Lord Northbrook-Dramatic Performances Act, 1876-Kuka rebellion

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Kuka rebellion,Lord Northbrook

 Lord Northbrook

Lord Northbrook was a British politician and statesman who served as a member of the Liberal Party. From 1872 until 1876, he served as Viceroy of India after Earl of Mayo. His most outstanding achievements came as an active reformer committed to improving the quality of governance in India. To minimize poverty and significant social discontent, he initiated large-scale famine relief, slashed taxes, and overcame bureaucratic barriers.


In 1848, Lord Northbrook married Elizabeth. They had two sons and one daughter. His wife died in June 1867 when she was  40. Lord Northbrook lived as a widower until he passed away. His daughter married Raja Lal Mala of Delhi, an Indian underling of Lord Northbrook.

Mahatma Govindrao Jotiba Phule and Satya Shodhak Samaj

A Maharashtra Social Reform Movement in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century.” Mahatma Jotiba Govindrao Phule created the Satya Shodhak Samaj in 1873 to help the lower classes. The Mahatma Jotiba Phule Movement was founded to combat untouchability and casteism. Mahatma Phule also battled for the rights of the impoverished and landless peasants.

The elimination of prejudice in society based on socioeconomic status and gender placed a strong focus on establishing educational establishments for girls and untouchable communities. Mahatma Phule also started a campaign to end the practice of marrying widows. As a result, he awoke a significant number of Shudras and non-Brahmins. Mahatma Phule brought many revolutionary changes to the depressed and backward classes, which made up a substantial portion of society. He introduced social regulations such as the prohibition of widowhood, the Devdasi system, and untouchability.

Dramatic Performances Act, 1876

Satya Shodhak Samaj

        Dramatic Performances

The Dramatic Performances Act of 1876 was a colonial government oppressive tactic against Bengali innovation and popular opinion. The Dramatic Performances Act was enacted against the context of rising anti-British sentiment among Indians, which showed via the mediums of theatre and play. The British had a stranglehold on the civil services. The Anglo-Indian community oversaw trade, commerce, and industry. The Europeans also had a monopoly on the commercial cultivation of tea, tobacco, indigo, and other crops.

In many plays and dramas, oppression and justice were the should of indigo planters and magistrates.  Many Dramatic performances like Nil-Darpan, satires Buro Saliker Ghare Ro, and Ekei ki Balay Sabhyata,  Sarojini showed this oppression and injustice.   The shocking scenes of injustice and horrible treatment offered in such plays sparked anti-imperialist sentiment.  Lord Northbrook took these plays dangerously.

On February 29, 1876, the Government of India issued an order allowing the Bengal government to restrict specific theatre plays. The ordinance stated that if the  Governor believed that any film, scenes, or other drama being performed or about to be performed was (a) inappropriate or grossly offensive, (b) likely to excite feelings of disloyalty for the government, (c) likely to destroy and corrupt persons present at such a performance, the government could restrict such a performance by order.

The regulation further stated that violating such a prohibition order would be criminal not only by producers, directors, and players but also by viewers

Kuka rebellion

Guru Ram Singh commanded the Kuka insurgency. Guru Ram Singh was born at Bhaini Village, 7 kilometers from Ludhiana, in 1815 to a poor carpenter. After the death of their prior leader, Bhai Balak Singh, he joined the Sikh army and became responsible for missionary operations.

Kukas believed in specific teachings, such as

  1. Sikhs do not have a caste structure.
  2. Remarriage of a widow
  3. Support for inter-caste marriages
  4. Meat, drug, and Desi liquor abstinence
  5. Adi Granth is the only authentic religious holy book.
  6. Use only white tablecloths

Legacy in India

‘Northbrook Tower’ was given to Multan’s Ghanta Ghar or Clock Tower. It’s in the heart of Multan, in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

He was succeeded by Lord Lytton.


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