Focus: GS I- History
Why in News?
The Prime Minister has paid tribute to Bhagwan Birsa Munda on his punya tithi.
About Birsa Munda
- Birsa Munda (also known as Dharti Aaba (Father of Earth)) was an Indian tribal freedom fighter, religious leader, and folk hero who belonged to the Munda tribe.
- He spearheaded a tribal religious millenarian movement that arose in the Bengal Presidency (now Jharkhand) in the late 19th century, during the British Raj, thereby making him an important figure in the history of the Indian independence movement.
- The revolt mainly concentrated in the Munda belt of Khunti, Tamar, Sarwada and Bandgaon.
- Having gained awareness of the British colonial ruler and the efforts of the missionaries to convert tribals to Christianity, Birsa started the faith of ‘Birsait’.
- Members of the Munda and Oraon community joined the Birsait sect and it turned into a challenge to British conversion activities.
- Further, he urged the Mundas to give up drinking liquor, clean their village, and stop believing in witchcraft and sorcery.
- Munda Rebellion is one of the most important tribal movements led by Birsa Munda in the south of Ranchi in 1899-1900.
- The ‘Ulgulan’ or the ‘Great Tumult’ as the movement came to be called, aimed at establishing Munda Raj by driving out the British.
- The movement identified following forces as the cause of the misery the Mundas were suffering like The British Land policies destroying their traditional land system, Hindu Landlords and Moneylenders taking over their land, and Missionaries criticizing their traditional culture.
- On 3rd March, 1900, Birsa Munda was arrested by the British police while he was sleeping with his tribal guerilla army at Jamkopai forest in Chakradharpur (Jharkhand).
- The Munda Rebellion forced the colonial government to introduce laws so that the land of the tribals could not be easily taken over by dikus (Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908).
- It showed that the tribal people had the capacity to protest against injustice and express their anger against colonial rule.