In the 1870s, the Maharaja (prince) of Patiala, a small princely state in the Punjab region of northern India, implemented the Biswedari (big landlord) system, which appointed biswedaris as local authorities of agrarian villages. The biswedaris, mostly government officials and close kin of the Maharaja, gradually took full possession of lands and reduced the original owners to the status of muzaras (tenants). Muzaras had to pay batai (share rent) to their landlords, consisting of half of their crop, though landlords often overestimated the crop yield to justify taking a larger share.
A heavy monsoon season had destroyed agricultural crops and led to a plague epidemic claiming nearly 10 percent of the population of Ahmedabad in 1917. During the period of intense plague outbreak from August 1917 to January 1918, the workers of the textile mills in Ahmedabad were given ‘plague bonuses’ (some of which were as much as 80 percent of the workers’ wage) in an attempt to dissuade the workers from fleeing during an outbreak of a plague.
Coal is the main commercial energy in India and the government launched an internal improvement program in the early 2000s to bring energy to the hundreds of millions of people in the country without technology and other modern conveniences. Andhra Pradesh was the most ambitious state in this endeavor, as it proposed for 7 major and 30 smaller coal-powered power stations.
From 1916 to 1921, villagers in Kumaon in northern India set hundreds of forest fires to protest the colonial British state’s increasing regulations of the natural environment.
The Bombay Government (through its Revenue Department) had, in 1927, enhanced the land revenue assessment in the Bardoli taluka (county) by a nominal 22 percent, which, when applied, amounted in some cases to as much as 60 percent enhancement. This translated in increased land taxes. The Bardoli peasants had immediately made several claims regarding this modification, the most important of which were that the rate of enhancement was unjust and that it had been established without full and appropriate investigation.