The Faraizi Movement was founded by Haji Shariatullah, which became very popular among the Muslim peasantry in various districts of Bengal during the British Rule.
Shariatullah went to Mecca at The age of 18 and there came into contact with the Wahabis. Returning to his country around 1820, he could persuade a number of Muslims about his new realizations about the principle of Islam. Within ten years the Faraizi Movement had spread with extra-ordinary rapidity in the districts of Faridpur, Bakharganj and Mymensingh.
The zamindars were alarmed at the spread of the new creed, which bound the Muslim peasantry together as one man. They offered resistance to a dominantly Zamindar class, the Mahajans and the Indigo planters.
Fariazi Movement under Dudu Miyan
After the death of Shariatullah, his son, Dudu Miyan became the leader of Faraizi Movement. They alleged that all zamindars, either Hindu or Muslim, assume the powers of a judge and fine the guilty person, and in the case of delay to pay the fine, practice every sort of oppression towards them.
Like the Wahabi movement in Barasat, the Faraizi Movement under Dudu Miyan also acquired a radical anti-landlord and anti-planter character. Dudhu Miyan called upon his followers in 1838 not to pay rent and to disobey the dictates of the planters to sow indigo. Indigo factories, mostly belonging to Dunlop, were frequently attacked and ransacked.
On April 7, 1839, the joint magistrate of Faridpur reported that altogether seven to eight thousand, of armed men, belonging to the Haji class of Muslims and ordinary raiyats, had assembled in the thana of Shibchar. Hajis of the neighboring districts of Jessore and Bakharganj had also joined them. They had defied the police and threatened the daroga. This was the occasion when Dudhu Miyan was acknowledged as the chief of the Faraizi Movement.
The uniqueness of Dudu Miyan’s Faraizi Movement was that they had established their own law and their own law courts. The government courts were generally boycotted. A Munshi was appointed who exercised control over every two or three villages, adjudicated and settled civil as well as criminal cases. The courts established by the Faraizi Movement had become very popular as peasants, irrespective of religion, found redress against the oppressions of the zamindars.
Dudu Miyan was arrested for burning one of the indigo factories of Dunlop. In 1848, the government of Bengal remitted the sentence of fine and imprisonment that had been passed against Dudhu Miyan.
Estimate of Dudu Miyan: Dudu Miyan had indeed a chequered career. For more than a quarter of a century he remained the most controversial figure in Eastern Bengal. He had become a household name in the districts of Faridpur, Pabna, Bakharganj, Dhaka and Noakhali. The Faraizi s made some tentative attempts at claiming independent statehood.
Dudhu Miyan died in Dhaka in 1862, but the movement continued. In absence of a strong centre, the movement became sporadic and there were isolated actions against the landlords, particularly in places where the Faraizis had their traditional centers.
Although it started as a religious reform movement, but with the support of the peasantry it voiced some of their basic grievances.