21 frequently asked questions on The Peasant and Tribal Movements in India: The Revolt of 1857


1. Who were adversely affected as a result of the creation of private property on land?

As a result of the land becoming the private property the peasants were the worst sufferers. The peasants could be evicted from the land any time by the zamindars who were the owners of the land. Fragmentation of land as a result of the creation of private property in land also led to the misery of the peasants.

2.What are the two causes of the ruination of the peasantry.


Under the new land settlements introduced by the British, it was the peasants who were the worst sufferers. One important cause of the peasants’ suffering was that they came under the grip of the mahajans, money lenders, etc. who were oppressors. Second important cause of the peasants’ suffering was due to the fact that under the new land settlement their rights on land was not, recognized.

3. Who declared from the Ghatshila fortress that he would not accept the domination of the British? Of which area was he the raja?

Raja Jagannath of Dhalbhum categorically declared from the fortress at Ghatshila that he would not accept the domination of the British. Raja Jagannath was the raja of Dhalbhum. He opposed the British. For about five years.

4. Who was Devi Singh? Who introduced the Ijaradari system?


Devi Singh was a land-speculator. Ijaradari system was introduced by Warren Hastings. The Ijaradars were basically land-speculators.

5. Who was an Ijaradar?

Ijaradars were basically land-speculators. They used to obtain the ijara of land on payment of an amount of money to the British government. Thus the ijaradars squeezed out as much money as possible in the form of revenue from the peasants during the period of the ijara.

6. Why did the Fakirs and Sannyasis burst out in rebellion against the British?


The Fakirs and Sannyasis burst out in rebellion as they had number of complaints against the British. The British had restricted their movement from place to place. Also the imposition of the pilgrim tax by the British government forced them to rebel against the British.

7. Who was the leader of the Ferazis? How the Ferazi movement turned against the agents of the British?

Haji Sariatulla was the leader of the Ferazis. Initially it began as a religious movement. But in course of time the agents of the British like the zamindars, indigo planters and others became the target of the Ferazis because of their oppressions.

8. Essays on the Ferazi movement took the form of a peasants’ rebellion?


Under Sariatulla, the founder of the Ferazi brotherhood, the Ferazi movemnt was a religious movement in nature. But under his son, Dudumiyan the Ferazi movement assumed the character of a peasants’ rebellion. The zamindars, indigo planters, etc. who were the agents of the British became the main target of the Ferazis.

9. Where was the centre of activities of the Ferazis? What were the limitations of the Ferazi movement?

Faridpur, in present Bangladesh, was the primary centre of the Ferazi activities. The main limitation of the Ferazi movement was that the movement was not participated by all because of religious fanaticism of the Ferazis the Hindus remained aloof from the movement.

10. Short note on the Ferazi movement.


The Arabic word ‘Ferazi’ means one who acts upto the commandments of God. In 1820 one Haji Shariatullah of Faridpur (in present independent Bangladesh) founded a kindered brotherhood called ‘Ferazi’. The Ferazi movement under the leadership of Haji Shariatullah remained strictly confined to a mere religious reform movement. Later on under his son Dudumiyan the movement assumed the character of a peasant movement.

11. Short note on the Wahabi movement.

The founder of the Wahabi movement in India was one named Syed Ahmed. He made extensive tour throughout the country preaching the ideal of Wahabi which literally means the path as shown by Muhammad. Anyway, between 1820 and 1822 the Wahabi movement gained considerable strength and centres of the movement were established in different parts of north India the movement initiated by Syed Ahmed was designed to revive the ways of the Prophet. Along with this he put forward the objective of driving the British out of the country.

12. Who constructed the Banser Kella? It was constructed for fight against whom?

It was Mir Nisar Ali, popularly known as Titumir, who with the help of his followers constructed the bamboo fortress or Banser Kella. The bamboo fortress was constructed to give a fight against the British. The fight is famous in history as the Barasat uprising.

13. Essays on the two tribal rebellions that broke out during the East India Company. Who were the leaders of the two rebellions?

The Kol rebellion and Santhal rebellion were the two rebellions that took place under the East India Company’s rule. Sidhu-Kanu was the leaders of the rebel Santhals. And Buddhu Bhakat and Joa Bhakat were the leaders of the rebel Kols.

14. Where did the Kol insurrection break out? Whom did the Kols spare?

The Kols who resided in the Chotonagpur area (Santhal Pargana), broke out in rebellion there. The Kols spared the blackmiths and such other persons who supplied them with arms to fight against.

15. Short note on the Kol rebellion.

The Kol tribesmen of Chotonagpur, long been exploited and looked down upon by the non-tribal outsiders, burst out into rebellion in 1831 under their leaders like Buddhu Bhagat, Joa Bhagat and Madara Mahato. The Kols of Chotonagpur grew restive over the increasing encroachment on tribal territories by the non-tribal planters, zamindars, etc. Besides, the oppression, by the merchants and moneylenders from the plains forced the Kols to raise the banner of revolt in order to restore “a traditional world in which men are justly dealt with”.

16. How did Titumir fight against the English?


Write a note on the Wahabi movement of Bengal.

The Wahabi movement was successfully carried to Bengal by Mir Nisar Ali, popularly known as Titumir, of 24 Parganas. Though a believer in the Wahabi ideal of Islamic reform, Titumir from the very beginning directed his energies in organizing the peasants against the oppressive zamindars, moneylenders and indigo farmers. Titumir’s growing popularity became a cause of concern for the English. Ultimately in the struggle that took place at Barasat between Titumir and the English the former was thoroughly defeated.

17. In 1857 who was declared to be the ‘Emperor of Hindustan’ by the rebel sepoys? Where was he banished later on?

Bahadur Shah II, the then Mughal Emperor, was declared the ‘Emperor of Hindustan’ by the rebels of 1857. The British suppressed the Revolt of 1857 within a very short time. Immediately after that the British had done away with the very existence of the Mughal emperor in India. Bahadur Shah II was banished from India to Rangoon, present Yangong.

18. What international events encouraged the Revolt of 1857?

When the resentment against the British was growing among the Indian sepoys news of some international events helped to generate a sense of self-confidence in them. The set-back of the British soldiers in the first Afghan War (1839) and the Crimean War (1854) indirectly helped the sepoys to be so determined as to rise in revolt against the British.

19.What are the two centers other than Meerut which became important for rebel activities. How Rani of Jhansi fought the British?

Lucknow and Kanpur were the two important centers of the Revolt of 1857. Rani of Jhansi with a view to recovering her kingdom Jhansi from the British herself took the command of her army. She wrested Gwalior from the British with the help of Tantiya Tope.

20. Who was known as the ‘Tiger of the Revolt of 1857? Where did he hoist his own flag?

Kunwar Singh was known as the ‘Tiger of the Revolt of 1857’. He was a big zamindar of Jagadishpur in Bihar. He hoisted his own flag at the top of his royal palace at Jagadishpur.

21. Essays on the nature (or character) of the Revolt of 1857.

Opinions vary as regards the nature or character of the Revolt of 1857. However, the opinion of modern historians on this issue may be considered as valid. They have opined that though the Revolt had behind it the discontent of the sepoys, it did not remain confined to the sepoys alone. Modern historians point out that the participation of different classes of people irrespective of their class and creed clearly indicate the popular nature of the Revolt of 1857.

22. What were the causes of the failure of the Revolt of 1857?

The revolt of 1857 was a failure. Apart from the military weaknesses of the mutineers and the faulty leadership, there were deeper social factors responsible for the failure of the Revolt. The Indian mutineers remained disorganized from the very beginning.

23. What was the immediate cause of the Revolt of 1857?

The episode of the greased cartridges constituted the immediate cause of the revolt of 1857. The new Enfield rifle introduced by the British had a greased paper cover in its cartridge that had to be bitten off before it was loaded. The rumor that the paper was made of beef and pig fat enraged both the Hindu and Muslim sepoys who brust out in rebellion.

24. What were the results of the Revolt of 1857?


Write a note on the results of the Revolt of 1857?

Of the many revolts that followed the Revolt of 1857 the most important was the end of the East India Company’s rule in India. The Indian administration was taken over directly by the British Government on behalf of the queen of England. Another result of the Revolt of 1857 was that the epithet ‘Viceroy’ was added the highest administrator the Governor-General of India.

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