1830s: The Great Rebellion in Plateau Region (Part-II)

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The Larka (fighting) Kols (Hos) gave such a strong support to their Munda and Oraon brethren in the above rising that Captain Wilkinson, the then Agent to the Governor-General resolved to turn his attention to the Kolhan as soon as peace was restored in the plateau region.
It was clear that previous expeditions against Hos had no permanent results and consequently it was resolved to bring them directly under the British rule.
The Joint Commissioner, Messrs Wilkinson and Dent mention in their report-we have further received a statement tending directly to implicate the Raja’s brother and the Kuars of Bassia and Gobindpur as the planners of the insurrection; but no proof of their complicity exist, and, though the story is plausibly enough got up, it is in our opinion by no means a probable one, notwithstanding there being some facts on which it is founded. There are some circumstances in the conduct of the Rajas of Nagpur and Kour of Bassia, which give the story a cloak of truth. 
There are reasons why the Raja should wish to get rid of British influence.
Raja Achet Singh and his Dewan were charged of inciting the Lakra Hos. In Manbhum,which was first to rise up, the Bhumij Hos were led by Ganganarain Singh, a scion of Burrabhum Raj family joined by many of the Kuars and Zamindars of that area. In Palamau, the Kharwars and the Cheros rose and fought under their own chiefs.
Such was the wide scale rebellion in the Chotanagpur plateau region with the result that the British and the local rulers’ governing powers were greatly reduced in the whole province for quite some time. The Ho leaders’ plan they perused was to send intimation in advance to the Hos of the villages they proposed to attack directing them to warn the rich people there of the intended invasion,so that they might evacuate and escape blood-shed. This would be followed by the invasion in which the local Hos joining the invaders would also participate in swelling the bands of revolutionaries from village to village as they passed. Some of the Hos even talked of going to Calcutta and form the government they would establish after they overthrow the present Government.
Major Sutherland frankly admits that various measures of the English Company’s Government were unacceptable to the local Tribe people and prepared the public mind to enter into an insurrection to throw off the authority, which the English were exercising over them. So the Hos hated the tax collectors as well as the Thekadaars in the equal measures.
Troops from all directions, Calcutta, Dinapur, Banaras, Sambhalpur and Nagpur were immediately rushed to quell the rebellion as the situation had, grown quite dangerous for the company’s government because there were only 150 men of Provincial Battalion left at Hazaribagh. But it was not till the middle of February 1832 that they were able to take the offensive on a large-scale. Captain Wilkinson reached Pithoria about the middle of January (1832), but he could not dare penetrate far into the disturbed district for want of sufficient-force. He however compelled the villagers near Pithoria to submit, but not without heavy fighting. The freedom fighters at Nagri between Ranchi and Pithoria were determined to fight and the British army had unequivocal instruction to “attack, slay and destroy”and such orders were energetically carried out with the habitual vandalism of British soldiers in Eastern country. The Nagri heroes speedily succumbed. Memory of those heroes and their fathers “went out” in 1832.
The subjugation of Nagri was followed by the submission of most of the northern villages, but the Oraons of the west and Mundas of the eastern and southern parts showed no inclination to lay down their arms. The insurrection soon spread to Palamau where the Kherwars with equal zeal took it up. A squad of cavalry of British troops supported by Burkandazes while trying to penetrate into Chutianagpur through Palamau, it was fiercely charged at Chetma, one of the hill-passes on 21st Febraury 1833 and ultimately routed, by the Palamau insurgents. The British army had to evacuate Lesligang after this defeat, and retire to Manatho and wait for reinforcements.
It was after the middle of February that the British troops started general offensive. These flying columns were formed which kept the country from north to south. The right and the center columns met with slight opposition, but the left column, when it reached Sonepur found that the Hos had abandoned their villages and with their families retreated to the hills. In attempting to dislodge them the British troops suffered serious losses. The columns, however,now concentrated to the South. “Bindrai Manki, Singrai’s brother, and Sugra”,the heroes of the movement held to the last, but on the 19th March 1833 these leaders also surrendered to the Commissioner.
Two regiments of native infantry, a brigade of guns, and the Ramgarh Battalions were dispatched under Colonel Richard in November 1835. This was the most formidable army that the Hos had yet seen. But undaunted by previous defeats, they prepared for a strenuous resistance. By the February (1836) all the Mankis and Mundas had surrendered when they were persuaded that they would no longer be required to submit to disgusted Rajas. Altogether 620 villages with a population of about 90 thousands, of whom 2/3rd were Larka Hos were thus brought under the immediate control of the British Government with Chaibasa as headquarter under Captain Tickel as the first British administration of new acquisition and these new rules of governance were sincerely followed.

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