1947: Greater Bengal Movement and Jaipal Singh

Creation of West Bengal activated Bengali Association of Manbhum, W.N. Nag, an leader from Ranchi was reported to have toured Manbhum to enlist support for separate Jharkhand. Instead he found that the Bengali leaders were preferring amalgamation of Bihar districts with Bengal rather than to assist the creation of separate Jharkhand provinces.
In Hazaribagh during the District Board Election in 1947 the Congress candidates were faced with clear combination of all reactionary elements.
Raja of Ramgarh was extended full support by Jaipal Singh by placing 200 Adivasis volunteers at his disposal. Raja reciprocated this gesture by promising financial assistance to Prof. Heyward for bringing out his old paper “Jharkhand News”.
North and West Bengal Provincial Committee under the Keshab Chandra Chakravarty wanted to create a new province for the Bengal nationalists consisting of Burdwan Division, Presidency Division and 4 districts of Rajashahi Division,viz., Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Dinajpur, Maldah and Bengali speaking portion of Bihar, viz., Santhal Parganas, Manbhum, Singhbhum.
In an open session of the Division of Bihar Conference held at Gaya on 19th April, 1947, under the presidentship of Chaudhary Abid Hussain, M.L.A. (Central) which was attended by important Muslim League members from all the parts of Bihar; the Conference demanded that province of Bihar be forthwith partitioned into Hindu and non-Hindu autonomous province. It also supported the demand of the Adivasis for a separate autonomous province of Jharkhand.
In Santhal Parganas also, at Dumka on 21st June 1947 a meeting was held which was attended by 700 to 800 persons of which 10% were Muslims and rest were armed Santhals. Earlier Santhals had organized themselves under an organization named Hor Malto Maran Sabha in September 1932 at Kathinkund Board U.P. School under the Chairmanship of Late Parganait Sangram Hembrom OBE and a M.L.C. in 1932.
Debi Soren was leading the state meeting which criticized Sarath firing and the Congress Government officials. It was pointed out that Muslim got Pakistan by fighting and the Santhals must win Jharkhand in the same manner. It was expressed that when the Congress could fight the Congress Government for Jharkhand. They raised slogan “Congress Government baiman hai”. Mohamad Razak declared that Muslims were solidly behind Adivasis, with men and money and they were ready to shed blood for them also.
Thus we have seen that till 1947 Jharkhand movement remained confined among the Muslim Leaguers and the Christian Adivasis and a section of Bengalis who wanted to effect annexation of Santhal Parganas, Dhanbad and Singhbhum in West Bengal. It is evident that Jaipal Singh was with Muslim League or sided with the Bengali faction perhaps to get crucial financial support. The retrograde steps taken by him from time to time had nothing to do with Adivasis welfare rather, it looks, he was set by interested quarter to bolster up against the functioning of national government. It is also evident that Jaipal Singh was not a very serious separatist and his slogan for separate Chotanagpur was considered by many as simply slogan mongering. 
According to historians, the following are not too far to be seen.
  • Firstly, Jaipal Singh could not establish rapport with other non-league bodies which also wanted separation of Chotanagpur. As for example, Non-Adivasi residents of Chotanagpur established a separate association at Daltonganj in order to voice their demand for a separate state of Chotanagpur with Deoki Nandan Sinha as their leader.
  • Secondly, Mr. Jaipal Singh himself stated on the 16th August 1947, that the “Creation of separate province is a matter outside the scope of our enquiry and we do not find that this is, in fact, necessary for the satisfactory administration of the tribals.”

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