of resistance as follows: (1) anti-European
The history of popular resistance to British rule must necessarily be the
history of many disparate movements.
Resistance never linked up with that cumulative explosive power which
transformed local struggles into widespread rebellion. It had happened in
1857; it occurred less dramatically in 1920-22; it happened on a large
scale once more in 1942.
Three Phases of Peasant Movements
Historically, the peasant movements in pre-independence India can broadly
be grouped in the following three distinct phases: the first phase was
characterised by the absence of proper leadership; the second phase
witnessed the rise of well-organised peasant movements in which the
Congress Party, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, took active part;
and the third phase was marked by the emergence of the class conscious
peasant organisations. Its distinct feature was that, during this period, peasant
movements were led by people who gave priority to kisan (peasant) problems
in the struggle for national liberation.
Indigo Agitation of Bengal (1859–60) The Indigo agitation of Bengal was
the result of the oppression and exploitation of the peasants of Bengal by the
European monopolistic indigo planters. This was vividly portrayed by Dina
Bandhu Mitra in his play, Nil Darpan, enacted in 1869.
Following this oppression the peasants refused to cultivate indigo and
took to armed resistance against the planters. Bishnucharan Biswas and
Digambar Biswas played a prominent role in this resistance. Further, the
intelligentsia of Bengal organised a powerful campaign in support of the
rebellious peasants. This led to the appointment of the Indigo Commission of
1869 by the government and removal of some of the abuses of indigo
Pabna Movement or Peasant Unrest in East Bengal (1872–76) In East
Bengal the peasantry was oppressed by zamindars through frequent recourse
to ejection, harassment, illegal seizure of property, arbitrary enhancement of
rent and use of force. Consequently, the peasants organised no-rent unions
and launched armed attacks on the zamindars and their agents. Pabna district