• Every year on January 28, the government and local people pay respects to the martyrs of the Patharughat uprising.
• Nearly Twenty-five years before the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre (1919), more than a hundred peasants fell to the bullets of the British on January 28, 1894, in Assam.
• Patharughat, a small village in Assam’s Darrang district, 60km northeast of Guwahati.
• Under the Patharughat uprising, the people of Assam bravely took part in the freedom movement against the exploitation, discrimination and atrocities of the British.
What led to the Patharughat uprising?
• Imposition of land taxes- After the British annexation of Assam in 1826, surveys of the vast lands of the state began.
• On the basis of such surveys, the British began to impose land taxes, much to the resentment of the farmers.
• Issue of Taxes- In 1893, the British government decided to increase agricultural land tax reportedly by 70- 80 per cent.
• Repression by Britishers- The British perceived them as “breeding grounds for sedition”. So, whenever there was a Raij Mela in Assam, the British used to come down on it with a heavy hand to disperse them.
• On January 28, 1894 – When the British officers were refusing to listen to the farmers’ grievances, things heated up and there was a lathi charge, followed by an open firing which killed many of the peasants present.
• Official records, as mentioned in the Darrang District Gazette, 1905, placed the casualties in the Patharughat incident as 15 killed and 37 wounded.”
Significance of Patharughat uprising:
• It is extremely inspirational for the Assamese community, as a national awakening.
• This incident gave a new direction to India’s freedom movement.
• The deaths of several innocent farmers made the cause of the freedom struggle against the British stronger.
• The martyrs of Patharughat will always be remembered in the golden pages of history for their bravery and the sacrifice they made for their motherland.
Mains Paper 1: History
Prelims level: Patharughat uprising
Mains level: Significance of Patharughat uprising