Revolt of 1857 in Assam

Revolt of 1857 in Assam

The Revolt of 1857 is an important event in the history of India. It began on 10th may 1857 in Meerut with the mutiny of Indian soldiers or sepoys as the British used to call them. The unrest against the British rule that had been brewing for a long time now broke out into a revolt. The „mutiny of soldiers‟ soon spread like wild fire to large part of the country. The revolt was caused by wide spread discontent that the British policies in India had created. The policy of conquest pursued by the British had created unrest among many Indian rulers and chiefs. British had entered into agreements with them under a system of subsidiary alliance. Sind, Punjab and Awadh were annexed by this policy. The vigorous application of the doctrine of lapse by Dalhousie added to the discontent which the annexations had already caused.

In the nineteenth century Assam entered into a new political and socio-economic phase with the beginning of British rule in Assam. The third decade of the nineteenth century brought political changes along with the treaty of Yandboo which was signed on twenty fourth February 1826 by general sir Archibald Campbell on British side and the governor of Ligaing Maha Ming Hla Hatin from the Burmese side. According to the clause of the treaty of the Yandboo the Burmese renounced its claim over Assam. The withdrawal of the Burmese provided the British with the opportunity to create spear of influence in the region .Thus the treaty of Yandboo marked the beginning of the new era in the history of Assam which brought socio-political changes in this region.Revolt of 1857 in Assam

British regime was welcomed by the common people of Assam as well as the noble of the Ahom Monarchy because the common people considered the Britishers as their saviour and the noble of the Ahom monarchy thought the coming of the British regime as temporary as they were totally unaware of the colonial mindset of the British. The interest of the ruling classes of Assam greatly affected by the British colonial policies as mentioned by S.L Baruah , its new administrative measures introduced by the British gave a serious blow to the old aristocracy. The abolition of the slavery in 1843 made the situation worse and pushed its members down to the level of ordinary rayats

The old aristocracy could not cope up with the new administrative system introduced by the British. They not only lost their privileges but also lost the chances to work in the new administrative structure because the new government preferred the man of ability who were mostly the Bengali people. In this situation the old aristocracy strongly felt that they could get back their privileges only after restoring the Ahom monarchy. Moreover 500 Assamese exservicemen who were unemployed after king purander singh had been dethroned.

The policies of the new government affected the common people also. The administrative machinery introduced by the East India Company did not satisfy the subjects and nobles alike.Like the aristocratic class the mass had also lost their faith in the British Government as they believe that the British saved them from the Burmese but in course of time they came to know the real motive of their so called saviours. concerned only with collection of taxes, a new government was totally indifferent in improving the economy of the miserable rayats. Benudhar Sarma also stated that lands were reassessed. Provision was made for the realization of tolls from the users of the ghats and bazars. He further stated that British came to Assam only to deliver her people from the clutches of the Burmese, they fastened the Assamese slowly but surely to their own yoke; an artfull fellow indeed a devil in a doublet. As a colonial power it was obvious that the British were trying to fulfill their economic interest by every means. Francis Jenkins in 1853 admitted that the economic conditions for the Assamese people already suffered very much due to prolonged strife coupled with the invasion of the Burmese and their atrocities .The British regime gave more importance to the collection of taxes from the masses but the economic interest of the people were ignored by the British government which brought dissatisfaction among the common masses which later contributed as one of the causes of revolt of 1857 in Assam.

With the coming of the British the people of Assam came into direct contact with the neighboring states especially with Bengal which brought many socio-economic changes in the society of Assam. It is a significant landmark in the Assamese society Assam remain aloof from the other parts of India. But the Colonial power brought Assam closer to other parts of India which helped Assamese people to know about the development of other places of India. The people of Assam closely followed the development of education, culture and literature of Bengal. Infact Maniram Dewan, Kashinath Tamuliphukan, Joduram Deka Baruah and some other wrote articles in Bengali paper like Samachar darpan, Samachar chandraka published from Kolkata.

Maniram Dewan and the Revolt of 1857

Maniram was a man of ability having vast knowledge of social political knowledge of that period and also proved himself loyal to the British Empire by giving all the informations regarding the socio-economic and political conditions of the state. In 1828 Neufulle appointed him as Sirasatadar. Though Maniram at first appreciated the British rule in Assam but later he realized his fault when he was not given enough opportunity to extend his tea gardens at chinamara and chenglung. He was not allowed waste land at concessional rates like the European planters. In 1858 A.J Muffet Mills, the Judge of the Sadar Diwani Adalat came to visit Assam to get more information regarding the local states of adminstration. Kandeswar Singha submitted a memorandum claiming his rights to hold Assam on a triubutory basis under the Company rule but Mill rejected this claim.This report compelled Maniram to get rid of the foreign government and thereafter he went to kolkata. In kolkata he came in contact with many intellectuals and came to know the uprising of the sepoys in other parts of India and thereby planned to organise revolts in Assam against the British. Maniram suggested Kandeswar Singha to take the helpof the local sepoys stationed at Sibsagar and Dibrugarh to fulfill their purpose.

Maniram and Piyali Baruah must be counted as two of the brightest luminaries whose name posterity must remember with reverent care .The role of Piyali Baruah in the revolt of 1857 was decisive. Unlike Maniram from the very beginning Piyali did not support the British regime. The Chief planner of the revolt was Maniram Dewan but it was piyali who brought the plan to action. Infact Maniram cannot be termed as perfect organizer because he never appeared before the people with his plans and actions. Amulya Chandra Sarma had stated that the socibility of piyali Baruah made him popular among all sections of the people. The other important orgainser of the Revolt were bahadur gaon Burha, formud Ali, Madhumalik, Dutiram Baruah. The revolt was planned to be orgainsed during the Durga Puja but an incident took place which led to opening up of the whole plan before the British government and also changed the scenario of the Revolt in Assam. As a result of which the leaders were arrested one by one which destroyed the whole planning of the revolt in Assam.



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