The Initiation of Jharkhand Movement (Part-III)

To a surcharged emotional situation in which, contemporary Birsa (1895-1900) played the role of saviour of people and earned respect as their Bhagwan. Bhagwan Birsa Munda agitated against the Zamindars, Missionaries and the British by calling them “Top Topi Ek Topi” Birsa asked the Britishers to go away from this country because, you European monkey’s (Vilayati pundi ko) should quit this country, Abua Dishum.
Certainly in this Birsa was the precursor of Mahatma Gandhi who gave the clarion call of “Quit India” to the Britisher only in 1942. The carnage of Domari Hill near Jojo Hatu and subsequent hunting of the Birsaits reverberated in the Bengal Council and ultimately Chotanagpur Tenancy Act was passed in 1908.
This act to quote Rev. Hoffmann; was the highest rehabilitation of moral values and still today it is considered as “Magna-Carta of the Tribal people of Chotanagpur.” The passing of the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act (CNT Act) was a significant phenomenon which bestowed upon the raiyats of Chotanagpur. Some special privileges and protection were granted by the British Govt. These were unique all over the Indian sub-continent.
Tana Bhagats in Ranchi District and Sapha Hors in Santhal Parganas lost their lands for participating in Non–cooperation Movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1921-31 and so also the Khuntkatti Mundas of adjoining North Sundargarh of Orissa State.
In 1935 at Simco–Amco British Resident of Gangpur estate opened fire on non-cooperators in which 45 persons were killed, 82 persons were injured and about 600 persons were jailed. They are still fighting against Orissa Govt. for the restoration of their traditional land-right.
Birsa’s Abua Dishum concept was to a great extent realized by instituting safeguards in the C.N.T. Act as well as by orienting the British administration in this Non-Regulation area by clinging more and more to inga-appu concept(mother-father) of colonial paternalism.
After the cruel martyrdom of Birsa and his followers in the Ulgulan (1895-1900) and thereafter their claims have been recognized officially as having been perfectly right and their land system appear as one of the wisest creations of the prehistoric times.
Therefore the passing of the C.N.T. act (1908) is a justification and a rehabilitation of the highest moral value to quote Rev. John Hottman (Encyclopedia Mundarica, Vol. VIII Page 2402 Patna 1933). Though the race of Mundari Khuntkattidars was rehabilitated and the act became the Magna-carta for the raiyats, but in reality Zamindari-Police zulum continued in the interiors. There was no father Lievens and other agitators to secure the tribals and other aboriginal raiyats a legitimate place in the society.
Partition of Bengal was already done which was greeted by the bitter revolutionary movements in the state.

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