Regional Revolts before and after 1857

Indigo Revolt or Blue Rebellion

Thousands of ryots refused to grow Indigo in Bengal in 1859 AD. The English had established the monopoly production of Indigo by capturing land in Bengal and Bihar. In 1860, the peasants of Patna and Nadia districts refused to pay rents to the planters and attacked factories. The rebels here supported by local zamindars and village headmen.

Ashley Eden, the lieutenant governor of Bengal tried to appease the ryots and issued an order by which no ryots would be forced to accept the contract. After the rebel, the plantation of Indigo was shifted from Bengal to Bihar. In Champaran, the workers revolted in Bihar. In Champaran, the workers revolted in 1867-68 and later in 1917 in the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.

There was a strong demonstration against the cultivation of indigo in Champaran (Bihar) in 1866-68. The indigo crisis continued till the beginning of the 20th century when M. K. Gandhi had intervened in favour of the indigo cultivators. And finally, after his intervention the long pending problem got some solution.

Adivasis Movement

In 1772, the Paharia Revolt broke out followed by five years uprising led by Tilka Manjhi. The Tomar and Munda revolts occurred. In the next twenty years, various revolts occurred in Singhbhumi, Gumla, Birbhumi, Bankura, Manbhoomi and Palamu followed by the Kol uprising in 1832 and the Khewar and Bhunji revolts in 1832 to 1834.

Khasi Uprising

‘Khasi’ is a tribal community which lives in the region between Garo and Jaintia Hills. Khasi uprising of 1783 was in protest of East India Company’s effort to build a road link between Brahmaputra Valley and Sylhet.

The leaders of this revolution were Tirath Singh and Ganga Singh. This uprising developed into a popular revolt during British rule. By 1833, the revolt was suppressed by English military action.

Pagal Panthi Uprising

Pagal Panth was a semi-religious sect which had influence in the northern districts of Bengal. Karan Singh was its founder and Tipu Shah was successor of this movement. Tipu Shah took up the cause of the peasants against atrocities and oppression by Zamindars. Tipu captured Sherpur in 1825 and assumed royal power. This uprising crushed with the help of army in 1833.

Ahom Revolt

Gomadhar Konwar leaded this revolt. This revolt broke out in Assam. The British had promised to withdraw from Assam after First Burma War (1824-26), but instead of withdrawing the British attempted to annex Ahom’s territory in the Company’s dominion. As a result of the rebellion the company was forced to hand over Upper Assam to Maharaja Purandar Singh Narendra and part of kingdom was restored to the Assamese King.

Santhal Revolt

The Santhal hul or santhal revolt of 1855-56 was held against the permanent settlement of Lord Cornwallis. Sindhu and Kanhu Murmu were the leaders of the revolt in which thousands of Santhals took part. A forest regulation was passed in 1878 which imposed restrictions upon adivasis. The act divided the forest lands in India into three categories – reserved, protected and unclassified. The act changed the traditional rights of adivasis on the forest and forest became state property. In 1914, Jatra Oraon started Tana Bhagat Movement and 25,000 adivasis joined the movement. The Khasis living in Assam and Meghalaya revolted against the British.

Pabna Uprising

“Pabna Uprising” was a movement by the peasants against landlords in the Pabna districts of Yusufzahi Paragana of East Bengal in 1872. In 1873, an Agrarian League was formed by Ishan Chandra Roy, Shabhu Pal and Khoodi Mallah. Peasants refused to pay enhanced rents of land and fought against zamindars in the court. The discontent of peasants continued till 1885 when the Government enhanced occupancy rights by the “Bengal Act of 1885”.

Munda Rebellion

Birsa Munda started revolt against the British policies. Zamindars and moneylenders were exploiting the Adivasis. Munda rebellion resulted in the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act of 1908. It banned forced labour and assured local customary land rights to the tribals. For more than three decades the Munda Sardars had been fighting against destruction of their system of common land holdings by the jagirdars, thikadars and money lenders. The revolt of the Munda took place during 1899 – 1900 under the leadership of Birsa Munda who mobilized his followers on religious and political grounds. In 1899, Birsa declared a revolt to establish Munda rule in the land by billing thikadars, jagirdars, Rajas, Hakims and Christians. For this he congregated force of 6,000 Mundas. He was, however, captured in February 1900 and died in jail in June.

Sanyasi Revolt

The British rule in Bengal after 1757 brought a new economic order which spelt ruin on Zamindars, peasants and artisans alike. The famine of 1770 and the insensibility on the part of the company was regarded to be the main cause of alien rule. The restriction imposed on visits to holy places alienated the sanyasis. The Sanyasis in retaliation started attacking on the company’s factories and state treasuries. Warren Hastings could contain these sanyasi raids only after massive millitary actions.

Mopla Revolt

In 1921, the Mopla rebelled in Malabar region. The Mopla peasants were Muslims but the landlords were Hindus. Excessive land revenue demands, extra cesses and insecurity of land tenures were reason of rebel.

The Wahabi Movement

It was named after Abdul Wahab. It was a religious movement and aimed at the restoration of Muslim powers and fighting against the British and the Sikhs. The Wahabi movement was suppressed by the British government in 1870.


  1. Module-3 Modern India by NIOS
  2. Modern India by Bipin Chandra
  3. Class-12 Tamil Nadu State Board History Book

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