Union MoS Communications and Railways Manoj Sinha addresses at the release of Commemorative Postage Stamps on freedom fighter Rajkumar Shukla,
Department of Posts has been paying a tribute to eminent personalities who have made a significant contribution to public life especially freedom fighters. With this stamp, the Department has released 43 issues in the current calendar year.
In drawing the attention of Mahatma Gandhi to the plight of peasants suffering under an oppressive system established by European indigo planters in Champaran, Bihar, Rajkumar Shukla made a seminal contribution culminating in the launch of the Champaran Satyagraha in 1917 by Mahatma Gandhi.
About the Champaran Satyagraha:
It was undertaken in the erstwhile undivided Champaran district in northern Bihar. Mahatma Gandhi went there in April 1917 on learning about the abuses suffered by the cultivators of the district, forced into growing indigo by British planters/estate owners.
Gandhi was so thoroughly persuaded by Rajkumar Shukla, an indigo cultivator from Champaran that he decided to investigate into the matter.
Gandhi’s method of inquiry at Champaran was based on surveys by the volunteers. The respondents who willingly gave statements should sign the papers or give thumb impressions.
For those unwilling to participate, the reasons must be recorded by the volunteers. The principal volunteers in this survey were mostly lawyers like Babu Rajendra Prasad, Dharnidhar Prasad, Gorakh Prasad, Ramnawami Prasad, Sambhusaran and Anugraha Narain Sinha.
In June 1917, the British administration declared the formation of a formal inquiry committee with Gandhi aboard. The Government accepted almost all its recommendations. The principal recommendation accepted was the complete abolition of Tinkathia system. It was a major blow to the British planters who became resentful. But they could not prevent the passage of Champaran Agrarian Act in Bihar & Orissa Legislative Council on March 4, 1918.
It was in Champaran that Gandhi first met J. B. Kripalani and Rajendra Prasad, and it was through his work in Champaran that Gandhi attracted the attention (and admiration) of Vallabhbhai Patel and Mahadev Desai.