- Colonical Forest Law and Reactions of the Adivasi people
- Santhal Hool (1855 – 1856)
- Munda Rebelion (1899 – 1900)
- Chaur Rebelion, Second Phase, (1798 – 1799)
- Rangpur Rebellion (1783)
- The Kol Rebellion (1831 – 1832)
- Bheel Rebellion (1819)
- Sanyasi Fakir Rebellion (1763 – 1800)
- Wahabi Movement
- Farazi Movement
1. Colonial Forest Law and Reactions of the Adivasi People.
- The people of the tribal (Adivasi) community forms a major portion of the Indian population.
- Tribals were used to live in forest and hilly areas and maintain their livelihood through the cultivation of land and collection of woods and fruits in the forest.
- They turned the fallow land into cultivable land.
- When the British rule came in force, the East India Company in these areas made the settlement of land and introduced their revenue system as per their plan.
- Indian Forest Act – 1865
- Indian Forest Act – 1878 – this Act category the forest into the categories – of reserved forests, protected forests, and village forests.
- Indian Forest Act – 1927
- The landlords, usurers, and Christian Missionaries began to come into the forest.
- The landlords started taxing the foresters heavily according to their whims and the usurers used to snatch away all their belongings by charging the highest rate of interest against loans. The missionaries tried to convert them to Christianity.
- For these tortures and exploitations, the tribals revolted against the British.
- Before the great Mutiny of 1857 numerous peasant rebellions took place in different parts of India.
- By rebellion, we mean raising the voice of protest against the conventional system.
- This protest can be individual or collective, again armed and violent or peaceful and non-violent.
- By uprising, we mean a collective rebellion that is always armed. For example, the mutiny of 1857 can be considered an uprising.
- Further, revolution always means a complete change of the conventional system. American Revolution, French Revolution, Glorious Revolution of England, etc. are examples of revolutions.
- A revolution may occur peacefully without bloodshed or with bloodshed as well.
Santal Hool (1855 – 1856)
- The Santals were a hard-working peace-loving and simple agrarian tribal community.
- Bankura, Midnapur, Birbhum, Manbhum, Chhota Nagpur, and Palamou region.
Cause of Rebellion
- The Santal had to face torture and exploitation of the Landlords and British Employees.
- The Santal work hard and turned the forestry land into cultivatable land, but the British government charged high land taxes and rent of Lands.
- The taxes were paid in cash so, the farmers had to sell their crops to collect money for payment.
- When the farmers were failed to pay the rent and tax amount they ask money from moneylenders, and moneylenders charged interest about 50% to 500%. If they once took the loan they could not come out of the loan.
- To repay of loan they had to sell cattle and crops and sometimes even land, and to work in their lands as slaves.
- The foreigner usurers and traders opened many shops to sell the daily necessities items at higher rates in exchange for their food crops which were rated much lower.
- During the time of Lord Dalhousie, the railway track was going on through Rajmahal, Rampurhat, Bhagalpur, Sahebgunge, and some other parts.
- The santal were forced to work at a nominal wage, in addition, they were forced to take away the ducks, hens, and goats to serve as meat.
- The Santals had no rules and laws. The British introduced civil and criminal laws which were very complex, costly, and time-consuming laws.
- The law was introduced by Lieutenant-Governor Frederick Haliday.
- The Christian Missionaries used to convert them into Christianity under different excuses.
Beginning of Rebellion
- As we discuss earlier Santal was peace-loving and simple agrarian. instead of declaring war, they started the ‘hool’ or rebellion instantly.
- Firstly, they complain to the local authorities, but they realize that the local authority is deaf ear to grievances they started the rebellion.
- Under the leadership of two brothers, Sidhu and Kanu on 30th June 1855 ten thousand Santals were assembled at Bhagnadigi ground and demanded the independent Santal state.
- On 7th July they declared rebellion and killed many usurers and landlords.
- The rebels took over the Royal Palace of Pakur.
- With the Santal joined the local potters, the ironsmiths, the milkmen, the weavers, the cobblers, the doms, the teli, and other people of different professions.
- British had seized to exit from Bhagalpur to Moongyer. At last, they having killed twenty-three thousand rebels in February 1856. And rebellion put down
- Sidhu Kanu and other leaders were hanged till death.
A key-person associated with Rebellion
- Sidhu, Kanu, Chand, Bhairab, Veer Singh, Kalo Pramanik, Domen Majhi.
- The young men of Santal community were the main force behind the rebellion.
- The old and the women also took active part in it. Many Santal women courted arrest with babies in their laps.
- Santal Rebellion was a primarily agrarian revolt of the peasants.
- This is not a tribal rebellion, but the united protest of poor peasants and laborers against British Imperialism.
- This rebellion was not merely a rebellion against the Zamindars and the usurers. On the contrary, it was distinctly anti-British.
- The Santal rebellion did not succeed but its indirect effect was fearful for British Government.
- The Santals were recognised as a separate tribe.
- It was declared that in the Santal Pargana district the British laws would not apply.
- No one except the European Missionaries had access in this area.
- In this way, the Santals were isolated from the main stream of Indian life by the Government which had kept them backward.
Historian point of View
- According to Prof. Narahari Kabiraj this rebellion become a war of independence of the poor people of all communities.
- According to the Historian Kali Kinkar Dutta, “This episode opened a new chapter in the history of Bengal and Bihar.”
- According to William Hunter, the poors of the lower class Hindus also participated in the rebellion.
- According to Dr. Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, if the Mutiny of 1857 is regarded as a struggle for independence then certainly this hard battle of the Santals against the British should also be called a struggle for independence.
- According to Suprakash Roy, “This Insurrection created a tremendous quake at the base of the British administration all over India and it was the herald of the epoch-making great Mutiny of India in 1857.