Peasant Uprisings and What Factors Strengthened and Facilitated the National Movement

Get unlimited access to the best preparation resource for competitive exams : Get detailed illustrated notes covering entire syllabus: point-by-point for high retention.

Chapter 3: Peasant Uprisings

  • Many dispossessed peasants took to robbery and dacoity.
  • Indigo Revolt of 1859 - 60
  • By the end of 1860 indigo cultivation was virtually wiped out from the districts of Bengal
  • A major reason for the success of the Indigo revolt was the tremendous initiative, cooperation, organization and discipline of the ryots.
  • Another was the complete unity among Hindu and Muslim peasants
  • Another significant feature was the role of intelligentsia of Bengal which organized a powerful campaign in support of the rebellious peasantry.
  • The government՚s response to the revolt was rather restrained and not as harsh as in the case of civil rebellions and tribal uprisings.
  • The government appointed the Indigo Commission to enquire into the problems of indigo cultivation. The report of the commission exposed the coercion and corruption in indigo cultivation
  • The government issued a notification in November 1960 that ryots could not be compelled to sow indigo and all disputes were to be settled by legal means.


Why Did National Movement Arise?

  • Indian nationalism rose to meet the challenges of foreign domination
  • The British rule and its direct and indirect consequences provided the material and the moral and intellectual conditions for the development of a national movement in India.
  • Clash of interest between the interests of the Indian people with British interests in India
  • Increasingly, the British rule became the major cause of India՚s economic backwardness
  • Every class gradually discovered that their interests were suffering at the hands of the British
    • Peasant: Govt took a large part of produce away as land revenue. Laws favored the Zamindars
    • Artisans: Foreign competition ruined the industry
    • Workers: The government sided with the capitalists
    • Intelligentsia: They found that the British policies were guided by the interests of British capitalists and were keeping the country economically backward. Politically, the British had no commitment of guiding India towards self-government.
    • Indian capitalists: the growth of Indian industries was constrained by the unfavorable trade, tariff, taxation and transport policies of the government.
    • Zamindars, landlords and princes were the only ones whose interests coincided with those of the British. Hence, they remained loyal to them.
  • Hence, it was the intrinsic nature of foreign imperialism and its harmful effect on the lives of the Indian people that led to the rise of the national movement. This movement could be called the national movement because it united people from different parts of the country as never before for a single cause.

What Factors Strengthened and Facilitated the National Movement?

Administration and Economic Unification of the Country

  • Introduction of modern trade and industries on all-India scale had increasingly made India՚s economic life a single whole and interlinked the economic fate of people living in different parts of the country.
  • Introduction of railways, telegraph and unified postal system brought together different parts of the country and promoted contact among people like never before.
  • This unification led to the emergence of the Indian nation

Western Thought and Education

  • A large number of Indians imbibed a modern rational, secular, democratic and nationalist political outlook
  • They began to study, admire and emulate the contemporary nationalist movements of European nations
  • The western education per se did not create the national movement. It only enabled the educated Indians to imbibe western thought and thus to assume the leadership of the national movement and to give it a democratic and modern direction
  • Modern education created a certain uniformity and community of outlook and interests among the education Indians.

Role of Press and Literature

  • Large number of nationalist newspapers appeared in the second half of the 19th century
  • They criticized the policies of the British government and put forth the Indian point of view
  • National literature in form of essays, novels and poetry also played an important role. Bamkin Chandra, Tagore: Bengali; Bhartendu Harishchandra: Hindi; Lakshmikanth Bezbarua: Assamese; Vishnu Shastri Chiplunkar: Marathi; Subramanya Bharti: Tamil; Altaf Husain Hali: Urdu

Rediscovery of India՚S Past

  • The British had lowered the self-confidence of the Indian through the propaganda that Indians are incapable of self-government
  • Nationalist leaders referred to the cultural heritage of India to counter this propaganda. They referred to political achievements of rulers like Ashoka, Chandragupta Vikramaditya and Akbar.
  • However, some nationalists went to the extent of glorifying the past uncritically. They emphasized on the achievements of ancient India and not medieval India. This encouraged the growth of communal sentiments.

Racial Arrogance of the Rulers

  • Englishmen adopted a tone of racial superiority in their dealings with the Indians
  • Failure of justice whenever an Englishman was involved in a dispute with an Indian.
  • Indians kept out of European clubs and often were not permitted to travel in same compartment as Englishmen

Developed by: