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Modern Indian History NotesModern Indian History
Peasant Movements In India
For benefit of aspirants of various exams where general studies form a part of the syllabus, the subsequent quick notes for peasant movements in India will probably be very helpful for revision. Please keep visiting this section for regular updates on the research material.
Under colonialism, the Indian peasantry was suffered from a variety of issues like high rents, arbitrary evictions, illegal tax levies, and unpaid labor in zamindari areas. At some point, the peasants started to resist this manipulation and took desperate measures at several places. These actions came to be called peasant uprisings or peasant movements in India during the freedom struggle from 1857-1947.
I. The Indigo Revolt (1859-60)
  1. It had been directed against European planters who exploited the local peasants by forcing them to make improvements and sign fraudulent contracts based on the peasants were compelled to develop Indigo, instead of the more rewarding rice.
  2. These foreigners intimidated the peasants through illegal confinements and other similar atrocities.
  3. The Indigo revolt in Nadia district of Bengal in 1859 and has been headed by Digambar Biswas and Bishnu Biswas who coordinated the peasants to withstand the power of planter’s lathiyals (armed retainers).
  4. This revolt was vividly depicted by acclaimed author Din Bandhu Mitra within his drama, Neel Darpan. Its novel in 1860 Resulted in the employment of an Indigo Commission from the authorities.
II. The Pabna Movement (1872-76)
  1. The peasantry at East Bengal was oppressed from the zamindars. They often evicted, plagued, and arbitrarily improved the rent through stops (abwabs) and use of force.
  2. The zamindars also prevented the peasants from obtaining the rights under the Act of 1859.
  3. From the Yusufzahi Pargana of Pabna district, Bengal, an Agriculture League was formed in May 1873.
  4. The tenants denied the enhanced payments along the peasants revealed legal resistance against the zamindars in the courts.

III. The Deccan Peasants Uprising (1875)

  1. It was contrary to the corruption of the Marwari and Gujarati money lenders. It began as a social boycott of the moneylenders by the peasants but was afterward transformed into an armed peasant revolt in the Poona and Ahmadnagar districts of Maharashtra.
  2. The peasants subsequently assaulted the moneylender’s houses, shops, and burnt their records and down bond documents.
  3. The uprising afterward received assistance from M G Ranade of Poona Sarvajanik Sabha

IV. The Punjab Peasants Discontent (1890-1900)

  1. Peasant discontent in Punjab occurred because of rural indebtedness and the large-scale alienation of agricultural property for non-cultivating classes.
  2. The Punjab Land Alienation Act, 1900 has been passed to forbid the sale and mortgage of lands out of peasants to moneylenders. This gave Punjab peasants partial relief against oppressive land revenue demand by the government.
V. The Champaran Satyagraha (1917)
  1. The peasants of the Champaran district of Bihar were too oppressed by the plantations. They had been forced to grow indigo on 3/20th of their land below the tinkathia system, and to sell this at prices fixed by the planters.
  2. Gandhiji attained Champaran in 1917 accompanied by Babu Rajendra Prasad, Mazhar -ul-Huq, J.B. Kripalani, Mahadev Desai to conduct a more detailed inquiry into the condition of the indigo peasants.
  3. The baffled district officials ordered him to leave, but he defied the order and encouraged trial and imprisonment.
  4. This led the Government to appoint an Enquiry Committee in June 1917, with M.Gandhiji as among its members.
VI. The Kheda Satyagraha (1918)
  1. The Kheda effort took place in the Kheda district of Gujarat led against the Government.
  2. In 1918, the crops failed in the Kheda districts in Gujarat because of reduced rains but the authorities refused to let go of the land earnings and insisted on its full assortment of revenue.
  3. M. Gandhi along with Vallabhai Patel came in support of the peasants and directed them to withhold all revenue payment till their requirement for remission was fulfilled.
  4. From June 1918, the Government needed to concede the requirements of the satyagrahi peasants.

VII. Moplah’s

  1. The Moplah’s were mainly Muslim tenants of Hindu landlords in the Malabar area of Kerala.
  2. In August 1921, these renters rebelled due to grievances regarding the absence of security of tenure, high rents, renewal fees, and other civic landlord activities.
  3. They had been encouraged to rebel by the radical leaders. In 1920, the Khilafat Movement had shot over the renter rights agitation which had been continuing in Malabar since 1916. After the arrest of recognized leaders of this Congress and the end of the Khilafat movement, just radical leaders needed control.
  4. Initially, the rebels targeted symbols of authority like the unpopular jemmies (landlords, mostly Hindu), courts, police stations, treasuries, and offices, along with the European planters. Later the motion took a communal turn and finally lost foundation.
VIII. The Bardoli Satyagraha (1928)
  1. In the surat district, the Bardoli taluk has been the center of this intensely politicized peasant motion.
  2. It was led by Vallabhai Patel. The natives gave him the name of”Sardar” because of his leadership..
  3. Once the British authorities increased the land earnings by 30% in present-day Gujarat, resistance was revealed by the residents.
  4. This caused the business of Ano-Revenue Campaign’ from the Bardoli peasants for example girls.
  5. There have been unsuccessful attempts by the British to suppress the motion. But an Inquiry committee was appointed to look into the matter. It found the increase unjustified.

IX. Tebhaga Movement (1946)

  1. In Bengal, propertied farmers allowed the farms into sharecroppers called Bargadar or even Bagchasi, or Adyar.
  2. The Flood Commission had recommended tebhaga, under the Bargadars (sharecropper) should get 2/3 of crop share along with also the Jotedar (landlord) must get 1/3rd of harvest produce discuss.
  3. The Tebhaga movement has been aimed at getting the recommendations of the Flood Commission executed through mass battle.
  4. It had been led by — Bengal Provincial Kisan Sabha, contrary to the zamindars, wealthy farmers (Jotedars), moneylenders, local bureaucrats, and Dealers.
  5. The principal slogan of the movement was –” nij kamare dhan tolo”.
  6. The Muslim team authorities headed by the Suharwardy introduced the Bargardari Bill and repression by force.


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