Anti-British Rising and Peasant Revolts in Assam: SEBA Class 10 History Chapter 3

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Here are the extra questions and notes/solutions/answers to the questions for history (social science) chapter 3 Anti-British Rising and Peasant Revolts in Assam of class 10 (HSLC) for students studying under the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA).

anti-british rising and peasant revolt in assam
Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

In the early nineteenth century, the East India Company had established itself as a powerful ruler in India, and similarly, in Assam, they built a strong organisational base and successfully quelled all possible local uprisings against the British. This was demonstrated by the failed revolt of Gomdhar Konwar and Piyoli Phukan. The British seized control of the economies by instituting a new revenue system but did nothing to alleviate the hardships of peasants and poor subjects. As a result of this, as well as a number of other factors, anti-British protests and peasant revolts erupted in Assam.

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Very short answer type questions

1. After the establishment of the British rule in Assam how did the system of revenue collection change?

Answer: Following the establishment of British rule in Assam, the foreign government prioritised tax collection. Prior to the British administration, revenue was not collected in cash.

2. In which year did Moffat Mills come to Assam? 

Answer: Moffat Mills came to Assam in the year 1853

3. Who were the Keyas?

Answer: Keyas were immigrant Marwaris in Assam who thrived on interest and were referred to as Mahajans.

4. Who led the revolt of 1857 in Assam?

Answer: Maniram Barbhandar Barua led the revolt of 1857 in Assam.

5. Which Ahom Prince did the rebels of Assam want to re-install on the throne in the revolt of 1857?

Answer: The rebels of Assam wanted to re-install Kandarpeswar Singha on the throne in the revolt of 1857.

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11. Write two causes of the pitiable condition of the peasants of Assam during the British rule.

Answer: The pitiful condition of Assam’s peasants during British rule can be attributed to two factors:

i. Taxes increased by a factor of ten between 1854 and 1870. Despite the fact that taxes were collected from peasants, no steps were taken by the government to develop agriculture and agriculturists.

ii. Even during natural disasters, epidemics, or family crises, the foreign government did not exempt peasants from paying taxes.

12. Who was Lieutenant Singer?

Answer: Lieutenant Singer was an Assistant Commissioner who was sent by Commissioner of Nowgaon Sconce to meet the angry people holding Raij Mels from 15 October 1861 for five days. Later, he was killed by the angry public.

13. When did the Phulaguri Dhawa take place?

Answer: Phulaguri Dhawa took place on October 18, 1861.

14. When did the peasant revolt of Rangia take place?

Answer: The peasant revolt of Rangia took place on 24 December 1893.

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20. Who punished Tikendrajit with the death sentence?

Answer: The British force punished Tikendrajit with the death sentence.

21. In which year was J.W Quinton murdered?

Answer: J.W Quinton was murdered in 1890.

Long answer type questions

1. Discuss in brief the causes of the revolt of 1857-58.

Answer: Following the British occupation of Assam in 1826, the state faced a number of local rebellions.

In Assam, one of the major rebellions against the British occurred in 1857. This rebellion was part of the Sepoy Mutiny, which began in Northern India. The following were the major causes of the Assam revolt of 1857-58:

i. Land revenue system: There was a significant increase in the introduction of new land revenue as well as other taxes. All of these taxes were to be paid in cash. This instilled deep resentment in the Assamese people.
ii. Epidemic spread: Prior to the outbreak of the rebellion, Upper Assam was plagued by cholera and measles. Several villages were wiped out as a result of the spread of these diseases, and the people received no assistance from the British administration.
iii. Slavery abolition: The abolition of slavery in Assam dealt a severe blow to the Assamese aristocracy. They were stripped of all social positions and powers, and they were also forced to work in manual labour.
iv. Reassessment of Lakheraj land: The British government confiscated the excess of untaxed Lakheraj land in Upper Assam. It instilled resentment in the Brahmin purohits, who turned against British rule and joined the 1857 revolt.
v. Unemployment situation: While some Assamese aristocrats such as Phukan, Barua, Rajkhowa, and others were appointed Maujadars with the responsibility of collecting taxes during the Ahom reign, this responsibility was largely delegated to outsiders such as Bengalis from Srihatta in Bengal or Marwaris from Western India.
vi. Aristocratic resentment: During the Ahom rule, the Assamese aristocrats led a luxurious life, with servants galore to cater to their whims and fancies. However, after the British abolished slavery in Assam in 1843, this class suffered greatly due to a lack of labourers to work on their estates and fields.

2. Discuss the role of Maniram Dewan in the revolt of 1857-58 in Assam.

Answer: Maniram Borbhandar Barua was renamed Maniram Dewan. Maniram travelled to Calcutta in early 1857 to petition the British government to restore Kandarpeswar Singha to the throne of Assam. But he never had the chance to meet the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal.

At the time, he learned about the revolt of Indian soldiers in the British army in Northern India and began to fantasise about overthrowing British rule in Assam with the help of Indian soldiers in the British army stationed in Assam through a revolt. He secretly sent letters from Calcutta to Kandarpeswar Singha in Jorhat and a few other trusted individuals. He advised in these letters that the Indian soldiers in Dibrugarh and Golaghat be contacted, and a revolt erupted. Maniram Dewan intended to arrive in Upper Assam with arms and ammunition to join the revolt. Unfortunately, many of these conspiratorial letters ended up in the hands of Captain Holroyd, the officer in charge of the Sibsagar district, and Maniram Dewan was immediately arrested in Calcutta. His supporters in Jorhat and Sibsagar, including Piyoli Barua and Kandarpeswar Singha, were arrested.

Maniram Dewan and Piyoli Barua were imprisoned in Jorhat and hanged on February 26, 1858.

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7. Give an account of the peasant revolt of Patharughat in 1894.

Answer: Patharughat peasant revolt began in 1894 in the Mangaldoi Circle of Darrang district. Raij Mels were organised by the public to oppose the increased revenue as well as its collection. In these Raij Mels, peasants from Kalaigaon, Mangaldi, Sipajhar of Mangoldoi circle, and Patharughat tehsil gathered. After holding such public assemblies in their own areas, the peasants planned a three-day public assembly in Patharughat on January 26-28. This information was passed on from the Tehsildars of that area to the Circle Officer, who then informed the Deputy Commissioner, J. D Anderson, about the proposed Raij Mel.

J.D. Anderson, along with a force of police and military personnel, as well as Police Superintendent J. R Berington, arrived in Patharughat on January 27th to put a stop to this massive public gathering. The properties of those peasants who refused to pay revenue were confiscated with the assistance of the police and military. This infuriated the peasants, and about 200 of them surrounded Berington, who had gone in search of revenue. He managed to escape the clutches of the public and, upon reaching the Rest Camp, described everything to the Deputy Commissioner. Around 2000 peasants marched towards the Rest Camp a few hours later. Almost all of them were armed with sticks.

When the peasants arrived at the Rest Camp, Anderson advised them to return home as soon as possible, but they refused. The Deputy Commissioner then directed the Police Superintendent to disperse the peasants with force if necessary. When the Police Superintendent tried to forcefully chase away the peasants in response to this order, they retaliated by brandishing their sticks, hurling stones-pebbles, and moving in closer. The rain of stones and pebbles was so intense that none of the police, military or administrative officers could keep their eyes open. Under these circumstances, the Deputy Commissioner directed the Police Superintendent to open fire. According to unofficial reports, the firing killed 140 peasants and injured 150 more. Official records, on the other hand, showed 15 people killed and 37 injured. As a result, the 1894 peasant revolt became known as the Patharughat Revolt.

8. Write a note on the Jaintia revolt against the British in 1850.

Answer: In 1835, the British captured the Jaintia Kingdom from Jaintia King Rajendra Singha.

The act of incorporating the Jaintia Hills into the Company’s domain infuriated the freedom-loving Jaintia people. The British made plans to extract revenue by prohibiting community fishing and firewood collection, both of which were common among these people. Furthermore, interference in religious and traditional social practises, as well as the prohibition of weapons used for generations, turned this ethnic hill tribe completely against the British. They convened village meetings with the Dolois and Sardars and began planning a revolt. On the other hand, in order to establish their authority, the British began to impose several taxes which they had never paid in cash. When the British imposed a house tax and the Jaintias raised the banner of revolt by deposing the tehsildar of Jowai, the British administration resorted to drastic measures. In retaliation, the Jaintias, led by Ukiang Nonbah, doubled the strength of the revolt. They gathered near Jowai and vowed to depose British authority from the Jaintia Hills and re-establish their own rights. The Jaintias launched an unexpected attack on the British Camp in Jowai on January 17, 1862. The rebels had already blocked the two roads connecting Jowai and Cherrapunji, as well as Cherrapunji and Jayantipur. The British administration entrusted the military and civil authority of the entire Jaintia Hills to Brigadier General of the Eastern Command, G. D. Showers, in the midst of this violent conflict between the two sides. The continuous attacks from the government side were gradually eroding the rebels’ strength. The British government promised a general amnesty if the rebels surrendered voluntarily, and a reward of 1000 rupees was announced for anyone who captured and handed over their leader, Ukiang Nongbah, alive to the British. Finally, Ukiang Nongbah was apprehended by the British and hanged in front of a large crowd in Jowai. This incident dampened the rebels’ spirits to a large extent, and many of them voluntarily surrendered. As a result, by 1863, the Jaintia Revolt had come to an end.

9. Write about the anti-British revolt of 1891 in Manipur under the leadership of Tikendrajit?

Answer: Manipur’s kingdom was independent of Assam’s administration. Manipur has been recognised as a native kingdom under British protection for many years. An internal feud for the Throne erupted in the Manipuri royal family in 1890. The Chief Commissioner of Assam interfered unnecessarily in the succession struggle. Taking advantage of the British presence, Crown Prince Kulachandra dethroned King Surachandra and sat on the throne himself on September 2, 1890. Despite King Surachandra’s appeal for assistance, the British recognised Kulachandra as the king of Manipur; the British then began to put pressure on Kulachandra to expel his Commander-in-Chief (Senapati) Tikendrajit, who was the main leader of the anti-British revolt that was secretly taking place, from the kingdom. However, it was not an easy task for Kulachandra to expel the popular leader who was working to protect the Kingdom’s freedom under the direction of the British. When the Chief Commissioner of Assam, J.W. Quinton, and four other European officers arrived in Manipur to apprehend Tikendrajit, the freedom-seeking Manipuris killed them all. To avenge this incident, a large military force was dispatched to Manipur. Tikendrajit was apprehended by British forces and hanged on charges of anti-British activities and killing British officials. In September 1891, King Kulachandra was exiled, and a minor Manipuri prince, Churachandra, was declared King. Because the King was a minor, the British government’s Political Agent was given complete control of Manipur’s administration. Manipur was forced to pay the government Rs. 2.50 Lakh in compensation for the losses sustained during the revolt. Manipur was also required to pay the British an annual sum of Rs. 50,000. The British established their dominance in the Kingdom of Manipur in this manner.

Write short notes on

1. The Revenue system implemented by the British in Assam.
2. Maniram Dewan.
3. Phulaguri Dhawa.
4. Peasant revolt of Lachima.
5. Battle of Patharughat.
6. Importance of peasant revolts in Assam.
7. Tikendrajit.

Answer: 1. The Revenue system implemented by the British in Assam: The British seized control of the economies by instituting a completely new revenue system. The foreign government placed greater emphasis on tax collection in this revenue system. They took no steps to alleviate the sorrows and difficulties of the peasants and poor subjects. Revenue was not collected in cash in Assam prior to the British administration. However, the British’s introduction of the cash payment of land revenue and other taxes further impoverished the Assamese subjects, while the British’s exploitation increased day by day. The British government’s new hind revenue policy and money economy instilled deep resentment in the Assamese people. This money economy gave rise to the Mahajans, who thrived on interest in Assam, and the Assamese subject populace was forced to take out interest-bearing loans from this very class in order to clear their land revenue to the government. Immigrant Marwari (keya) and Bengali businessmen made up this class of Mahajans.

2. Maniram Dewan: Maniram Borbhandar Barua was renamed Maniram Dewan. Maniram Barua joined King Purandar Singha’s service as the Dewan when he was re-established in Upper Assam. But, for unknown reasons, he resigned from this position and joined the Assam Tea Company, which was owned by the British and founded in 1839. In 1844, he resigned from that position as well and established his own tea garden in Jorhat. Maniram travelled to Calcutta in early 1857 to petition the British government to restore Kandarpeswar Singha to the throne of Assam. But he never had the chance to meet the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. At the time, he learned about the revolt of Indian soldiers in the British army in Northern India and began to fantasise about overthrowing British rule in Assam with the help of Indian soldiers in the British army stationed in Assam through a revolt. He secretly sent letters from Calcutta to Kandarpeswar Singha in Jorhat and a few other trusted individuals. He advised in these letters that the Indian soldiers in Dibrugarh and Golaghat be contacted, and a revolt erupted. Maniram Dewan intended to arrive in Upper Assam with arms and ammunition to join the revolt. Unfortunately, many of these conspiratorial letters ended up in the hands of Captain Holroyd, the officer in charge of the Sibsagar district, and Maniram Dewan was immediately arrested in Calcutta.

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6. Importance of peasant revolts in Assam: The Assamese peasant revolt against the British began in the nineteenth century. In 1858, the British government in Assam imposed a number of taxes, including stamp duties, income tax, licence tax, grazing tax, and so on. All of the British government’s measures to collect more and more revenue ruined the common people and peasants. Raij Mels was organised by peasants. There were no political organisations, despite the fact that their importance in Assam was enormous. These Raij Mels did everything they could to make peasants and other common people politically aware.

7. Tikendrajit: Tikendrajit was the main leader of the secret anti-British revolt taking place in Manipur. However, it was not an easy task for Kulachandra to expel the popular leader who was working to protect the Kingdom’s freedom under the direction of the British. When the Chief Commissioner of Assam, J.W. Quinton, and four other European officers arrived in Manipur to apprehend Tikendrajit, the freedom-seeking Manipuris killed them all. To avenge this incident, a large military force was dispatched to Manipur. Tikendrajit was apprehended by British forces and hanged on charges of anti-British activities and killing British officials. In September 1891, King Kulachandra was exiled, and a minor Manipuri prince, Churachandra, was declared King. Because the King was a minor, the British government’s Political Agent was given complete control of Manipur’s administration. Manipur was forced to pay the government Rs. 2.50 Lakh in compensation for the losses sustained during the revolt. Manipur was also required to pay the British an annual sum of Rs. 50,000. The British established their dominance in the Kingdom of Manipur in this manner.

Additional/extra questions and answers of Anti-British Rising and Peasant Revolts in Assam

1. Who were the associates of Piyoli Phukan?

Answer: Jiuram Dulia Barua and Kandarpeswar Singha were his associates.

2. When did Assam become a British colony?

Answer: In 1826 Assam became a British colony.

3. Who was allowed to rule in Upper Assam by the English?

Answer: Ahom prince Purandar Singha was allowed to rule in Upper Assam by the English.

4. How did Assam come under British rule?

Answer: Under the Treaty of Yandaboo, Assam came under British rule. 

5. Who was Tularam Senapati?

Answer: Tularam Senapati was Dimacha Kacharis’s leader. He continued to rebel against Gobinda Chandra and established a stronghold in the North Cachar mountainous district, following his father’s ideals. After Gobinda Chandra’s death, Tularam seized the throne of Cachar as the heir.

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11. When did the British re-anoint Purandar Singha as King?

Answer: Purandar Singha was re-crowned king by the British in 1833, in accordance with a treaty.

12. Who was Dhatna Gohain?

Answer: Dhatna Gohain was the father of Gadadhar Singha. He failed in his attempt to overthrow the British with the support of the King of Burma.

13. When did Piyoli Phukan revolt?

Answer: Piyoli Phukan revolted in 1857-58.

14. When did Gadadhar Konwar revolt?

Answer: Gadadhar Konwar revolted in 1830.

15. When did the British gain control over Nagaland?

Answer: In 1866 the British gained control over Nagaland.

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20. How was the relation of the Khamtis with the British? 

Answer: The Khamtis were the people that lived in Sadiya. They were Ahoms who lived in Burma and belonged to the same community. In 1794, they defeated Sadiya Khowa Gossain, an administrative officer on the outskirts of the Ahom kingdom, and took control of Sadiya. They appointed one Sadiya Khowa Gossain from among them. According to a pact signed by the British, the Sadiya Khowa Gassain recognised the British mastery in 1826. He did not have to pay any tax to the British for this purpose. The post of Sadiya Khowa Gossain was dissolved by the British in 1835, and the entire province became British territory.

21. Purandar Singha ascended to the throne of Upper Assam under what circumstances?

Answer: After Piyoli Barua was hanged, the Assamese people began to revolt. With the support of an Ahom ruler, Scott planned to administer Upper Assam. Calcutta’s Governor General agreed to the plan. Thus, Purandar Singha was restored as King of Upper Assam in 1833 and he had to pay the British Rs.50,000 for this.

22. Show two causes of the Assamese peasant revolt that occurred in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Answer: The two causes were:

i. The Assamese common people were deeply enraged by the British government’s new land revenue policy and money economy.
ii. The introduction of a ten-year land settlement strategy and a central survey system in 1883 caused concern among the peasants.

23. What challenges did King Gobinda Chandra confront when the Cachar kingdom was annexed by the British?

Answer: Krishna Chandra, the King of Cachar, died in 1813, and his brother, Gobinda Chandra, ascended to the throne. During the Anglo-Burmese war, Gobinda Chandra accepted British sovereignty and agreed to pay the British Rs.10,000 per year. Cachar became a British colony as a result of this. Internally, however, Gobinda Chandra’s reign did not go smoothly. Gobindra was constantly attacked by Tularam, who followed the beliefs of Dimacha Kachari ruler Kahidan, and as a result, Tularam was able to consolidate his position in the North Cachar Hills district. David Scott acted as a mediator in the middle of 1829, and a treaty was signed. As a result, Gobinda Chandra was forced to give Tularam control of the North Cachar Hill area.

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26. What impact did the 1857 uprising have on Assam?

Answer: The revolt of 1875 gave the elite class of Assam a golden opportunity to free themselves from British control and restore the Ahom monarchy. As a result, Assam reacted to the revolt of 1857. Some people in the Brahmaputra valley attempted to instigate Indian soldiers in the British army based in Assam to fan the flames of the revolt here, and with their help, throw the British out and establish an Ahom royal prince as king of Assam. In the Barak valley, there was no such reaction, though some Chittagong soldiers caused some havoc. The persons who attempted to instigate the sepoys against the British administration were members of Assam’s erstwhile elite class, who dreamt of driving the British out of the state and restoring the Ahom monarchy, led by Kandarpeswar Singha, the grandson of previous Ahom king Purandar Singha.

27. Write about the start of British rule in Assam and the Northeast.

Answer: Following victory in the first Anglo-Burma War, the British occupied Assam. The British informed the Assamese people that they had no plans to establish a kingdom in the state. In March 1828, the company government decided to keep lower Assam in their possession. No decision was made on whether or not the upper Assam would be part of their kingdom. The British Indian government decided to install an Ahom ruler on Upper Assam in October 1832, under the reign of Governor-General Lord William Bentinck. Purandar Singha was crowned king, but he had to pay an annual fee of Rs.50,000. The British government also occupied a 4-square-mile territory near Jorhat and built a military camp there. 

Purnadar Singha was deposed and upper Assam became part of the British empire when he failed to pay a debt of Rs.50,000. Purandar Singha was given an annual annuity of 1,000 rupees by the British. However, the British were not contended with capturing Assam and instead focused on occupying the tribal kingdoms one by one.

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