They did not invest money in seeds or fertilizers to improve the fertility of

They did not invest money in seeds or fertilizers to

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from the city had little or no interest in the land. They did not invest money in seeds or fertilizers to improve the fertility of the land but only cared to collect as much revenue as they could. This proved destructive for the peasants who remained backward and stagnant. To get out of this situation, the peasants now started producing commercial crops like indigo, sugarcane, jute, cotton, opium and so on. This was the beginning of commercialisation of agriculture. The peasants now depended on merchants, traders and middlemen to sell their produce during harvest time. As they shifted to commercial crops, food grain production went down. Less food stocks led to famines. It was therefore not surprising that the hungry peasants revolted. Lets us read more about some peasants revolts which took place on account of the British policies: (i) The Faqir and Sanyasi Rebellions (1770–1820s) : The establishment of British control over Bengal after 1757 led to increase in land revenue and the exploitation of the peasants. The Bengal famine of 1770 led peasants whose lands were confiscated, displaced zamindars , disbanded soldiers and poor to come together in a rebellion. They were joined by the Sanyasis and Fakirs. The Faqirs were a group of wandering Muslim religious mendicants in Bengal. Two famous Hindu leaders who supported them were Bhawani Pathak and a woman, Devi Choudhurani. They attacked English factories and seized their goods, cash, arms and ammunition. Maznoom Shah was one of their prominent leaders. They were finally brought under control by the British at the beginning of the 19 th century. The Sanyasi Uprisings took place in Bengal between the periods of 1770- 1820s. The Sanyasis rose in rebellion after the great famine of 1770 in Bengal which caused acute chaos and misery. However, the immediate cause of the rebellion was the restrictions imposed by the British upon pilgrims visiting holy places among both Hindus and Muslims. (ii) The Indigo Rebellion (1859-1862): The British adopted many ways through which they could increase their profits. They also started interfering with the basic means of livelihood of the people. Not only did they introduce new crops, they also brought new techniques of farming. Heavy pressure was put on the zamindars and peasants to pay high taxes and grow commercial crops. One such commercial crop was Indigo . The cultivation of indigo was determined
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MODULE - 1 India and the World through Ages 149 Popular Resistance to the British Rule SOCIAL SCIENCE Notes by the needs of the English cloth markets. The discontent of the farmers growing indigo was mainly for three reasons: circle6 They were paid very low prices for growing indigo; circle6 Indigo was not lucrative as it was planted at the same time as food crops; circle6 And loss of fertility of the soil because of planting indigo. Figure 7.2 As a result, food stocks declined. The peasants suffered at the hands of the traders and the middleman on whom they depended to sell their goods, sometimes at very low prices. They supported the zamindars to maintain their dominance and deal with their problems in administering those areas.
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