Before the introduction of Chemical Dyes, there was natural Indigo Dye. These Dye had high value around the world.
As a result, Many European traders tried to become Indigo Planters in India. By that, the Europeans employed the local farmer to grow the Indigo crop.
After harvesting, these crops it was processed into dye at the planter’s factories and exported to various European countries.
Then India went on to become the highest supplier of Indigo to Great Britain in the 19th century. The system of Indigo cultivation is very oppressive as the peasant was forced to grow Indigo crops rather than food crops.
The British planter gave the cultivators, a cash advance to pay rent for the land and other expenses in farming. And these cash expenses have to repay with interest.
The farmers earned from the Indigo cultivation is very less but the planter got great profit. As a result, the farmers fell into debt.
To clear the debts the farmers were forced to enter into another contract to grow Indigo by that the farmer was never able to recover the loans.
The loans and debt were passed on to father and son. This made the farmers to revolt against the planters.
The Indigo Revolt started in 1859. The revolt started as a strike, as the farmers of a village in Nadia District in Bengal refused to grow Indigo plants and this news spread to the other indigo-growing districts of Bengal.
The Indigo revolt then became Violent and farmers from the Hindu and Muslim religion, along with the women participated in the revolt. The Indian journalists in Calcutta wrote about the brutality of the planters.
The play Nil Darpan (Mirror of the Indigo) by Dina Bandhu Mitra drew attention in India and Europe. The indigo industry quickly declines in Bengal. By the end of the 19th century, chemical blue dyes came into use as a result of natural Indigo dye declining.
Result of indigo revolt
- Due to the indigo revolt, the English government appointed the Indigo Commission in 1860.
- Then a notification was issue stating, that the farmers should not be forced to Indigo.