INDIGO REVOLT 1859-60

Indigo revolt was started in the year 1859.indigo revolt or indigo rebellion was farmers uprising against the British planters who had forced them to grow indigo within unfavorable conditions. We know that indigo plantation had been started in and around 1777, with the help of nawabs of Bengal which were under the British control indigo planting became more and more economically profit. The high demand for the blue dye forced the planters to make peasants to grow indigo instead of food crops. They were enjoying a monopoly over this. Zamindars were helping the planters and were more concerned about making their economic zone clear.

Planters being rich, provide loans at high interests for the peasants. Having no means for food crops they have to assist those loans. They found it hard to pay back the loans, since they were given only2.5% amount of the market price. Failure of paying back the loan allowed the government to encroach their land. In 1833 a law was passed in favor of indigo planters which allow them to suppress any uprisings or conflicts. This all provide them to overrule the Indigo production and its export. Many began to question about the freedom for food crops production and ownership of their own land. Small uprisings we’re started at the village level. Which then rise to a wider perspective. Villages like Gobindapur and Chaugacha in the district of Nadia were the first place where it gets started at wider angle. Bishnucharan Biswas and Digambar Biswas were the first leaders of indigo revolt. It also spread to Birnbaum, Burdwan, Pabna, Khulna and Narail. They peasant community refused to pay rent and loan to the planters. They also made marches to the Indigo depots, offices and factories with weapons. Women folk also even participated in this agitation. Agents of the planters were also beaten up. Some were killed and their offices were burned. Peasants who still worked for the planters were socially segregated out from them. Peasants we’re having the help of wealthy middlemen and they we’re supporting enough throughout the revolt. Zamindar’s we’re also treated badly. Peasants we’re bothered about the need of freedom of using their land accordingly and this made them to revolt united. British found that the growth of revolt may affect their stability and tried a militant way of suppressing the revolt. Police and army camps we’re established in those areas. Their iron hand made more bloodshed. Peasants we’re executed based on a speedy trial at the public. Many were brutally murdered and lost their families. Many prominent revolt leaders like Biswanath Sardar and Alias Bishe Dakat of Nadia district. They were also other leaders like Kader Molla, Rafique Mondal, and Ramaratan Mullick.

Revolt started to spread throughout. They were worried that the revolt may go out of their hand and spread much more so they tried to pacify the farmers. The revolt had a strong effect on the government. Lieutenant governor toured the region in the end of 1859 and the government was forced to make a indigo commission. Ashley Eden, magistrate issued that no one must be compelled to grow indigo. The British government formed the Indigo commission in 1860 due to Nawabs Abdul Latifs initiative with goal of putting and ends to the repressions of indigo planters. The commission declared that the planters were unfair and that the farmers were not paid enough for their toil. It condemned the cultivation and considerable relief was given. They ask the planters to not use any forceful methods of indigo cultivation. After this revolt the indigo production collapsed all over in and around Bengal so they shifted to Bihar.

These revolts have marked the united approaches of the peasants and a new beginning in government policy towards Indian peasantry. It also stands as a stepping stone for the peasant participation in the political movements.