Q. 3

How were the revolts of the Adivasis suppressed by the British?

Answer :

The British had introduced new laws and regulations which worsened the conditions of the Adivasis. Many of them had to become labours for the Forest Department on the contractor. Some of them became bonded labour for money lenders. Kim very easy for people from outside to settle down in their area and occupied Island. They were beaten up and fined for unnecessary things, the women were ill-treated and bribery became very common. So the Adivasis decided to Revolt against the British. Some of the major revolts are mentioned below.

1. Santhal Revolt: It was led by the Santhals in Jharkhand in 1855-1856. They began robbing and killing the money lenders and zamindars. They declared a free state of their own and decided to fight the British rule. However, due to the lack of advanced machinery as held by the British army, Santhals were unable to withstand on their own. In the end, 15,000 Santhals were killed and the revolt ended.


2. Birsa Munda Revolt: Another revolt was led by Birsa in Jharkhand in late 1800. The Munda adivasi of the Chota Nagpur Plateau thought of Birsa as a God. David against the British rule that had deprived them of their own rights over the forest. The leaders of this rebellion were arrested and Birsa died in 1988.


3. Revolt in Kumaon: In 1921, Kumaon, the peasants did not co-operate with the Forest Department. They did not obey any rules laid by them. They even tried to burn the Jungle down. They refused to do forced labor for the forest department.


In all of the above three mentioned revolt, one feature was common. The Adivasis faced defeat by the British rule. The British rule sought to cruel measures to win this battle. However, after the revolt of 1921, the British government decided that they must change their policies. So, they made their rules less strict. They even introduced a new law in a few areas stating that the land of the Adivasis could not be purchased from anybody outside that area.


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