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Rebellion in the Forests

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Rebellion in the Forests - Lesson Summary

During the year 1910 there were many rebellions against the British in Bastar, the rebellion in the forests of Bastar in 1910 was one such.

A number of different communities live in Bastar and speak different languages. The people of Bastar believe that land is a gift from Mother Earth to humans, and that humans should respect this gift. They look after their forests with great affection and care.

Under the colonial rule, the people of Bastar were exploited for a long time. They were forced to pay higher land rents, work for free and provide free goods to government officials.

They suffered even more due to the famines that hit Bastar in 1899-1900 and again in 1907-1908. The proposal of the government in 1905 to reserve two-thirds of the forest land, stop shifting cultivation, hunting and collection of forest produce was the last straw for the people of Bastar.

The initiative of rebelling against the British was taken by the Dhurwas of the Kangar forest which was the first forest to be reserved. One prominent name associated with these rebellions was that of Gunda Dhur who was a rebel leader from a village named Nethanar. A mass movement of destruction in the form of looting, burning of bazaars, schools, and police stations, and the houses of officials and traders spread throughout Bastar.

Even though the British were able to suppress the rebellion, it took them three months to bring the situation totally under control. Households in every village supported the rebellion by bearing its expense.

The work on forest reservation was temporarily suspended and the area to be reserved was reduced to half of the original proposed.

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