Birsa Munda, a descendant of the Munda Tribe of the Chhota Nagpur Plateau, was an Indian freedom fighter, religious leader, and folk hero. His action is widely seen as a potent symbol of resistance to British rule in India. He was a driving force behind the Bengal Presidency’s (Present-day Jharkhand) Millenarian movement.
Who Was Birsa Munda?
- Birsa Munda was born on November 15, 1875, in Ulihatu, Bengal Presidency, today in the Khunti district of Jharkhand, and was named after that date in accordance with Munda tradition. He completed his early education at Salga, where Jaipal Nag was his teacher.
- The Munda rebellion, also known as the Ulgulan (revolt) rebellion, was headed by him.
- The Birsait faith was founded by the young independence warrior as a response to the British Raj’s conversion activities and mistreatment of tribal communities.
- In the year 1900, the British soldiers conquered Munda. On June 9, 1900, he died at the Ranchi jail at the age of 25.
- Munda’s revolt inspired the tribes against British rule. It also compelled officials to pass laws protecting tribal communities’ land rights, like as the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act of 1908.
- Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas is a celebration commemorating the tribal leader’s birth anniversary.
Birsa Munda: Childhood And Early Life
- Munda grew up surrounded by Christian missionaries whose major goal was to convert as many tribal people as they could.
- His teacher suggested him to join in the German Mission school, but Munda was forced to convert to Christianity in order to be accepted.
- After the conversion, he was named Birsa David and then Birsa Daud. After a few years of studies, Birsa left the German Mission School.
- Between 886 and 1890, Birsa Munda spent a lot of time in Chaibasa, which is now in Jharkhand and was near to the Sardars’ centre. This had a profound effect on the young Birsa, who soon joined the anti-missionary and anti-government movement.
Birsa Munda: Activism
- Birsa learned about Hindu religious beliefs from a Vaishnav monk and read ancient scriptures such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
- Birsait, a new religion, was founded by Birsa Munda. The religion preached the belief in a One God and urged people to return to their old religious convictions.
- Munda preached a strong anti-British feeling through his religion, encouraging thousands of tribal people to organize guerrilla armies to battle the Raj.
- Between 1886 and 1890 in Chaibasa, Birsa Munda participated in anti-missionary and anti-establishment activities, and founded a movement known as ‘Ulgulan,’ or ‘The Great Tumult,’ as his awareness of British atrocities developed.
- On March 3, 1900, he was apprehended by British police and died in Ranchi on June 9 of the same year. He was only 25 years old at the time.
The life and legacy of the young tribal revolutionary are still commemorated today, notably in the tribal regions of Bihar, Jharkhand, and even parts of Karnataka and Odisha.
Birsa Munda Airport Ranchi, Birsa Institute of Technology Sindri, Birsa Munda Tribal University, Birsa Agricultural University, Birsa College Khunti, Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium, and even Birsa Munda Central Jail are all named after him in Jharkhand.