Resistance Movement in Bengal during British Period Short Note


The aim of this article is to describe the resistance movements  in Bengal during British Period.

Contents described in this Article

  • Introduction
  • Fakir-Sannyasi Resistance
  • Movement of Titu Mir
  • Faraizi Movement
  • The Indigo Rebellion
  • Pabna Unrest
  • Partition of Bengal
  • Chittagong Armoury Raid
  • Conclusion


During the rule of the emperor Aurangzeb (reigned 1658–1707), the English East India Company was permitted to establish its base at Calcutta (Kolkata). The British gained strength in the region as the Mughal empire weakened. In 1757, by winning the Battle of Plassey defeating the Mughal nawab Sirāj-ud-Dawlah, the East India Company emerged as the dominant political power in Bengal and Bengal lost it’s independence completely. After Sepoy Mutiny 1857, the British government dissolving the company and taking direct control of India. After several movements finally in 1947, India became independent and two separate Countries have been created named Pakistan & India. In between 1757-1947 many resistance movement was happened in Bengal. Some were totally for independence or some were for injustice to farmers. Here we are going to discuss some the major and important movements of Bengal.

Fakir-Sannyasi Resistance

v  It is an armed resistance of the combined body of muslim fakirs (sufis) and hindu sannyasis (yogis) against the dominance of the english east india company in bengal.

v  This resistance began in 1760 and continued for more than four decades.

v  The most striking point in this prolonged resistance of the mendicants is the cause behind the movement. The reason is still left obscure. It seems that the regulations of the east india company seriously disturbed the ways of life of the muslim fakirs and hindu sannyasis thereby pushing them to make common cause and to take resort to armed resistance. Both the groups of mendicants lived on alms provided by their followers mostly in the villages. The company rulers, who little understood the religious institutions of the country, took their alms collection drive for unauthorised impositions on the village people. The government thus issued decrees banning collection of alms by the organised groups like the fakirs and sannyasis. In response, they started a resistance movement against the company rulers.

v  The Fakir-Sannyasi Resistance movement was organised and led by Majnu Shah, a sufi saint of Madaria sect. He succeeded Shah Sultan Hasan Suriya Burhana to the leadership of the Bihar based Madaria sufi order in the mid-eighteenth century. He had his lieutenants in the persons of the sufis like Musa Shah, Cherag Ali Shah, Paragal Shah, Sobhan Shah, Karim Shah etc. Bhabani Pathak, a Bhojpuri Brahmin, who had discourse with Majnu Shah and also had communication with a petty zamindar Devi Chaudhurani, led the sannyasi rebels.

v  The resistance movement got ready support from the peasantry for their religious attachment to the mendicants and also having been hard pressed under the new land revenue policy of the company government.

v  The Fakir resistance began in nebulous form in 1760 and gathered momentum in 1763. Their main target was the Company kuthi, revenue kacharis of zamindars loyal to the Company rulers, and the houses of their officials. The rebels used swords, spear and lances, gun, fire throwing device, hawai and even revolving cannons.

v  Their operations were mainly of guerilla nature. In most cases they attacked the Company personnel and their establishments in surprise. In regular operations and in specific battle there was often assemblage of five to six thousand fakir-sannyasis. The number of fakirs and sannyasis rose to around fifty thousand or more in 1770s. The rebels had their intelligence agents in the persons of the villagers who earlier transpired to them the movement of the Company troops.

v  The rebels attacked the commercial kuthi of the company at Bakerganj (1763) and kept the factory chief Calley confined for some days, and plundered the kuthi. In the same year they surprised Dhaka kuthi while its English supervisor Ralph Lester evacuated. However, Captain Grant subsequently recovered the factory. The same year, the rebels attacked company kuthi at Rampur Boalia in Rajshahi, captured the factory chief Bennette who was sent to Patna as captive, where he was killed.

v  By 1767 the attack of the rebels intensified in Rangpur, Rajshahi, Kuch Bihar, Jalpaiguri and Comilla. To check the activities of the rebels in North Bengal an English army was sent to Rangpur in 1767 under Captain De Mackenzee. Meanwhile the rebels defeated an English contingent sent by Barwel, the resident of Maldah, under the command of Myrtle who was killed by the rebels. At the approach of Captain De Mackenze with his army the rebels retracted towards Nepal.

v  During 1768-70 fakir-sannyasi raids mainly continued in Saran (Bihar), Benares, Purnia, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Rajshahi, Comilla and Chittagong districts. An army under Feltham suddenly attacked the fakir-sannyasis in 1771 on way to Ghoraghat and Govindganj in Rangpur, where they sustained a defeat and were dispersed.

v  In 1772 Majnu Shah raided the establishments of the Company in the Rangpur, Rajshahi and Bogra districts. The rebels conducted extensive raids in Purnia, Burdwan, Kumarkhali, Jessore, Mymensingh, Sylhet, Dhaka, Midnapore, Birbhum, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Bogra, Jalpaiguri in 1773. Fakir-Sannyasi raids got intensified in 1776 in the districts of Bogra, Rajshahi, Dinajpur and Chittagong.

v  During the period between 1777 and 1781 the fakir-sannyasi raids mainly continued in Bogra, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Chittagong, Sylhet and Mymensingh areas. The activities of the rebels took a serious turn in Alapsingh pargana of Mymensingh in 1782. After a severe battle at Pukhuria Majnu Shah receded into the Madhupur jungle with his followers.

v  In 1785 he proceeded towards Mahasthangarh and was defeated in a battle. In the following year, Majnu Shah planned simultaneous attack in eastern Bengal under himself and in North Bengal area under his lieutenant Musa Shah.

v  In a battle against the Company army under Lieutenant Brenan in Kaleswar area (8 December 1786) Majnu Shah lost a large number of his followers, and some of his wounded followers were carried to Mewat.

v  After 1786 Majnu Shah is not seen to lead any expedition. It appears that he himself was wounded in the battle at Kaleswar and died on 26 January 1788.

v  After the death of Majnu Shah his able lieutenants like Musa Shah, Cherag Ali Shah, Paragal Shah, Sobhan Shah, Madar Baksh, Jari Shah, Karim Shah, Kripanath, Rowshan Shah, Anup Narayan and Sri Nibash continued the revolt till the closing of the year 1800 and even upto 1812 AD. But after the death of Majnu Shah the movement was gradually losing its direction and dynamics. By the late 1790s, the revolt began to be subsided only to wither away in the form of stray resistance in the subsequent decade.

Movement of Titu Mir

v  Titu Mir (1782-1831) a peasant leader who resisted the oppression of the local zamindars and European indigo planters on the peasantry with ultimate object of liberating the country from British domination. He was a leader of the tariqah-i-muhammadiya in Bengal, and his movement initially aimed at socio-religious reforms, elimination of the practice of shirk (pantheism) and bidat (innovation) in the Muslim society and at inspiring the Muslims to follow Islamic principles in their day to day life. His real name was Saiyid Mir Nisar Ali.

v  He is ranked 11 in the greatest person of Bengal according to BBC.

v  Titu Mir went on a pilgrimage to Makka in 1822 and came in close contact with the great Islamic reformer and revolutionary leader Saiyid Ahmad of Bareilly who inspired him to free his fellow countrymen from un-Islamic practices and foreign domination.

v  On his return from Makka in 1827, Titu Mir started preaching among the Muslims in the districts of 24 Parganas and Nadia. He advised them to refrain from practising xirk and bidaat and inspired them, especially the weavers and peasants, to follow the Islamic way of life. But soon he was in conflict with the Hindu zamindar Krishnadeva Rai of Purha for his sectarian attitude towards the Muslims and for imposing illegal taxes on them. Titu Mir happened to be in conflict with other landlords like Kaliprasanna Mukhopadhyay of Gobardanga, Rajnarayan of Taragonia, Gauri Prasad Chowdhury of Nagpur and Devanath Rai of Gobra-govindpur for their oppression on the peasantry.

v  To face the situation and to give protection to the peasants Titu Mir formed a Mujahid force and trained them in lathi (bamboo stick) and other indigenous arms. His disciple and nephew, Ghulam Masum was made commander of the force.

v  The increasing strength of Titu Mir alarmed the zamindars who however attempted to take united stand and to involve the English in their fight against him. Being instigated by the zamindar of Gobardanga, Davis, the English kuthial (factor) of Mollahati, advanced with his force against Titu Mir, but was beaten back. The zamindar of Gobra-govindpur was killed in a conflict with Titu Mir. Alexander, the collector of Barasat, advanced against Titu Mir with the daroga of Bashirhat, and sustained a severe defeat in the hands of Titu Mir. By this time Titu Mir filed a complain to the government of east india company against the oppression of the zamindars, but to no result.

v  Titu Mir built a strong fort with bamboo poles at Narkelbaria in October 1831, recruited mujahids and gave them military training. The number of Mujahids soon rose to nearly five thousand.

v  Having completed his military preparation Titu Mir declared himself Badshah (king) and urged upon the people to participate in jihad (sacred war) against the British. He soon established his control over the districts of 24 Parganas, Nadia and Faridpur. Titu Mir demanded tax from the zamindars of Taki and Gobardanga who implored protection of the English.

v  An English contingent was sent from Calcutta. But the combined forces of the zamindars and the English sustained severe defeat in the hands of the mujahids (troops).

v  Lord William Bentinck sent a regular army against Titu Mir under Lieutenant Colonel Stewart consisting of 100 cavalry, 300 native infantry and artillery with two cannons. The English launched attack on the mujahids on 14 November 1831. The mujahids with traditional weapons failed to resist the English army equipped with modern arms, and took shelter inside the bamboo fort. The English opened fire and totally destroyed the fort. There was heavy casualty on the side of the mujahids. Titu Mir along with many of his followers fell in the battle (19 November 1831). The mujahids numbering 350 including their commander Ghulam Masum were captured. Ghulam Masum was sentenced to death, and 140 captives were sentenced to imprisonment on different terms.

Faraizi Movement

v  Faraizi Movement nineteenth century religious reform movement launched by Haji Shariatullah. The term Faraizi is derived from 'farz' meaning obligatory duties enjoined by Allah. The Faraizis are, therefore, those who aim at enforcing the obligatory religious duties. The exponent of the movement, Haji Shariatullah, however, interpreted the term in a broader sense to include all religious duties enjoined by the Quran as well as by the Sunnah of the Prophet (Sm). Shariatullah made a pilgrimage to Makkah, stayed there for 20 years and studied religious doctrines under Shaikh Tahir Sombal, an authority of Hanafi School. Returning home he launched a movement to make the Bengal Muslims follow the true canons of Islam. For historical reasons the Muslims of Bengal had been following many indigenous customs, rituals and ceremonies which were far from the principles of Islam. Most Bengal Muslims did not even follow the fundamentals of Islam.

v  Haji Shariatullah regarded British rule in Bengal as injurious to the religious life of the Muslims. In pursuance of the Hanafi law he opined that the absence of a lawfully appointed Muslim caliph or representative administrator in Bengal deprived the Muslims of the privilege of holding congregational prayers.

v  To the Faraizis, Friday congregation was unjustified in a non-Muslim stale like Bengal.

v  The Faraizi movement spread with extraordinary rapidity in the districts of Dhaka, Faridpur, Bakerganj, Mymensingh, Tippera (Comilla), Chittagong and Noakhali as well as to the province of Assam.

v  The movement, however, gained the greatest momentum in those places where the Muslim peasantries were depressed under the oppressive domination of Hindu zamindars and European indigo planters.

v  The landlords levied many abwabs over and above normal rent and such abwabs were illegal in the eyes of law. Many abwabs were of religious nature, such as, cesses on Kali Puja, Durga Puja etc. Shariatullah objected to this practice and directed his disciples not to pay these illegal cesses to the landlords. The landlords had even imposed ban on the slaughter of cow, especially on the occasion of Eid-ul Azha. The Farizis ordered their peasant followers not to adhere to such a ban. All these contributed to strained relations between the Faraizies and the landlords who were almost all Hindus.

v  The offended landlords launched a propaganda campaign with the British officials, implicating the Faraizis with rebellious mood. In 1837, they accused Shariatullah of attempting to set up a kingdom of his own like that of Titu Mir. They also brought numerous lawsuits against the Faraizis in which they gained active co-operation of the European indigo planters. Shariatullah was more than once in the custody of the police for allegedly occasioning agrarian disturbances in Faridpur.

v  On the death of Haji Shariatullah in 1840 his only son Muhsinuddin Ahmad alias Dudu Miyan was acclaimed the head of the Faraizi movement. It was under his leadership that the Faraizi movement assumed agrarian character. He organised the oppressed peasantry against the oppressive landlords. In retaliation, the landlords and indigo planters tried to contain Dudu Miyan by instituting false cases against him. But he became so popular with the peasantry that in the cases, courts seldom found a witness against Dudu Miyan.

v  The initial victories of Dudu Miyan captured the imagination of the masses and his prestige rose high in their esteem. These incidents also gave added impetus to the spread of the Faraizi movement and drew to its fold not only numerous Muslims who so far stood aloof but also the Hindus and native Christians who sought Dudu Miyan's protection against the oppressive landlords.

v  Dudu Miyan divided the Faraizi settlement into small units of 300 to 500 families and appointed a Gaon or ward Khalifah over each unit. Ten or more such units were grouped together into a circle or Gird, which was put under a Superintendent Khalifah. The Superintendent Khalifah was provided with a peon and a piyadah or guard, who was sent to and fro maintaining contact with the Gaon Khalifaha on the one hand, and with the Ustad on the other. The Uparastha Khalifahs were advisers to the Ustad and remained in his company at Bahadurpur, the headquarters of the Faraizi movement.

v  The Gaon Khalifah acted as a community leader whose duty was to spread religious education, enforce religious duties, maintain a prayer-hall, look after the morals and administer justice in consultation with elders. He was also required to maintain a Maktab for teaching the Quran and elementary lessons to the children.

v  The Superintendent Khalifahs main functions were to supervise the activities of the Gaon Khalifahs, look after the welfare of the Faraizis of his Gird, preach the fundamentals of religion and above all, to sit as a Court of Appeal against the decisions of the Gaon Khalifahs, if any. In such cases, he heard the appeal sitting in a council of the Khalifahs of his Gird. In all matters, religious as well as political, the decision of Dudu Miyan was final and as the Ustad he also acted as the final Court of Appeal.

v  James Wise testifies that the Panchayets of Eastern Bengal exercised great influence on the people and in Faraizi villages, it was exceedingly rare that any case of violence or assault committed within the area found its way to the regular courts. According to him Dudu Miyan settled disputes, administered summary justice and punished any Hindu, Muslim or Christian who dared to bring a suit for recovery of debt in the adjoining Munsif's Court instead of referring the case to his arbitration.

v  Dudu Miyan died in 1862 and before his death he had appointed a board of guardians to look after his minor sons, Ghiyasuddin Haydar and Abdul Gafur alias Naya Miyan who succeeded him successively. The board, with great difficulty, kept the dwindling movement from falling to pieces. It was not until Naya Miyan attained maturity that it regained some of its lost strength.

v  Nabinchandra Sen, the then sub-divisional officer of Madaripur, thought it prudent to enter into an alliance of mutual help with the Faraizi leaders, who, in their turn, showed a spirit of co-operation towards the government.

v  On the death of Naya Miyan in 1884, the third and the youngest son of Dudu Miyan, Syeduddin Ahmad was acclaimed leader by the Faraizis. During his time, the conflict of the Faraizis with the Taiyunis, another reformist group reached the climax and religious debates between the two schools had become a commonplace occurrence in Eastern Bengal.

v  He was bestowed the title of Khan Bahadur by the government. In 1905, on the question of the partition of Bengal, he lent support to Nawab Salimullah in favour of partition, but he died in 1906.

v  Khan Bahadur Syeduddin was succeeded by his eldest son Rashiduddin Ahmad alias Badshah Miyan.

v  During the early years of his leadership, Badshah Miyan maintained the policy of co-operation towards the government. But the annulment of the partition of Bengal made him anti-British and he took part in the khilafat and non-cooperation Movements.

v  Soon after the establishment of Pakistan he summoned a conference of the Faraizis at Narayanganj and declared Pakistan as Dar-ul-Islam and gave permission to his followers to hold the congregational prayers of Jum'ah and Eid.

The Indigo Rebellion

v  The Indigo revolt (or Nil bidroha) was a peasant movement and subsequent uprising of indigo farmers against the indigo planters that arose in Chaugacha village of Nadia in Bengal in 1859. Indigo planting in Bengal dated back to 1777 when Louis Bonnard, a Frenchman introduced it to the Indians. He was the first indigo planter of Bengal. He started cultivation at Taldanga and Goalpara near Chandannagar (Hooghly). With the Nawabs of Bengal under British power, indigo planting became more and more commercially profitable because of the demand for blue dye in Europe. It was introduced in large parts of Burdwan, Bankura, Birbhum, North 24 Parganas, and Jessore (present Bangladesh).

v  The Indigo revolt (or Nil bidroha) was a peasant movement and subsequent uprising of indigo farmers against the indigo planters that arose in Chaugacha village of Nadia in Bengal in 1859.

v  The British adopted many ways through which they could increase their profits. They also started interfering with the basic means of livelihood of the people. Not only did they introduce new crops, they also brought new techniques of farming. Heavy pressure was put on the zamindars and peasants to pay high taxes and grow commercial crops. One such commercial crop was Indigo. The cultivation of indigo was determined by the needs of the English cloth markets. The discontent of the farmers growing indigo was mainly for three reasons:

        They were paid very low prices for growing indigo;

        Indigo was not lucrative as it was planted at the same time as food crops;

        And loss of fertility of the soil because of planting indigo.

v  The indigo planters persuaded the peasants to plant indigo instead of food crops. They provided loans, called dadon, at a very high interest. Once a farmer took such loans he remained in debt for his whole life before passing it to his successors. The price paid by the planters was meagre, only 2.5% of the market price. The farmers could make no profit growing indigo. The farmers were totally unprotected from the indigo planters, who resorted to mortgages or destruction of their property if they were unwilling to obey them. Government rules favoured the planters. By an act in 1833, the planters were granted a free hand in oppression. Even the zamindars sided with the planters. Under this severe oppression, the farmers resorted to revolt.

v  The revolt started from the villages of - Gobindapur and Chaugacha in Krishnanagar, Nadia district, where Bishnucharan Biswas and Digambar Biswas first led the rebellion against the planters in Bengal ,1859. It spread rapidly in Murshidabad, Birbhum, Burdwan, Pabna, Khulna, and Narail. Some indigo planters were given a public trial and executed. The indigo depots were burned down. Many planters fled to avoid being caught. The zamindars were also targets of the rebellious peasants.

v  The revolt was ruthlessly suppressed. Large forces of police and military, backed by the British Government and the zamindars, mercilessly slaughtered a number of peasants. British police mercilessly hanged great leader of indigo rebels Biswanath Sardar alias Bishe Dakat in Assannagar, Nadia after a show trial. Some historians opined that he was the first martyr of indigo revolt in undivided Bengal.

v  The Biswas brothers of Nadia, Kader Molla of Pabna, and Rafique Mondal of Malda were popular leaders. Even some of the zamindars supported the revolt, the most important of whom was Ramratan Mullick of Narail. The historian Jogesh Chandra Bagal describes the revolt as a non-violent revolution and gives this as a reason why the indigo revolt was a success compared to the Sepoy Revolt.

v  R.C. Majumdar in "History of Bengal" goes so far as to call it a forerunner of the non-violent passive resistance later successfully adopted by Gandhi.

v  The revolt had a strong effect on the government, which immediately appointed the "Indigo Commission" in 1860. In the commission report, E. W. L. Tower noted that "not a chest of Indigo reached England without being stained with human blood". Finally, the British government formed the Indigo Commissionin 1860 due to Nawab Abdul Latif’s initiative with the goal of putting an end to the repressions of indigo planters by creating the Indigo Act 1862.

v  Dinabandhu Mitra's 1860 play Nil Darpan is based on the revolt (was published from Dhaka) . It was translated into English by Michael Madhusudan Dutta and published by Rev. James Long. It attracted much attention in England, where the people were stunned at the savagery of their countrymen. The British Government sent Rev. Long to a mock trial and punished him with imprisonment and fine. Kaliprasanna Sinha paid the fine of Rs 1000 for him. The play was the first play to be staged commercially in the National Theatre in Kolkata.

Pabna Unrest

v  Pabna Peasant Uprising (1873–76) was a resistance movement by the peasants ("Ryots") against the lords of the lands in Bengal ("zamindars") in the Yusufshahi Pargana (now the Sirajganj District, Bangladesh) in Pabna. It was led by Ishan Chandra Roy.

v  The Pabna was famous for growing jute in Bengal. Pabna peasants were forced by the Zamindars to pay revenue taxes higher than the legal limits. They were also being harsh and used methods of forcible eviction, capturing the peasants physically and harassment of cultivators.

v  Act X of 1859 granted occupancy to the tenant farmers but the zamindars resisted the peasants to acquire lands. This led feeling of discontentment among the farmers of Yusufshahi Pargana.

v  The peasants formed an alliance in order to oppose the oppressive demands of the landlords. They decided to unite and resort legal methods through filing cases in the courts against the Zamindars. This Anti Zamanidar sentiment spread rapidly all over Bengal. Peasants went on strike and started a movement against the non-payment of rents.

v  Two remarkable features of their struggle were-

v  It was non communal in nature

v  Complete unity among peasants

v  As a result of this revolt, Bengal Tenancy Act of 1885 was passed and the rights of the Zamindars as well as Tenants were defined.

v  The Partition of Bengal in 1905, was made on 16 October by then Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. Due to the high level of political unrest generated by the partition, the eastern and western parts of Bengal were reunited in 1911.

v  The province of Bengal had an area of 489, and a population of over 80 million. Eastern Bengal was almost isolated from the western part by geography and poor communications.

v  Lord Curzon planned to split Orissa and Bihar and join fifteen eastern districts of Bengal with Assam. The eastern province held a population of 31 million, most of which was Muslim, with its centre at Dhaka. Once the Partition was completed Curzon pointed out that he thought of the new province as Muslim. Lord Curzon's intention was to divide Bengalis, not Hindus from Muslims. The Western districts formed the other province with Orissa and Bihar. The union of western Bengal with Orissa and Bihar reduced the speakers of the Bengali language to a minority. Muslims led by the Nawab Sallimullah of Dhaka supported the partition and Hindus opposed it.

Partition of Bengal

v  The middle class of Bengal saw this as the rupture of their dear motherland as well as a tactic to diminish their authority. In the six-month period before the partition was to be effected the Congress arranged meetings where petitions against the partition were collected and given to impassive authorities. Surendranath Banerjee admitted that the petitions were ineffective and as the date for the partition drew closer began advocating tougher approaches such as boycotting British goods. He preferred to label this move as "swadeshi" instead of boycott. The boycott was led by the moderates but minor rebel groups also sprouted under its cause.

v  Banerjee believed that other targets ought to be included. Government schools were spurned and on 16 October 1905, the day of partition, schools and shops were blockaded. The demonstrators were cleared off by units of the police and army. This was followed by violent confrontations.

v  The partition triggered radical nationalism. Bengali Hindus were upset with their minority status in the new province. They began an angry agitation, featuring terrorism, as younger members adopted the use of bombings, shootings and assassinations in a blend of religious and political feelings.

v  Although there were prominent Muslim speakers the Muslims were indifferent to the movement. The British would have been spared from many complications had they not split Bengal. With each case of suppression, assertive nationalism increased in Bengal. Indian nationalism would have been more liberal in the absence of this partition. Nationalists all over India supported the Bengali cause and were shocked at the British disregard for opinion and ostensible divide and rule strategy. The protest spread to Bombay, Poona and Punjab.

v  The authorities not able to end the protest, assented to reversing the partition and did so in 1911. King George announced in December 1911 that eastern Bengal would be assimilated into the Bengal Presidency. Districts where Bengali was spoken were once again unified, and Assam, Bihar and Orissa were separated. The capital was shifted to New Delhi, clearly intended to provide the British Empire with a stronger base.

v  Muslims of Bengal were shocked because they had seen the Muslim majority eastern Bengal as an indicator of the government's enthusiasm for protecting Muslim interests. They saw this as the government compromising Muslim interests for Hindu protests and administrative ease.

v  The partition had not initially been supported by Muslim leaders. After the Muslim majority province of Eastern Bengal and Assam had been created prominent Muslims started seeing it as advantageous.

v  Muslims, especially in Eastern Bengal, had been backward in the period of United Bengal. The Hindu protest against the partition was seen as interference in a Muslim province. With the move of the capital to a Mughal site, the British tried to satisfy Bengali Muslims who were disappointed with losing hold of eastern Bengal.

v  In 1909, separate elections were established for Muslims and Hindus. Before this, many members of both communities had advocated national solidarity of all Bengalis. With separate electorates, distinctive political communities developed, with their own political agendas. Muslims, too, dominated the Legislature, due to their overall numerical strength of roughly twenty two to twenty eight million. Nationally, Hindus and Muslims began to demand the creation of two independent states, one to be formed in majority Hindu and one in majority Muslim areas. The All-India Muslim League was founded by the All India Muhammadan Educational Conference at Decca (now in Dhaka, Bangladesh), in 1906. Being a political party to secure the interests of the Muslim in British India, the Muslim League played a decisive role behind the creation of Pakistan in the Indian subcontinent.

Chittagong Armoury Raid

Chittagong armoury raid also known as the Chittagong uprising, was an attempt on 18 April 1930 to raid the armoury of police and auxiliary forces from the Chittagong armoury in the Bengal Presidency of British India (now in Bangladesh) by armed Indian independence fighters led by Surya Sen.

v  Surya Sen, also called Surjya Sen (Bengali: সূর্য সেন, Surjo Sen) (22 March 1894 – 12 January 1934) was a Bengali revolutionary who was influential in the Indian independence movement against British rule in India and is best known for leading the 1930 Chittagong armoury raid. Sen was a school teacher by profession and was popularly known as Master Da ("da" is an honorific suffix in Bengali language). He was influenced by the nationalist ideals in 1916 while he was a student of B.A. in Behrampore College. In 1918, he was selected as president of the Indian National Congress's Chittagong branch.

v  Sen was known for recruiting a group of young and passionate revolutionaries known as the Chittagong group including Anant Singh, Ganesh Ghosh and Lokenath Baul, who fought against the British stationed in Chittagong. He was an active participant in the Non-co-operation movement and was later arrested and imprisoned for 2 years from 1926 to 1928 for his revolutionary activities. A brilliant and inspirational organiser, Sen was fond of saying "Humanism is a special virtue of the revolutionary."

v  As a The raiders were members of revolutionary Indian Republican Army, who favoured armed uprisings as a means to achieve India's independence from British colonial rule. They were inspired by the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland. However, they were ideologically influenced more by the Communists in Soviet Russia. Many of these raiders later became Communists. The group included Ganesh Ghosh, Lokenath Bal, Ambika Chakrobarty, Harigopal Bal (Tegra), Ananta Singh, Anand Prasad Gupta, Tripura Sen, Bidhubhusan Bhattacharya, Pritilata Waddedar, Kalpana Dutta, Himangshu Sen, Binod Bihari Chowdhury, Subodh Roy, Monoranjan Bhattacharya.

v  Sen devised a plan to capture the two main armouries in Chittagong, destroy the telegraph and telephone office, and take as hostages members of the European Club, the majority of whom also to be raided, while rail and communication lines were to be cut in order to sever Chittagong from Calcutta. Imperial banks at Chittagong were to be looted to gather money for further uprisings, and various jailed revolutionaries would be freed.

v  The plan was put into action at 10 p.m. on 18 April 1930. The police armoury (in Police Line in Dampara) was captured by a group of revolutionaries led by Ganesh Ghosh, while another group of ten men led by Lokenath Bal took the Auxiliary Forces armoury (now the old Circuit House). Some 65 people took part in the raid, undertaken in the name of Indian Republican Army, Chittagong Branch. They failed to locate ammunition but did succeed in cutting telephone and telegraph wires and disrupting train movements.After the raids, the revolutionaries gathered outside the police armoury, where Sen took a military salute, hoisted a national flag, and proclaimed a Provisional Revolutionary Government. The revolutionaries left Chittagong town before dawn and marched towards the Chittagong hill ranges, looking for a safe place to hide.

v  A few of the members including Ganesh Ghosh, Ananta Singh and the teenagers Ananda Gupta and Jeebon Ghoshal were elsewhere, and almost captured at Feni railway station but managed to escape. Later they stayed in hiding in a house in Chandannagar.After a few days, the police traced some of the revolutionaries. They were surrounded by several thousand troops while they took shelter in Jalalabad hills near Chittagong Cantonment on the afternoon of 22 April 1930. Over 80 troops and 12 revolutionaries were killed in the ensuing gunfight in the Battle of Jalalabad Hills. Sen dispersed his men to neighbouring villages in small groups and thus some escaped. A few fled to Calcutta while some were arrested. An intense crackdown on the resistance ensued. Ananta Singh gave himself up in Calcutta coming away from his hiding place in Chandannagar, to be close to the young teenagers captured and under trial in Chittagong. A few months later, Police Commissioner Charles Tegart surrounded their hideout and in the ensuing exchange of fire, Jiban Ghoshal was killed.

v  Some of the revolutionaries managed to reorganise. On 24 September 1932, Debi Prasad Gupta, Manoranjan Sen, Rajat Sen, Swadesh Roy, Phanindra Nandi and Subodh Chaudhary led by Pritilata Waddedar, attacked the Pahartali European Club, killing one woman and injuring several police officials. However, the plan was not entirely successful. The revolutionaries fled after the attack, but Pritilata, who got wounded, consumed cyanide to evade arrest and killed herself. The police searched the rest of the absconders. In Kalarpole encounter Deba Gupta, Manoranjan Sen, Rajat Sen and Swadeshranjan Ray were killed while the other two, Subodh and Phani, were wounded and arrested. During 1930–1932, 22 officials and 220 others were killed by revolutionaries in separate incidents. Debi Prasad Gupta's brother was sentenced to transportation for life. The Chittagong revolutionary group suffered a fatal blow when Masterda Surya Sen was arrested on 16 February 1933 from Gairala village after a tip-off from an insider of the group. For the reward money, jealousy, or both, Netra Sen told the British Government that Surya Sen was at his house. But before Netra Sen was able to get his 10,000 rupee reward, he was assassinated by the revolutionaries.

v  Surya Sen along with Tarakeswar Dastidar were hanged by the British Administration on 12 January 1934 after inhuman torture in prison. His hands, legs were broken by torture. He was beaten up so cruelly, his nails were plucked off. British enjoyed he bleeds till his last breath.

v  His last letter was written to his friends and said:

"Death is knocking at my door. My mind is flying away towards eternity. At such a pleasant, at such a grave, at such a solemn moment, what shall I leave behind you? Only one thing, that is my dream, a golden dream – the dream of free India. Never forget the date, 18th of April, 1930, the day of the eastern Rebellion in Chittagong. Write in red letters in the core of your hearts the names of the patriots who have sacrificed their lives at the altar of India’s freedom."


The resistance movements in Bengal played a great role during British Period. The historians claims that the Indigo Rebellion was more successful than Sepoy Mutiny. Also the effort of Titu-Mir was an great effort. He showed the spirit to fight building a bamboo fort. Master Da Surya Sen also showed this type of spirit. Pritilata committed suicide to avoid became arrested. Anti movements of Partition of Bengal leads to create a separate political party for Muslims and also it was the main reason to create Pakistan and finally the Bengal was divided by religious popularity. This thing also initiated communal riots in these region. The Fakirs initiated the Guerilla War Tactics in this region. The Faraizis tried to save Muslims from Landlords and Indigo planters, also try to save their fundamental rules of religion. So every movements were played a great role during that time and even some of these have been impacting in present days in this Sub-Continent.

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