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Champaran Satyagrah  
 
Motihari was the place where Mahatma Gandhi started his 'Satyagrah. According to the All India Congress Committee the farmers of Champaran were forced to sow a Opium and/or Indigo on a certain portion of their farm plots. They then had to sell the same at a fixed price to the English Traders/Planters. This would cause losses and subsequent hardships to farmers.Furthermore, these crops would render the soil infertile further increasing the woe's of the halpless farmers
 
Raj Kumar Shukla, a farmer in the region invited Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (who had only recently returned from South Africa) to come help them in their plight. Thus, Mahatma Gandhi decided to come to Motihari. On 10th April 1917,the AICC report states that "a large crowd of people of Champaran witnessed the greatest architect of Indian Freedom Struggle in Motihari." The British fearing unrest ordered him to leave the district. His refusal to do the same, let to his arrest. He was offered bail on the condition that he would leave the district. Gandhi reportedly refused to leave the district or put up bail. In his statement to the Court Gandhi reportedly said, "As a law-abiding citizen my first instinct would be, as it was, to obey the order served upon me. But I could not do so without doing violence to my sense of duty to those for whom I came.
 
I feel that I could just now serve them by remaining in their midst. I could not therefore voluntarily retire. Amidst this conflict of duty I could only throw the responsibility of removing me from on the administration". Subsequently, sensing mass disapproval of his arrest he was released
 
The AICC report further states that that it was in Champaran that the theory and practice of Satyagrah came to be associated for the first time with the fight for freedom. "Mahatmaji went about from village to village in Champaran preaching love and inspiring faith and confidence among the people. Here he felt that his efforts for the uplift of the masses could not have enduring results unless an urge was created within them. For this, it was necessary to educate them. On the 13th of November, 1917 Mahatma Gandhi opened his first school at Barharwa Lakhansen, a village at a distance of about 20 miles to the east of Motihari. Another school was opened by Gandhiji on the 20th of November in a village called Bhitiharwa. A third school was opened on the 17th of January, 1918 at Madhuban, which had among its teachers, Mahadeva Desai.
   
 
This was the first such experiment on a large scale undertaken in India. The Motihari refusal to obey the Magistrate’s order was a case of individual civil disobedience, though limited to small district. The struggle went on for a few months. All pressure was brought by giving agriculturists notices of forfeiture of lands, but thanks to the presence of Gandhiji and his constant movement in the district from place to place, the people were not only non-violent, but were also very firm and prepared for any amount of sacrifices for the common cause. The AICC report further states, "It is worth mentioning that the Satyagrah of Champaran was responsible for initiation in the service of the motherland of two volunteers Acharya Kripalani and Deshratna Dr. Rajendra Prasad. While Bihar’s indebtedness to Mahatma Gandhi is irretrievable not only for having succored her million from the tentacles of white planters but also for having breathed into her soul the new message."
 
A museum and a stone pillar has been laid down in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi's presence in Motihari. It also contains Gandhiji's courageous statement given before the Magistrate inscribed on a stone. According to Sri Chandra Bhusahan Pandey, National Informatics Center: East Champaran, Motihari,
 
The foundation stone of this Gandhi memorial pillar was laid on June 10, 1972 by the then Governor, Mr. D.K.Barooch, and it was dedicated to the nation by Mr. Vidyakar Kavi, a grandson, on 18 April 1978.... The 48 fect long Chunar stone pillar stands exactly on the place where Mahatma Gandhi was produced before the court of the then S.D.M., Motihari in violation of orders under section 144 Cr. P. C. as far back as April 18, 1917. Mahatma Gandhi first Satyagrah was experimented on this soil of Motihari in Champaran and so Champaran has been starting point of India’s independence movement launched by Gandhi ji.
 
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