History at a glance
The Champaran satyagraha was the first intersection of peasant unrest and the national movement. Exactly 100 years ago, in 1917 in colonial Bihar, Mahatma Gandhi led the Champaran Agitation, to protest against the commercial extraction of natural indigo. At that time Indigo was also referred to as Blue Gold, because of its high trading value. For Mahatma Gandhi, Champaran was the crucible in which the philosophy of civil disobedience was forged on Indian soil. For the freedom struggle, the agitation was a catalyst for unleashing patriotism through the ‘Swadeshi Movement’.
Gandhiji arrived in Patna for the first time on April 10, 1917, and five days later, he reached Motihari, the district headquarters of Champaran, from Muzaffarpur. On April 17, he started his Champaran satyagraha to better the lot of Indigo farmers.
100 years of Indigo Revolt
National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Patna planned and conducted unique events to celebrate the centenary year of the Champaran Satyagraha. The centenary celebrations of the Champaran Satyagraha provided a context to explore the dimensions of the Indian engagement with Indigo.
INDIGO EXHIBITION IN NIFT PATNA
NIFT Patna celebrated the centenary from 18th to 20th April 2017 and many events were organized around indigo.
The Director General of NIFT inaugurated the event and in the presence of Dean NIFT, Director , NIFT Patna, distinguished guests, faculty members and students . DG appreciated the works done by the Curator Ms Geeta Khanna and team NIFT , Patna.
Activities which took place
Indigo talks - Kolkata-based designer Santanu Das, who is well known for practicing indigo dye in his designs and the founder of Maku Textiles Private Ltd spoke about how the Indigo dyed natural yarns had brought a crafts revolution in the country as it is being experimented with every kind of apparel.
Display of India handloom brand products (Theme indigo) -
A group of experts which includes Ms. Geeta Khanna, Designer along with in-house faculty members and students of NIFT, Patna tirelessly worked for the display of indigo dyed products sponsored by India Handloom Brand. It was put for display for the public as well, which was highly appreciated.
Expert lecture by Prof. Shyam Sharma -
Former principal of College of Arts and Crafts, Patna and an eminent artist Prof. Shyam Sharma enlighted the knowledge of people present on the block printing and its correlation with the indigo dye. His lecture enriched the knowledge and curiosity amongst students and members present.
NIFT Indigo centenary celebration had been a great attention for media not only regional but also on national daily.
While The Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad edition shared the information on the show, leading newspapers continuously gave space on the ongoing events.
INDIGO EXHIBITION IN NIFT KOLKATA
To commemorate the Centenary of Champaran Movement, NIFT Kolkata hosted the ‘Indigo Champaran Exhibition’, a travelling exhibition on Indigo from 8 November 2017 onwards at the NIFT Kolkata Campus. The Indigo Revolt began in Bengal, much earlier than the Champaran Satyagraha initiated by Gandhiji on 15 April 1917 at Motihari, East Champaran in Bihar. We find its mention as the 'Yama' in Dinabandhu Mitra's play 'Nil Darpan' which presented a picture of the inhuman torture faced by the cultivators, under British Raj. Champaran Satyagraha paved a new path of silent revolt against the British and encouraged Indians to take up non- violence as a weapon to fight the oppression. It was this movement that made Gandhiji evolve as 'Mahatma'.
The Exhibition comprised of some exquisite samples of Indigo dyed, printed and woven samples in form of sarees, apparel, stoles and fabric & leather swatches. NIFT Kolkata was proud to exhibit and host this travelling exhibition and to add to it, its own contribution from alumni and designers. The exhibition was inaugurated on 8 November at 11am by Ms. Sarada Muraleedharan, IAS Director General- NIFT in the presence of other senior professors and administrative team of NIFT. A Craft Bazaar was also organised to encourage the artisans from nearby cluster, alumni and brands working in craft sectors for the visitors.