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Tribals, Dikus and the vision of a golden age
Transcript of Tribals, Dikus and the vision of a golden age
Images from Shutterstock.com CASE STUDY Khasis inhabit the regions near Janita and Garo Hills. Khasis aimed to drive out lowland strangers from their land. They raided Gnawings in 1829 and killed a number of Britshers and Bengalis who were involved in construction activity in their region. With strong force abuot 10,000 Khasis under the leadership of Tirut Singh gave tough time to British before British burnt many of their villages forcing them to surrender in 1833. Birsa Munda was a rebel against the british in the eighteenth century. Born in mid-1870s, he was from a poor family. in his childhoo, he gazed sheep, played flute and danced in the local akhara. As an adolescent, Birsa heard of the munda rebellion tales of a golden age, when the Mundas would be free of oppresion of dikus and get back their ancestral rights, impressed him. Tribals, Dikus and the vision of a golden age - Part 2 Tribal Revolts in North-east India What happened to the Tribal Chiefs and the Shifting Cultivators ? Tribal Chiefs were important people who enjoyed economic and administrative influence over the people. In several areas, they had their own police and local rules of land and forest underwent a considerable change. They were allowed to keep their land titles and even had to pay tribute to the british and lost considerable authority which they enjoyed earlier. The British did not like tribals who wandered from one place to another. They wanted to see them as settled cultivators. Settled peasants could be controlled easily. It even gave a regular source of revenue to the state. The British, therefore, introduced land settlement. It was to be done by measuring land, and demand for the state. Some peasants were declared owners of the land while the others were tenants. Tenants had to pay rent to the state. The British effort to settle Jhum cultivation paid dividends. scarcity of water, however, did give them some problems. Forest Laws and their impact Life of tribals was directly linked to the forest. Any change in laws of forest would have a direct impact on the lives of the tribals. Forests producing timber were called reserved forests. In such forests, tribals were not allowed to roam freely or practice Jhum cultivation. It made life of cultivators difficult. But once tribals were stopped from going to forests, British faced the difficulty of how to find labour for working in the forests. British thus allowed Jhum cultivators to settle near forests son the condition that thought living near forests would have to provide labour Forest Department when required. But, tribals resisted this exploitation. they opposed British laws. they rebelled openly and continued with their old policies. the 1906 revolt in Assam by Songrav Sangama and the forest satyagraha of 1930s, in the Central provinces can be citied as example here. Problems with Traders In 19th century, tribals found that traders and moneylenders were coming to forests quite often offering cash loans and wages to work. British needed raw silk. In Hazaribagh, santhals reared cocoons from tribal growers at rupees 3 or 4 thousand, but in return they sold it to Burdwan or Gaya at five times the price. Thus. while traders and middlemen got a huge profit, tribals earned very little. In Search of Work A Closer Look DONE BY : SUKHPREET KAUR AND GROUP
8-B Tribals had to go to far off places in search for work. Tea plantations were coming up in Assam and mining had also started in Jharkhand. Tribals started working as labourers. But the contractors who paid them forced them to work for long hours at low rates. THANK YOU FOR WATCHING In nineteenth and twentieth centuries, tribal groups in various parts of the country revolted against the changes in laws. New and high taxes laid on the tribals as well as the suppression by traders and moneylenders, led to revolts such as the Kols (1831-1832),
Santhals (1855), Bastar rebellion in central India (1910) and the Warli revolt in Maharashtra (1940). PICTURE GALLERY KHASI REBELLION ASSAM REBELLION Near the time when Khasis revolted, the Raja of Assam, Kumar Roopchand called upon Naga, Garo and Khanti tribe to revolt against the British. They killed a number of British officers but the superior wepons of British forced them to surrender in 1839. NAGA REBELLION In 1844, Naga's revolted in Dimapur and killed many British officers. It took British force three years to curb the rebellion. KUKI REBELLION Kukis lived in Manipur and revolted thrice between 1826 and 1849. They killed number of officers before their power declined in 1827. TRIBAL REVOLTS IN CHOTANAGPUR : KOL REBELLION In 1820, the Kols of Chotanagpur revolted against the entry of British officers in their territory. They gave a stiff resistance to British officials before surrendering in 1927. MUNDA REBELLION The Munda rebellion took place in 1830 against the new revenue and judicial administration introduced by the British. The rebellion spread to Ranchi, Palamau and Hazaribagh. They killed thousands of foreign settlers. The british were finally able to curb the rebellion by 1837. SANTHAL REBELLION The Santhal rebellion took place in 1855-1856. This rebellion was not as much against British as it was against oppressive zamindars and maharajas. Two brothers, Khanu and Sidhu, played a major role in this rebellion by cutting postal and railway lines. They even attached European bungalows. The British however took swift action forcing them to run to the jungles. It took time before curbed their rebellion by 1856. BIRSA MUNDA CASE STUDY Birsa went to local missionary school and heard that Mundas could attain independence and regain their lost rights. However, this was possible only if they became good Christians and gave up their 'evil practices'. Later, Birsa came under the influence of Vaishnav preachers and started wearing sacred thread and valuing the importance of purity and piety. Deeply touched by many of the ideas that he learnt in his childhood, he urged the Mundas to give up liquor, clean the village and stop believing in witchcraft. Birsa believed that missionaries and Hindu landlords were ruining the Munda way of living. In 1895, Birsa urged all his followers to regain their glorious past all over again. He announced the coming of Satyug (the age of truth), when Mundas could have a good life, make embankments, tap natural springs, plant trees and orchards and practice cultivation to earn their living. British opposed the political aims of the Birsa movement, as he wanted to drive out British government missionaries, moneylenders and Hindu landlords. he aimed to establish a Munda Raj with Birsa as its head. The land polices pursued by British proved disastrous. Birsa led the movement and was jailed for 2 years for rioting by the British. After release, Birsa began touring the village to gather support. He made use of symbols and language to arouse people. He called upon them to overthrow "Ravana" (dikus and the Europeans) and establish a kingdom under his leadership. Birsa's followers targeted symbols of dikus and the Europeans. They assaulted the police stations and Churches and raided the property of moneylenders and zamindars. White flag was raised as ca symbol of Birsa Raj. IN 1900, Birsa died of cholera and the movement became weak. But, the movement had its own features.First, it forced the British to establish law that the land of the tribals could not be easily taken over by the dikus. Secondly, it showed the strength and capacity of tribals to rebel against injustice of British. They did this with their will power and by discovering their own rituals and symbols of struggle. They fought till they won. The sacrifice of Birsa, their leader, did not go in vain