The Genesis of Jharkhand Movement

The genesis of separate Jharkhand movement was exploitation of tribals by non-tribals.
Tribal agitation in Chotanagpur. Pic source Cultural Survival
NK SINGH

Last year a militant Adivasi movement was stated by Birsa Seva Dal in Chotanagpur area of Bihar. Even the villagers were influenced by this movement and they demonstrated in Ranchi town carrying their traditional arms.

Naxalites were active in Birsa Seva Dal because they saw Chotanagpur hills as a good place for guerrilla warfare.

The movement was an expression of the new militant mood of the tribal people.

The movement took a violent turn when the police lathi-charged Adivasi girls in Ranchi and opened fire on Adivasis in which 6 tribals were killed.

Mundas and Oraons were the first to come to Chotanagpur when it was merely a vast tract of jungle. Then came the Dikkus (non-tribals) who became Rajas and zamindars of the area. They took to trade and owned up every means of production.

Tribal versus non-tribal

Ninety-nine per cent of Rajas and zamindars of the area are non-Adivasis. They took to trade and owned up every means of production. It is a fact that tribals have lost more land since 1947 than during the British period.

Several laws were enacted by the Government to stop exploitation. But land was being sold to non-tribals like hot cakes.

Purchase of Adivasi land by non-Adivasis was illegal under the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act. But thousands of acres have been acquired by speculators, many of them Congress leaders and government officers, through dubious means.

Adivasis are now either peasants having some land or landless unskilled labourers.

The recent movement was not a fight between tribal and non-tribals but a revolt of innocent, illiterate and exploited people.

Separate Jharkhand movement

There was a political vacuum in this area before Independence. After Independence the Jharkhand party filled it.

But it was soon exposed as a power of power-hungry politicians for whom the “separate Jharkhand” slogan was handy and an opportune tool to maintain their hold over tribal masses.

Birsa Seva Dal is perhaps the most powerful tribal organisation in Chotanagpur today. Top leaders of the Dal are in jail but the organisation is a force in tribal villages.

Officials are blaming Christian missions and missions are blaming the communists for fostering the Dal. The communists have accepted this as an opportunity.

Excerpts from Patriot 17 August 1969

The Adivasis of Chotanagpur, by NK Singh, Patriot, 17 August 1969
Patriot 17 August 1969 P1
The Adivasis of Chotanagpur, by NK Singh, Patriot, 17 August 1969
Patriot 17 August 1969 P2

2 Replies to “The Genesis of Jharkhand Movement”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *