Remembering Birsa Munda: A young freedom fighter and a tribal leader hailing from the Munda tribe. Birsa Munda stressed the need of the tribals to study their own religion and not forget their cultural roots. He influenced his people to realise the importance of owning their land and asserting their right upon them.
Birsa Munda’s achievements are known to be even more remarkable by virtue of the fact that he came to acquire them before he was 25.
In recognition of his impact on the nationals movement, the state of Jharkhand was created on his birth anniversary in 2000.
Birsa wanted to reform the tribal society and so, he urged them to let go of beliefs in witchcraft and instead, stressed on the importance of prayer, staying away from alcohol, having faith in God and observing a code of conduct.
Based on these, he started the faith of ‘Birsait’. This was a threat to Christian missionaries who were converting the tribals left and right. Soon, the Mundas and Oraons became devoted Birsaities.
Birsa started a movement called ‘Ulgulan’, or ‘The Great Tumult’.
His struggle against the exploitation and discrimination against tribals led to a big hit against the British government in the form of the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act being passed in 1908. The act restricted the passing on of land from the tribal people to non-tribals.
Birsa Munda did all this by the age of 25 when he died in a prison in Ranchi on June 9, 1900, after being arrested in March from Chakradharpur’s Jamkopai forest, where he had been resting with his tribal guerrilla army.