Posted in History of Modern India

Munda Rebellion (1899-1900)

updated on March 15th, 2019

Munda Rebellion (1899-1900): One of the most important and prominent rebellions which took place after 1857 was the Munda Rebellion. The Mundas traditionally enjoyed certain rights as the original clearer of the forest which was not given to the other tribes. But this land system was getting destroyed in the hands of the merchants and moneylenders long before the coming of the British. But when the British actually came into these areas they helped to destroy this system with a rapid pace when they introduced contractors and traders. These contractors needed people to work with them as indentured laborers. This dislocation of the Mundas at the hands of the British and their contractors gave birth to the Munda Rebellion. The most prominent leader of this rebellion was Birsa Munda who was more aware than the others as he had received some education from the Missionaries. He encouraged his tribe people to keep the tradition of worshipping of the sacred groves alive. This move was very important to prevent the Britishers from taking over their wastelands. For this, Birsa Munda fought against the moneylenders/mahajans and English officials.

He attacked Police Stations, Churches and missionaries. Unfortunately, the rebels were defeated and Munda died in prison soon after in 1900. But his sacrifice did not go in vain. The Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act of 1908 provided some land ownership rights to the people and banned bonded labor of the tribal. Birsa Munda became the architect of Munda Rebellion and somebody who is remembered even today.

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Posted in History of Modern India

Indigo Rebellion (1859-1862)

updated on March 15th, 2019

  • The Indigo Rebellion (1859-1862): The British adopted many ways through which they could increase their profits
  • They also started interfering with the basic means of livelihood of the people.
  • Not only did they introduce new crops, they also brought new techniques of farming.
  • Heavy pressure was put on the zamindars and peasants to pay high taxes and grow commercial crops.
  • One such commercial crop was Indigo.
  • The cultivation of indigo was determined by the needs of the English cloth markets. The discontent of the farmers growing indigo was mainly for three reasons:
  1. They were paid very low prices for growing indigo;
  2. Indigo was not as lucrative as it was planted at the same time as food crops;
  3. And the loss of fertility of the soil because of planting indigo.

As a result, food stocks declined. The peasants suffered at the hands of the traders and the middleman on whom they depended to sell their goods, sometimes at very low prices. They supported the zamindars to maintain their dominance and deal with their problems in administering those areas.

The peasants launched a movement for non cultivation of indigo in Bengal. Hindu and Muslim peasants together went on strike and filed cases against the planters. They were supported by the press and the missionaries. The government passed orders in November 1860, notifying that it was illegal to force the raiyats to cultivate indigo. This marked the victory for the rebels.

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Posted in History of Modern India

Faqir and Sanyasi Rebellions (1770–1820s)

updated on September 19th, 2019

This was one of the first rebellion against the British rule in India

The Faqir and Sanyasi Rebellions
  • The Faqir and Sanyasi Rebellions (1770–1820s): The establishment of
  • British control over Bengal after 1757 – Battle of Plassey led to increases in land revenue and the exploitation of the peasants.
  • Treaty of Allahabad( 1765) after the Battle of Buxar -1764 gave East India Company Diwani rights to collect the revenue in the region.
  • The Bengal famine of 1770 led peasants whose lands were confiscated, displaced zamindars, disbanded soldiers and poor to come together in a rebellion. They were joined by the Sanyasis and Fakirs.
  • The Faqirs were a group of wandering Muslim religious mendicants in Bengal.
  • En route to the shrines, it was customary for many of these ascetics to exact a religious tax from the headmen and zamindars or regional landlords.
  • In times of prosperity, the headmen and zamindars generally obliged. However, since the East India Company had received the Diwani or right to collect the tax, many of the tax demands increased and the local landlords and headmen were unable to pay both the ascetics and the English.
  • Majnu Shah Malang was the leader of Faqirs
  • Two famous Hindu leaders who supported them were Bhawani Pathak and a woman, Devi Choudhurani.
  • They attacked English factories and seized their goods, cash, arms, and ammunition.
  • Maznoom Shah was one of their prominent leaders. They were finally brought under control by the British at the beginning of the 19th century.
  • Dasnami naga sannyasis who likewise visited Bengal on pilgrimage
  • When the Company’s forces tried to prevent the sannyasis and fakirs from entering the province or from collecting their money in the last three decades of the 18th century, fierce clashes often ensued, with the Company’s forces not always victorious.
  • Most of the clashes were recorded in the years following the famine but they continued, albeit with a lesser frequency, up until 1820.
  • Perhaps, the best reminder of the Rebellion is in literature, in the Bengali novel Anandamath, written by India’s first modern novelist Bankim Chandra Chatterjee.
  • The song, Vande Mataram, which was written in 1876, was used in the book Anandamath in 1882 (pronounced Anondomôţh in Bengali)
  • Vande Mataram was later declared to be India’s National Song (not to be confused with the Indian National Anthem).
  • However, the immediate cause of the rebellion was the restrictions imposed by the British upon pilgrims visiting holy places among both Hindus and Muslims.

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