What were the circumstances which led to the eventual collapse of indigo production in Bengal?
The indigo ryots of Bengal felt they had the support of local zamindars and village headmen in their struggle against the forceful and oppressive methods of the indigo planters. They also believed the British government would support them in their struggle. The Lieutenant Governor’s tour of the region in 1859 was seen as a sign of government sympathy while the magistrate’s notice stating that ryots would not be compelled to accept indigo contracts was seen as the declaration by Queen Victoria herself. Many intellectuals too supported the ryots by writing about their misery, the tyranny of the planters, and the horror of the system. In March 1859, thousands of ryots refused to grow indigo. Worried by the rebellion, the government set up the Indigo Commission to inquire into the system of indigo production. The Commission held the planters guilty, and criticised them for their coercive methods. It declared that indigo cultivation was not profitable for ryots, and that after fulfilling their existing contracts, they could refuse to produce indigo in future. Consequently, indigo production collapsed in Bengal.