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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Kherwar Movement in Jharkhand

Kherwar Movement of 1868 was led by the Santhals. It was initiated by Bhagrit Manjhi. Kherwar Movement is also known as Sapha Har Movement.
 Kherwar Movement started apparently in 1868 and shot into fame under the leadership of Bhagrit Manjhi. It is also known as Sapha Har movement. This movement had popularized the concept of One God as well as aimed at social reform. He demanded that a Santal raj should be introduced. He wanted the Santhals to stop their sacrifices to the "evil bongas". He was arrested in that same year.

Bhagrit Manjhi was arrested in 1868 as an instigator of disturbances. He was active till 1871 and continued his activities during the great famine in Bengal in 1874. He was also sentenced to two years imprisonment. Several Hindu leaders participated.

Kherwars assimilated into Hinduism as Hindu cult elements and the concept of "cleanness" were introduced by the leadership. This development was checked as a result of new and different kinds of tribal mobilization that took place in the 1930s. Kherwars are considered as having the same kind of religious fervour among the Santhals. This movement was basically a tribal movement.

Santhals had little knowledge of the mighty powers of their rulers was limited. They had never imagined that their plans would end in fiasco. The agitation was quelled but the unsatiated yearning freedom continued. Bhagrit Manjhi was like a saint to the Santhals.

The religious mood of the Kherwars was a kind of fervour that was similar to that observed earlier among the Christian converts. Quite a number of the Santhals in Santal Parganas tried to interpret what they understood as the social breakdown of Santal society. Some described the breakdown as a kind of "individualization" using analytical terms. Bhagirath proclaimed himself as the King of Santhals and the representative of God. Bhagirath Kherwar`s movement spread like a wild fire among the Santhals of Santhal Parganas. The Government had to take strong measures to crush it. This movement was quelled by the British.
 
Source: http://www.indianetzone.com/56/kherwar_movement_jharkhand.htm
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