Peasants Movement in India during British Rule

By Naveen Singh|Updated : September 15th, 2021

Peasant Movement in India During British Period is an important topic for Defence Exams like CAPF, CDS, AFCAT . These events happened in the different-different part of India. In this article, we will read about Peasants Movement in India.

Peasant Movement in India During British Period is an important topic for Defence Exams like CAPF, CDS, AFCAT . These events happened in the different-different part of India. In this article, we will read about Peasants Movement in India.

Modern History: Peasant Movements in India

Majorly two types of uprisings took place against the British. They are

  • Civil Uprisings
  • Tribal Uprisings

Civil Uprisings

The civil uprisings include uprisings by common people, zamindars, poligars, thekedars etc. It does not encompass anything related to military or defence. The deposed native rulers or their descendants, ex-retainers, officials etc led these uprisings at various parts of the country. Their basic objective was to restore earlier forms of rule and social relations. The major causes for such civil uprisings are:

  • Colonial land revenue system: The system of Zamindari, Ryotwari and Mahalwari had led to disruption in the traditional social structure. Peasants were disabled due to high taxation, summary eviction from their lands, frequent rise in the taxes, lack of security of tenure etc.
  • Exploitation: Growth of intermediary revenue collectors, money lenders, tenants etc has led to severe economic exploitation of the peasants.
  • Impoverishment of artisans: Promotion of British manufactured goods led to the devastation of Indian handloom and handicraft industries. There was a disappearance of traditional patrons of artisans which led to the further ruin of Indian industries.
  • Deindustrialization: Migration of workers from industries to agriculture due to the destruction of traditional industries
  • Foreign character: The British had remained alien to this land and treated natives with contempt.

Important Civil Uprisings





Sanyasi Revolt

(or) Fakir rebellion

Causes: Famine of 1770 and the harsh economic exploitation by the British

Participants: Peasants, dispossessed zamindars, disbanded soldiers and rural poor. Equal participation of Hindus and Muslims was seen

Leaders: Debi Chaudhurani, Majnum Shah, Chirag Ali, Musa Shah, Bhawani Pathak

Literary works: Anandmath and Devi Chaudhurani by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay


Revolt in  Midnapore and Dhalbhum

Causes: Introduction of Permanent Settlement System in Bengal and dispossession of Zamindaries

Leaders: Damodar Singh and Jagannath Dhal


Revolt of Momarias

Causes: Rise of low-caste Momaria peasants to challenge the authority of Ahom kings

Results: The Ahom king, though survived the rebellion, finally fell to a Burmese invasion and came under British Rule


Civil Uprisings in Gorakhpur, Basti, and Bahraich

Causes: Plan of Warren Hastings to meet the war expenses against Marathas and Mysore. English officers were involved as Izaradars or revenue farmers in Awadh.


Revolt of Raja of Vizianagaram

Causes: British asked for help from the Raja of Vizianagaram, Ananda Gajapatiraju, to oust the French from Northern Circars. After their victory, the British went back on their words, demanded a tribute from the Raja and asked him to disband his troops. Raja Vizayaramaraju, the son of Late Ananda Gajapatiraju rose up in revolt. He was later killed in a battle.


Revolt of Dhundia in Bednur

Dhundia was a Maratha leader who rose up in revolt against the British. He was defeated by Wellesley in 1800.

1797; 1800-1805

Resistance of Kerala Simham Pazhassi Raja

Extension of British paramountcy over Kottayam and exorbitant rates of tax on the peasants led to a mass resistance by peasants under the leadership of Pazhassi Raja.


Civil Rebellion in Awadh

Massacre of Benares by Wazir Ali. He was the fourth Nawab of Awadh who was later deposed and pensioned off by the British.

1800; 1835-1837

Uprisings in Ganjam and Gumsur

Rebellion by Strikara Bhanj and his son Dhananjay Bhanj, the zamindars of Gumsur against the British.


Uprisings in Palamau

Agrarian landlordism and feudal system


Poligars revolt

Poligars were the landlords belonging to South India. They rose in revolt against British due to their revenue demands. Kattabomman Nayakan, Oomaithurai and Maruthu Pandian were the important chiefs in the revolt.


Diwan Velu Thampi’s revolt

Causes: State of Travancore fell into arrears after agreeing into Subsidiary alliance. The British resident of Travancore was meddling in the internal affairs of the state. This made Velu Thampi to rise against the Company. His call to revolt was known as Kundara Proclamation.


Disturbances in Bundelkhand

Insurgency by Bundela chiefs after Bundelkhand was attached with Bengal Presidency. The disturbances were put down by contractual obligations called Ikarnamahs with the Bundelas.


Parlakimedi Outbreak

Resistance from Parlakimedi Raja Narayan Deo against the Company


Kutch Rebellion


· British interference in internal affairs of Kutch.

· British administrative innovations

· Excessive land assessments

Leader: Raja Bharmal II of Kutch


Rising at Bareilly


· Imposition of Police Tax

· Discontent due to alien administration


Upsurge in Hataras

High revenue assessment from Hataras resulted in Dayaram revolting against the Company.


Paika Rebellion or Paike Bidroh

 The Paiks of Odisha were the traditional landed militia.


· The English company’s conquest of Odisha, and the dethronement of the Raja of Khurda had greatly reduced the power and prestige of the Paiks.

· The extortionist land revenue policies caused further resentment among the zamindars and peasants.

· Increase in the prices of Salt due to taxes

·  Abolition of Cowrie currency

·  Requirement of payment of taxes in Silver are other causes

Leader: Bakshi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar


Waghera Rising

· Resentment against alien rile

· Exactions of the Gaekwad of Baroda


Ahom Revolt

· British attempts to incorporate Assam into their territory after the First Burma War

· Gomdhar Konwar was the leader to lead the revolt


Surat Salt Agitations

· Raise in taxes on salt from 50 paise to 1 rupee

· Introduction of Bengal standard weights and measures


Kohlapur and Savantvadi revolts

· Gadkaris rose in revolt against the British due to administrative reorganization and unemployment


Wahabi movement

· Islamic revivalist movement founded by Syed Ahmed of Rai Bareilly

· Conversion of Dar-ul-Harb into Dar-ul-Islam

·  Jihad declared on Sikhs and later on British


Kuka Movement

·  Founded by Bhagat Jawahar Mal in Western Punjab. Another major leader was Baba Ram Singh who founded the Namdhari Sikh Sect


· Abolition of caste and other discriminations in Sikhism

· Discouraging the consumption of meat, alcohol, and drugs

· Permission for intermarriages

· Widow remarriage

· Removal of British and restoring Sikh kingdom

· Boycott of English laws, education and products


Narkelberia Uprising

· The first armed peasant uprising against the British

· Titu Mir inspired Muslim peasants to rise against Hindu landlords


The Pagal Panthis

· Founded by Karam Shah consisting of the Hajong and Garo tribes

· They refused to pay rents and attacked the houses of Zamindars


Faraizi Revolt

· Founded by Haji Shariat-Allah of Faridpur

· Dadu Mian organized his followers to expel British from Bengal


Moplah Uprisings

· Took place in Kerala


· Hike in revenue demands

· Reduction in field sizes

· Oppression of officials

Peasant Movements in India PDF in English

Peasant Movements in India PDF in Hindi 

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