Indian Tribal Movements and their Associated Leaders

 

Introduction:

    India is land of cultural and ethnic diversity. The Adivasi also known as Tribes are the first and original inhabitants of the land and are an integral part of India’s rich and variegated cultural heritage. There are 705 Tribal Communities which constitute approximately 8.2% of India’s population. The Tribal Communities primarily reside in the remote which are naturally abundant and they depend on the natural resources for their sustenance. They own and protect these lands and its resources. Whenever their lands and forests were encroached by the outsiders they stood up against them which resulted into tribal uprising or revolt.

The foundation of the British rule over India was the outcome of the gradual colonization of Indian economy and society through several stages. The impact of this process was felt terribly by each and every section of the society and each of them responded to it in their own way. The tribal society, too, could not remain untouched by the colonization which disturbed traditional mode of living. The Tribals were treated as backward, primitive and marginalized community by the colonial rulers. These ancient communities were suppressed by the colonial oppression and atrocities. Colonial rulers, with help of the Missionaries, attacked on their socio-cultural life and forced them to opt a new and foreign cultural beliefs and practices. Their traditional institutions got upset which compelled them to respond in series of revolts and insurrection against the British government and its Indian collaborators. Though, these movements were suppressed by the veritable butchery on the part of the rulers, but there is no gainsaying the fact that these movements marked the first and foremost Indian response to the British Imperialism before the rise of the organised National Movement.

Early Tribal movements are primarily reformative movement that began to protect the socio-cultural identity of the tribal group which was threatened by the neighbouring non-tribal groups. British colonial rule in India precipitated a period of intense rebellion among the country's indigenous groups. Most tribal conflicts occurred in the British provinces, and many historians have documented how a host of colonial policies gave rise to widespread rural unrest and violence. During colonial period, the British restricted their rights over the forest and imposed legal sanctions on the accessibility to the forest resources. The Tribal revolts, a remarkable development in India's struggle against foreign rule, were against the state machinery's brutal manoeuvres to suppress their rights.  The disciplined British India troops equipped with modern day weapons fought against the tribal soldiers equipped with Bows & Arrows, axes and other traditional weaponries. They were angry, disorganized and fought an unequal battle as a result of which they were killed in lakhs.

Famous tribal movements:

     Numerous uprisings of Tribals have taken place beginning with one in West Bengal in 1768, followed by many revolts in Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram and Nagaland. Later, Central India became a prominent region which led to several uprisings and revolts.

The important tribes involved in revolt in the nineteenth century were Mizos (1810), Kols (1795 and 1831), Mundas (1889), Daflas (1875), Khasi and Garo (1829), Kacharis (1839), Santhals (1853), Muria Gonds (1886), Nagas (1844 and 1879), Bhuiyas (1868) and Kondhas (1817). Munda Rebellion (1899-1900), Tana Bhagat Movement (1914), Mangarh massacre and Bhil Uprising (1913), Naga Movement (1932), Koya Movement (1922) etc were the famous tribal revolt took place in 20th Century.

    These movements had been led by their community leaders. These tribal leaders have very significant contribution in the freedom struggle and upliftment of their respective communities. Many of them were detained and killed during the war. Except few most of the leader were forgotten and their role in freedom struggles were drifted into oblivion. Following is the list of the important tribal movements and their associated leaders. 

S.N.

Movement

Period

Place

                Leader               

1.       

Chuar Uprising

1768

Midnapur

Jagannath Singh, the zamindar of Ghatshila or the king of Dhalbhum

2.       

Halba Rebellion

1774-79

Donger, Chhatisgarh

-

3.       

Chakma  Rebellion

1776-1787

North East India

-

4.       

Pahariya Sardar Revolt

1778

Chhota Nagpur

Raja Jagganath

5.       

Tamar Revolt

1794-1795

Chhota Nagpur

Chief Bisoi

6.       

Bhopalpatnam Struggle

1795

Bhopalpatnam

-

7.       

Chuar Rebellion in Bengal

1795-1800

Midnapur

Jagannath Singh, Dhadkar Shyamganjan and Durjol Singh

8.       

Kol Rebellion

1795-1831

Chhota Nagpur

Bir Budhu Bhagat, Joa Bhagat, Jhindrai Manki and Sui Munda

9.       

Tribal Revolt against the sale of  Panchet Estate

1798

Chhota Nagpur

Raja Jagganath

10.   

Mizo Movement

1810

Mizoram

-

11.   

Khurda Rebellion

1817

Orisha

-

12.   

Kondhas Rebellion

1817

Odisha

-

13.   

Bhil Rebellion

1822-1857

Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh

Bhagoji Naik and Kajar Singh

14.   

Paralkot Rebellion

1825

Bastar

Gend Singh

15.   

Khasi and Garo Rebellion

1829

Meghalaya

-

16.   

Tarapur Rebellion

1842-54

Bastar

-

17.   

Maria Rebellion

1842-63

Bastar

-

18.   

Kond Revolt

1850

Odisha

Chief Bisoi.

19.   

Bhil Rebellion

1858

Banswara

Tantya Tope

20.   

Koi Revolt

1859

Bastar

 

21.   

Gond Rebellion

1860

Adilabad

Ramji Gond

22.   

Synteng  Tribal Movement

1860-1862

North East India

-

23.   

Kuki Revolt

1860s

Manipur

-

24.   

Juang Tribal Movement

1861

Odisha

-

25.   

Koya Tribal Movement

1862

Andhra Pradesh

Tammandora

26.   

Bhuiyas Rebellion

1868

Keonjhar

-

27.   

Daflas Rebellion

1875

North East India

-

28.   

Rani of Nagas Rebellion

1878-82

Manipur

-

29.   

First Rampa Rebellion

1879

Visakhapatnam

-

30.   

Naga Movement

1879

North East India

Tikendraji Singh

31.   

Sentinelese Tribal Movement

1883

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

-

32.   

Santhal Revolt

1885-1886

Chhota Nagpur

Sidhu and Kanhu

33.   

Muria Gond Rebellion

1886

Eastern Madhya

Pradesh

-

34.   

Munda Rebellion

1899-1900 

Jharkhand 

Birsa Munda

35.   

Lushei  Rebellion

1892

Tripura

-

36.   

Bhumkal Tribal Movement

1910

Bastar, Chhattisgarh

-

37.   

Samp Sabha Movement (Mangarh)

1913

Rajasthan

Guru Govind

38.   

Kuki Movement

1917-1919

Manipur

chieftains called haosa

39.   

Tana Bhagat Movement

1920-1921

Jharkhand

Tana Bhagat

40.   

 Second Rampa Rebellion

1921-1923

Visakhapatnam

-

41.   

Koya Rebellion

1922

Andhra Pradesh

Alluri Sree Rama Raju.

42.   

Naga Rebellion

1932

Nagaland

Rani Guidallo

43.   

Gond and Kolam Tribal Movement

1941

Adilabad in Andhra Pradesh

-

44.   

Koraput Revolt

1942

Odisha

Lakshmana Naik

45.   

Andamanese Revolt

1942-1945

Andaman and Nicobar

-

 

Tribal movement was a battle against the evil and outsiders who exploited tribal communities by encroaching their land and forest and evicted them through annulling their social and legal rights. The tribal leaders considered it attack on their ethnic and religious identity and existence, and agitated against it to protect themselves from colonial atrocities. In this historical struggle, heroic role was played by many tribal leaders such as Birsa Munda, Tana Bhagat, Sidhu Kanho, Alluri Sri Ram Raju, Govind Giri, Rani Gaidenliu, Lakshman Nayak, Tilak Manjhi etc are some famous tribal leaders who scarified their lives.

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