Colonialism and introduction of British values had shaken the Indian society. The tribal people were also affected when Britishers banned their entry to many forest areas. Forest were the main source of living of tribal people. They lived in forest and collect forest produce. Therefore the tribal people at many areas revolted against the Britishers. The important uprisings are listed below:
➤ This movement was majorly started in Bengal and in present Bangladesh in 1762 and continued till 1774.
➤ It was started by Sanyasis (Hindu Saints) and Muslim Fakirs. They united against the British rule to establish their own authority. They took possession of English factory that was at Dhaka, now in Bangladesh.
➤ Saran, Purnea and Tirhut regions of Bihar were the minor centres of this revolt.
➤ Nonia Revolt emerged in 1700-1800 in those places of Bihar where saltpetre was manufactured namely in Hajipur, Tirhut, Saran and Purnea. Saltpetre was produced by a cast known as Nonia in Bihar.
➤ Saltpetre was mainly used in the production of explosives. East India Company exploited this group due to which these people organised themselves into rebellion group.
➤ This revolt took place between the 1789–1832. The tribal people like Oraon, Munda, Ho and Kol groups joined together against the faulty align system of the British Government.
➤ The revolt was started in 1789 by Oraon tribe, later other tribal groups also joined the revolt. The main cause of this revolt was the ban on agricultural system of tribes, which affect socio-economic condition of these people.
➤ This revolt was led by Bhola Nath Sahay of Tamar region. This movement was suppressed by the Britishers in 1832 and Tamar region was annexed by them.
Ho and Munda Uprising
➤ The Ho and Munda tribesmen of Chota Nagpur (now in Jharkhand) challenged the Company’s forces in 1820-22, then again in 1831 and the area remained disturbed till 1837.
➤ They rose against British rulers, local moneylenders and Zamindars under Raja Parhat. They were against the occupation of Singhbhum (now in Jharkhand) by British.
➤ It took place against the East India Company in 1800. The Company placed Churaman as the King of Chero who in turn took heavy taxes from the people.
➤ Churaman exploited the peasants, tribal people and poor villagers due to which there was anger and unrest in the state.
➤ This led to the starting of the revolt under the leadership of Sardar Bhushan Singh. However, the revolt was soon suppressed by the Britishers.
➤ The Wahabi Movement was essentially an Islamic revivalist movement which tried to purify Islam by eliminating all the un-Islamic practices. It was founded by Syed Ahmad of Raebareli in 1829. This movement aimed at the establishment of Dar-ul-Islam in India. When Syed Ahmad first came to Patna, he appointed Muhammad Hussain as his representative.
➤ On his second visit in 1821, he appointed Muhammad Hussain, Vilayat Ali, Farhat Hussain and Inayat Ali as Khaleefas.
➤ This movement was inspired by the teaching of Abdul Wahab (1703-87) of Saudi Arabia and Shah Waliullah of Delhi. It was suppressed in 1870 by Britishers though continued sporadically till 1890s.
➤ Haji Shariyatullah was main leader of Wahabi Movement and Patna remained its main centre from 1828 to 1868.
➤ The movement came to an end in Patna in 1863 when Britishers imprisoned many of its leaders thereby ending the funds to carry on this movement.
➤ The Bhumij Revolt (1832-33) was led by Ganga Narayan. Its impact was basically in Singhbhum and Birbhum. The reason of uprising was increasing the land revenue by the Britishers.
➤ Other reasons for starting the revolt was the exploitation of tribals by King Veerbhum, Munsifs, Inspector and Zamindars.
➤ It was started on 26th April, 1832 when Diwan of Veerbhum was murdered. Ganga Narayan Singh provided able leadership but he was killed in a battle on 7th February, 1833, by Thakur Chetan Singh.
➤ Kol uprising (1831-32) was led by Budhu Bhagat at Chota Nagpur against expansion of British rule on their lands and transfer of their lands to outsiders like Sikh and Muslim farmers.
➤ The movement largely covered Ranchi, Singhbhum, Hazaribagh, Palamu and Western parts of Manbhum. It was only after the large scale military operations, this revolt was suppressed.
➤ Two other leaders were Sindrai and Surga who kept fighting till 1832 and then surrendered. As a result of this revolt, a new province called South East Frontier Agency was formed.
➤ It was led by Sidhu and Kanhu in 1855-56 against the atrocities of Zamindars and moneylenders. The Santhals of Rajmahal hill had revolted against the oppression by revenue officials, police, moneylenders, landlords, etc.
➤ The Santhals had declared the end of Company’s rule and asserted themselves independent in 1854.
➤ In 1856, the situation could only be brought under control after extensive military operation. Sidhu died in 1855, while Kanhu was arrested in 1866.
➤ As a result of this movement, Santhal Pargana was created by the British and Ashley Aiden became its first District Collector.
➤ It was an agrarian movement started in 1858. The Christian tribal peasants began this movement against the oppressive landlords and to end the Begari system in agriculture.
➤ This movement wanted land reforms in the agricultural practices of that time.
➤ Later this movement joined the movement initiated by Birsa Munda that was more religious in nature. This movement is mentioned in the book of SC Rai, The Mundas.
➤ This uprising was started against the decision of the British Government to withdraw brass vessels (Lotahs) and introduce earthen vessels in jails in 1856.
➤ The prisoners of Arrah and Muzaffarpur jails started this movement. This hit the religious sentiments of the prisoners as brass was attached to religious sensibilities.
➤ A large crowd of people from town gathered and attacked the prisons. As a result, the British Government withdraw its order and again brass vessels were allowed to be used.
➤ A Forest Regulation Act passed in 1865, empowered the British Government to declare any land covered with trees or brushwood as Government Forest and to make rules to manage it under the terms of their own choice.
➤ The Act made no provision regarding the rights of tribal users. A more comprehensive Indian Forest Act was passed in 1878, which imposed several restrictions upon Adivasi’s rights over forest land and produce in the protected and reserve forests. The Act radically changed the nature of the traditional common property of the Adivasi communities and made it state property.
➤ For these reasons, in the last decade of 19th century, Mundas raised under Birsa Munda against British rules and their local agents mainly moneylenders.
➤ The Munda Movement under the leadership of Birsa Munda was religious movement or rebellion (Ulgulan) with an agrarian and political content.
➤ The movement aimed at establishing Munda rule in the land by killing Thikadars, Jagirdars, Rajas and Hakims.
Birsa gathered a large force of 6000 Mundas that was suppressed heavily by British forces.
➤ Birsa was captured on 3rd February, 1900 and sent to jail where he died on 9th June, 1900 due to cholera.
➤ As a result of this movement, new land rights were made. For the first time, Mundari Khuntkatti system was implemented under the Tenancy Act.
➤ On 11th November, 1908, Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act was passed.
➤ In the 20th century, the Mundas again revolted against the Queen of Gangpur who was exploiting the people under the patronage of the British.
➤ Under the leadership of Nirmala Munda, they fought the British in 1939, which too was suppressed heavily that led to killing of Mundas at Ameko Simako near Raiboga.
Tana Bhagat Movement
➤ In 1914, Oraon tribe started Tana Bhagat Movement. It is one kind of Bhagat Movement which emerged among the Oraon of Chota Nagpur (now in Jharkhand).
➤ The Tana Bhagat Movement is essentially religious in nature. This movement is considered as an extension of Birsa Movement.
➤ Jatra Bhagat was the main leader of this movement. He belonged to Oraon tribal community. Other leaders were Balram Bhagat, Bhikhu Bhagat, Shibu Bhagat, etc.
➤ Among the Oraon, the term Bhagat has been applied to a distinct section of tribe which subscribes to the cult of Bhakti.
➤ The Bhagat Movement is characterised by a large scale incorporation of Hindu practices into its ideology. However, the tribal leaders of the movement were essentially fighting the foreign exploiters, the landlords and contractors. This movement also opposed the taxes imposed by Britishers.
➤ Non-violence was accepted as the weapon in this movement. They are followers of Mahatma Gandhi and believes in Ahimsa (Non-Violence).
Sapha Har Movement
➤ This movement is also called Kherwar Movement. It began in 1868 and initiated by Bhagirath Manjhi. It was led by Santhals and popularised the concept of one God.
➤ Bhagirath declared himself as King of Santhals and demanded a separate Santhal state.
➤ The movement also aimed at social reforms like stopping the sacrifice of ‘evil bongas’. However, this movement was also crushed by English East India Company.
Important Tribal Revolts
Name of the Revolt
Nature and Objective
Ho and Munda
1820, 1827, 1899, 1900, 1860-1920
Against Britishers, new land revenue policy.
Against transfer of land to outsiders.
Against land revenue policy of Britishers.
Against moneylenders, contractors, etc.
Against alienation of tribal land.
Against landlord and contractors.