“The revolutionary tribal leader”, Birsa Munda

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“We should never forget our orginal tribal culture.”

Birsa Munda

Radhika Bansal, Ground Report:
Birsa Munda was a freedom fighter, a religious leader, and a folk hero. Born on November 15, 1875, at Ulihatu in Bengal Presidency, now in the Khunti district of Jharkhand. Today is his death anniversary and twitter and all social is trending with the name of this great leader.

Born on a Thursday, he was named after that day according to the then prevalent Munda custom. He fought for the rights of the tribal community. Munda set out to abolish the feudal system that the British had introduced in the Adivasi forest land. He fought for the rights of his people, his land, and their rights on their land.

‘Dharti Abba’ or the Father of the earth was the Nickname of Birsa Munda. He is the god for the tribal communities like The Mundas, Oraons, and Kharias. He went on to create a new religion called Birsait, which worshipped only one god.

Please watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foU44nxjo4s

He is the only tribal leader whose portrait hangs in the parliament.

He was arrested at the Jamkopai forest in Chakradharpur on March 3, 1900. According to Deputy commissioner Ranchi, vide letter, 460 tribals were made accused in 15 different criminal cases, out of which 63 were convicted. One was sentenced to death, 39 to transportation for life and 23 to imprisoned for terms up to fourteen years. There was six death, including that of Birsa Munda in the prison during trials. Birsa Munda died in the jail on June 9, 1900.

More than a century later, Munda’s legacy still lives on, especially in Bihar, Jharkhand (which was created on his birth anniversary in the year 2000) and parts of Karnataka and Odisha. His revolutionary work not only put an effective dent in the British rule, but it also helped to mobilize the tribals. It is due to him and many other such activists that tribals in India have a fighting chance at protecting their rights.

He used to say “Let the kingdom of the queen be ended and our kingdom is established.”

Birsa Munda has been named after several structures, institutions, and bodies in India. The Birsa Munda Airport, Birsa Munda Vanvasi Chattravas, Kanpur, Birsa Institute of Technology, Sidho Kanho Birsa University, and the Birsa Agricultural University were all named in his honor. His life has been portrayed in Hindi films like Gandhi Se Pehle Gandhi, 2008 and Ulgulan-Ek Kranti in 2004.

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