1800: Pahariya Tribe & Invaders (Part-II)

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A series of raids by the Pahariyas reached its climax during the famine of 1770.The famine pressed with peculiar severity upon the alluvial strip of country lying between the Rajmahal hills, which were manned by Ghatwals (an official warden of marches); these were abandoned and thus the plains thus lay at the mercy of the Pahariyas. The local tribes owing to their knowledge as well as practice of living upon jungle foods managed to beat the extreme distress caused by thefamine. It was, therefore, in the years following the famine of 1770 that the raids of Pahariyas upon the country became most frequent and most systematic.
The whole region was in state of hopeless anarchy. However the things took a curious turn when in 1772 the attention of Warren Hastings was drawn towards it. Initially British attempted to subjugate the Pahariyas by sending out many military expeditions; this often resulted in the disastrous consequences for the British. On the difficult and hilly and forest terrain, the knowledge of the Pahariyas with the local conditions of their region and their acclimatization to the conditions prevalent in the hills and forests gave them a distinct advantage over the outsiders. This resulted in the military expeditions proving generally unsuccessful.
Subsequently, the alternative course of conciliation was adopted by Augustus Cleveland Collector of Bhagalpur, who introduced a system of payment of pensions to village headmen among the Pahariyas in consideration of their agreeing to maintain peace in their respective jurisdiction. As a result of this wonderful system adopted by Cleveland, a number of Pahariyas Hill Chiefs and all their adherents voluntarily submitted themselves to the former and also took a path of allegiance to government. Thus without any bloodshed or terror of authority, employing only the means of conciliation, confidence and benevolence, Cleveland attempted and accomplished the complete adherence to the British rule. The brilliant move by the British rulers resulted in a conquest over Pahariyas’minds, the most permanent, as the most rational mode of dominion.

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