1800: The Ho Rebellion in Singhbhum (Part-I)

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Singhbhum district lies in the southern corner of Jharkhand state. It shares its borders with Orissa and West Bengal.
During the British days, the whole Singhbhum region was known for its wild rugged terrain. The primarily inhabitants of the region consisted of the Hos tribes at that period. They sincerely believed in following their policy ‘the Kolhan for the Hos’ and carried it out with rigid conservation accepting no other race within their settlements in as much as it became a forbidden land, which no stranger might cross.
To quote Pradley-Birt, “it was the Tibet of Chotanagpur.”
Surrounded by the barriers of chain of hills sewed together in a series of rugged but asymmetrical peaks, the region was almost inaccessible even to any kind of invading army (s). The majority of the population in this region belonged to Ho tribes. The geographical conditions and the local rough landscape helped the local tribes; to maintain their unconquered status going long after the steely resolve of the other tribes of Chotanagpur had broken down.
The Hos living in the Saranda region of 7 hundred hills carried out successfully their smart tactics of irregular warfare and productively used the backdrop of lush-green dense jungles cover as a safe retreat. Hos cleverly used the slopes of the hills covered by the thick forest to launch counter attacks on numbers of invading force, often catching them by surprise. In the old days Hos owed their supremacy of Rajas of Singhbhum and committed their allegiance to them.But after the advent of British in their region, the Hos became restless and often took part in many mini-battles with them; the British took long time and numerous attempts to finally to manage rebellious Hos population.
The East India Company had got the Dewani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa 40 years ago,but Singhbhum lying at the outskirt of the large province had to wait till 1803 when Marques Wellesley, the then Governor-General sent for the help of Raja of Seraikela against the Maratha Chief Raghoji Bhonsla. Flattered on being asked,the Raja promised to help. But in 1819 in response to an appeal for help from the Rajas, the first British Army entered the Kolhan under Major Roughsedge the Political Agent. He carried with him considerable body of infantry, cavalry and artillery.
The Hos again adopted their age-old tactics; they intelligently allowed the British Army to advance unopposed into their rough-terrain region. Hos did not have much knowledge about the superiority of the British troops, which was undoubtedly one of the best armies of the world during that period. 

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