Cultivation Of Indigo In India During British Era

Education News | Jan-18-2022

Cultivation Of Indigo In India During British Era

If we look around currently we may find out certain things which have evolved around us from the past, mainly due to technology. Most of these multi-purpose things are being used in a single form or not used at all. One such very basic thing is Indigo.

We’re aware of the indigo flower and its rich blue color. These days, this flower is just any other flower for us, but what about decades before?

During the British era, its rich color and unavailability of chemical-based dyes and products made indigo a profitable crop. It was widely used to dye Kalamkari and Morris prints. Thus, it was grown on a large scale for its royal color which attracted the Europeans and soon made India or namely Bengal one of the largest indigo producers.
The main systems indigo was grown by were Nij and Ryoti cultivation systems.

Nij Cultivation: The cultivation of indigo was done by the planter in lands he directly had control over, either bought or rented. The main problem with this type of cultivation was that many planters couldn’t expand their areas for cultivating. Conflicts arose and the number of laborers depreciated.

Ryoti Cultivation: The cultivation of indigo was done by pressurizing the ryots to sign a contract and provide loans. They refused to use good soil, paid far less than what was deserved and this cycle never ended.

This unfair treatment soon led to The Blue Rebellion in which the ryots refused to be under the British’s unfair expectations and started to rebel. An indigo commission was formed by the British and sooner or later it was declared that the ryots need not grow indigo and that they shall just finish their existing contracts. Therefore, the indigo cultivation collapsed in Bengal.

By : Toshani Mehra
Delhi Public School Greater Noida