Tribal traditions, colonial history and the birth of a modern state – Jharkhand

Forests and woodlands occupy more than 29% of the state which is amongst the highest in India – www.jharkhand.gov.in

The region enshrouded in the hills and forests inaccessible to a large segment of people. The tribes of this state are living here from thousands of years and not much changed in their life and culture over the ages baring last few decades. Many scholars now believe that the language used by tribes in the state of Jharkhand is identical to the one used by Harappan people. This has led to a great interest in the deciphering of Harappan inscriptions using rock paintings and language used by these tribes.

For a greater part of Vedic age, Jharkhand remained obscured. During the age of Mahajanpadas around 500 BC, India saw the emergence of 16 large states who controlled the entire Indian subcontinent. The supremacy of the janpads were often decided by the power of swords and bows and ax and other weapons. The region around Jharkhand was extremely rich in its mineral resources including iron and the janpad that controlled this region, Magadha, eventually controlled most of the country. The power of Magadha continued to occupy central state in Indian subcontinent for a long time and saw the emergence of mighty empires such as Mauryas and Guptas. After the end of last big Hindu empire of Guptas, India saw emergence of a number of numerous regional powers who tried to control this region. Same was the case with Muslim Sultans of Delhi and their feudatories in Bengal, who tried to control this mineral-rich area. British identified this region as a great source of raw material for their booming industries back home and to exploit the region to its full potential, established a vast network of railway line. Calcutta was developed as a major port to export raw materials from this region to England.

Birsa Munda (1875-1900) and Sidho and Kanho are the legendary heroes of the tribals of this state who fought against the oppressive rule of the British government. Birsa Munda, now regarded as god, fought for the tribals natural right over forests and land that was mercilessly being acquired by the British for exploitation. After a long fight, Birsa Munda was captured by the British authorities and died in prison. Sidho and Kanho were another set of revolutionaries among the tribals, now regarded as a tribal heroes.

For a long time, Jharkhand remained as a part of Bihar, but after Indian independence, the demand for a separate state of tribals started gaining momentum. In the last fifty years, the tribes of this region fought against the hegemony of Northern Bihar, a region that gained from the mineral deposits of this region like anything. Jharkhand became a state under the Republic of India on November 15, 2000 and now it is poised for a great leap forward.

Source: Official Website of Government of Jharkhand
Address : http://www.jharkhand.gov.in/AboutState_fr.html
Date Visited: Sat Mar 02 2013 11:27:29 GMT+0100 (CET)

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

At present, India has 1,350 prisons with a rated full capacity of 4,03,739 prisoners. All jails are bursting with overcrowding and degrading inhuman conditions, so much for standards of human rights of prisoners in terms of the Constitution of India. The Constitution envisioned prisons as centres of reforms, which is not happening.

“Time to tame torturers” in tehelka.com >>
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70 >>

See also

Related posts

Tips for using interactive maps

  1. toggle to normal view (from reader view) should the interactive map not be displayed by your tablet, smartphone or pc browser
  2. for details and hyperlinks click on the rectangular button (left on the map’s header)
  3. scroll and click on one of the markers for information of special interest
  4. explore India’s tribal cultural heritage with the help of another interactive map >>

About website administrator

Secretary of the foundation
This entry was posted in Colonial policies, Cultural heritage, De- and re-tribalisation, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Government of India, History, Modernity, Nature and wildlife, Photos and slideshows, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Bookmark the permalink.