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Under One Flag
The Light Has Gone Out
India Wins Freedom
Apostle of Peace
The Last War of Independence
Quit India
Leave India to God… or to Anarchy
Gandhi and Ambedkar
A Pinch of Salt!
Saga of Indian Revolutionaries
Bardoli
Gandhiji Withdraws from Political Activities
The Himalayan Blunder
A People Reject Their Rulers
Jallianwala — The Aftermath
Massacre at Jallianwala Bagh
The Gentle Satyagrahi
Gandhi in Champaran
Carrot and Stick
Revolutionaries Outside India
Heroes and Martyrs
Gandhi in South Africa
From Swadeshi to Swaraj
Swadeshi Enterprise
The New Spirit of India
The Great Divide
Partition of Bengal
The Battle is Taken to the Legislature!
The Monk Who Shook The Nation
Father of Indian Unrest
An Old Man's Dream
Women : Crossing the Threshold
The Battle Lines are Drawn
The Battle For A Free Press
Pressing On !
Europeans Take To The Street!
The British Raj in Black and White
Mamool Raj
The One-Man Army
Hunger Deaths
The Delhi Durbar
Return to Swadeshi
Barbarous Britannia
‘Rani Ka Hookum’
Perishing in Peace
The Blue Mutiny
English Education
The Trial of the Last Emperor
Roll of Honour
The Empire Strikes Back
British Authority Collapses
Sepoys on the Move
Tribal Uprisings
The Empire Builders
For God and Country

Tribal Uprisings

 
UNTIL the British came to power, the tribals spread over large parts of India were, by and large, left to themselves. The tribals resented the efforts made by the British to extend their authority to the tribal territories. However, the major factor that led to hostilities with the British was the support the British gave to traders, moneylenders and revenue farmers who had made inroads into tribal territories and whom the tribals considered rank outsiders.
It is striking that before 1857, tribal uprisings outnumbered all other kinds of uprisings involving deposed rulers, peasants and others. The tribals fought the well-equipped British forces with such primitive weapons as axes and bows and arrows and died in their thousands.
The Khasis in the northeast opposed the construction of a road which was of strategic importance to the British for movement of troops. In 1827 the Khasis tried to stop work on the road by intimidating construction workers brought from Bengal. When these tactics did not succeed, they became more militant. Soon the unrest spread to the neighbouring Garo hills and efforts were made to persuade Chandrakanta, the former ruler of Assam, to rise against the British.
Alarmed at the rapid spread of the rebellion, the British burnt several Khasi villages and threw an economic blockade around the region.
The hostilities with the Khasis continued several years till their leader Tirut Singh surrendered in January 1833.
The Kolarian tribes of Chota Nagpur region in Bihar were ruled by their proud chieftain who claimed to be independent for more than fifty generations. In 1820 when the British Political Agent entered their region, he met with fierce resistance. Lieut. Maitland who encountered the Kols writes: "These savages, with a degree of rashness… scarcely credible, met the charge of the troops half-way in open plain, battle-axes in hand!"
Though the situation was brought under control by 1827, violence erupted again in 1831 when the government tried to introduce judicial and revenue systems in the region. The rebellion spread to Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Palamau and Manbhum. After extensive military operations the insurrection was suppressed in 1832. Thousands died. Budho Bhagat, one of the leaders, rather than surrender, perished with his whole family and 150 followers while defending his village. The insurrection was marked by ruthless severities on both sides and nearly 5,000 square miles of territory was laid waste in crushing the resistance of the Kols.

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