Civil Rebellions and Tribal Uprisings

  • The backbone of the rebellions, their mass base and striking power came from the rack-rented peasants, ruined artisans and demobilized soldiers

CAUSES

  • The major cause of the civil rebellions was the rapid changes the British introduced in the economy, administration and land revenue system.
  • The revenues were enhanced by increasing taxes.
  • Thousands of zamindars and poligars lost control over their land and its revenue either due to the extinction of their rights by the colonial state or by the forced sale of their rights over land because of their inability to meet the exorbitant land revenue demanded.
  • The economic decline of the peasantry was reflected in twelve major and numerous minor famines from 1770 to 1857
  • The new courts and legal system gave a further fillip to the dispossessors of land and encouraged the rich to oppress the poor.
  • The police looted, oppressed and tortured the common people at will.
  • The ruin of Indian handicraft industries pauperized millions of artisans
  • The scholarly and priestly classes were also active in inciting hatred and rebellion against foreign rule.
  • Very foreign character of the British rule

REBELLIONS

  • From 1763 to 1856, there were more than forty major rebellions apart from hundreds of minor ones.
  • Sanyasi Rebellion: (1763-1800)
  • Chuar uprising (1766-1772 & 1795-1816); Rangpur and Dinajpur (1783); Bishnupur and Birbhum (1799); Orissa zamindars (1804-17) and Sambalpur (1827-40) and many others

WHY FAILED?

  • These rebellions were local in their spread and were isolated from each other.
  • They were the result of local causes and grievances, and were also localized in their effects.
  • Socially, economically and politically, the semi-feudal leaders of these rebellions were backward looking and traditional in outlook.
  • The suppression of the civil rebellions was a major reason why the revolt of 1857 did not spread to South India and most of Eastern and Western India.

TRIBAL  UPRISINGS: CAUSES

  • The colonial administrators ended their relative isolation and brought them fully within the ambit of colonialism.
  • Introduced new system of land revenue and taxation of tribal products
  • Influx of Christian missionaries into the tribal areas
  • They could no longer practice shifting agriculture
  • Oppression and extortion by police officials
  • The complete disruption of the old agrarian order of the tribal communities provided the common factor for all the tribal uprisings

UPRISINGS

  • Santhals
  • Kols of Chhotanagpur (1820-37)
  • Birsa Munda (1899-1900)

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