15 November is marked as the birth anniversary of Birsa Munda, the great Indian Freedom fighter who fought for the rights and privileges of different tribes in India.
He is well known for the Munda revolt in the 19th century which was one of the most prominent tribal revolts. This year the birth anniversary of Biswa Munda falls on Monday 15 November. His birth anniversary will be commemorated as 'Janjatiya Gaurav Divas' along with Jharkhand foundation day.
Birsa Munda who belongs to a Munda tribe was born in 1875 in the tribal area of the undivided Bihar at Ulihatu village located in Lohardaga district of Bengal presidency in present-day Jharkhand.
The name of Birsa Munda will be always remembered in the Indian history books for being a tribal leader who began protesting against the dominating British rule. He led the fight against the British during the time when the blaze of activism was blown out in the Bengal presidency by the late nineteenth century.
Munda's contribution as a tribal leader in enhancing the spirit of nationalism set an example for many great leaders. He used to live a very simple life traveling with his parents from one village to another. Munda faced the domination British since his childhood as his teacher named Jaipal Nag suggested him for his conversion into Christianity to get admission to the German Mission School. He realized that the Christian missionaries were converting tribal students in the schools to Christianity. He decided to raise his voice against this conversion of faith so he joined hands with the Oraon community and Munda community to led the revolt against Christian missionaries.
Munda then began a new faith as Birsait and asked other tribes to join the new religion which believes in no superstitions and witchcraft. He went on to make people aware of the new sect by asking the Mundas to clean villages and stop consuming alcohol.
Bisra Munda was highly influenced by the Sardars agitation which was led by Sardars against the anti-missionary and anti-government programs. He lived four years in Chaibasa from 1886 to 1890 as the place is located near the core of Sardars protest. Munda then became involved in the fights against British Raj following the Sardar movement.
The traditional tribal land system and moneylenders were demolished in the late nineteenth century by the land policy system of the British. Numerous missionaries came against the tradition and culture of tribal communities and then Munda began a massive tribal movement called 'Ulgulan.' The revolt took place in the South of Ranchi in 1899 with the aim to remove the British Government from the region.
Bisra Munda led out speeches in his tribal language to rouse people for building the 'Munda Raj' and later he along with his followers started attacking police stations, raided properties of 'zamindars.' He raised white flags in place of the British flags to symbolize the rise of 'Munda Raj' but in the year 1900 he was arrested by the British and died in the Ranji jail after suffering from Cholera.