Western India

Civil Rebellions and Tribal Uprisings in Western India

  • Bhil Uprising: The Bhils are an indigenous tribe of the Western Ghats with their strongholds in Khandesh. During 1817-1819, they revolted against their new masters, the English East India Company, fearing agrarian hardships under the new regime. The British had crushed the revolt. However, the Bhils revolted again in 1825 under the leadership of Sewaram, encouraged by the reverses faced by the British in the First Anglo-Burmese War. The trouble erupted again in 1831 and 1846 signifying the popular character of the discontent.
  • Koli Uprising: The Kolis were the neighbouring tribesmen of the Bhils. They too resented the imposition of British rule on their lands, the dismantling of their forests, and the new administrative order which led to the widespread employment of outsiders in their lands. The Kolis rose in rebellion in 1829, in 1839, and again during 1844-1848.
  • Kutch Rebellion: The British frequently interfered in the internal feuds of the Kutch. In 1819, a British force defeated and deposed Rao Bharmal in favour of his infant son. The actual administration of Kutch was under the control of the Council of Regency which was supervised a British Resident. The administrative innovations made by the Regency Council coupled with the excessive land assessment caused deep resentment. The reverses faced by the English in the First Anglo-Burmese War emboldened the chiefs to rise in revolt and demand the restoration of Rao Bharmal. Though excessive military operations brought the situation under control, trouble erupted again in 1831. The Company's authorities were then compelled to follow a conciliatory policy.
  • Waghera Uprising: Besides the resentment against the foreign rule, the exactions of Gaekwad of Baroda supported by the British Government compelled the Waghera chief to take up arms. The Wagheras carried on inroads into British territory during 1818-1819. The uprising ended with a peace treaty that was concluded in November 1820.
  • Surat Salt Agitation: The raising of salt duty from 50 paise to one rupee in 1844 by the government caused great discontent among the people. They attacked some Europeans. Faced with a popular movement, the Government withdrew the additional salt levy. Similarly in 1848, the Government's decision to introduce Bengal Standard Weights and Measures had to be withdrawn against the people's determined bid to resort to boycott and passive resistance.
  • Ramosi Uprising: The Ramosis were the hills tribes of the Western Ghats. They resented British rule and the new pattern of administration. In 1822, under Chatur Singh, they revolted and plundered the regions around Satara. There were revolts again during 1825-1826 and the area remained disturbed till 1829. The disturbance erupted again in 1840-1841 over the deposition and banishment of Raja Pratap Singh of Satara in September 1839. A superior British force restored the order in the area.
  • Satara Revolt: The people of Satara rose in revolt under Dhar Rao in 1840 because the popular ruler of Satara, Pratap Singh, was deposed and banished by the British. Narsing Patekar led the revolt in 1844. He was defeated and captured by the British.
  • Bundela Revolt: Due to the revenue policies of the British, Bundelas rose in revolt under Madhukar Shah and Jawahar Singh in 1842. Madhukar Shah was captured and executed by the British.
  • Phadke's Revolt: Vasudev Balwant Phadke organized an armed rebellion in 1877 after the terrible famine in western India. He recruited young peasants of Maharashtra and organized political dacoities. He was the earliest among the nationalist leaders to organize political dacoities. He was captured in 1879 and died in 1883. With him, the rebellion also died.
  • Gadkari Revolt: The assumption of direct administration of Kolhapur by the British created resentment among Gadkaris, who rose in revolt in Kolhapur. The revolt was finally suppressed by the British.
  • Naikdas Revolt: Revolt of the Naikdas tribe took place first during 1858-1859 under Rup Singh in Gujarat and again in 1868 under Joria Bhagat. This revolt was suppressed after the capture and execution of Rup Singh and Joria Bhagat.
  • Kolhapur and Savantvadi Revolts: The Gadkaris who were the hereditary military class which garrisoned Maratha forts were disbanded under the administrative reorganization in the Kolhapur state after 1844. Faced with the spectre of unemployment, the Gadkaris rose in revolt and occupied the forts of Samangarh Bhudargarh. Similarly, there was a simmering discontent in Savantwadi which led to a revolt.

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