- October 24, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Context: Australian historian and author Peter Stanley’s new book Hul! Hul! provides a unique insight into the oft-overlooked Santal rebellion of 1855, led by the brothers Sidhu and KanhuMurmu.
The Santhal revolt (also known as the Hulrevolt ) started on 30th June 1855, with the help of prominent leaders like Sidhu, Kanhu, Chand, and Bhairav, and also their two sisters Phulo and Jhano, all of them played an important role in the movement.
- The Santhals were the tribal people inhabiting the forest of Rajmahal hills.
- In 1832, East India Company demarcated the Damin-i-Koh from the region of Jharkhand and gave it to Santhals to settle with a promise of non-interference in their land.
- But with changing times and the rising demand of the Britishers, the rent to the Santhals raised to an exorbitant rate. Ultimately, the Santhals were trapped in a situation where they had the only option to revolt against the Britishers and the Zamindars, leading to Santhal Rebellion.
Causes of Santhal Rebellion
Economic: Money lenders exploited the Santhals by exorbitant cost . Land rent also increased.
Religious: The Christian Missionaries were targeting tribes in India and threatening the traditional beliefs and code of conduct of Santhals also.
Political:The traditional Manjhi System and Parha Panchayat System of Santhals were affected heavily by British Regulations and laws.
- Depressed and anguished, the Santhals engaged in guerrilla warfare and took the revolt in 1855-56. The Santhals formed their own troops which included farmers and marched against their oppressors. The Santhal army destroyed the postal communications along with the rail line.
- Two brothers Sidhu and KanhuMurmu along with their sisters Phulo and JhanoMurmu, led the rebellion. They militarised over 10,000 people. Storehouses and warehouses were also burgled and were doused in the fire. They headed towards the headquarters in Calcutta (now Kolkata).
- However, when the news of their rebellion reached the government, they sent the military to gun down the Santhals. Heavy weapons loaded were used in revenge to bows and arrows. Elephants were used to destroy their houses.
- The brother duo Sidhu and Kanhu were arrested and executed. At the same time, Phulo and JhanoMurmu entered the enemy camp undercover and slew 21 soldiers before they died. Unfortunately, the rebellion had a brutal end. The British army set villages ablaze, killed and even raped over 15,000 Santhals to crush their fight.
- The Santhals couldn’t succeed against the complete power of the government and was repressed.
The British passed the Santhal Parganas Tenancy Act in 1876 which offered some protection for the tribals against exploitation.