Class Work 4 May 2013 Blog 2 NM: Tribal Revolts

Listen to the lecture and read the notes before you begin. These questions will be discussed in an interactive manner in the class.

1.What were the causes of the Tribal Revolts between the Battle of Plassey and the Great Revolt of 1857?

2.The History of India should not be regarded as the story of the British Conquest of India but mainly as the story of India’s resistance to the British Conquest. Comment

3.What is the significance of the Santhal Revolt?

4.Who were the Konda Doras and how did they revolt?

5.Describe the Rama Dandlu Revolt.

6. By far Birsa Bhagwan offered the fiercest resistance. Comment

7. How is that the British quell these revolts?

8. Comment on the significance of the Tribal Revolts


6 thoughts on “Class Work 4 May 2013 Blog 2 NM: Tribal Revolts

  1. Below is given a chronological record of tribal revolts in India before Indian independence from the British rule in the year 1947. The list covers those tribal uprisings that occurred during the period of British rule in India.
    1774-79: Halba rebellion in Dongar (By Halba tribes in Bastar Chhattisgarh) against British armies and the Marathas.
    1778: Revolt of the Pahariya Sardars of Chhotonagpur against the British Government.
    1784-1785: Uprising of the Koli tribes in Maharashtra.
    1789: Revolt of the Tamar of Chhotonagpur.
    1794-1795: The Tamars revolted again.
    1798: The revolt of the tribals against the sale of Panchet estate.

    1801: The Tamars revolted again.
    1807-1808 The tribal uprising in Chhotonagpur plateau region.
    1809-1828 Revolt by the Bhils commenced that continued for about two decades.
    1811 The revolt by the agrarian tribal communities started in the then Bihar.
    1817 The agrarian tribal communities revolted again.
    1820 The agrarian tribal communities revolted again.
    1818 Revolt by the Koli tribal community in Maharastra.
    1825 The Singpo tribal community torched an office of a British magazine.
    1827 The Mishmi tribal community that resides in North-East India murdered British explorer and naturalist Wilcox
    1828 The tribes residing in North-East India revolted against the British under the leadership of tribal chief Gomdhar Kanwar
    1829 The Khashi tribal community revolted in North-East India.
    1830 Teerut Singh,a tribal chief,with his tribes,annihilated a group of British generals and their soldiers stationed in an army establishment in North-East India.
    1831-1832 The mass revolt by the Kol tribal community that sent its ripples over a wide area.
    1832 The Munda tribal community revolted in Bihar.
    1832-1833 The Kherwar tribal community revolted under the leadership of tribal chief Bhagirath in Bihar.
    1835 The Dafla tribal community of North-East India did a string of raids in areas that were under the rule of British subjects.
    1836 The Mishmi tribal community of North-East India murdered British botanist and naturalist Griffith on suspicion
    1838 The Naik tribal community revolted in Western India.

  2. Causes of Tribal Revolts: The main reasons for the tribal revolts were:
    • Expansion of British Colonial rule
    • Penetration of Exploiters
    • British Interference in Socio-religious affairs of tribes
    • Evangelization of tribes
    Santhals Rebellion: The uprising of the Santhals began as a tribal reaction to racism and corrupt money-lending practices. The rebellion was marked by tribal passions and strong anti-British feelings. It was commonly known as Santal Hool and was a native rebellion against both the British colonial authority and corrupt upper caste zamindari system by the Santal people. It started on June 30, 1855 and the movement was brutally ended by troops loyal to the British Raj. The rebellion was led by the four Murmu Brothers – Sindhu, Kanhu, Chand and Bhairav.
    Konda Doras: In 1900, in Vizagapatam agency, a Konda dora named Kora Mallaya assured the people of turning out the British. The Rampa region, north of Godavari River witnessed guerilla warfare between the English and Semi-tribal inhabitants of the region under the leadership of Alluri Sitarama Raju from August 1922 to May 1924.
    Birsa Munda: Ulgulan or the Great Tumult was one of the most important uprisings against British rule in India led by Birsa Munda. It took place in the region south of Ranchi in 1899-1900. Aimed to drive away the British and establish Munda Raj. Birsa Munda also known as Birsa Bhagawan protested against non-tribals occupying tribal lands. He disliked the moneylenders and Zamindars who ill-treated the Mundas. The entire Munda community joined under his leadership and attacked British Missionaries and police stations. However, the British captured Birsa Munda and suppressed the rebels.

  3. 1. The causes of the tribal revolts were:
    • The revenue system established by the British impoverished the tribals due to the high revenue imposed. Also, they were not allowed to practice shifting cultivation.
    • The community system of land ownership was done away with and many tribals lost their lands when they were auctioned for non-payment of revenue or debt.
    • The commercialization of agriculture forced the tribals to grow crops like cotton, which were much in demand for industries in Britain. There were no processing factories setup in India and raw materials were exported. The price provided for these raw materials was only a fraction of the market price.
    • Moneylenders, who had settled here on the encouragement of the British, were approached by the tribal farmers when they could not pay the high land revenue. They defaulted on these loans and thus lost lands and got into huge debts.
    • The British restricted the tribals access to forest produce and hence, they could not brew their own liquor. Arrack shops were opened by the British and the tribals lost their way when they became arrack addicts.

    2.The History of India should not be regarded as the story of the British Conquest of India but mainly as the story of India’s resistance to the British Conquest. This is because between the Battle of Plassey and the Great Revolt of 1857, almost every year, a tribal revolt took place in one part of India or the other. They were violent uprisings which were suppressed by the British. Due to these numerous revolts, we can describe India’s history as more of resistance to British than the conquest by British.

    3. The Santhal revolt launched by the Santhals of Bagalpur and RajMahal was significant for its huge mobilization. Nearly sixty-five thousand Santhals participated in the revolt led by Kanhu and Sido to overthrow the oppressive British Raj and create a Dharmaraj. This was brutally suppressed by the British who killed each and every one of the Santhal “rebels” and crushed the revolutionary spirit.

    4. The Konda Doras were a tribe in Vishakapatnam agency, who revolted against the British under the leadership of Korra Mallaya and later under Rama Dandlu. The Konda Dora revolt is also known as the Rampa(havoc) revolt. Korra Mallaya proclaimed that he was one of the five Pandavas and Lord Krishna was his son. He made his followers, numbering five thousand, to believe that their sticks would turn to guns once the attack started. He was captured by the British and hung to death, while many of his followers were killed.

    5. Rama Dandlu was a Konda Dorra who recognized the threat of British imperialism to India. He put forth his views to the Maharaja of Jaipur about uniting the people against the British. His private army was called Rama Dandlu and it aimed at establishing a RamaRajya. The British decalred this revolt a daoity and quelled it in the name of “protecting India” from these dacoits and establishing order.

    6. Birsa Munda led the Ullgulan or the Great Tumult. He proclaimed himself to be the messenger of God and that nothing could harm him. He wanted to put a stop to the confiscation of land and the forced labour. He offered the fiercest resistance to the British because he was able to mobilize thousands of men against the colonial rulers. The fervor created by Birsa Bhagwan through his cries of “Khatong Sahib Khatong” lived on even after his death at the hands of British.

    7. The British, riding high on their victories elsewhere in the world, quelled these revolts using brute military force. Many of the tribal leaders were captured and killed. The British used war strategies and immense firepower against the ill-equipped tribals. They defended their actions by proclaiming that they were protecting India from these dacoities and establishing order.

    8. The Tribal Revolts played a major role in highlighting the plight of the tribals. Although they were a failure and led to the loss of many lives, they were among the first signs of anti-imperial struggles. The revolts have acquired the status of legends in tribal folklore and a great deal of respect is accorded to the heroic tribesman who, despite the odds, stood up to the British Raj and challenged them.


    They were more violent than the peasant revolts as the tribals felt that the British were violating their culture and the way they lived;
    whereas during the peasant revolts the peasants just wanted just treatment from the British and they resorted to petitions to the empire and
    not violent acts.


    High land revenue. (Zaminbadars >> village headmen were made responsible to collect revenue.)

    Lands were taken away by money lenders.

    The British took away forest rights from the Tribals >> Tribals used the forest produce to satisfy their day to day needs (inclding liquor) >>
    The British banned them from producing their own liquor and opened Arack shops >> Buying Arack meant spending money >> More spending led to more borrowing

    Commercialisation of agriculture >> Tribals were made to grow cotton and this was exported to England >> Farmers received very less pay >> Due
    to this they could not pay neither the land revenue nor the money lenders.

    Peoples belief in Ram Rajya

    Influx of foriegn moneylenders >> Tribals borrowed money to pay the defaulted land revenue >> Money lenders lent money at High rates of interest >>
    The tribals were not able to repay the money lenders and their lands were confiscated.


    The Santhal revolt:

    Santhals of Bahgalpur and Raj Mahal considered outsiders as Dikus.
    The gathered in numbers of 6K at Bhaganidhi under the leadership of Sido and Kanhu and wanted to establish Ram Rajya.
    Sido and Kanhu claimed that Thakur(God) had asked them to fight.
    65K Santhals gatehered >> British proclaimed Marshal law >> Santhal leaders were killed.

    The Konda Doras:

    Konda doras were from the Vishakapatanam agency.
    A konda Dora named Korra Mallaya claimed that he was one of the 5 Pandavas and that he will drive the British away.
    Him and his 5K followers of Korra were put to death.

    The Rama Dandlus:

    Rama Dandlu was another Konda Dora.
    He met the Maharaja of Jaipur and told him that they should unite and drive out the British.
    His followers were called as Rama Dandlus. He did not succeed either and died.

    Birsa Mundlas Ulgulan:

    Brisa Mundla considered himself as the saviour of the tribals.
    He considered money lenders and Christian missionaries were responsible for pitiful state of his fellowmen.
    He claimed that no weapon would harm him and there were thousands who followed him and fought the British.
    As everybody else; he proved no match to the British’s powerful fist.

    Leaders of the revolt:

    Birsa Mundas Ulgulan
    The Konda Doras
    The Rama Dandlus

    How the British curbed the revolts: (The British called the revolts as Dacoities)

    Savage treatment.
    The British were better equipped both in the ways of man power and weaponry.
    Tribal leaders were put into cages and had honey pured on them and they died a very painful death.

    Useful links:

    Kuntkhatti method >>

  5. What were the causes of the Tirbal Revolts between the Battle old Plassey and Great revolt of 1857?
    The Expansion of British empire in india and exploit all ways to get revenue from india caused havoc in the peaceful lives of tirbals. They had their own economical and social structure which was ruined by interference of british in the name of expansion. The british had signed up with leaders of tribal for collecting revenue which were very high rates. When tribals were not able to pay the revenue the lands were seized and auctioned. This made the tribals indentured labourers to money lenders and they lost all the rights in their own farms. Also introduction of Christian missioneries, involvement of british in their social and economical life made tribal to revolt against the british.
    The History of India should not be regarded as the story of the British Conquest of india but mainly the story of india’s resistance to the British Conquest. Comment
    For britishers , india was the source for funding the industrial revolution in England. They tried all opportunity to exploit india in the name of business and ruling the country. Indians always resisted the supremacy of the british in many ways. Eventhough british were able to suppress these revolts for some time because of their force, they couldn’t sustain longer the resistance offered by Indians for freedom fight. The perseverance of Indians finally made England to yield.
    What is the significance of Santhal Revolt?
    Santhal Revolt started in Bhagalpur in the leardership of Sidhu and Kanu. This happened a year before the Great revolt i.e. 1855-1857. All the santhal tribe got united to revolt against british rule who made them labourers of their own land by forcing oppressive laws. Though this was crushed by british in unequal battle, it has inspired many more revolts and future freedom fights of india.
    Who were the Konda DOras and how did they revolt?
    In 1900 konda dora of vizayangaram agency, korra mallayya claimed as he is incarnation of the one of the pandavas from mahabharatha and revolted against the british government. 5000 followers of his are brutally put to death by british regiments from Madras.
    Describe the Rama Dandlu Revolt.
    Rama Dandlu is another revolt in Godavari led by another konda dora revolted against british government. He was the first person to identify the affects of imperialistic government and wrote letter to maharaja of Jaipur to fight against the british.
    By far Birsa Bhagwan offered the fierces resistance. Comment
    The encroachment of british made havoc in the tribal lives. Their lands were seized and they were made labourers. Money lender flocked and further exploited the tribals. Among these circumstances, Birsa munda started rebellion in 1899-1900 claiming himself as incarnation of God and he is born to drive out the british. Birsa munda , united all munda tribals who were in ranchi and started his revolt from chotanaghpur. He Attacked Christian missionaries and police stations. They adopted Guerella warfare against british from Dombari Hill. British had to bring his regiments to suppress these raisings.
    How is that the British quell these revolts?
    All the tribal revolts were crushed by british in most brutal and savage way. They called the fighters as decoits. They were captured , hanged and killed. The british couldn’t show any mercy to quell these revolts as they possessed threat to their supremacy. They used armed forces against bows and arrows of the tribals. Their house were burnt. Thousands of them got killed in unequal war. They used all cruel ways to suppress the revolts.
    Comment on the significance of the Tribal Revolts
    Tribal revolts are the first massive freedom fights but limited to their own clan or area. These revolts showed bravery of people and inspired many more freedom fighters and revolts of the india’s freedom stuggle.

  6. Ans 1) Causes of the revolt are as follows :

    1. The British had control of the land and collected very high revenue from the tribes , this impoverished them. The British also had revenue settlements with the tribal headmen.

    2. The tribes lost their land for the non-payment of revenue, i.e. the lands were auctioned .

    3. Commercialization of agriculture exploited the tribes as the raw cotton that was cultivated was exported. The farmers gained nothing and the tribes who worked on the land received very little pay.

    4. To pay the high revenue charged by the British , the tribes had to borrow money from the money lenders who lent money at very high rates of interest and as a result of this the tribes got into debts.

    Ans 2) The History of India should be regarded as India’s resistance to the British conquest as

    Ans 3) Santhals of Bhagalpur and Raj Mahal assembeled at Bhaghanidi revolted and their basic aim was to establish Satyaraj and Dharmaraj under the leadership of Sido and Kanhu who proclaimed that god had told them to fight. The infuriated Santhals made the houses of moneylenders, zamindars revenue officers railway stations and indigo factories their main target of attack. Nearly 65000 Santhals gathered ,they never attacked the outsiders.

    Ans 4) The konda Dora’s were the tribes from the Visakapatnam agency. Under the leadership of of Korra mallaya , who was inspired by god gathered around 5000 people and revolted against the British. He assured the people that their sticks would turn into guns at the right moment . They were brutally killed by the British and their leader was hanged to death.

    Ans 5) Rama Dandlu , a konda dora was the first to realize the nature of British imperialism and he addressed the Maharaja of Jeypore with this issue that the British imperialism was causing havoc in the country and the people should unite and them out. He wanted to establish Ram rajya. As the other revolts even this revolt was declared a dacoity by the British and they were crushed.

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