History Trivia

Hul Diwas

Remembering the Santhal Rebellion The Prime Minister observed Hul Diwas, honouring Santhals’ sacrifice in their fight against British colonial rulers.

What exactly is Hul Divas?

  • The Santhal uprising, also known as the ‘Hul,’ was an organised struggle against colonialism launched by the Santhals, who opposed different forms of tyranny inflicted by the British.
  • This article delves into the significance of the Santhal uprising, their identities, the motivations for the Hul, its organisation, and its long-term consequences.

The Santhals’ Migration

  • The Santhal people, also known as Santhalis, migrated from Bengal’s Birbhum and Manbhum regions to modern-day Santhal Pargana.
  • As part of their revenue collection scheme, the British transported the Santhals to the forested area of Damin-i-Koh, displacing the local Pahariya community.
  • The Santhals, on the other hand, endured harsh colonial tyranny, including exploitation by moneylenders and the police.

Reasons behind the Hul

  • The Santhals rebelled against the British due to extortions, oppressive extractions, dispossession of property, false measurements, and other illegalities.
  • Tribal councils and assemblies debated the possibilities of insurrection, which resulted in a great assembly of over 6,000 Santhals on June 30, 1855, signalling the start of the rebellion.
  • The Santhals rose up against the British, led by Sidhu and Kanhu, assaulting symbols of colonial power and executing moneylenders and zamindars.

The Hul Organisation

  • The Hul, contrary to popular opinion, was a well-planned and organised political struggle.
  • Documents and historical records reveal guerrilla formations, military squads, investigators, hidden bases, logistics, and a network of message carriers for coordination.
  • Non-Adivasi Hindu castes also took part in the uprising, reflecting the movement’s diversity.

Hul Facts You May Not Know

  • The participation of 32 towns, both tribal and non-tribal, challenged the concept that the insurrection was purely a Santhal rebellion.
  • Two sisters, Phulo-Jhano, headed an army of 1,000 women, who played critical roles in providing food, gathering information, and attacking British camps.
  • During the insurrection, the East India Company’s army was defeated twice, disproving the assumption that they were invincible.

Narratives and Accounts from the United Kingdom

  • Excessive taxes, dishonesty and carelessness on the part of British officials, extortion by moneylenders, corruption, and persecution are among the causes of the Santhal insurrection, according to British accounts and personal narratives.
  • The miseries inflicted on the Santhals by moneylenders or’mahajans’ were a major reason of the revolt.

Prisoner Testimonies and Divine Intervention

  • Accounts of deities appearing in dreams or before the rebels abound, as they do in past tribal revolutions.
  • Judicial procedures of captive Santhals showed instances in which deities directed rebellion leaders to battle the British and oppressors.

The Hul’s Longevity

  • The Santhal insurrection did not end with its crushing in 1855; it continued to inspire subsequent uprisings, such as the Santhal role in the 1857 mutiny.
  • The Hul revolt symbolised opposition to British rule and provided the groundwork for subsequent movements in Jharkhand.
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