History of Jharkhand

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The Shah Deo's were the erstwhile rulers of Jharkhand. They came to power in the 2nd century after the Munda kings handed over the throne. Their palace still exists at Ratu, 11 km from the current Capital of Ranchi. Their first capital was at Sutiyambe near Ranchi. Remains of the period are still there for all to see. The first Ruler was Maharaja Phanimukut Rai. His descendents ruled over Jharkhand for around 2000 years till India's independence from the British rule. The good tribal rulers continued to thrive and were known as the Munda Rajas, and exist to this day. (These are regions which are still semi- autonomous, the degree of autonomy depending on the size of each specific Munda Raja's domain.) Later, during the Mughal period, the Jharkhand area was known as Kukara. After the year 1765, it came under the control of the British Empire and became formally known under its present title, "Jharkhand" - the Land of "Jungles" (forests) and "Jharis" (bushes). Located on Chhota Nagpur Plateau and Santhal Parganas, has evergreen forests, rolling hills and rocky plateaus with many places of keen beauty like Lodh Falls.

The subjugation and colonization of Jharkhand region by the British East India Company resulted in spontaneous resistance from the local people. Almost one hundred years before India’s First War of Independence (1857), Adivasis of Jharkhand were already beginning what would become a series of repeated revolts against the British colonial rule.

Pre-historic civilisations[edit]

Jharkhand's shared historical essence is as old as pre historic civilization that may even pre-date the legendary Harappa. An abundance of fossil remains and prehistoric artefacts in some places of Jharkhand point to the possibility that the transformation of homo erectus to homo sapiens took place in the Chotanagpur region.[1] This claim is based on the findings of hand axes and blades that are strewn here in the region of Pathalgarwa. Archaeologists have also discovered certain remains of the Upper Palaeolithic(Stone-age civilisation) in Jharkhand.[2] Several remains of the stone-age civilization like Harappaan pottery have been found near Hazaribagh. According to some scholars, the language used by tribes in Jharkhand is nearer to the one used by Harappa people.[3]

The epics period[edit]

Even before the period of Magadha Empire, there was already a distinct geo-political, cultural entity called Jharkhand.[4]


Districts of Deoghar, Godda, and Sahebganj along with the parts of Bhagalpur division of Bihar was part of Anga at Mahabharat period.

Main article: Anga
Anga pradesh in Bihar and Jharkhand

Kikat Pradesh[edit]

Kikat Pradesh of Mahabharat epic era was located at the region around Giridih district.[5]

Nagvanshis of Chotanagpur[edit]

The name Nagpur is probably taken from Nagavanshis, who ruled in this part. Chota is a corruption of the word Chutia, a village in the outskirts of Ranchi, which has the remains of an old fort belonging to the Nagavanshis.[6]The first Nagvanshi ruler was Phani Mukut Rai born in 64 AD. He was the adopted son of Madra Munda, the Partha Raja of Sutiambe. It is said that when Phani Mukut Rai was found near a tank as a newborn, a hooded kobra (Nag) was protecting him. Perhaps this was the reason why he and his successors were called the Nagvanshis. Phani Mukut Rai ruled from 83AD to 162 AD. Nagvanshis ruled over Chhotanagpur plateau in India for close to two thousand years, from the 1st century to 1951 when the Zamindari was abolished.This would put the Nagvanshis among the top dynasties that ruled the longest in the world, which include the Dulo clan in Bulgaria, The Imperial House of Japan and Hong Bang dynasty of Korea.

Santhal rebellion[edit]

Attack by 600 Santhals upon a party of 50 sepoys, 40th regiment native infantry

The Santhal rebellion (Santhal Hool) was a native rebellion in present day Santhal Parganas, Jharkhand against both the British colonial authority and zamindari system by the Santhal people. It started on June 30, 1855 and on November 10, 1855 martial law was proclaimed which lasted until January 3, 1856 when martial law was suspended and the movement was brutally ended by troops loyal to the British Raj. The rebellion was led by the four Murmu Brothers - Sidho, Kanhu, Chand and Bhairav. Sidhu Murmu had accumulated about ten thousands Santhal to run parallel government against British rule. The basic purpose was to collect taxes by making his own laws. British Government had announced an award of Rs. 10,000 to arrest Sidhu and his brother Kanhu Murmu. On 30 June 1855, Sidhu-Kanhu mobilized ten thousand Santals and declared a rebellion against British colonists. Soon after the declaration the Santals took to arms. In many villages the Zamindars, money lenders and their operatives were put to death. The primitive weapons of the Santals, weren't a match against the musket and cannon firepower of the British. Elephants supplied by the Nawab of Murshidabad were used to demolish Santal huts and likewise profound atrocities were committed by the British army in quenching the Rebellion. Of the 60,000-odd tribesmen who had been mobilised in the rebellion, over 15,000 were killed, and tens of villages were destroyed.[7] The legend of the Santal Rebellion lives on as a turning point in Santal pride and identity.

Main article: Santhal rebellion

Timeline for Jharkhand[edit]

Ancient Jharkhand[edit]

Jharkhand revolts period[edit]

  • 1757–1857: The British East India Company expands it rule into Bihar and Jharkhand from Bengal
  • 1772-1780: Paharia revolt
  • 1780-1785: Tilka Manjhi led the tribal revolt and managed to injure the British army Chief. In 1785, Tilka Manjhi was hanged to death in Bhagalpur
  • 1795-1800: Tamar revolt
  • 1795-1800: Munda revolt under the leadership of Vishnu Manaki
  • 1800-1802: Munda revolt under the stewardship of Dukhan Manaki of Tamar
  • 1819-1820: Munda revolt in Palamu under the leadership of Bhukan Singh
  • 1832-1833: Khewar revolt under the leadership of Bhagirath, Dubai Gosai and Patel Singh
  • 1833-1834: Bhumji revolt under the leadership of Ganga Narain of Birbhum
  • 1855: Santhals waged war against the permanent settlement of Lord Cornwallis
  • 1855-1860: During the late 1850s Sidhu Murmu had accumulated about ten thousands Santhal to run parallel government against British rule. The basic purpose was to collect taxes by making his own laws. British Government had announced an award of Rs. 10,000 to arrest Sidhu and his brother Kanhu Murmu
  • 1856-1857: Martyr Sahid Lal, Vishwanath Shahdeo, Sheikh Bhikhari, Ganpatrai and Budhu Veer led a movement against the British Government during India’s First War of Independence, 1857, also called Sepoy Mutiny
  • 1874: Kherwar Movement shot into fame under the leadership of Bhagirathi Manjhi
  • 1895-1900: Movement against the British raj led by Birsa Munda (born 15 November 1875). Birsa Munda was captured by British forces and declared dead on 9 June 1900 in Ranchi Jail, due to Cholera, according to records of the British colonial government.

All of these uprisings were quelled by the British through massive deployment of troops across the region.

Modern period (before separation from Bihar)[edit]

  • 1947: 15 August, Indian Independence; Bihar (including Jharkhand as southern part of Bihar) becomes a state in the new Dominion of India. Religious violence leads to the migration of millions of Muslims to the new Pakistani states of Sindh and East Pakistan (East Pakistan known as Bangladesh since 1971).
  • 1947: In Dec. 28 All India Jharkhand Party lead by Indian hockey captain and Oxford-returnedJaipal Singh came into inception.
  • 1950: Enactment of Land Reforms bill in Bihar, and abolishment of Zamindari system
  • 1951: Jharkhand party was elected to Vidhan Sabha as a main opposition party.
  • 1955: The Birla Institute of Technology is established at Mesra, Ranchi
  • 1977: Jharkhand party proposed for separate Jharkhand state which included not only Chotanagpur and Santhal Parganas of Bihar but adjoining area of Bengal.
  • 1986: September 25, All Jharkhand Students Union gave its first call for Jharkhand bandh, it was a huge success.
  • 1995: Jharkhand area autonomous council was formed which comprised 18 districts of Santhal Pargana and Chotnagpur and Shibu Soren, the leader of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha was nominated as the Chairman.

Modern period (separate state of Jharkhand)[edit]

  • 2000: August 2, Parliament of India passed the Bihar Reorganization Bill to create the state of Jharkhand, carving 18 districts out of Bihar to form Jharkhand state on 15 November, 2000.
  • 2000: 15 November, Jharkhand becomes a 28th state of India. Bihar divided into two states by NDA central government - The northern part retains the name Bihar, whilst southern (and more industralised region) becomes the State of Jharkhand.

See also[edit]