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Disturbances in Bishnupur, 1788-1790

Bankura, West Bengal

January 25, 2023 to January 25, 2024

Between 1788 and 1790, a series of disturbances erupted in the town of Bishnupur in West Bengal’s Bankura district. The Bankura district was under the rule of the East India Company during these disturbances.

Bishnupur was adversely affected by the Bengal famine of 1769 and the frequent Maratha raids. The East India Company exacerbated the current economic crisis by significantly increasing peasant exactions and establishing an oppressive tax collection mechanism. Bishnupur’s distressed peasant families were driven into the countryside and began carrying out armed raids and plunders. In October 1788, Bishnupur bandits raided the local treasury, and in November, a band of 500 robbers raided the town market. The peasant masses soon joined the bandits, and the plundering became a long and violent rebellion against the oppressive company rule. By November 1789, the English had lost complete control of Bishnupur, and the East India Company had suffered significant financial losses. However, by the end of 1789, the peasantry and bandits were at odds with one another, and by early 1790, English rule was restored in Bishnupur.

The disturbances in Bishnupur were significant because they were one of the first instances of a rebellion against oppressive English rule.


Source: Indian Culture Portal