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.

Late Peasant Movements

  • Three important peasant movements of the early twentieth century:
    • Kisan Sabha and Eka movements in Avadh in UP
    • Mappila rebellion in Malabar
    • Bardoli Satyagrah in Gujarat
  • The UP Kisan Sabha was set up in February 1918 through the efforts of Gauri Shankar Mishra and Indra Narain Dwivedi with the support of Madan Mohan Malviya.
  • By June 1919, it had established about 450 branches in 173 tehsils of the province.
  • In August 1921, Mappila (Muslim) tenants rebelled. Their grievances related to lack of any security of tenure, renewal fees, high rents and other oppressive labndlord exactions.
  • The no-tax movement was launched in Bardoli taluq of Surat district in Gujarat in 1928.

 

The Working Class Movements

  • There were some working class movements in second half of 19th However, they were impulsive and not very well organized.
  • The early nationalists had a lukewarm attitude towards the question of workers. This war because initially Congress wanted to focus on issues which were of common concern to all the people of India.
  • There was a difference in attitude of the nationalists towards workers in indigenous and European enterprises.
  • The most important feature of the labour movement during the Swadeshi days was the shift from agitation and struggles on purely economic questions to the involvement of the worker with the wider political issues of the day.
  • The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) was founded in 1920.
  • IN 1918 Gandhi founded the Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association.
  • The AITUC in November 1927 took a decision to boycott the Simon Commission and many workers participated in the massive Simon boycott demonstrations.
  • Alarmed by worker’s movement, the government enacted repressive laws like the Public Safety Act and Trade Disputes Acts and arrested the entire radical leadership of the labour movement and launched the Meerut Conspiracy Case against them.
  • The labour movement suffered a major setback partially due to this government offensive and partially due to a shift in stance of the communist led wing of the movement.
  • From the end of 1928, the communists stopped aligning them with the national movement.
  • Communists got isolated within the AITUC and were thrown out in the split of 1931.
  • BY 1934, the communists re-entered the mainstream nationalist politics.
  • The working class of Bombay held an anti-war strike on 2 October, 1939.
  • With the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, the communists changed their policy and asked the people to support the allied forces instead of holding anti-war strikes.
  • The communists dissociated themselves from the Quit India movement launched in 1942.
  • The last years of colonial rule also saw a remarkably sharp increase in strikes on economic issues all over the country – the all India strike of the post and telegraph department employees being the most well known among them.

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