Abdul Azim Akhtar Even before the forefathers of the National Movement sowed the roots of nationalism, the tribals had given a clarion call to end the rule of the East Indian Company. Apart from the Wahabi and Farazi leaders, the tribal leaders were among the first legion of leaders who sacrificed their lives for the cause of the motherland. The Santhals seem to have settled first, between and , in the region , which later, by Act 37 of , was given the status of a district and came to be known as the district of Santhal Prgana,. At that time, the area was quite vast, but the boundary line was redrawn in by Act 10 Virottam, , due to protests from the Zamindars and the Englishmen engaged in indigo cultivation, Between and , there appears to have been a further dispersion of the Santhals.
|Published (Last):||19 September 2005|
|PDF File Size:||19.9 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||3.19 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Abdul Azim Akhtar Even before the forefathers of the National Movement sowed the roots of nationalism, the tribals had given a clarion call to end the rule of the East Indian Company.
Apart from the Wahabi and Farazi leaders, the tribal leaders were among the first legion of leaders who sacrificed their lives for the cause of the motherland. The Santhals seem to have settled first, between and , in the region , which later, by Act 37 of , was given the status of a district and came to be known as the district of Santhal Prgana,.
At that time, the area was quite vast, but the boundary line was redrawn in by Act 10 Virottam, , due to protests from the Zamindars and the Englishmen engaged in indigo cultivation, Between and , there appears to have been a further dispersion of the Santhals.
The Santhals were originally, according to popular tradition, divided into twelve sects, of which eleven only remained, one disappeared entirely Bradley-Brit, , p. Their myths depict a story of their constant wanderings before they came towards the end of the eighteenth century to their present habitat in the Santhal Parganas The Santhal legend traces their origin to a wild goose, which laid two eggs, out of which sprang Pilchu Haram and Pilchu Burhi, their two ancestors Singh et.
The influx of Santhals was encouraged for clearing the jungle for the purpose of cultivation. Time and again, according to their recorded legends, this passionate desire to preserve their tribe from contamination had led them to forsake their homes and wander forth in search of new lands rather than admit a stranger within their ranks.
It was this national spirit, this clannish sentiment that united the Santhals in one unbroken front against the foreigners, that enabled them to stem the tide of every conquest that engulfed their less united neighbours of the plains, and finally enabled them to wring practically their own terms from the last and greatest conqueror of all ibid.
There was a very real danger that it might split up into small-scattered communities gradually losing their nationality and becoming absorbed in the lowest classes among the Hindus. Against such a fate that whole Santhal nature rebelled, suspicious of interference and restless of control. The Santhals had always entertained a peculiar aversion to the entire Hindu race. When the British first arrived to takeover the administration of Rajmahal district, they found that Paharias and Zamindars had made a temporary compromise ibid.
This compromise was short-lived, as the Santhals realised a potential danger to their existence, from the rise in prices, encroachment of their land, and new British laws, which were aimed at extracting maximum revenues, and transferring land to the parties who consented to their demands. The Santhals, who were living with independence for ages, found these conditions as infringement upon their freedom and living. Many tribals were also forced to migrate to work in other areas to earn their living.
As per one estimation, the number of Santhals in indigo plantation was 58, Pal, The migration of the male members to other areas left their women alone and vulnerable to the dikkus, who were always ready to take advantage of the liberal tribal sexual norms among the Santhals. A love affair between a Santhal girl and a stranger to the tribe might at first sight seem only a form of rural romance yet in the light of Santhal views of tribal population it is one of worst offences a Santhal can commit.
Archer, As labour grew dearer and the serf became more valuable the clutch of the Mahajan tightened. Bradley-Brit, op.
The most effective tribal movement of this period was, however, the Santhal hul of Driven from their homeland, they cleared the area around the Rajmahal Hills and called it Daman-i-Koh. Some years before, he had harried a Santhal village beyond endurance, and they had cut him up with their little curved axes, and left him for dead.
Moneylenders, however, are proverbially tenacious of life, and he made a wonderful recovery; but he was so disfigured that he could never show his face again. The land dispute which had led to this and many other acts of violence, turned out to be one of immemorial antiquity, which Colonel Dalton had tried in vain to settle some twenty years before my time.
It affected 52 Santhal villages, and its main difficulty consisted in the fact that there was no unit of superficial measurement. The idea of an acre was unknown, and rent was assessed by the muri, or the amount of land that was supposed to be capable of taking some fifty pounds of seed. This was judged by the eye, when or by whom nobody knew, and each muri consisted of number plots scattered all over the parish, and varying year by year as the occupier took in a fresh piece or allowed a strip to fall out of cultivation.
Eventually by cautious diplomacy, I induced the Santhals to let me measure their land, and assess rents by area and quality. The economic chaos and agrarian strife that had prevailed for generations was ended by a formal agreement between them and their landlord, which I believe still holds good.
A thrill of awe passed through the race as rumour spread with unquestioning faith and the Santhals accepted it. None would dare to take in vain the name of Marang Buru, the Great Spirit. Practically, the whole fighting population within the pillars answered the summons of the Sal branch, Sidhu and Kanhu, two of the four brothers, to whom Marang Baru had appeared, were the recognised leaders.
They sat and talked for day and night, as the Santhals love to do, discussing their grievances and fixing their determination, now that they had come together,to be content with no half measures for the hatred of the usurer and all his satellites from the land.
According to Bandyopadhyay op. To this was added the oppression of the local police and the European officers engaged in railroad construction. All these rebellions were not only against local jagirdar-Zamindar-contractor-Money lender-Mahajan-and trader but also against the British Government Pal, op.
For our people we have bathed in blood For the trader thieves Have robbed us our land … On the 30th June , 10, Santhals met at Bhagnadihi. Sidhu and Kanhu proclaimed themselves lords of the country under the title of Subahs and appointed naibs, darogas and other subordinate officers. The first spark of the revolt was ignited at Littipara. Kena Ram Bhagat was a leading merchant and moneylender of Amrapara.
The altercation, which took place, led to the arrest of Baijai Manjhi, who was sent to Bhagalpur jail where he died shortly after without any trial. His son Singrai also raised the banner of revolt who was also hanged in Barhait bazaar after summary trial. The hul started with the killing of Mohesh Daroga who, on 7th July, had arrived at Panchkhetia Bazar, along with some chowkidars and constables to arrest the rebel leaders. He accused the Santhals of theft and asked his men to tie up Sidhu and Kanhu Ghosh, In the early part of November, after the revolt had been dragging out for nearly five months, martial law was proclaimed.
As many as fourteen thousand troops were now employed under General Lloyd and Brigadier General Birdand the Santhal rebellion was systematically crushed. Sidhu, the eldest of the four brothers, who was the original ringleader, was captured and after a summary trial, was hanged at Barahait by Mr.
Not less than ten thousand Santhals are said to have perished in the struggle Bradley-Brit,op. The Darogah was sitting at Baboopara he sent a burkundauge to me before. He counted the men. I then gave a perwanah to the burkundauge saying the Thakoor has descended and we are assembled for the purpose of making a complaint why do you interfere, the darogah remained 2 days and then went…. He said, I have come to investigate a snake bite death. I said prove it, if I have committed a theft or dacoitee.
If you prove anything put me in jail. The mahajans said if it costs us rupees we will do that to get you imprisoned. The mahajans and the Darogah got very angry and ordered them to tie me up. According to one calculation, out of thirty to fifty thousand rebels, fifteen to twenty thousand were killed before the insurrection was finally suppressed. Bandyopadhyay, op. Ghosh, op. The feeling of Santhal towards Motherland is expressed in the following Raha, op.
O Motherland, O Motherland! Notes: 1. References: Archer, W.
History[ edit ] According to linguist Paul Sidwell , Austro-Asiatic language speakers probably arrived on coast of Odisha from Indochina about — years ago. Then British officials turned their attention to Santals, who were ready to clear the forest for the practice of settled agriculture. In , a large number of areas were demarcated as Damin-i-koh or Santal Pargana. Santals from Cuttack , Dhalbhum , Birbhum , Manbhum and Hazaribagh migrated and started cultivating these lands as peasants. British collected taxes from these Santals as revenue. The imposition of taxes, exploitation by Zamindars and money lenders sparked the Santal rebellion. Sidhu and Kanhu Murmu , two brothers led the Santals against the British but were defeated.