Birth Anniversary of Birsa Munda

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    In News

    • Recently, the President of India visited Ulihatu village in Jharkhand on the Janjatiya Gaurav Divas and paid respects before the statue of Bhagwan Birsa Munda.

    Key Points 

    • The history of freedom struggle also includes several streams of struggles by the tribal communities
      • Bhagwan Birsa Munda and Sidhu-Kanhu of Jharkhand, Tantia Bhil and Bhima Nayak of Madhya Pradesh, 
      • Alluri Sitarama Raju of Andhra Pradesh, 
      • Rani Gaidinliu of Manipur and  
      • Saheed Laxman Nayak of Odisha. 
    • Revolutionary warriors of Madhya Pradesh:
      • Kishore Singh, Khajya Nayak, Rani Phool Kunwar, Sitaram Kanwar, Mahua Kol, Shankar Shah and Raghunath Shah. 
      • Revered as the ‘Gandhi of Chhindwara‘, Shri Badal Bhoi had chosen the path of non-violence for the freedom struggle. 
    • Significance of  tribal communities:
      • The tribal communities have been instrumental in enriching the cultural heritage of Chambal, Malwa, Bundelkhand, Baghelkhand and Mahakoshal regions of Madhya Pradesh. 
      • The tribal community gives equal importance to humanity and nature. They give priority to the community over individuality, cooperation over competition and equality over distinctiveness. 
      • Most of the tribal areas have been rich in forest and mineral wealth. In today’s time of climate change and global warming, everyone needs to learn from the lifestyle of tribal society and their determination towards forest conservation.
      • Equality between men and women is a feature of the tribal society. Gender-ratio in tribal society is better than that of the general population. 

     

    Bhagwan Birsa Munda

    • Early Life:
      • He was an Indian freedom fighter, religious leader and folk hero from the Munda Tribe of the Chhota Nagpur Plateau area.
      • Born on 15th November 1875 in Ulihatu of the erstwhile Bengal Presidency which is now in the Khunti district of Jharkhand.
      • He learned about Hindu religious teachings from a Vaishnav monk and studied ancient scriptures along with the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
    • Founder of New religion Birsait:
      • It believed in One God and encouraged them to revert to their original religious beliefs.
      • People of the Munda and Oraon community joined the sect and posed a challenge to British conversion activities of tribals.
      • Through the religion, Munda preached a strong Anti – British sentiment and mobilized thousands of tribal folk to form guerrilla armies to attack the Raj.
      • He was referred to as  ‘Dharti Abba or Father of Earth’ by his followers.
      • In March 1900, while fighting the British alongside his guerilla army, Munda was arrested in Jamkopai forest in Chakradharpur. A few months later, on 9 June, he passed away while in custody.
    • Munda Rebellion:
      • It was the tribal movement led by Munda against the oppressions of the British Raj.
      • The movement was referred to as ‘Ulgulan’ or the ‘Great Tumult’  and aimed to establish Munda raj.
      • Munda used traditional symbols and language to rouse people and urged them to destroy the dikus.
      • Dikus was the name given to the outsiders like the British, moneylenders and traders and it was believed that the dikus were responsible for all the miseries.
      • Birsa and his rebellions started to attack the symbols of the outsiders like police stations and churches and raided the property of moneylenders and zamindars.
      • Birsa Munda was arrested by the British in March 1900 while he was sleeping with his tribal guerilla army at Jamkopai forest in Chakradharpur (Jharkhand).
      • Birsa died of cholera in jail at the age of 25 and with his death, the Munda rebellion movement faded out.
    • Outcomes of the Rebellion:
      • After his death, the British government introduced the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act in 1908, which prohibited the transfer of tribal land to non-tribals (Dikus).
      • The British learned the lesson not to interfere with the faith and beliefs of the tribals in India and after that, they kept a lenient attitude towards the tribals of India.

     

    Conclusion

    • The holistic national development and the development of the tribal community are interlinked. Development of tribal areas in the spirit of harmony is beneficial for all.
    • Efforts should be made to maintain the identity of tribal communities, increase the sense of self-pride among them and at the same time benefit from the fruits of development. 

    Source: PIB