha (nonviolent resistance) in India.

Satyagraha and Civil Disobedience:

Gandhi organized a campaign of nonviolent resistance against the indigo planters and the British authorities. He urged the farmers to refuse compliance with the unjust indigo cultivation system, even if it meant facing legal consequences.

Investigation Committee:

Gandhi set up an investigation committee to assess the grievances of the farmers. The committee’s findings highlighted the exploitation and suffering of the Champaran peasants.

Negotiations and Reforms:

Under pressure from the Satyagraha movement and international attention drawn to the issue, the British authorities initiated negotiations with Gandhi. Ultimately, the Champaran Agrarian Bill of 1918 was passed, which granted some concessions to the farmers, including the reduction of indigo cultivation and fairer treatment.


The Champaran peasant movement was a significant success as it not only improved the conditions of the local farmers but also demonstrated the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance against oppressive colonial policies. It catapulted Gandhi into a prominent leadership role in the Indian independence movement and set the stage for larger nonviolent movements against British rule in India.
The Champaran peasant movement remains a crucial chapter in India’s struggle for independence, showcasing the power of nonviolence and civil disobedience as tools for social and political change.