Indigo Movement (1859-60)
European planters forced local farmers to grow the Indigo in Eastern India without paying the right price. Farmers who refused to grow were kidnapped, women and children were attacked, and crops were looted and destroyed. Even the European judges would rule in favour of the European planter.
Baptisia australis, commonly known as Indigo.
Course of the Revolt:
Finally, Indigo peasants launched a revolt in the Nadia district of Bengal. They refused to grow Indigo and attacked the police if they tried to intervene.
The revolt was headed by Digambar Biswas and Bishnu Charan Biswas. The peasants of Nadia district gave up Indigo cultivation in September 1859.
European Planters responded by increasing the rent and expelling the farmers. It led to more agitations and encounters. Later the peasants got support from the intelligentsia, press, missionaries and Muslims.
Harish Chandra Mukherji, the editor of Hindu patriot, published articles on the Indigo revolt.
Din Bandhu Mitra wrote a play, Neel Darpan, to depict the abuse of Indigo farmers.
End of the revolt:
As a result, the Government set up an indigo commission in \(1860 \)whose recommendations formed \(part of Act VI \)of \(1862\). The Government declared that the Indian farmers could not be forced to grow Indigo. Thus, the cultivation of Indigo was implicitly wiped out from Bengal.
Pabna Revolt (1873-76)
Area: Yusufshahi Pargana in Pabna was a jute growing district in East Bengal.
Reason: Zamindars increased the rents beyond legal limits through various cesses (Abwab), and the problem of moneylenders was intense. Farmers had to face costly legal affairs and forced eviction.
Leaders:Keshab Chandra Roy, Shambhu Pal, Khoodi Mollah.
Course of the Revolt:
A farmers' league was formed to fight the legal battle against the zamindars and organized a nonpayment of rent campaign. This league provided an excellent platform for the peasants. The revolt was large and non-violent. Hardly there were cases that the Zamindars or agents were killed or seriously injured. Very few houses were looted, and some police stations attacked.
  • This unrest resulted in the Bengal Tenancy Act of 1885.
  • The ryots developed a clear perception of the law and their legal rights.
  • And the ability to combine and form associations for peaceful agitation was learned in the movement.