Sidhu and Kanhu Murmu

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Sidhu Kanhu Memorial Park in Ranchi

Sidhu Murmu and Kanhu Murmu were the leader of the Santhal rebellion (1855–1856), the native rebellion in present-day Jharkhand and Bengal (Purulia and Bankura) in eastern India against both the British colonial authority and the corrupt zamindari system.[1]


Santals lived in and depended on forests. In 1832, the British demarcated the Damin-i-koh region in present day Jharkhand and invited Santhals to settle in the region. Due to promises of land and economic amenities a large numbers of Santhals came to settle from Cuttack, Dhalbhum, Manbhum, Hazaribagh, Midnapore etc. Soon, mahajans and zamindars as tax-collecting intermediaries deployed by British dominated the economy. Many Santals became victims of corrupt money lending practices. They were lent money at exorbitant rates when they never repay then their lands were forcibly taken, they were forced into bonded labour. This sparked the Santal rebellion.[2][3]

On 30 June 1855, two Santal rebel leaders, Sidhu Murmu and Kanhu Murmu (related as brother) along with Chand and Bairab,[4] mobilized about 10,000 Santals and declared a rebellion against British colonists.[5] The Santals initially gained some success but soon the British found out a new way to tackle these rebels. Instead, they forced them to come out of the forest. In a conclusive battle which followed, the British, equipped with modern firearms and war elephants, stationed themselves at the foot of the hill. When the battle began, the British officer ordered his troops to fire without loading bullets. The Santals, who did not suspect this trap set by the British war strategy, charged with full potential. This step proved to be disastrous for them. As soon as they neared the foot of the hill, the British army attacked with full power and this time they were using bullets. Although the revolution was suppressed, it marked a great change in the colonial rule and policy. The day is still celebrated among the Santal community.[6]


Sido Kanhu Murmu University is named upon them. Indian post also issued a 4 stamp in 2002 honouring them.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sidhu Murmu and Kanhu Murmu". Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  2. ^ Jha, Amar Nath (2009). "LOCATING THE ANCIENT HISTORY OF SANTAL PARGANAS". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 70: 185–196. ISSN 2249-1937. JSTOR 44147668.
  3. ^ "When the Santhals rebelled". thedailystar.
  4. ^ Richard Gott (2012). Britain's Empire: Resistance, Repression and Revolt. Verso. ISBN 978-1844670673.
  5. ^ Sailendra Nath Sen (2010). An Advanced History of Modern India. Macmillan. p. 120. ISBN 9780230328853.
  6. ^ Social Science. Social Science History Association. 1968. p. 29. ISBN 9788183320979.
  7. ^ "Stamps 2002". Archived from the original on 18 April 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)