The Jugga Movement of 1883-1888

During the late 19th century, the Jugga Movement took place in Bilaspur, India. It was a remarkable uprising against the oppressive rule of Raja Amar Chand. The movement was a testament to the unwavering spirit of the community who decided to stand tall and fight for their freedom.


Throughout India's colonial history, there have been numerous movements and uprisings aimed at fighting against oppressive rulers and unjust practices. One such remarkable occurrence was the Jugga Movement that took place in Bilaspur in 1883. This movement demonstrated the resilience and determination of the people against feudal exploitation, as they opposed the autocratic rule of Raja Amar Chand. The Jugga Movement, which lasted from 1883 to 1888, is a tribute to the unwavering resolve of people who fought for change.

Origins of the Jugga Movement:

The Jugga Movement had its roots in the grievances of the Brahmins of Gehdvi, a community that had settled in Bilaspur. Facing severe oppression and exploitation under the rule of Raja Amar Chand, they decided to take a stand. The catalyst for the movement was the brazen act of defiance by the Brahmins when they erected sheds and proudly hoisted the flags of their deities atop these structures. This symbolic act marked the beginning of a resistance that would capture the imagination of the entire region.

Why did it happen?

1.Against the arbitrary tax of the king: The Jugga Movement emerged in response to various injustices inflicted upon the local community. The primary grievance was the imposition of arbitrary taxes by the ruling king, which burdened the people and left them longing for a more equitable system.

2. Against the system of forced labor : The movement was fueled by the system of forced labor, which oppressed the community for too long. Breaking free from servitude was a driving force behind the uprising.

3. Against the household tax: Adding to their discontent was the household tax, which further strained the resources of the already beleaguered citizens. The collective frustration against these oppressive policies ignited a spark of defiance.

Protest and Sacrifice:

The movement in Bilaspur gained momentum when the people decided to burn down their own sheds and commit acts of self-immolation instead of being arrested by the oppressive King. These acts of sacrifice were powerful expressions of their determination to bring about change, even if it meant risking their own lives. The willingness of individuals to lay down their lives rather than submit to the unjust practices of the time inspired and united the entire community.

Public Outcry and Demands:

As the news of these brave deeds spread across the region, public opinion turned against Raja Amar Chand and his administration. The people of Bilaspur, outraged by the brutality they had witnessed, demanded an end to the Begar custom - a system of forced labour that had subjected them to unbearable hardships. They also demanded significant administrative reforms that would ensure fair and equitable governance.

The Leader's Bold Act:

During the Jugga Movement, there were several intense confrontations. One significant moment was when the leader of the protesters, Gulaba Ram Nadda, fired shots at the tehsildar and the police commander, Naranjan Dass, resulting in injuries for the latter. This event was a turning point in the struggle, emphasizing the high stakes and the unyielding determination of those involved. 

The Turning Point:

Faced with mounting public outcry and growing discontent, Raja Amar Chand was compelled to take action. Realizing that the Jugga Movement could no longer be ignored, he made the momentous decision to put an end to the Begar custom. This marked a significant victory for the people of Bilaspur and a turning point in the Jugga Movement.

Legacy of the Jugga Movement:

The Jugga Movement of 1883-1888 holds a special place in the history of India's struggle against colonial and feudal oppression. It serves as a reminder of the power of collective action and the courage of individuals who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of justice and freedom.
The movement also led to broader changes in the region. Raja Amar Chand's decision to abolish the Begar custom not only alleviated the suffering of the people but also served as a precedent for other regions to follow. Additionally, the administrative reforms introduced in the wake of the movement laid the foundation for a more just and equitable system of governance in Bilaspur.


The 1883 Jugga Movement in Bilaspur is a remarkable chapter in India's history. It showcases the resilience of a community against oppression, resulting in significant changes and inspiring future generations to stand up against injustice. Its legacy is a reminder of the enduring human spirit and the capacity for change in challenging circumstances.

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