In the pages of history of pre-Independent India, there are many events which highlight stories of bravery, sacrifice and patriotism of several brave men. In India’s freedom struggle against British occupation, countless men from different parts of India sacrificed their lives to free their motherland from the clutches of the British Raj.
The people of Assam also bravely took part in the freedom movement against the exploitation, discrimination and atrocities of the British. One such incident was the historic uprising of the peasants at Patharughat in Darrang district of Assam against the increasing land tax rate by the British.
On January 28, 1894, many local peasants gathered in a protest meeting at Patharughat (also known as Patharighat), condemning the increasing land tax levied by the British. Thousands of people from various villages came forward to take part in this meeting. The frequently increasing tax rates left the poor farmers in a state of despair. As a result, a rebellion brewed in the hearts of the peasants against the British. After much discussion amongst themselves, it was decided that no taxes would be paid to the British, until a proper solution was found to the problem. They were even willing to revolt against the British for the cause.
While the protest meeting was going on, Deputy Commissioner of Darrang district, JD Anderson, Mr Barrington, SP and Mr Remington, SDO, arrived at the venue along with full police force. When the British officials announced that under no circumstances will the taxes be reduced, the peasants present in the meeting protested against it. On the orders of Barrington, the police opened fire on the gathering present there. Even though the farmers tried to fight back with the sticks they had with them, they were no match for the sudden firing. On that fateful day, hundreds of people were injured and around 140 of them were killed on spot.
This incident gave a new direction to India’s freedom movement. The deaths of several innocent farmers made the cause of freedom struggle against the British stronger. The martyrs of Patharughatwill always be remembered in the golden pages of history for their bravery and the sacrifice they made for their motherland.