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Motihari During Champaran Satyagraha

The city of Motihari is an important historic, religious and a tourist destination in the state of Bihar. It is called as the ‘Karma Bhoomi of Mahatma Gandhi’, as this was the place where Satyagraha started against the British rule under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. The city of Motihari thus played an important role in the first Satyagraha, at Champaran that was believed to be the initial and significant step in India’s freedom struggle. Here is a list of important events that had taken place in Motihari and its adjoining places during the Chamaparan Satyagraha.

Champaran Satyagraha

10th April 1917: Arrival of Gandhiji in Patna with Raj Kumar Shukla. After a short stay with Mazharul Haq, Gandhiji left for Muzafferpur. Night spent in hostel.

11th April 1917: Meeting with James Willsin, the secretary of Bagan Malik Sangh regarding the reason for Mahatma Gandhi’s arrival.

12th April 1917: Sought permission from the commissioner of Tirhut for a meeting.

13th April 1917: Meeting with the Commissioner Mars Head and a letter regarding the subject of his Enquiry.

15th April 1917: Arrival of Mahatma Gandhi in Motihari city. He stayed at the residence of Gorakh Prasad, an advocate.

16th April 1917: While Mahatma Gandhi was on his way to the village of Jasualipatti, he received an order from the government, stating that he was supposed to leave the district by the first available train. However, Gandhiji returned to Motihari and gave a letter stating that he will not obey the order to the District Magistrate, W B Hekak.

17th April 1917: Letter to District Magistrate stating that Mahatma Gandhi was willing to go to an adjoining village.

18th April 1917: Mahatma Gandhi was present in the court of Sub Divisional Magistrate of Motihari and stated his reason for disobeying the order. However, his case had been adjourned till 21st April. Meanwhile, Gandhiji changed his residence.

19th April 1917: The executive committee of Bihar Provincial Union had taken a decision to write to the viceroy, in protest against the issue of order of leaving the district.

20th April 1917: Withdrawal of case against Mahatma Gandhi. Instructions issued to the District Collector to make arrangements for the enquiry. Considered to be a victorious moment for Satyagraha in Champaran.

21st April 1917: Telegram by Mahatma Gandhi to the Lt. Governor of Bihar and Odisha regarding the withdrawal of the case and thanking him. He also issued a statement regarding the same in the press.

22nd April 1917: Arrival of Gandhiji at Bettiah, where he stayed at Hazarimal Dharmshala.

23rd April 1917: A significant meeting between the Sub Divisional Magistrate of Bettiah and Mahatma Gandhi.

24th April 1917: On his way to Lohariya and Laukaria, Gandhiji stayed at Bariah Kothi along with Raj Kumar Shukla and advocate Braj Kishore Prasad. Later in the evening, he returned to Bettiah.

25th April 1917: Gandhiji’s visit to Shivrajpur Kamouni in Laukaria, where he herad the woes of the farmers and registered their statements.

26th April 1917: Gandhiji’s visit from Bettiah Dharmashala to Shingachhapar.

27th April 1917: Gandhiji’s arrival at Narkatiagang Station along with comrades, Raj Kumar Shukla, Brajkishore Prasad and Ram Navmi Prasad. Later, he visited Murli Bharharwa, village of Raj Kumar Shukla. Spent the night at Amolwa in the house of Sant Raut.

28th April 1917: Gandhiji’s journey to Bettiah.

30th April 1917: Gandhiji started for Sathi at dawn and reached court on foot.

1st May 1917: Visit to Motihari. Collected details regarding the fire at Olhan Kothi, Turkaulia

5th May 1917: A resolution passed against Gandhiji’s manner of enquiry by the Union of Neel (Indigo) Garden Owner.

9th May 1917: Gandhiji’s arrival at Patna and his subsequent meeting with W Maad, Marsh Head, Hekak, Lui and Hiti, the members of Provincial executive committee.

10th May 1917: Acceptance of Mahatma Gandhi regarding the presentation of the primary report of his enquiry.

13th May 1917: Gandhiji‘s arrival at Bettiah. Report regarding the condition of farmers sent to H MacFersion.

16th May 1917: Gandhiji’s journey on foot at dawn to Sariswa accompanied by comrades, Rajendra Prasad, J.B. Kriplani, Prabhudas and Raj Kumar Shukla. However, they were investigated at Lal Garh and Dhokraha.

17th May 1917: Gandhiji issued contradicting statements against the news about the fire at Olhan broadcasted by A.P. and UPI.

18th May 1917: In Dokraha, fire broke out at Loharia Factory Court Building and huge destruction of property was reported.

19th May 1917: A letter addressed to the manager of Loharia Neel Factory by Mahatma Gandhi, regarding the cruel atrocities committed on the farmers.

20th May 1917: A letter addressed to the District Magistrate about the threat faced by the farmers of Belwa and Dhokraha.

21st May 1917: Hiti wrote to Maad accusing Gandhiji to be the source of the anti – British movement.
22nd May 1917: District Magistrate accused Gandhiji of being responsible for the fire at Dhokraha in his correspondence to Mars Head.

24th May 1917: MacFersion advised to form a High Powered Committee for enquiry, by the British Government.

26th May 1917: Letter written by Gandhiji to Asther Farring comparing the status of the farmers in Champaran with those of slaves.

27th May 1917: Gandhiji invited by the Lt Governor to Ranchi on on 4th June. The British Government was advised by MacFersion to make Mahatma Gandhi a member of the Committee.

30th May 1917: Letter by Gandhiji to Macfersion about meeting the Lt. Governor and a complaint about non-cooperation by Owner of Neel Factory.

31st May 1917: Letter by Gandhiji to W S Erwin regarding the atrocities committed on Farmers of of Motihari.

1st June 1917: Demand by owner of Neel Garden for removal of Gandhiji from Champaran.

2nd June 1917: Gandhiji’s arrival in Patna and after a subsequentmeeting with Malwiaji and others, he left for Ranchi.

4th June 1917: Meeting between Mahatma Gandhi and Lt. Governer.

5th June 1917: Gandhiji left for Patna.

7th June 1917: In Patna, after consultation with Malwiyaji, Gandhiji approved to be a part of the Enquiry Committee.

8th June 1917: Gandhiji’s arrival at Bettiah.

10th June 1917: Enquiry Committee formed. Gandhiji, one among the seven members of the committee.

12th June 1917: Arrival of Gandhiji at Motihari.

13th June 1917: Ashram office location changed from Bettiah to Motihari. Recording of the statements made by the farmers stopped temporarily.

14th June 1917: Gandhiji’s letter to MacFersion regarding the recorded statements of 8000 farmers of 850 villages and many against the Neel Factory.

16th June 1917: Confinement of Mrs. Besant and Arunadel, in Madras, ordered by the Government.

17th June 1917: Gandhiji’s journey to Ahmedabad.

22nd June 1917: The Commissioner informed by the District Magistrate that enquiry of Dhokrah Fire may lead to violence.

28th June 1917: Arrival of Mahatma Gandhi at Motihari with Dr. Dev of Bharat Sewak Samaj.

29th June 1917: Suggestion of sending Dr. Dev for helping the villagers made by Mahatma Gandhi to the District Magistrate.

30th June 1917: Dada Bhai Navroji’s demise.

1th July 1917: Gandhiji wrote against the criticism regarding his dressing habits. The enquiry committee to start its work from mid-July, as informed by the Government.

5th July 1917: Arrival of Gandhiji at Ranchi along with Braj Kishore Babu.

11th July 1917: A primary meeting held in Ranchi regarding the subject of Gandhiji’s Champaran enquiry.

14th July 1917: Gandhiji’s arrival at Bettiah. Gandhiji’s appeal for donation to meet his ashram expense.

15th July 1917: Arrival of all members of Enquiry Committee, namely, Smt Kasturba, Dr. Dev, Braj Kishore Prasad, Dharnidhar Prasad, Anugrah Narayan Singh, Ram Navmi Prasad and Dr. Rajendra Prasad at Bettiah.

16th July 1917: Notification regarding beginning of the work of Champaran Enquiry committee published in the Newspaper. More than ten thousand farmers and labourers present for lodging their complaints, in front of the Dharmshala.

17th July 1917: Work of Champaran Enquiry Committee began in the hostel of Raj School. Reporters from all over the country present to cover this news. At 11 am in morning, enquiry began and people started registering their complaints.

19th July 1917: Complaint registered by Raj Kumar Shukla and Sant Raut before the Enquiry committee.

23rd July 1917: Prosecution done in the presence of chairman of committee F.G. Slai and members L.C. Adami, Maharaja Krityanand Singh, D.J. Road, G. Rainy, M.K. Gandhi and E.N. Tainer. Statements of A C Emman, manager of Belwa Kothi and L Stal, manager of Sathi Kothi were recorded.

24rd July 1917: Arrival of Gandhiji at Motihari.

25th July 1917: Enquiry Committee Meeting at Jila Parishad office. Statements of District Magistrate, W.B. Hekak and manager of Rajepur Kothi (Neel Factory), E.A. Hudson recorded.

26th July 1917: Statement of Manager of Motihari Kothi, W.S. Erwin recorded.

28th July 1917: Enquiry by the members of the committee at Parsa Kothi.

29th July 1917: Recording of statement at Kuriya Kothi.

30th July 1917: Enquiry Committee meeting.

31st July 1917: Investigation by the committee at at Dhokraha and Loharia Kothi of Bettiah. Arrival of Mahatma Gandhi in Motihari at night.

2nd August 1917: Arrival of Gandhiji and other members of the committee at Rajepur Kothi, with more than six thousand farmers waiting for them.

3rd August 1917: Recording of statements of the farmers at Pipra Kothi by Mahatma Gandhi.

4th August 1917: Recording of statements of more than five thousand farmers at Turkaulia and Olhan Kothi.

5th August 1917: Registration of the complaints of farmers at Gajpura-Rajpur Sriram Singh Chhatauni.

6th August 1917: Investigation carried out at Raj Ghat and Hardia Kothi.

10th August 1917: Decision of the Enquiry Committee to end Tin Kathia Pranali.

15th August 1917: Complaint by Gandhiji against the cruelty against the farmers to the Manager of Pipra Kothi.

16th August 1917: Gandhiji started for Ahmedabad.

11th September 1917: Gandhiji’s visit to Madras from Ahmedabad.

19th September 1917: The government advised by the Superintendent of Police, Marsham that law and order issues might arise due to the presence of Gandhiji.

22nd September 1917: Arrival of Gandhiji at Ranchi. The work of preparation of the report of Enquiry committee continued.

23rd September 1917: Meeting between Mahatma Gandhi and Lt. Governer regarding Champaran.

24th September 1917: Gandhiji’s participation in the concluding meeting of Champaran Enquiry Committee continued 28th September.

29th September 1917: Agreement signed by Gandhiji , with Garden Owner for reduction of 'shar haweshi'.

3rd October 1917: Completion of Champaran Enquiry Committee Report. Gandhiji signed along with all other members.

4th October 1917: Report handed over to government. Demand placed forward by Gandhiji for publishing the decision of the government on enquiry report in regional language.

5th October 1917: Arrival of Mahatma Gandhi at Patna from Ranchi. Embarked on journey to Allahabad for attending meeting of Congress Committee.

6th October 1917: the report of Champaran Enquiry Committee accepted by the Lt. Governor.

7th October 1917: Foundation for a Goshala (Cow Shelter) at Bettiah laid by Mahatma Gandhi.

15th October 1917: Gandhiji presided over a Bihar Student Convention meeting and left for Gujarat.

18th October 1917: The recommendation of Champaran Enquiry Committee accepted by the Government, which also published its opinion. This was considered to be a major victory of the first peaceful movement, Satyagraha in Champaran under the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi.

19th October 1917: Distribution of pamphlets regarding the government’s decision.

8th November 1917: Arrival of Mahatma Gandhi along with wife Kasturba and other volunteers in Motihari city for educating the common people.

9th November 1917: Meeting between Gandhiji and District Magistrate J.L. Meriman.

14th November 1917: First school started by Mahatma Gandhi at Barharwa Lakhansen near Dhaka.

15th November 1917: Meeting between Gandhiji and manager of the Bettiah Estate.

16th November 1917: Gandhiji’s meeting with the farmers at Amolwa.

20th November 1917: Second school started at Bhitiharwa.

12th January1918: Gandhiji’s arrival at Motihari from Ahmedabad.

17th January 1918: Third school started at Madhuban.

24th January 1918: Gandhiji’s return to Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad.

4th March 1918: Signing of the Agrarian Bill by the Governor General of India and subsequent abolishment of all black laws including 'Tinkathia'.

1st May 1918: The Governor General signed the Act and thus put an end to the “Neel Ka Abhishap".

17th May 1918: Gandhiji’s travel to Motihari from Ahmedabad.

24th May 1918: Foundation of Ashram at Motihari was laid by Mahatma Gandhi, who then left for Ahmedabad. This event marked the end of the Champaran Satyagraha,

14th Mar 1934: Gandhiji visited the places of Motihari, Dhaka, Patahi, Phenhara that were affected by the earthquake and participated actively in the relief work.

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