(GIST OF YOJANA) Freedom Movement in Central India

(GIST OF YOJANA) Freedom Movement in Central India


Freedom Movement in Central India


  • Indian Independence movement was a people’s movement that gained strength as it progressed. This transcended regional and class differences and became an expression of the collective resolve of the people of the entire country. Generally, the history of the freedom movement is described from the defining moments of the first freedom struggle of 1857. The noticeable feature of our historiography is the repeated mention of some regions and classes in the freedom movement, but the contribution of tribal areas and its people is often ignored.

Tribal Uprisings before 1857

  • After winning the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and acquiring the Diwani of Bengal. Bihar, and Orissa in 1765, the East India Company began efforts to annex Chhattisgarh. Most of the central part of Chhattisgarh was under the control of the Maratha rulers of Nagpur, and the rest of the area was ruled by different Princely States. The British got their first success in 1800, when the Raja of Raigad signed a treaty with the Company and made Raigad a part of the Government. They annexed the Maratha empire after its defeat in the war at Nagpur in 1818. and began to rule the central region of Chhattisgarh. However, in Bastar, the south of Chhattisgarh and Surguja in the north, several tribal rebellions arose to save tribal people from the slavery of the Company’s Government.

First Revolt of 1857 in Sonakhan

  • In 1857, Narayan Singh, the tribal landlord of Sonakhan of Raipur, revolted uniquely. A drought occurred in his zamindari area. The paddy deposited with a moneylender was looted and distributed by Narayan Singh to save his people from starvation. He had informed about it to the British officers posted in Raipur.

Bhumkal of Bastar

  • In 1910, there was a fierce people’s uprising in Bastar itself, knowm in modern history as ‘Bhumkal of Bastar.’ The Muria tribesmen of Bastar defeated the British state and took up an armed revolution to establish the ‘Muria Raj.’ Led by Gundadhur, this rebellion was meticulously planned and it rattled the entire Bastar region. The tribals targeted the British and attacked the government buildings. The flame of this rebellion, which started on 1 February 1910. continued to blaze for three months.
  • Initially. Muria Raj was established in the whole of Bastar for some time, but Gundadhur’s army could not sustain itself against the large army of British. Hundreds of tribal people were put to death in this struggle and thousands suffered harsh punishments.
  • The Northeast region of Chhattisgarh witnessed the Tana Bhagat movement, which started in 1916 and lasted till 1918. In its initial phase, this movement was violent but later, the followers of this movement joined the non-violent, non-cooperation movement and became a part of the mainstream freedom movement of India.

Jungle Satvagraha

  • Another movement of Chhattisgarh jungle Satyagraha was launched in 1922 in a place named Nagari of Dhamtari district. It holds a unique place it the entire freedom struggle. The tribals had staged ‘satyagraha’ against the authority, protesting over the low wages given by the forest department and the ban on carrying wood for use in cooking at home. Large-scale arrests were made in this movement, and satyagrahis were punished. Later, the Forest Department brought changes in its functioning, and this movement was called off. However, in August. 1930, Jungle Satyagraha started again at different places in Chhattisgarh. During one such satyagraha. thousands of people gathered at a place called Tamera, and when the authorities tried to control the crowd, a woman named Dayavati slapped the officer. The situation was saved from worsening by the authorities. Some people were arrested. At one place, the police opened fire in which a person died. This movement continued till March. 1931, and it ended with the comeback of the Civil Disobedience Movement in India.

Way forward:

  • The history of the freedom movement is not just a description of events or a mere counting of incidents. Neither is it about describing the character of its heroes. The freedom movement is an analysis of the currents and counter-currents that formed the structure of the agitating society at that time. The collective consciousness of the people to be free was being expressed in the form of struggle, and it is necessary to recognise that consciousness and its expression. However, the consciousness of the common people it attaining freedom- especially of the tribal people areas away from the major centres- is often not considered by historians. The history of India’s freedom movement is incomplete without recognising the tribal consciousness.



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Courtesy: Yojana