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Santal Revolt In Jharkhand,Sido-Kanhu

Santal Revolt In Jharkhand,Sido-Kanhu

Baba Tilka Majhi was first Santal leader who had taken up the arms against the powerful Britishers (East India Company) in the year 1789. The Britishers done the combing operation in the Tilapore forest from which Baba Tilka Majhi was operating but he and his men held the enemy at bay for several weeks.

When he was finally arrested in 1784, he was tied to the tail of a horse and dragged all the way to the District collector's residence at Bhgalpur city. There, his lacerated body was hung from a Banyan tree. A mamoth statue to the heroic leader was erected at the spot after the independence of the country. 

Hul Movement Sido- Kanho

Hul is a celebrated Santali term that suggests a movement for liberation. Santals in Santal Paragana an area of Jharkhand belongs to Santali tribe.

Santal Hul was one of the toughest and memorable uprise against the powerful britishers  in the history of Indian freedom struggles causing greatest number of loss of lives and property during that time.The number of causalities of Santal Hul was atleast 20,000 as per Hunter who wrote it in annals of Rural Bengal. 
The Santal Hul of 1855-57 was mobilized by four brothers named Sidhu, Kahnu, Chand and Bhairav; a heroic episode in India's prolonged struggle for freedom. It was, in all probability, the fiercest liberation movement launched by the tribal people in India next to Great Sepoy revolution in 1857.

With the annexation of political power of India by the East India Company, the natural habitats of the indigenous (Adiwasi) people including the Santals began to shatter by the intruders like moneylenders and the officials of East India Company. Traders and revenue farmers, who descended upon them in large numbers under the shelter and support of the Company

Their practices were quite exploitive Believe it or not!, but the  interest rates charged  on loan to the poor and illiterate Santals ranged between  50% to 500%.

These moneylenders were, needless to mention the crucial links in the chain of ruthless exploitation under company rule. They were the tools through which the tribal’s and other local people were brought within the influence and control of the colonial strategy.

The undercurrent had been simmering in the Santal Paraganas from the early decades of the nineteenth century owing to most naked exploitation of the Santals by both the Company officials and their collaborators, native immigrants.

Sido Murmu and Kanhu Murmu, an young and visionary man hailing from the village Bhognadih in Sahibganj district currently in tribal state Jharkhand, had long been brooding over the injustices perpetrated by the oppressors like hundreds and hundreds of their tribe's men.

The situation finally reached a burst point and, not surprisingly, a small episode that took place in July 1855 sparked one of the historical fiercest uprisings that the British administration ever faced in the country.

The emergence of Sido and Kanhu, youthful, dynamic and charismatic, provided a rallying point for the Santals to revolt against the britishers and their supporters.

On 30th June 1855, thousands of Santals assembled in a field in Bhagnadihi village of Santal Paragana, They declared themselves as free and took oath under the leadership of Sido and Kanhu to fight unto the last against the Britishers and their supporters.

Mounting Militant mood of the Santals frightened the British authority.A Police agent confronted them on the 7th July and tried to place the Sido and Kanhu arrested. The angry crowd reacted violently and killed the Police agent and burn the Police station. The event triggered a series of confrontations with the Company's Army and subsequently reached the scale of a full-fledged war.

At the outset, Santal rebels, led by both brother, made tremendous sucess and  they captured control over a large area of the country extending from Rajmahal hills in Bhagalpur district to Sainthia in Birbhum district. For the time being, Company rule in this vast area became completely paralyzed.

Several moneylenders and native agents of the Company were killed by the santhal's. Local British administrators had taken shelter in the Pakur Fort to protect their life. However, they rebel could not hold on to their gains due to the superior Military power of the East India Company came down heavily on them.

The courage, chivalry and sacrifice of the Santals people were countered by the Company with veritable butchery. Out of 50,000 Santal participated in the revolt, 15,000 to 20,000 were killed by the British Indian Army. The Company was finally able to suppress the rebellion in 1856, though some outbreaks continued till 1857.

The Santals showed great bravery, resilience and incredible courage in the fight against the Britishers. As long as their national drums continued beating, the whole party would stand and allow them to be shot down. There was no sign of yielding. Once forty Santals refused to surrender and took shelter inside a mud house. The troops surrounded the mud house and fired at them but Santals replied with their arrows. Then Soldiers made big hole through muddy wall, and the Captain ordered them surrender but they again shot a volley of arrows through the hole and Captain again asked them to surrender but they continued shooting arrows. Some of the soldiers were wounded. At last when the discharge of arrows from the door slackened, the Captain went inside the room with soldiers. He found only one old man grievously wounded, standing erect among the dead bodies. The soldier asked him to throw away arms, but instead he rushed on him and killed him with his battle axe.

It is believed that Sido was arrested by the British forces through treachery and Kanhu through an encounter at Uparbanda and was subsequently killed in captivity. The Santal Hul, however, did not come to an end in vain. It had a long-lasting impact. Santal Parganas Tenancy Act was the outcome of this struggle, which dished out some sort of protection to the indigenous people from the ruthless colonial exploitation. The understanding the mistake, tired to appease the Santals by removing the genuine grievances. Santal territory was born. The regular police was abolished and the duty of keeping peace and order and arresting criminals was vested in the hands of parganait and village headman.

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