Kutch Rebellion (1816-1832)

The Kutch rebellion, headed by its chiefs, lasted from 1816 to 1832 in one form or another. The power struggle between the monarch and 12 chieftains escalated into a mutiny. In 1819, the people of Kutch rose against colonial rule when the British deposed Kutch ruler Rao Bharamal II from the throne. The masses got violent, and the East India Company’s authorities had to opt for conciliation.

Historical Background

In 1816, the British signed a treaty with Maharaja Rao Bharamal II of Kutch, by which power was vested in the throne. On 14 January 1816, Rao Bharamal II agreed to the suzerainty of the British, and Captain MacMurdo was appointed as the British Resident at Bhuj (the capital of Kutch). However, there was a power struggle between the maharaja and a group of chieftains. The British began interfering in the internal feuds of the Kutch.

Kutch revolt

In 1819, Rao Bharamal II assembled Arab and African troops with the firm intention of removing the British from his territory. The chieftains were on his side. However, the British forces defeated Rao Bharamal II.

On 19 April 1819, the East India Company deposed Rao Bharamal II and placed his infant son Deshaji II on the throne. During his minority, the Council of Regency, headed by British resident Captain MacMurdo, administered the region. The administrative innovations made by the regency council, along with excessive land assessment, caused deep resentment in this area.

In the meanwhile, some chieftains continued their uprising against foreign rule. The news of the British reversal in the Burma War spurred the chiefs to rise in revolt and demand the restoration of Rao Bharamal II. After extensive military operations by the British failed to control the situation, the Company’s authorities had to follow a conciliatory approach.

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