“Thakur ji has ordered me that “this country does not belong to white sahibs. We will make our country red with the blood of Diku sahabs in the same way as the red flag of Thakur ji, Katong Baba Katong, Sahib Katong, Rari Katong”
These hair-raising words were from Lord Birsa-Munda. Birsa Munda is such a great revolutionary and Vaishnava born in the tribal society, who was always neglected in our education system. Today 9th June is the death anniversary of Birsa Munda ji.
Lord Birsa Munda was born on 15 November 1875 in British India. As that child, the Oraon, Munda and Khadi tribesmen of India, who were in the chains of foreign tales, had found their abode i.e. God. Birsa’s father’s name was Sugna Munda and mother’s name was Karmi Hatu. Birsa’s brother’s name was Komta Munda.
As a child, Birsa’s father was troubled by poverty and sent Birsa to his aunt’s house. He used to play the bassuri very melodiously. Birsa was so engrossed in music that he did not even have a breath of business. As a result, one day the aunt beat him a lot. Frightened, Birsa ran away and again reached his father.
The father took him to relatives in a nearby village. From where he was sent to the Christian Missionary School in Chaibasa. While studying in the missionary school, Birsa came to know about the Indian tales, the real causes of poverty and many sorrows.
Birsa witnessed many painful exploitations by the British. Wherever Birsa went, he would find fear, terror and poverty in every village of the forest dwelling area. They came to know how Christian missionaries convert and condemn their religion.
The reaction of the white sahibs and the black Indian landlords, vassals, who had sold their self-respect under them, was on the youth Birsa. And he was determined that he would never employ foreigners. His father was very angry on this.
The condition of Birsa’s house was such that by boiling wild leaves in the food, only water to eat and drink. That is, there was nothing left in the house to eat. Such a condition was not only in Birsa’s house. Every tribal belonged to the household. The Company took possession of their land, crops and villages.
To destroy the Mundas who once believed in the submission of only God and nature, the white sahibs put the burden of landlords, judges, courtrooms, theekdars. The forest dwellers went from master to servant on their own land. Due to helplessness, hunger, superstition and oppression, he started living a helpless life.
Birsa made frequent trips to various places in the tribal area. Deeply understood the mystery of the helplessness of the brothers of his country and caste fraternity. Mutual foot, poverty, and lack of mass organization were found.
He met Oraon, Munda, Khadia and tribal chiefs. Awakened them, ignited the light of knowledge and power in the exploited, oppressed tribals. Birsa used to spend many days hungry and thirsty in the forest. Where natural things became available, he would have quenched hunger. But he continued his awareness campaign.
Then one day Birsa met Anand Pandey in the forest. Birsa accompanied him to his house. Then Birsa Munda learned a lot in the company of Anand Pandey. Here he received the basic education of culture and society from religious texts like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Gita etc. Birsa went on to study and along with this study he considered to create ideological awakening in tribal society before fighting for independence.
He declared himself as the propagator of Vaishnavism and the representative of Thakurji i.e. Avatar, he wore Yagyopaveet and struggled to remove the superstitious witchcraft prevalent in the tribal society.
He said, “Thakurji has handed over the kingdom of heaven to the Mundas, which no one can snatch from them.”
Gradually Birsa became famous, he succeeded in uniting many castes. He prepared everyone for the war and said “As soon as the bell is picked up, Thakur ji will protect us”.
Tamad’s inspector complained to the deputy commissioner about Birsa becoming influential. On one hand the British government took action against Birsa and on the other side Birsa declared war.
There was a fierce battle between the warriors of Birsa and the British. Thousands of tribal women, men and children were killed. But Birsa got out. He tried to raise the army again. He was staying with his wife in Rogoti village.
The British had engaged some people, who met Birsa as their persuasion and got him betrayed. Later Birsa was sent to Ranchi. And he and his companions were put in jail.
Before death, Birsa was given many attractions to support the British government by separating from the demand of his independence from the British, but Birsa rejected him. They were also tempted to give zamindari, huge amount of wealth and property.
But patriot Lord Birsa Munda fought only for freedom till his last breath. He remained devoted only to his soil, religion, and culture. Birsa Munda was tortured and killed by the British government. Birsa Munda became immortal forever even after physically dying.
Tribal Pride Day was announced sometime back which is a very appropriate step because till now our tribal brothers and sisters were just shown dancing and singing and their contribution and sacrifice in the freedom struggle was presented in a very distorted form where they were shown It was shown to be violent and bloodthirsty, while the tribal movement played an important role in the freedom struggle.
I wonder why this great son of Mother India has been neglected till date. Was taken out of the school curriculum or in a line or two, no film or documentary, whereas Bhagwan Birsa Munda was a great warrior and revolutionary of the tribal community.