Describe the nature and extent of the armed revolts  against the British during the latter half of the 19th century. What  was their chief handicap? Why did they fail?

 

In  different parts of the country, the  popular  discontent against  British  rule manifested itself in  armed  revolts  even after  the  great  uprising  of  1857  had  been  crushed.  These continued  throughout  the remaining years of the  19th  century. Peasants,  tribal  people, certain religious sects and,  in  some cases, sections of old ruling families were up in arms.

 

The  first  of  these, the indigo revolts  in  lower  Bengal (1859-62)  and  North Bihar (1866-68) were  against  the  British planters  who forced peasants to cultivate indigo and sell it  to them at prices fixed by the planters.

 

These  were followed by peasant uprising in Patna and  Bogra in  Bengal (1872-76) Maharashtra (1874-75, 1878-79) and Rampa  in Andhra  (1879-80),  against the oppression of  landlords,  money-lenders  and the British authorities. A very important book  Neel darpan by Dina Bandu Mitra vividly portrays the condition of  the Indigo workers.

 

The peasants and tribals in north eastern India took up arms against  British  oppression.  The  Wahabis  who  had  played  an important  role  in the earlier anti-British  uprising  tried  to reorganise themselves after 1857, but were suppressed in 1863-64. Sher Ali, a Wahabi, killed Lord Mayo in the Andamans in 1872.

 

In  Punjab,  the  Namdhari or the Kuka  movement  under  the leadership  of Guru Ram Singh clashed with local chiefs  and  the British authorities. While many of the Kukas were massacred, Guru Ram Singh was exiled to Burma.

 

Vasudev  Balwant Phadke in Maharashtra led an  armed  revolt against  the  oppression of money-lenders and to  over-throw  the foreign rule, but he was routed in 1869 and imprisoned for life.

 

Tikendrajit in Manipur led an anti-British uprising in 1891, but was defeated and executed.

 

The Anti-British resistance of the Pathanas in North Western India, which had come under British control, continued throughout the 1890’s.

 

In Chotanagpur, Bihar ,Birsa Bhagwan oragnised the Mundas to fight  the  British police and army. Many of his  followers  were killed, and Birsa died in prison, perhaps due to poisoning.

 

All  most all these revolts were spontaneous  and  localised and  they  lacked political vision. However, side  by  side  with these  uprisings  ,  new  political  forces  emerged,  new  types associations  were  formed,  which gave  rise  to  a  nation-wide movement for national liberation.

 

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