1800: Chotanagpur’s Metamorphosis (Part-II)

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The Chotanagpur plateau region was now dominated by hundreds of plundering Jagirdars, Katindars and Thekadars.Their tyranny had reached its zenith.
It was no wonder that during that period the ferment of unrest that had been so long seething all over the country, again burst forth in open revolt in the Chotanagpur region.
In 1819, there was a great drought in the Pargana Tamar, and the Mundas assembled to discover the culprit that had caused the calamity. The ‘arrow-shooting test’ pointed to one of the miscreant and they were duly punished. Once the vial of the Mundas’ wrath against the ‘sads’ was tapped it burst out with destructive fury and a crusade against the foreign Thekadars and Jagirdars was proclaimed. The violent insurrection soon engulfed many villages in the country-side of the plateau region. The brutal might of the British military operations had to be under-taken by Major Roughsedge who had to devote several months to quell the insurrection and restore tranquility after dousing the fire of revolt. The leaders of this revolt were two Mundas named Ragdeo (or Roodan) and Konta. They were arrested and later they died in a prison.
Mr. S.T. Cuthbert, the then collector of Ramgarh in 1826 described the marauding landlords of those days in the following words:
“The Jagirdars (with few exceptions) have always been considered a turbulent description of people. The half deserted villages, which one frequently meets with evince the oppressive conduct of these people as landholders.”
The non-ending battle for supremacy has unwittingly commenced between the two unequal warring groups; on the one hand we had raw courage of tribes with their traditional weapons and on the other hand we had greedy ruling class supported by one of the most powerful armies of that era, the British Army.

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