Though recently formed, Jharkhand has a rich history and vibrant culture. Read on to learn more about this state.

Jharkhand History

Jharkhand History

Established in November 2000, Jharkhand was carved out of southern part of Bihar after several years of demand and discussion. The state, though recently formed, has a long history to tell you as this region appeared as a distinct geo-political or cultural entity even during ancient times. Jharkhand is a tribal dominated area and was ruled by tribal kings. References of Jharkhand are available history documents which suggest that Jharkhand had maintained an identity of its own, even during the Magadha Empire and Mughal reign. Located in the Chota Nagpur Plateau, Jharkhand is blessed with lush, ever-green forests and rolling hills. The name Jharkhand means the land of forests and had derived this name from large extent of forest that covers this land. Jharkhand had played an important role in the independence movement. The demand for a state was there for long time but, it became a reality in the year 2000. Now Jharkhand is developing immensely and is one of the most productive industrial areas in the country. Read further to know more about this state and its history.

Ancient Times

  • Jharkhand has maintained an identity as a culturally distinct area from ancient times.
  • This region had found referred in Hindu mythological book like Bhavishya Purana.
  • It has been ruled by tribal Kings called Munda Rajas. Munda Rajas owned large extents of farm lands.
  • This region was known by the name Kukara during Mughal reign.

During British Rule

  • Jharkhand came under British rule during 1765 and this region was known as Jharkhand, due to the large extends of forest areas.
  • The people of this region, mainly adivasis, opposed the colonization of this region by the British and this opposition led to revolts.
  • These revolts happened about hundred years prior to Indian Rebellion of 1857. Series of revolts began during 1771 and lasted up to 1900.
  • Tilka Manjhi, a Santal lader who belonged to Santal tribe, lead the first ever rebellion against the British colonization in 1771.
  • He worked to liberate the tribes from the landlords and restore the lands from them, which originally belonged to the tribes.
  • Unfortunately, his rebellions could not bear any fruit as these uprisings were crushed by the British employed troops.
  • Other tribes like Bhumij tribes and Chero tribes followed Tilaka Manhji’s path and revolted against the British.
  • The Oraons barway killed their landlord and this led to a spread of the uprisings around Gulma and Tamar. This influenced Munda tribes and they revolted during 1811 and 1813.
  • This was followed by Larka Kol risings in which the Hos in Singhbhum fought against the landlords and the British for about two years. This revolt occurred during 1820–1821.
  • In 1832 the landlords of this region tried to expel the tribes from their hereditary lands and this led to another revolt. These revolts were named as the Kol risings.
  • Two Santhal brothers Sidhu and kanhu led the Santhal Rebellion in 1855 which arose as a strong opposition against British but, unfortunately, was crushed down.
  • This was followed by the Birsa Munda revolt, which broke out in 1895 and lasted till 1900.
  • This revolt occurred in the Munda belt of Khunti, Sarwada Tamar and Bandgaon, but it could derive amazing support from Oraon belt of Lohardaga, Sisai and even Barway.
  • This revolt was the longest and the greatest tribal revolt in Jharkhand. Unfortunately, it was the last tribal revolt too.
  • The tribal revolts from this region led British to think about and implement ‘Divide and Rule’ policy to this tribal land.
  • Lord Curzon, then Governor General of India, carried out Partition of Bengal in 1905 and Princely states of Gangpur and Bonai of Chota Nagpur States were to Orissa division and Princely states of Jashpur, Udaipur, Surguja, Chang Bhakar and Koriya were transferred from to Chhattisgarh Division.
  • Thus, tribal areas were put under different administration although they were geographically continuous.
  • When India gained independence, Princely states of Gangpur and Bonai came under Orissa, Princely states of Jashpur, Udaipur, Surguja, Chang Bhakar and Koriya came under Madhya Pradesh and Midnapur, Bankura and Purulia came under West Bengal.
  • Tana Movement led by Jatra Oraon started during 1914 and in 1920 this movement joined the Satyagrah Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi and refused to pay land tax to the Government.
  • Chhotanagpur Unnati Samaj was organized in 1915 with an aim to develop the socio-economic condition of the tribes.
  • This organization sent a delegation for a separate Jharkhand state, to the Simon Commission in 1928, when commission came to Patna.
  • However, the commission did not accede to the demand for a separate Jharkhand State.
  • The Chhotanagpur Unnati Samaj and the Kishan Sabha merged in 1935 to acquire more political power.

Post-Independent Time And Jharkhand Movement

  • After gaining independence the demand for a separate state became prevalent.
  • Jharkhand Party grew politically stronger and carried on with its efforts to form a separate state. The demand for a separate state was rejected by the Thakkar Commission pointing that it would not be beneficial for the Adivasis.
  • Again in 1948 Dar Commission examined the demand but, it was turned down on linguistic grounds.
  • Despite these negative results, Jharkhand Party carried on with their effort for a separate state.
  • The Report of the State Reorganization Commission, released in 1955 also rejected the demand for a separate state.
  • In 1962 elections Jharkhand Party aligned with Congress and thus the demand for the Tribal Homeland was suspended for about a decade.
  • In 1987 a Jharkahnd Coordination Committee was constituted by unifying split tribal groups under the leadership of Ram Dayal Munda.
  • A report on Jharkhand was handed over by the then Ranchi University vice chancellor Ram Dayal Munda to the Bihar Home minister Buta Singh and this report advised home ministery to grant ‘autonomy’ to ‘Greater Jharkhand’.
  • The Union Home Ministry formed a committee on Jharkhand Matters (CoJM) to look into this issue, in August 1989.
  • In 1989 CoJM submitted a report with alternatives to the formation of a greater Jharkhand. It proposed the formation of a Union Territory or a Jharkhand general council.
  • A tripartite agreement was signed by the Union government, represented by the then minister of state for home, Rajesh Pilot and the ‘Jharkhand Area Autonomous Council’ (JAAC) was set up.
  • But Horo, AJSU and JPP did not sign this agreement and stuck to their demand for Tribal Homeland.

A separate state

  • A separate Tribal Homeland, the Indian State of Jharkhand came into existence in November 15th, 2000, recognizing the efforts of the people’s movements for a Jharkhandi identity. Thus, Jharkhand became the 28th state of India with Ranchi as capital.
  • Many important industrial areas like Dhanbad, Jamshedpur, Ranchi and Bokaro Steel City are in Jharkhand.
  • Now the state owns many mines which play important role in the state’s economy.
  • Though a leading producer of minerals, majority of the state is far away from any sort of development. Many villages are not electrified, many lacks roads.

The history of Jharkhand can be traced from the ancient times as it was inhabited by human population ages back.  This region had remained a culturally distinct area and had found reference in many ancient texts and mythological works.