Bishe Dakat or Biswanath Sardar was a leader of the Indigo revolution in the Bengal. Bishe Dakat was born in a family of agricultural laborers in the district of Nadia, West-Bengal. He raised a gang of his own and engaged in dacoity. Himself a swordsman of quality, he had several like him at his command. He was frightening, fearless, and heroic. Here I will try to throw some light on Bishe Dakat-The First Martyr of Indigo Revolution.
Bishe Dakat was a handsome man and used to decorate himself with gold jewelry and travel in palanquins. He never attacked the weak or the person who is without arms. First, he gave notice duly signed by him before committing dacoity. Even though he was a bandit, he was patriotic by heart. While he robbed the wealthy, he was kind towards the poor, women, and children. By his charitable deeds, he earned the respect of the local people.
During the early period of British occupation in the latter half of the 18th century, Bengal had plunged into chaos. The previous civil administration of the Nawab’s regime was gradually being replaced by the British ones, and the province was in a condition of transition. It was during this time that Biswanath Sardar or the bandit Bishe Dakat raised into prominence.
The first phase of the Indigo revolution in Eastern British India started in the early part of the nineteenth century. Biswanath Sardar led the revolt in Jessore, Nadia, and 24 Parganas. The indigo planters enforced the peasants to plant indigo instead of food crops. They provided loans, called dadon, at very high interest. Consequently, the farmer remained in liability for his whole life. The price paid by the planters was too little.
Sardar organized the Peasant movement, made the first notable resistance against the slaughter of Nil Kar (Indigo planters), and started looting the estate of planters one by one. He did not even spare the residence and factory of Indigo planters. First, he attacked in Santipur Nilkuthi, afterward robbed numbers of Kuthis in Khalboalia, Shikarpore, Banshberia, Nischintapur villages.
At midnight on 27 September 1808 the peasant rebels surrounded the estate of a planter, Samuel Faddy. Sardar set fire and smashed the estate but freed Faddy. This incident terrorized all the indigo planters and police sought to arrest Sardar.
A few months after the attack on Faddy’s residence, Police head Mr. Eliot and Mr. Blaquiere, the District Magistrate of Nadia arrested Sardar. He was hanged after a trial. The police declared him a criminal. He had a Robin Hood-like image to the poor farmers. Sardar was known as Babu Biswanath as well as the first martyr of the Indigo revolution in India.
There are numerous tales of his actions. Bengali writer Khagendranath Mitra wrote a lot of stories about Bishe Dakaat. Dhirendralal Dhar portrayed him as a great revolutionary in his book Nilkar Elo Deshe.