Gorakhpur Uprising (1781)

The civil uprisings in Gorakhpur, Basti, and Bahraich took place in 1781 against the sudden and inhumane imposition of the heavy taxation by the British upon the civilians of this region.


The Gorakhpur uprising took place during the period of Governor-General Warren Hastings (1772-85). To meet the war expenses against the Marathas and Mysore, Warren Hastings made a plan to earn money by involving British officers as izaradars (revenue farmers) in Awadh. In truth, the East India Company was conducting a secret experiment to see just how much surplus money was accessible in practice.

In 1778, Warren Hastings enlisted Major Alexander Hannay as an izaradar, as Hannay was well acquainted with the region. Subsequently, Hannay secured the izara of Gorakhpur and Bahraich to 22 lakh rupees for one year.

Uprisings in Gorakhpur, Basti, and Bahraich

Hannay’s oppression and excessive demand for revenue caused panic in the Gorakhpur region, which had been flourishing under the Nawab of Awadh. In 1781, the zamindars and cultivators rose against the oppressive taxes. Within weeks of the initial uprising, all of Hannay’s subordinates were either killed or besieged by zamindari guerilla forces. However, the rebellion was suppressed by the British. Also, Hannay was dismissed, and his izara was forcibly removed.

In 1801, the Nawab of Awadh transferred this region to the British East India Company. With the transfer, the Company acquired control over this territory. Subsequently, Gorakhpur served as the British army requirement centre for the Gurkhas (ethnic Nepalese soldiers).

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