Movements for the Emancipation of Women: Tribal Movements and Revolts in British India

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Tribal Movements and Revolts in British India

Tribal Movements and Revolts in British India


  • The land revenue settlements and the notion ownership (like the chute Nagpur tenure Khuntikatti) and aggravated tensions within the tribal societies.
  • The colonial regime introduced tighter control over the forest zones from 1970s and 1880s. It created ‘reserved forests’ from 1967 onwards. Then the British attempts to monopolies the forest wealth through curbs on the use of forest resources such as timber and grazing lands caused dislocation of the tribal economy.
  • The Christian missions were active in many tribal areas (particularly in Bihar and the Assam hills) . The missionaries did bring education and some social mobility, but they often provoked either hostility among the tribal or attempts by the tribal to use some Christian tensest in anti – foreign ways.
  • The British rule and its accompanying commercialization strengthened already existing tendencies towards penetration of tribal areas by outsiders from the plains moneylenders, traders, land – grabbers and contractors – the dikes and was hated by the sandals.

Nature and Phases of the Tribal Revolts

  • Most of the tribal revolts of the early phase were violent outbursts character with restorative against the colonial government and those whose interests it protected (e. g. landlords, forest contractors and moneylenders) .
  • During the second half of the ninetieth century, some of the tribal movements developed into “revitalization” movements borrowing elements borrowing elements from Christianity and Hinduism. This was the second phase of the tribal movement.
  • During this phase, the movements promised end to exploitation, and sudden and miraculous entry into a golden age.
  • The tribal movements of this phase have been put in the category of millenarian movements by historians and anthropologists because they were strengthened by the belief that a savior would appear to liberate them. Brisa Monad՚s rebellion of 1899 – 1900 (the Ungula) may be regarded as the most striking example of the Millenarian character of the tribal revolts.
  • During the third phase (since the First World War) , although millenarian tendencies still remained an important feature of the tribal revolts, yet some of these movements (e. g. the Tina Bhagwat movements in Bihar) combined socio – religious reform among the tribal with anti – colonial hostility. Some of the movements were also drawn into the national movements.
    • The Atom Revolt: In 1829, the Atom revolt took place against the incorporation of the Atom territory in Easter India into the British Empire.
    • The Kol Uprising (1830 – 37) : These up springs took place as protest against the transfer of lands from Monad headmen to outsiders. In 1831, spread to Ranchi, Singh hum, Hazaribagh and Paloma.
    • Khaki Revolt (1833) : As a result of the first Burmese War (1824 – 26) , the British acquired possession of Brahmaputra valley and conceived the idea of linking it with Sleet by road passage through the Khaki region. The Kisi revolted under their chief Tarot Singh. Another tribe, the Garo also joined them.
    • The Konda Uprising (1837 – 56) : The uprisings of Konda tribal of Orissa took place between 1837 and 1856.
    • Singhal Rebellion (1855 – 56) : This revolt occurred in the Rajmahal hills of the Singhal region. It was led by Sidhu and Kanha. It began as a reaction against the “civilized” people of Bengal and north Indians (particularly landlords, police and moneylenders) .
    • Tribal Uprisings in Western India: Tribal groups such as BPhils, Kolas, Ramos his took recourse to open revolts in the course of the 19th century against the British policies.
    • Ramesh Uprisings: Ramos his were hill tribes of the Western Ghats. They first revolted under their leader Chitty Singh in 1822 resisting the new British pattern of administration. Another Ramesh rebellion took place between 1825 – 26 and 1829. Another Ramesh uprising took place in the 1840 the oppose the deposition of Raja pratap Singh of Samara.
  • Later, in 1879, a Maharashtra Chitpavan Brahman Vasudeva Blatant Padre who had some English education and was influenced by M. G. Ramadi՚s lectures on drain of wealth and by the experience of the famine of Deccan of 1876 – 77, organized an anti – British uprising with the support of some Brahman youths and many low caste Ramos in and Hangars. Thus, it was the case of a short – lived concord between conscious intelligentsia nationalism and plebeian militancy. The outcome was a type of social banditry, with the dacoit՚s given shelter by the peasants. After Padre՚s capture and life sentence, a Ramesh dacoit band under Daulatabad Ramesh remained active till 1883. We also here of the kola tribal groups indulging in acts of social banditry. The Kolas in this region were being ousted from their ancestral lands, like other tribal in other parts of India.
  • The Ungula (Great Tumult) of Brisa Mind (1899 – 1900) or Mind Uprising: The tribal of Singhal once again rebelled in the region south of Ranchi in 1899 – 1900 under the leadership of Brisa Monad. The dikes (outsiders such as Jagirdari, thikadars and moneylenders) had eroded the joint settlements (Khuntikatti) of the mundus. The mundus.
  • Additional cause was that the forest contractors imposed indentured labour on the tribal. Yet another factor was the activities of the Christian missionaries.
  • Brisa appeared to the tribal as their savior. He was the son of a sharecropper who came under the influence of both the Christianity and Hinduism. He also claimed to be a prophet with miraculous healing powers. The movement initially was religious but soon turned into an anti – dike and anti – British uprising. Even the Christian Mundus joined it. Churches were burnt in many places.
  • The Revolt of the Ramp Tribal in Andhra Pradesh: Even after the withdrawal of the Non – Cooperation Movement by Mahatma Gandhi, some lower – class uprisings did not subside immediately. One such striking example of popular militancy came from the ever – restive semi – tribal ‘Ramp’ region north of the Godavari between 1922 and 1924. It was virtually a guerrilla war led by Allure Sitharaman Raja who went on to become a folk hero in Andhra Pradesh. Raja was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and the Non- Cooperation Movement. The Ramp revolt combined ‘primitive rebellion’ with modern nationalism.
  • Jabra Bhagwat and Tina Bhagwat Movements: These movements developed among the Orion՚s of Chita Nagar during the period of the First World War. The Mundus joined the Orion՚s in open revolt with the news of the beginning of the First World War. A movement was started by Jabra Bhagwat in 1914, calling for monotheism, abstention from meat, liquor and tribal dance. The movement called for a return to shifting cultivation, it took a more millenarian character with the rumor of the arrival of a savior. The Jabra Bhagwat movement was suppressed by the British government but a more ‘pacific’ Tina Bhagwat movements survived from 1915 onwards. The Tina Bhargava movements combined some form of Sanskritisation with radical millenarian ideals. The message of the Tina Bhagwat movements was that God would send a most powerful and benevolent delegate to the earth to redeem the Orion՚s from the miserable conditions (this savior was identified with Brisa Monad or German Kaiser ( ‘German Baba’ ) and it was believed that he would expel all foreigners from the tribal territories. The attar Bhagwat and Tina Bhagwat movements stressed both anti – colonialism and internal reforms.

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