Indigo Revolt: Also called Neel Bidroh.
Who were planters?
Planters were the contractor or Jamindar higher by Europeans to grow and take the indigo crop.
Who were farmers?
Were the tillers of the land who owns and work on ground level fields.
How planters gained Land Rights?
They took wasteland on rent from Zamindars. Also, some were acquired by Zamindari and Taluqdari rights. Indigo was also grown on the lands of Ryot or farmers who have died and don’t have any heirs to cultivate or take ownership of land.
What is Ryoti?
It is the predominant form of Indigo cultivation in Bengal. Ryot sowed the Indigo under the contract system. The extension of the contract was like 1, 3, 5, or 10 Years.
The advance was made to Ryot, at the rate of Rs 2 per Beegah. And as per the contract they have to deliver the Indigo into the factories which were owned by Europeans.
When did it happen?
It happens in 1859-60.
Indigo revolt took place in?
It took place in Bengal. The revolt first started from the villages of Gobindpur in Nadia District.
Who were the leaders: Bisnucharan Biswas and Diganmber Biswas.
What are the causes of indigo revolt?
The profit of a British company got a sudden surge due to the demand for “Blue dye” in Europe.
Hence Europeans were forcing Indian Planters to grow Indigo ie cash crops in place of food crops which were giving a high return to the Planters.
The popularity of the Slogan of “Je rakhak te Bhakak” meaning one who protects us is the one who devours us resulting in discontentment among the planters against the Europeans.
Advanced loans were given: Britishers advanced loan for Indigo plantations and hence once the farmer gets into the trap of taking a loan he then gets permanently became a slave of Europeans as he was not able to pay the loan taken because of heavy interest charges.
Forced Sell: Planters were asked to sell the Indigo at the lowest price, although they were getting a huge loss in that.
Use of illegal means: If any farmer refused to grow the indigo, he then became forcefully asked to plant it, by resorting to illegal means like the kidnapping of planters family members, torturing, Buring nad looting of crops grown, etc.
Planters were supported and given privileges to lure others as well.
The real Revolt Begin:
The revolt started in Nadia district of Bengal by refusing to grow the Indigo crop. Hence one policeman gets attacked by farmers. Hence planters get more aggressive and in response increase the rents and evicted the farmers leading to more agitations.
In April 1860, all the farmers in the Berasat Division of the Nadia district went on a strike and refused to grow indigo on their land.
The strike spread to other parts of Bengal. The leader was Biswas brothers of Nadia, Rafiq Mondal of Malda, and Kedar Molla of Pabna.
The revolt was suppressed and many farmers were slaughtered by govt. While rural populations supported the revolt.
The play Nil Darpan by Dinabandhu Mitra written in 1858-59 portrayed the farmer’s situation accurately. It showed how farmers were coerced into planting indigo without adequate payment.
What are the special features of the Indigo Revolt?
Unity among farmers and different ethnic societies.
They were supported by Bengali Middle Class, Newspapers like the Bengalee and Harishchandera covered it.
Left impact on Emerging Nationalist young ones.
Questions: Write a short note on indigo revolt?
Ishita Banerjee: A history of Modern India.
R. S. Sharma.
Govt of India culture website.
Modern Indian History by Sonali Bansal
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