- 1 Important Terms
- 2 Important Dates
- 3 Important Notes
- 3.1 Tribals
- 3.2 Tribal population of India
- 3.3 Various Categories of Tribal People are
- 3.4 The Features of Tribal Society are :
- 3.5 The problems faced by Tribals during British rule are :
- 3.6 The results of Tribal Dependence on Traders and Money lenders were:
- 3.7 Causes responsible for Santhal Hul (Rebellion):
Akhara : Wrestling ground.
Bewar : A term used for shifting cultivation in Madhya Pradesh.
Dikus : Dikus were the outsiders who visited Munda lands. These people included British officials, Hindu landlords, moneylenders and traders.
Fallow Land: Land which is left uncultivated for some time so that the soil regains its fertility.
Hul : The term hul refers to freedom struggle in Santhali dialect.
Jhum : Jhum was a cultivation practice adopted or practised by the tribals. In this type of agriculture, a patch of land was selected for cultivation and scrubs were burned to clear the land to raise crops for 2 to 3 years.
Mahua : An edible flower used to make alcohol.
Sal : A type of tree.
Satyug : The Age of Truth
Sleeper : Horizontal planks of wood used to lay railway lines.
Sirdars : The chiefs/leaders.
Ulgulan Movement : It was led by Bisra Munda against the Zamindars and moneylenders who exploited the tribals.
Vaishnav : Those who worship Lord Vishnu.
1831-32 : The Kols revolted against the forest laws of the Britishers.
1855 : Santhals rebelled against the colonial rule.
Mid 1870s : Birsa Munda was born.
1871 : The Britishers passed the Criminal Tribes Act.
1895 : Birsa Munda was arrested.
1897 : Birsa Munda was released.
1900 : Birsa Munda died.tow of Insw elichil
1906 : Songram Sangma rebelled in Assam.
1910 : The Bastar rebellion broke out in central India.
1930s : The forest satyagraha took place in Central Provinces.
1940 : Warli Revolt in Maharashtra.
Tribals known as adivasis or aboriginals , were the original inhabitants of vast forests in western , central , southern , eastern and north-eastern parts of the country.
Tribal population of India
(a) Their population constitutes only 8% of the country’s population.
(b) They live in about 15% of area of country and almost around 500 tribes are found in India.
(c) Fifty per cent of the total population of tribals live in and around the regions of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Island groups of India.
(d) The largest population of tribal people resides in Orissa (about 62%).
Various Categories of Tribal People are
(a) Jhum/Shifting cultivators who lived in North East and Central India.
(b) The hunters and gatherers known as Khonds, who lived in forests of Orissa.
(c) The pastoralists who moved along with their herds of cattle or sheep according to seasons.
(1) The Van Gujjars of the Punjab hills and Labadis of Andhra Pradesh were cattle herders, the Gaddis of Kullu were shepherds and Bakarwals of Kashmir herded goats.
(2) Settled cultivators such as the Munda of Chhota Nagpur, Gonds and Santhals.
(a) The main cause of revolts was 50%- 70% increase in revenue demand in the district of Kamrup and Darrang.
(b) Failure to pay the revenue on time led the British to seize their lands.
(c) The peasants organized mass meetings in protest against the increased land revenue demanded, but they were suppressed by the British government.
The Features of Tribal Society are :
(1) Most tribes had customs and rituals that were very different from those laid down by brahmins.
(2) These societies also did not have sharp social divisions that were characteristics of caste societies.
(3) All those who belonged to the same tribe thought of themselves as sharing common ties of kinship (they belong to the same family).
The problems faced by Tribals during British rule are :
(ii) Britishers wanted that moving tribal groups should settle down and become peasant cultivators as settled tribes were easier to control.(iii) The Britishers tried to settle down Jhum cultivators but they were unsuccessful.(iv) Some forest areas were declared as reserved forests which would provide timber to Britishers.
(v) The traders and money lenders started coming in forests. They wanted to buy forest products at very cheap prices which caused problem.
(vi) Britishers declared the forest as a state property. Tribal groups often needed to buy and sell produces in order to get the goods that were not produced within the forest locality. This led to their dependence on moneylenders.
The results of Tribal Dependence on Traders and Money lenders were:
(i) Tribal groups often needed to buy and sell produces in order to be able to get the goods that were not produced within the forest locality.
(ii) Traders came around with things for sale and sold the goods at high prices. Moneylenders gave loans with which the tribals met their cash needs, in addition to what they earned.
(iii) The interest charged on the loans was usually very high. So, for the tribals, market and commerce often meant debt and poverty.
(iv) Therefore, they came to see the moneylenders and traders as outsiders and the cause of their misery.
Reaction of Tribal against the colonial forest laws: Many tribal groups reacted against the colonial forest laws. They disobeyed the new rules, continued with the practices that were declared illegal, and at times, rose in an open rebellion such as the revolt of Songram Sangma in 1906 in Assam and the forest Satyagraha of the 1930s in the Central Provinces.
Causes responsible for Santhal Hul (Rebellion):
(1) With the introduction of the permanent land settlement system, Santhals were deprived of their ownership of land.
(2) They were obliged to pay excessive land revenue to the Britishers.
(3) Due to the strict land revenue system, local chiefs were evicted from the land and their land was purchased by zamindars.
(4) Interference of the Christian missionaries in the socio-religious life of the tribals also added to their misery.
The chief characteristics of Mundas were :
(i) Mundas were known by different names in the society.
(ii) Traditionally, they were the worshippers of Lord Shiva.
(iii) Once their society was mother dominated. Now, it is dominated by father.
(iv) They have their own morals.
(v) Usually they are blackish, curly-haired and dwarf in size.
The aim of Birsa Movement was to drive out missionaries, money lenders, Hindu landlords and the government and set up a Munda Raj with Birsa as its head. Birsa meant by the ‘Golden Age’, a satyug (the age of truth). In this age, Mundas lived a good life, constructed embankments, tapped natural springs, planted trees and orchards, practised cultivation to earn their living. They did not kill their brothers and relatives. They lived honestly. Birsa also wanted people to once again work on their land, settle down and cultivate their fields.
The British favoured Settled Cultivators because
(a) the British were uncomfortable with groups who moved about and didn’t have a fixed income.
(b) They wanted tribal groups to settle down and become peasant cultivators as it was difficult to control and administer the people who were always on the move.
(c) The British also wanted a regular revenue source for the state; so they introduced land settlements – that is, they measured the land and defined the rights of each individual to that land and fixed the revenue demand for the state.
Silk growers : In the 18th century, Indian silk was in demand in European markets. The fine quality of Indian silk was highly valued and exports from India increased rapidly. Santhals reared cocoons in Hazaribagh. The silk growers got very low returns. Understandably, many tribal groups considered the market and the traders as their enemies.