Jharkhand, a state in eastern India, which was once a British colony, had witnessed a rebellion in the year 1855. This rebellion was to overthrow the British authority as well as the atrocities of the corrupt upper caste zamindari (capitalist) system. What the state of Jharkhand got from this rebellion was a great leader who led this rebellion.
This rebellion was known as the ‘Santhal rebellion’. And this brave, dynamic and youthful leader was known as Kanhu Murmu.
About the great leader
Kanhu Murmu and his brother Sidhu Murmu were the pioneers of the Santhal rebellion of 1855-56. They were born in that province, which was totally under the spell of the Britishers. They both belonged to a village called Bhognadih in the Sahibganj district. They were instrumental in making the entire tribe of Santhals realize the injustice being perpetrated by the oppressive upper class.
One small episdode in 1855 trigerred the anger and discontent in these people and they took it forward by making people realize how they were being constantly exploited. They made the people assemble together. These people, under the leadership of the twobrothers declared themselves as free. They also took an oath to fight against the atrocities and exploitations till their last breath.
They took a vow to drive away all the British agents. Till then, none of them sat peacefully. These two brave martyrs were captured by the Britishers and then killed in captivity.
In the honour of these two martyrs, the Indian post issued a stamp of Rs.4 in the year 2002, picturising them holding weapons during the rebellion.
What was the rebellion about
Santhals are a particular community of the Munda people. These are mostly found in the states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa and Assam. On the 30th of June in 1855, a group of Santhals decided to meet to discuss the corruption and racism caused due to capitalist practices of the moneylenders. Wealth was being usurped from this poor group of people, who were tired of being deprived of their basic right to live well.
These moneylenders and agents of the British government claimed that the agrarian land these people had belonged to them and took away all the property. Feeling cheated, these Santhals decided to come together to fight against these atrocious agents who were the about to rob them of everything, including their dignity.
This rebellion was brought forward by Kanhu Murmu, whose blood was boiling. This battle was suppressed very badly and many locals lost their lives. But it marks a phenomenal change in the history of Santhals, especially during the colonial rule. This day is still celebrated and dedicated to the martyr in the state of Jharkhand.
Sido Kanhu Murmu University
The Sido Kanhu Murmu University is situated in Jharkhand. Established in the year 1992, this university has been given the name of the two great leaders who led the Santhal rebellion in 1855. This university has 11 colleges affiliated to it, which provide finest of the education to the students of the colleges.
Seeing his contribution the early history of freedom struggle, Kanhu Murmu is definitely an unsung hero, who helped the oppressed Santhals achieve a separate identity.