On April18, 1917, when Mahatma Gandhi was undertaking a journey from Motihari to Jasauli Patti in the then undivided Champaran district of Bihar, he was served an order by the British rulers at Chandrahia village, prohibiting him from traveling any further. As a result, he had to return to Motihari, now headquarters of East Champaran district.
Hundred years on, when chief minister Nitish Kumar recreated the episode, the government was by his side to facilitate him. Kumar, accompanied by deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, ministers Ashok Choudhari and Madan Mohan Jha, undertook a 7-km padyatra from Chandrahia to Motihari, with thousands of Gandhians following them on Tuesday.
The padyatra was part of the centenary celebrations of Gandhi’s Champaran Satyagraha. Gandhi had arrived at Chandrahia on an elephant on way to Jasauli Patti, where he was going to listen to the woes of indigo planters.
Hundreds of students and people of Chandrahia, led by village head Shatrughan Das and government school headmaster Rajeshwar Yadav, rained flower petals on Kumar and others in the padyatra.
A man, tailored as Mahatma Gandhi in police custody, travelled on a bullock cart ahead of the marchers to remind people of the brutalities unleashed by the Britishers.
Earlier, well-known Gandhian of East Champaran district Narayan Munni flagged off the padyatra from Chandrahia at 8.10am.
Before the march commenced, the CM attended an all-religion prayer at Chandrahia Gandhi Smarak and planted saplings of champa flower from which Champaran derived its name.
The CM walked the distance without taking a break as the padyatra concluded near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Motihari.