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Birsa Munda

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Birsa Munda - Lesson Summary

In the 19th and the 20th centuries, tribals in many regions of India rose in rebellion. Birsa Munda was a tribal leader and a folk hero who belonged to the Munda tribe, born in the mid-1870’s. He was impressed by the sermons of the missionaries.

Birsa also spent time under a well-known Vaishnav preacher, and, influenced by his teachings, started giving importance to purity and piety.

He started a movement to reform the Munda society. He went against the British, the missionaries, moneylenders, traders and Hindu landlords.

The spread of the Munda Movement worried the British, they arrested and jailed him for two years in 1895. After Birsa was freed in 1897, he continued with his movement. His followers attacked churches and police stations, and took over the properties of the landlords and the moneylenders.
The movement faded out with the death of Birsa in 1900.

The movement forced the British to bring in laws to protect the lands of the tribals. The tribals proved that they had the ability to protest against the colonial rule and the injustices being meted out to them.


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