Topic outline

    • Ruling the Countryside

      Q22. Where did the slave revolt take place in 1791?

      Ans. In the French colony of St Domingue situated in the Caribbean islands, the African slaves who worked in plantations rebelled in 1791.


      Q23. Why did cloth dyers prefer indigo to woad?

      Ans. Cloth dyers, however, preferred indigo as a dye because Indigo produced a rich blue colour, whereas the dye from woad was pale and dull.


      Q24. Why were Bengal artisans deserting villages?

      Ans. Artisans were deserting villages since they were being forced to sell their goods to the Company at low prices. Peasants were unable to pay the dues that were being demanded from them.

      Q25. What was nij cultivation?
      Explain nij cultivation.

      Ans. Within the system of nij cultivation, the planter produced indigo in lands that he directly controlled. He either bought the land or rented it from other zamindars and produced indigo by directly employing hired labourers.


      Q26. What problems did zamindars face under the Permanent Settlement?

      Ans. The revenue that had been fixed was so high that the zamindars found it difficult to pay. Anyone who failed to pay the revenue lost his zamindari. Numerous zamindaris were sold off at auctions organised by the Company.


      Q27. What were the causes of Champaran Movement?

      Ans. When Mahatma Gandhi returned from South Africa, a peasant from Bihar persuaded him visit Champaran and see the plight of the indigo cultivators there. Mahatma Gandhi’s visit in 1917 marked the beginning of the Champaran movement against the indigo planters.


      Q28. By the late nineteenth century, the Company forced cultivators in various parts of India to produce which crops?

      Ans. The British persuaded or forced cultivators in various parts of India to produce other crops: jute in Bengal, tea in Assam, sugarcane in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh), wheat in Punjab, cotton in Maharashtra and Punjab, rice in Madras.

      Q29. How did indigo trade attract foreign traders?

      Ans. As the indigo trade grew, commercial agents and officials of the Company began investing in indigo production. Over the years many Company officials left their jobs to look after their indigo business. Attracted by the prospect of high profits, numerous Scotsmen and Englishmen came to India and became planters.


      Q30. Give two problems which arose with the new Munro system of fixing revenue.

      Ans. Two problems which arose with the new Munro system of fixing revenue were:

                               i.        Driven by the desire to increase the income from land, revenue officials fixed too high a revenue demand.

                              ii.        Peasants were unable to pay, ryots fled the countryside, and villages became deserted in many regions.


      Q31. By the end of the 18th century, the demand for Indian indigo grew further. What were the reasons behind it?
      Why did the demand for Indian indigo increase?

      Ans. By the end of the eighteenth century, the demand for Indian indigo grew further. Britain began to industrialise, and its cotton production expanded dramatically, creating an enormous new demand for cloth dyes. While the demand for indigo increased, its existing supplies from the West Indies and America collapsed for a variety of reasons. Between 1783 and 1789 the production of indigo in the world fell by half. Cloth dyers in Britain now desperately looked for new sources of indigo supply.

      Q32. Explain how the Bengal economy landed up in a crisis under the Diwani of the Company.
      How did the Bengal economy fell into deep crisis?

      Ans. After the Company became the Diwan of Bengal it began its efforts to increase the revenue as much as it could and buy fine cotton and silk cloth as cheaply as possible. Within five years the value of goods bought by the Company in Bengal doubled. Before 1865, the Company had purchased goods in India by importing gold and silver from Britain. Now the revenue collected in Bengal could finance the purchase of goods for export. This caused huge loss of revenue for Bengal which paralysed its economy.


      Q33. Why was the Indigo Commission set up by the government? What were its findings and suggestions?

      Ans. Worried by the rebellion, the government brought in the military to protect the planters from assault, and set up the Indigo Commission to enquire into the system of indigo production. The Commission held the planters guilty, and criticised them for the coercive methods they used with indigo cultivators. It declared that indigo production was not profitable for ryots. The Commission asked the ryots to fulfil their existing contracts but also told them that they could refuse to produce indigo in future.


    • Download to practice offline.