In an attempt to keep the tribals aloof, their rebellions against the British Raj have been defined merely as ‘peasant insurgency’. However, the larger cause for which the tribals rebelled also majorly included safeguarding their cultural consciousness which predominantly remained one with the Hindutva. Organiser profiles a number of tribal leaders, not only those who were tribals in identity but also those who became one with their causes and struggles
He was one of the chiefs of Khasi people in an early 18th century and fought against British attempts to take over control of the Khasi hills (Bengal). He died on July 17, 1835, fighting against the British.
She was a Naga spiritual and political leader who led a revolt against the British rule in India and was also staunchly against the conversion of Naga religious practitioners to Christianity. At the age of 13, she joined the Heraka religious movement that her cousin had initiated, which later turned into a political movement that tried to drive the British away from Manipur and nearby Naga regions. She was 16 at the time of her arrest and was put into life imprisonment by the British. Five years later, in 1937, Nehru visited and promised to get her out and gave her the title ‘Rani’. She was released in 1947 after which she continued to work for the community.
The discontent among the tribals of Ghumsur (Odisha) was growing from the beginning against the British rule under the Madras authority. The British did not pay proper attention to the administration of Ghumsur. In due course of time, the tribals of Ghumsur led by Dora Bisoi started a rebellion against the British authority.
Alluri Sitaram Raju
He led the ill-fated “Rampa Rebellion” of 1922–24, during which a band of tribal leaders and other sympathisers fought against the British Raj. He was referred to as ‘Manyam Veerudu’ (Hero of the Jungles) by the local people. Born into a prosperous Kshatriya family in Andhra Pradesh, he gave up everything for the freedom struggle. He took up the cause of the tribal people in the Agency area, who were being harassed by British officials under the Forest Act, and led an armed rebellion against the British forces.
Sidhu Murmu and Kanhu Murmu
They were the leaders of the Santhal rebellion (1855–1856), the native rebellion in present-day Jharkhand and Bengal (Purulia and Bankura) in eastern Bharat against both the British colonial authority and the corrupt upper caste zamindari system
He was eligible as the next in line to the throne of Sambalpur (Odisha) after the death of Maharaja Sai in 1827; he helped the tribal people in Sambalpur against the British by encouraging their language and cultural development. Affectionately called Bira by the local people because of his swordsmanship, he began protesting from the age of 18 and spent some 17 years in jail after that. But he continued the protest till 1862 when he surrendered and went to jail.
Birsa Munda (1875–1900) was a Bharatiya tribal freedom fighter, religious leader, and folk hero who belonged to the Munda tribe. He spearheaded an Indian tribal religious Millenarian movement that arose in the tribal belt of modern-day Bihar and Jharkhand in the late 19th century, during the British Raj.
Vasudev Balwant Phadke
Vasudev Balwant Phadke (1845-1883) was a revolutionary who sought India's Independence from British. Phadke was moved by the plight of the farmer community during British Raj. He believed that Swaraj was the only remedy for their ills. With the help of the Koli, Bhil and Dhangar communities in Maharashtra, Vasudev formed a revolutionary group of Ramoshi. The group started an armed struggle to overthrow the British Raj.
Thalakkal Chandu was an archer and commander-in-chief of the Kurichya soldiers of the Pazhassi Raja who fought against the British forces in the Wayanad jungles of Kerala during first decade of the 19th century. He was executed by the British army.