Tribal Revolts

Manu was the leader of school’s drama and rally campaign.

In that reference, he was needed to visit the Principal’s office to lead the campaign as well as upcoming drama too.

Manu informed her that his classmates wanted to do a drama on this independence day.

He added, ‘but the problem is that we are unable to find out the leader to whom we should dedicate the act’.

He was aware of many leaders like Bose and Bapu, he was looking for older and lesser known ones.

He wanted to select some unfamiliar rebellion, whose revolt had shaken the British. Manu wanted to introduce some unknown heroes.

Principal understood and suggested him to make a drama on Tribal Revolts and introduce Birsa Munda.

Let’s discuss the Tribal Revolts

British laws had changed many things in tribal lifestyle.

From practices to taxes and from traders to moneylenders, everything came under British laws. Tribal groups couldn’t digest that for long.

Thus, nineteenth and twentieth century witnessed many tribal revolts

Like Kols rebellion in 1831-32, Santhals in 1855, Bastar revolt in central India in 1910 and Warli in 1940 in Maharashtra.

But one of the greatest tribal revolt was Munda revolt and its hero was Birsa Munda.

Let’s know about Birsa Munda

Birsa Munda was born in a poor family in 1870s. He was brought up around Bohonda forests, grazing sheep.

The poverty forced his father for keep moving from one place to another. Birsa heard many stories of Mundas, and people who were urging to revolt.

There was a time when their community rights were there, that needed to be restored.

In local missionary school, where Birsa was studying, he again heard the terms like rights and revolts.

They were also advised to be good Christians and to leave their bad practices if they wanted their Kingdom back.

Birsa was deeply influenced by many of the ideas and he urged the Mundas to give up drinking liquor, clean their village, and stop believing in witchcraft.

He talked of a golden age in the past – a satyug (the age of truth) – when Mundas lived a good life.

Birsa advised people to work again on their lands and this made the British company worried. His movement was identified as rebel, especially for the land system.

Birsa movement, wanted to drive out missionaries, moneylenders, Hindu landlords, and the government and set up a Munda Raj with Birsa at its head.

Seeing the danger, British officials had arrested Birsa in 1895 on riot charges and jailed him for 2 years.

Birsa was released after two years, and then, he again started gathering the supports from the villages for protesting the British officials.

They attacked police stations, raided the property of moneylenders and raised the white flag as ‘Birsa Raj’

Birsa died in 1900 and then the movement faded down but this movement was very significant.

This movement showed that tribal people had the capacity to revolt against injustice and forced British government to make laws for the rights of tribals.


British officials and their rules had hit the country and the tribal lives were also highly impacted.

The Tribal Revolts were the results of the unjust policies of the British government and the outsiders which they call as Dikus.

Among all these, Munda revolt was the greatest one which was led by Birsa Munda of Chhota Nagpur region which is present day Jharkhand.

He urged his community to remember the golden age of freedom and fight against British government and dikus.

Birsa planned a movement by motivating the people and encouraged them to use the lands without any permission from British Company.

British Officials arrested him in 1895 and then, realised him in 1897. After getting the release, he again started gathering the people for movement.

Tribal has attacked the places and confessed the ‘Birsa Raj’. In 1900, Birsa died and this movement faded but it also showed the tribal capacity of revolt.

The End