Tribal Movements in British India


The Tribal Uprisings in India showed the struggles of tribal communities against British rule. It was a result of social, economic, political and cultural factors. The following were the main causes of the Tribal uprising in India.

Main Causes of Tribal Uprisings in India

  • Intrusion of outsiders (colonial authorities and landlords) into tribal areas led to the displacement of tribes.
  • Forced labour and Exploitation led to resentment and fueled resistance.
  • Suppression of Culture of Tribes and imposition of colonial culture, education and religious activities challenged tribal identities and customs.
  • The British exploited tribal resources like forests, minerals, depriving the tribal communities of their means of livelihood.
  • Tribal communities were marginalized and ignored in terms of access to basic amenities, economic opportunities and representation.
  • Advent of Christian missionaries in tribal areas.

Nature of Tribal Uprisings

  • Spontaneous and localized in nature
  • Lacked political vision or leadership
  • Mostly violent and armed movements
  • Mostly based on tribal solidarity and identity
  • Did not receive much recognition or support from mainstream nationalist movements
  • Mainly motivated by economic, social or cultural factors

List of Tribal Uprisings in India

Tribal uprisings in British India’s history can be put into the four categories mentioned below.

A. Tribal uprisings in Bengal and Eastern India:

1. Chuar Uprising

2. Ho Rising

3. Kol Mutiny

4. Kandh Uprising

5. Santhal Rebellion

6. Ahom Revolt

7. Khasi Uprising

8. Munda Revolt

B. Tribal uprisings in Western India:

9. Bhil Uprisings

10. Ramosi Risings

C. Tribal uprising in South India:

11. Rampa Revolt

D. Tribal uprisings in North-East India:

12. Sighpos Rebellion

13. Kukis Rvolt

14. Zeliangsong Movement

1. Chuar Uprising

  • This uprising involved the Chuar tribals of the Midnapore district.
  • They took up arms as they faced famine and increased demands for land revenue.
  • The uprising occurred between 1766 and 1772. It again appeared from 1795 to 1816.

2. Ho Rising

  • The Ho and Munda tribesmen of Chhotanagpur participated in Ho Rising.
  • They twice put a challenge to the forces of the Company, once in 1820-22 and again in 1831.
  • The area continued to be disturbed till 1837 due to Ho Rising.

3. Kol Mutiny

  • This was spread over the areas of Singhbhum, Ranchi, Hazaribagh, and Palamau.
  • This also covered the western areas of Manbhum.
  • It began with large scale land transfers from Kol headmen (Mundas) to outsiders.
  • This angered the Kols of Chhotanagpur.
  • In 1831, they massacred or set a thousand foreigners on fire.
  • This mutiny was controlled after large-scale military operations.

4. Kandh Uprising

  • This continued from 1837-56 and included Patna, Kalahandi, Ghumsar, and Chinaki-Medi.
  • This was against Britishers attempt to eliminate the Kandh practice of human sacrifice (mariah).
  • The Kandhs revolted under the leadership of Chakra Bisoi.
  • They used swords, bows, arrows, and tangis, a type of axe used for battle.

5. Santhal Rebellion

  • This was against landlords' exploitation of oppression, the village money-lenders and officials.
  • Sidhu and Kanhu, two brothers, led this movement.
  • As part of this rebellion, Santhals marched to Calcutta in order to give a petition to the governor.

6. Ahom Revolt

  • The British made an attempt to include the Ahoms' territory under the Company's control after the First Burma War (1824–1826).
  • This marked the beginning of a rebellion led by Gomdhar Konwar in 1828.
  • At last, the Company gave Upper Assam to Maharaja Purandar Singh Narendra.
  • The Company returned a portion of the kingdom to the Assamese ruler.

7. Khasi Uprising

  • East India Company took control of the hilly area between the Jaintia Hills and Garo.
  • After this, it decided to make a road connecting Sylhet and the Brahmaputra Valley.
  • For this, outsiders (Bengalis, Englishmen, and laborers from the plains) came to these areas.
  • Under the leadership of Tirath Singh, the Singhpos, Khamptis, Garos, and Khasis came together to expel the outsiders.
  • This rebellion was suppressed by the English armed forces by 1833.

8. Munda Revolt

  • The fighting of Munda sardars of Chhotanagpur against traders-moneylenders, thikadars (revenue farmers), and jagirdars continued for more than thirty years.
  • They fought for such a long time to prevent the traders-moneylenders, thikadars (revenue farmers), and jagirdars from destroying their system of common land-holdings.
  • In the last decade of 19th century, the Mundas rose under Birsa Munda in a religious movement (Ulgulan or the great tumult).
  • They attempted to establish Munda control over the region.
  • In 1900, Birsa was captured and died in custody.  

9. Bhil Uprisings

  • The Bhils were an indigenous tribe.
  • They were centered near Khandesh.
  • They revolted against the East India Company because they were afraid of harsh agrarian conditions.
  • Sewaram was one of their leaders.
  • The Bhils revolted in 1817–1819.
  • They again revolted in 1825, 1836, and 1846.

10. Ramosi Risings

  • The Ramosis were the hill tribes of the Western Ghats.
  • In 1822, they revolted under the leadership of Chittur Singh.
  • They plundered the region surrounding Satara. They again revolted in 1825-26. The area remained disturbed till 1829.
  • The removal and exile of Raja Pratap Singh of Satara caused another unrest in 1839.

11. Rampa Revolt

  • The Rampas were the hill tribes in coastal Andhra.
  • They revolted in March 1879 against mansabdars and new forest rules.
  • The rebels were defeated in 1880 with the help of military.

12. Sighpos Rebellion

  • This took place in the 1830s in Assam.
  • This rebellion resulted in murder of Assam’s British political agent in 1839.
  • The rebellion was finally suppressed.

13. Kukis Revolt

  • This took place during 1917-19 in Manipur.
  • This was in opposition to the policy of the British to recruit labour at the time of the First World War.

14. Zeliangsong Movement

  • Zemi, Rongmei and Liangmei tribes led the movement.
  • This was in opposition to British failure to protect them at the time of Kuki violence of 1917-19.

Some Other Tribal Movements

S. No.

Movement

Tribe

Leader

Year

Place

Other details

1.

Pahariyas Rebellion

Pahariyas

Raja Jagganath

1778

Raj Mahal Hills in present day Jharkhand

In opposition to the expansion by British on their lands.

2.

Kharwar Rebellion

Kharwars

-

1870s

Bihar

In opposition to revenue settlement activities.

3.

Khonda Dora Campaign

Khonda Doras

Korra Mallaya

1900

Dabur region, Vishakapatnam

-

4.

Bhuyan and Juang rebellions

Bhuyans, Juangs and Kals

Ratna Nayak, Dharni Dhar Nayak

1867-68, 1891-93

Kheonjhar, Orissa

In opposition to Britishers putting protege on the throne following the death of their Raja in 1867.

5.

Koya revolts

Koyas

Tomma Sora (1879-80)

Raja Anantayyar in 1886

1879-80, 1886

Eastern Godavari area Andhra Pradesh

-

6.

Tana Bhagat Movements

Mundas and Oraon tribes

Jatra Bhagat, Balram Bhagat

1914-1915

Chottanagpur

In opposition to interference of outsiders.

7. Chenchu Tribal Movement Chenchu Venkattappaya and Gandhiji provided links for the movement. 1920s Nallamalai forests of Andhra Pradesh Forest satyagraha was launched during Non-cooperation movement. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Tribal Uprisings in India

Chuar Tribals of which district participated in Chuar Uprising?

Chuar Tribals of Midnapore district participated in Chuar Uprising.

Which tribal uprising covered the areas of Singhbhum, Ranchi, Hazaribagh, and Palamau?

Kol Mutiny covered the areas of Singhbhum, Ranchi, Hazaribagh, and Palamau.

Kandh Uprising was organised against Britishers attempt to eliminate the Kandh practice of human sacrifice. What was this practice called?

Kandh practice of human sacrifice was known as mariah.

What was the name of the leaders of Santhal Rebellion?

Sidhu and Kanhu, two brothers, were leaders of Santhal Rebellion.

Under whose leadership did the Ramosis, the hill tribes of the Western Ghats, revolt in 1822?

Ramosis, the hill tribes of the Western Ghats, revolted in 1822 under the leadership of Chittur Singh.

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Panna district of Madhya Pradesh is famous for which mineral? / मध्य प्रदेश का पन्ना जिला किस खनिज के लिए प्रसिद्ध है? 


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