Q. 73.6( 15 Votes )

What were t

Answer :

The circumstances which led to the eventual collapse of indigo production in Bengal were as follows:

• Ryots were provided with the loan to cultivate the Indigo. Initially, ryots found this deal attractive but later they realised the amount they are getting paid was low as compared to the Indigo that has been produced by them. Also, the loan that had been given was never-ending. Moreover, the planters wanted indigo to be cultivated in best soil whereas the farmers cultivate rice to be cultivated in such soil. Continuous cultivation of indigo led to the exhaustion of the soil as it has deep roots. After the cultivation of indigo, the land cannot be used to sow rice.


• Ryots in Bengal decided not to cultivate Indigo in March 1859. They started rebellion by not paying revenue to the planters, attacked indigo factories. Women also participated and used pots, pans and kitchen implements. They boycotted those who worked for the planters and agents of the planters (gomasthas) were beaten up. The ryots decided not to cultivate Indigo anymore and will not be afraid by the lathiyals– who use lathi to exert control over people and he is maintained by the planters.


• The ryots were supported by the local zamindars and village headmen. Village headmen were forced in many villages to sign indigo contracts, to convince peasants to grow crops and also fought with lathiyals. The Zamindars were not happy about the increasing power of the planters so they insisted ryots to help them.


• Indigo peasants thought that they get support from the British government. In 1859, Lieutenant Governor went from villages to villages when he heard about all this. The peasants thought that the British government is sympathising with their situation. Ashley Eden, the magistrate in Barasat declared that peasants won’t be forced to sign the Indigo contract and soon Queen Victoria declared not to grow indigo. Peasants thought this as support from them.


• Intellectuals from Calcutta started writing about the rebellion and the plight of the Indigo peasants. They wrote about the ‘misery of the ryots, the tyranny of the planters, and the horrors of the indigo system.’


• Soon the government interfered and protected planters against any attack. Indigo Commission was set up to find out about the indigo production. The commission declared planters as guilty and how it was an injustice to use oppressive methods with indigo cultivators. It was considered that indigo production didn’t benefit the ryots. They were asked to complete their existing contracts and they have the right to refuse to sign the Indigo contract.


After this rebellion, also termed as ‘Blue rebellion’, Indigo production in Bengal was completely collapsed.


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