Q Why is it in News ?
A The Union Cabinet has decided to declare November 15 as ‘Janjatiya Gaurav Divas’ to mark the birth anniversary of revered tribal leader and freedom fighter Birsa Munda.
Q Who was Birsa Munda (1875-1900)?
- Birsa Munda was an Indian tribal freedom fighter, religious leader, and folk hero who belonged to the Munda tribe.
- He spearheaded a tribal religious millenarian movement that arose in the Bengal Presidency (now Jharkhand) in the late 19th century, during the British Raj.
Q What are some more details about him ?
A Birth and early childhood
- Born on November 15, 1875, Birsa spent much of his childhood moving from one village to another with his parents.
- He belonged to the Munda tribe in the Chhotanagpur Plateau area.
- He received his early education at Salga under the guidance of his teacher Jaipal Nag.
- On the recommendation of Jaipal Nag, Birsa converted to Christianity in order to join the German Mission school.
- He, however, opted out of the school after a few years.
- On March 3, 1900, Birsa Munda was arrested by the British police while he was sleeping with his tribal guerilla army at Jamkopai forest in Chakradharpur.
- He died in Ranchi jail on June 9, 1900, at the young age of 25.
Q What was the new faith founded by him ?
A New faith ‘Birsait’ against religious conversion
- The impact of Christianity was felt in the way he came to relate to religion later.
- Having gained awareness of the British colonial ruler and the efforts of the missionaries to convert tribals to Christianity, Birsa started the faith of ‘Birsait’.
- Soon members of the Munda and Oraon community started joining the Birsait sect and it turned into a challenge to British conversion activities.
- The Mundas called him Dharati Aaba, the father of earth.
Q What is ulgulan ?
A The Ulgulan
- The Great Tumult or Ulgulan was a movement started by Birsa Munda against the exploitation and discrimination against tribals by the local authorities.
- Although the movement failed, it did result in the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act which forbade tribal lands passing to non-tribals, protecting their land rights for the foreseeable future.