The Santhals were the tribal settlers who settled in the Rajmahal Hills. The Santhals began to migrate into Bengal around the 1780s. The zamindars hired them to reclaim land from the tribal group of Parihans and expand their cultivation. By 1832, a large area of land in the foothills was established as Damin-i-Koh - the land of the Santhals. They could settle in the land, practise agriculture, and become settled peasants.
But with the passage of time, the Santhals realised that the land allocated to them for cultivation was gradually sliding away from them. The state was levying heavy taxes on the land the Santhals had cleared for cultivation. Also, the moneylenders were charging them very high rates of interest. They were acquiring the land when the debts mounted and remained unpaid. Thus the state and zamindars were gradually taking control over the area. This exorbitant rate of interest and the rate of taxes forced the Santhals to revolt against the state and the zamindars.
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