Celebrations begin to mark Champaran Satyagraha's 100th year


Patna, April 10 (IANS) The year-long celebrations to mark the 100th year of Mahatma Gandhi's first major resistance against the British rule, popularly known as the Champaran Satyagraha, began here on Monday.

Mahatma Gandhi launched his Satyagraha -- a non-violent agitation -- against the forced cultivation of indigo by the British rulers in Champaran district in Bihar on April 10, 1917.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, along with prominent Gandhians from across the country, inaugurated the celebrations at the newly built Gyan Bhawan here.

Nitish said the Champaran Satyagraha was a special contribution in the country's freedom struggle.

"It sped up the freedom movement and the country got independence 30 years after Champaran Satyagraha. It was a historic one," he said, speaking at the inaugural address at the two-day national conclave on the centenary of the Satyagraha.

Nitish also announced launching a year-long campaign to spread Gandhi's ideas. "We will knock at every door and will try to reach every village with Gandhi's ideas - Bapu ka dastak," he said.

He said Gandhi's ideas have to be spread to every house and street. "We will start arranging story-telling on Gandhi and his ideas in schools for children."

"If we manage to change 10 to 15 per cent people of the younger generation including students and children, it will bring a big change in the coming years," the Bihar Chief Minister said.

He warned without naming anyone that people who are opposed to Gandhi and his ideas will also celebrate the Champaran Satyagraha and they will use his (Gandhi's) name.

Nitish also urged the Gandhians gathered there to set an agenda to take the country ahead. "One-sided dialogue will not run in the country. People will decide whether Gandhi's ideas will take the country ahead or opposite views."

The function was addressed by Gandhian Chandrasekhar Dharmadhikari, Sachtanand Sinha, Rajinder Sachar, Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Medha Patkar and Subba Rao.

Nitish is also set to launch a "Gandhi Smriti Yatra" from Champaran on April 15. The Yatra would be followed by a series of programmes.


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