Previse 2024: Tribal revolts

Previse 2024: Tribal revolts

Indian tribal uprisings, rebellions, and movements were motivated by revolutionary ideas. Primarily triggered by interference in their way of living by the British.

Table of contents

UPSC asked a question about tribal revolts in CSE 2022, 2018 and in many previous years. It is a pet topic and significant tribal revolts must be remembered.

Here is the list of tribal revolts you should know about:

Chuar Uprising

  • This occurred between 1771 and 1809 near Midnapore, Manbhum and Bankura villages. 
    • It is also known as Jungle Mahal Rebellion due to ‘Chuar’ being a derogatory term.
    • Increased taxes, famine, high demands and economic hardship were some causes of revolt.
    • Paiks, zamindars and common Chuars participated in the uprisings.
The Ones who didn't Fear the Dreadful Past- The Chuar Rebellion

Ramosi Uprising

  • It was a farmer uprising against the British government’s lack of anti–famine action from 1877-1887 under Vasudev Balwant Phadke in the Western Ghats area.
    • The Ramosi revolt in Satara took place in 1822 under the leadership of Chittur Singh.
    • As a strategy to end the uprising, the British adopted a pacifist approach and hired some of them as hill cops.
    • Vasudeo Phadke wanted his own army, and for it, government treasuries were robbed and communication lines were disrupted

Below is a question from UPSC CAPF 2019:

Khond Rebellion

  • The tribe is mainly seen in Orissa and the Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh. 
  • The uprising took place in Orissa in 1836 and from 1855-56, led by Chakra Bisoi.
    • Causes of the revolt included British interference in the Mariah system (practice of human sacrifice), introduction of the new taxes and intrusion of zamindars and moneylenders into their areas.
    • The Khonds battled with Tangi, a type of war axe.
    • The Savaras and other clans commanded by Radhakrishna Dandasena joined it later.

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 Santhal Hool

  • It took place in 1855-56 in present-day Jharkhand.
    • It was an outcome of the Permanent Land Settlement of 1793, introduced by Cornwallis.
    • The East India Company in 1832 demarcated Damin-i-Koh from the region of Jharkhand with a promise of non-interference in Santhal land.
    • Prominent leaders like Sidhu and Kanhu led the revolt.
  • Santhals engaged in guerrilla warfare by forming their own armies and disrupting the rail and postal communications.

Bhil Uprising

  • It was one of the first revolutions carried out by a tribal group in the year 1818.
    • In 1818, all Bhil tribal states concluded a treaty with the British administration.
    • This led to a ban on the domestic consumption and trade of certain products and on the distillation of liquor. 
  • A British representative named Colonel Walter concluded a peace settlement with the Bhils.

Munda Rebellion

  • The Munda Ulgulan or rebellion was an outcome of non-tribals impacting the Khuntkatti System.
    • In the Khuntkatti System, the whole clan jointly owned the land fit for cultivation. But in the 19th century,  jagirdars and zamindars started to settle in these lands.
    • The land owned by Mundas were seized or forfeited and they were forced to work as landless laborers in the fields of these Jagirdars and zamindars.
    • Landlords and Dikus (outsiders) strengthened their hold over the properties, and demands began. 
  • November 15 is the birth anniversary of Birsa Munda and is celebrated as 'Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas'. The day corresponds with the formation of Jharkhand. 
    • In 1894, Birse Munda declared revolt against the British and the Dikus with aim of creating a ‘Munda Raj’.

Koya Uprising

  • Koyas of the eastern Godavari track in present-day Andhra Pradesh revolted in 1803, 1840, 1845, 1858, 1861, and 1862.
    • They were led by Khonda Sara leaders and later under Tomma Sora.
    • Raja Anantayyar led another uprising in 1886 as a response to Tomma Sora’s demise
    • The uprising was to protect their autonomy, resist oppression, and defend their traditional way of life.

Let's try this practice PYQ from the UPSC CDS I 2023 exam.

Ho and Munda Uprisings

  • Ho and Munda uprisings took place from 1820 to 1837 in the Chota Nagpur and Singhbhum region of Jharkhand.
    • It involved Ho tribals led by Raja Parahat against new farming revenue policy, and later became the Munda rebellion.
    • The rebellion started as a religious movement but became political as it fought against the introduction of feudal and zamindari systems.
    • It merged with the Munda movement and was carried forward.
Ho and Munda Uprisings | Tribal Movement In India | Modern History | UPSC

Paharias rebellion

  • It took place in the Raj Mahal Hills region in present-day Jharkhand in 1778 against encroachment of Britishers on their territory. 
    • British authorities declared Pahariya-inhabited region as ‘damni-kol’ meaning forbidden territory and hence the British agreed to non-interference in their administration.
    • A buffer zone was created between British expansion and the Pahariya areas.
    • It was one of several instances where tribes asserted their sovereignty and resisted British expansion. 

Singphos’ Rebellion

  • The Singhpho rebellion took place in Assam, and coincided with British preoccupation with the Khasis in 1830.
    • The Singhphos rose up and killed the British Political Agent which started the actual rebellion.
    • They were led by their chief Nirang Phidu who assaulted the British Garrison in 1843 killing many soldiers. 
    • A British settlement in Assam was attacked by Khasma Singphos later in 1849.
    • Bom Singpho was a member of the Beesa Gaum who joined with Peali Borgohain and some Ahom nobles to overthrow the British rule in Assam. 
Singphos’ Rebellion | Tribal Movement | UPSC
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