Summary of the Tribal Rebellions during British rule in India

Tribal movements or rebellions or uprising in India were inspired by revolutionary tendencies. They wanted to make use of the situation to fight and eliminate evils and ill-tendencies that existed in the contemporary tribal society. In this article, we are giving a complete summary of the Tribal Rebellions during British India that will helps the aspirants in the preparations of examinations like UPSC, SSC, State Services, CDS, NDA, Railways etc.

Mar 22, 2018, 12:52 IST
Summary of the Tribal Rebellions during British India
Summary of the Tribal Rebellions during British India

The Tribal population, being conservative, was interested in retaining the existing salient features of their society. Tribal movements were inspired by revolutionary tendencies. They wanted to make use of the situation to fight and eliminate evils and ill-tendencies that existed in the contemporary tribal society. A complete summary of the Tribal Rebellions during British rule in India is discussed below:

1. Peasant Uprising of Rangpur, Bengal (1783 AD)

After 1757 AD, the British established their control over Bengal and they started extracting as much as possible from peasants through revenue contractors. When peasant’s grievances were not redressed by the company officials, they took the law in their hands. Under the leadership of Dirjinarain, they attacked the local cutcheries and storehouses of crops of local agents of the contractors and government officials. Both Hindus and Muslims fought side by side in the uprising. But the company's armed forces took control of the situation and suppressed the revolt.

2. The Uprising of the Bhills (1818-31 AD)

The Bhills were mostly concentrated in the hill ranges of Khandesh. The British occupation of Khandesh in 1818 AD enraged the Bhills because they were suspicious of the outsider’s incursion into their territory.

3. The Rebellion at Mysore (1830-31 AD)

It was started after the final defeat of Tipu Sultan; the British imposed subsidiary alliance on the Mysore rulers in which they compelled the Mysore rulers to increase revenue. As a result, the Mysore rulers put financial pressure to increase revenue demands from the Zamindars which was ultimately increased the burden of revenue on the cultivators. The peasants broke out against the despotic tendencies of the Zamindars in the province of Nagar under the leadership of Sardar Malla (Son of a common ryot of Kremsi).  The British force regained control of Nagar from the rebel peasants and suppressed the revolt.

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4. The Kol Uprising (1831-32 AD)

The Kols of Singhbhum enjoyed their sovereignty for long centuries under their chiefs. After the advent of the British East India Company, the sovereignty of Kol tribes penetrated by the British law and order which causes tensions among the tribal people. They got angry when British transfer tribal land to the outsiders like merchants and moneylenders which caused a great threat to the hereditary independent power of the tribal chiefs. They revolted the despotic law and order of the British East India Company. This uprising spread over Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Palamau and Manbhum. British East India Company ruthlessly suppressed the revolt and established their control over Kol tribal areas.

5. The Mappila Uprising (1836-54 AD)

Among all the peasant uprisings, it occupies an important place because this revolt challenges the colonial rule. Mappillas were the descendants of Arab settlers and converted Hindus who were cultivating tenants, landless labourers, petty traders and fisherman. When British East India Company established their rule over Malabar Coast brought hardship in the life of the Mappilas especially through land revenue administration. They revolted against the state and landlords.  The British armed forces swung into action to suppress the rebels but failed to subdue them for many years.

6. The Santhal Rebellion (1855-56 AD)

This revolt occurred in the Rajmahal hills of the Santhal region under the leadership of Sidhu and Kanhu. It began as a reaction against the outsiders, particularly landlords, police and moneylenders.

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7. The Ramosi Uprisings (1822-29 AD)

It took place in two phases- Fist in 1822 AD under the leadership of Chittu Singh in 1822 AD against the new pattern of British administration. The second phase of revolt took place between 1825-26 and 1829 AD.

8. The Munda Uprising (1899-1900 AD)

It took place in the Chhotanagpur region near Ranchi under the leadership of Birsa Munda. This revolt is also known as Ulgulan revolt which means ‘great commotion.

9. Jatra Bhagat and Tana Bhagat Movement (1914 AD)

This movement was started by Jatra Bhagat in 1914 AD. It was a movement for monotheism, abstention from meat, liquor and tribal dance. The Jatra Bhagat and Tana Bhagat movements stressed both anti-colonialism and internal reforms.

The Tribal rebellion in India took place for social, cultural and political reasons, particularly against the acquisition of their land and exerted their rights over forest resources.

List of Non tribal, Tribal and peasant movements during British India

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