Page 24 - Science India August 2022
P. 24

Swatantrata ka Amrut Mahotsava
   The Blood-stained Blue Rebellion
Referred to as India’s ‘blue gold’, indigo was one of the most lucrative trading commodities for the British Raj. But its importance lies in being the first commodity whose cultivators stood up against the colonial might
Image Courtesy: Old Indian Photos
  Left: Beating of vat by hands at an indigo factory in Allahabad
in 1877
Right: Indigo boilers and fecula table at an indigo factory in Allahabad
in 1877
Are you wearing a pair of blue denim jeans while reading this article? Thank the indigo farm- ers of India. In 1873, when Levi Strauss launched the first pair of Double X Blue Denim 501s, it was the indigo dye from India which gave it the trademark blue colour.
Neel Vidroh or Indigo rebellion, was the first-of-its-kind revolt against the British which shook their economic and social terms, a dissent that united different classes of society against the
n Prof Rajeev Singh
British and made a permanent scar of ‘oppressionist’ on the face of England. This passive non-violent revolt can easily be termed as a prequel to what
Mahatma Gandhi later adopted during the freedom struggle.
Against the contrary belief of what we find in various internet sources, there are pieces of evidence that commercial indigo was being cultivated, manufac- tured, and traded from the Indian main- land since ancient times. The very first reference can be found in the ancient texts of Atharvaveda. Indigo finds men- tions by various travellers and authors

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