CBSE Class 8 History Chapter 4 Notes Understanding the Lesson
1. In 1895, a man named Birsa, was seen roaming the forests. He proclaimed himself as saver of people from trouble and promised help to free them from the slavery of Dikus (Outsiders).
2. With this thousands of people started following Birsa and believing him as God who had come to solve all their problems.
3. Birsa bom was in a family of Mundas (tribal group).
4. Birsa had followers from all other tribals in the region.
5. The followers were the unhappy people who were forced by the changes imposed by the Britishers, in respect of their livelihoods and ways of living life.
6. Tribals had different cultures from those of laid by the Brahmans.
7. Tribals had social and economical differences within their tribes.
8. 19th century saw tribals in different parts of India and they were involved in different variety of activities.
9. Jhum Cultivators were tribals who practised Jhum cultivation that is shifting cultivation.
10. Done on small patch of land, mostly in forests.
11. Once the crop was ready with the process under this cultivation they used to leave the land and moved to another field.
12. Field that had been cultivated once was left fallow for several years.
13. Shifting cultivators were found mostly in the hilly and forested tract of north-east and central India.
14. These cultivators spent their lives moving freely within forests practising shifting cultivation.
15. Many tribals lived by hunting and gathering forest produce.
16. Forest were essential for their survival.
17. The Khonds community of Orissa were among them.
18. They cooked food with oil extracted from seeds of Sal and Mahua.
19. Shrubs and herbs were used by them for medicinal purposes.
20. With exchanges of forests goods in local market, they got their supplies of rice and other grains for their fooding purposes.
21. At times when the supplies of forests produce shrank, tribal people had to wander in search of work as labourers.
22. Baigas community of central India were reluctant to do work for others as for them it was below the dignity of a Baiga to become a labourer.
23. Tribals also depended on traders and moneylenders in case of needs that could not be availed from that of forest produce.
24. Moneylenders were seen as evil outsiders and cause of their misery as market and commerce often meant debt and poverty for the tribals.
25. Many tribals also indulged in herding and rearing of animals.
26. Examples of these are:
- The Van Gujjars of the Punjab hills.
- The Labadis of Andhra Pradesh.
- The Gaddis of Kulu.
- The Bakarwals of Kashmir.
27. Some tribals before 19th century started settling down and cultivated their fields in one place rather moving from place to place. They started ploughing and gradually got rights over the lands they lived on.
28. In the eyes of the Britishers, tribal groups like Gonds and Santhals were more civilised than hunters and gatherers or shifting cultivators.
29. Colonial rule started affecting tribals way of living.
30. Importance of tribal chiefs was lost with forced full following of laws made by the Britishers.
31. Tribal chiefs lost their overall authority and were unable to fulfil their traditional functions.
32. The Britishers wanted the shifting cultivators to settle down at one place so that it would become easier to control and administer them.
33. In wants of regular revenue source for the state, the Britishers introduced land settlements.
34. Some peasants were declared landowners and others tenants.
35. The British failed in settling Jhum cultivators.
36. Jhum cultivators who took to plough cultivation often suffered as their fields did not produce good yields.
37. Protests against the British policy by Jhum cultivators bound Britishers to allow them to carry on shifting cultivation in some parts of forest.
38. Forest laws were made and their impacts were clearly seen.
39. The life of tribals was directly connected to forest.
40. Changes in forest lands had considerably affected their lives.
41. Forests were declared as state property.
42. Jhum cultivators were forced by the boundations imposed by the Britishers. In effect of that many of the cultivators had to go in search of work and livelihood.
43. Later, when there was crisis faced by the Britishers for labours, the tribals from Jhum cultivators were allowed to cultivate but with some conditions that the cultivators have to provide labour to the Forest department and look after the forests.
44. Forests villages in many areas were established to ensure a regular supply of cheap labour.
45. Tribals groups reacted against the Britisher’s forest laws:
- They disobeyed.
- Openly rebelled.
- Revolts started taking place eg. Revolt of Sangma in 1906 in Assam, the forest satyagraha of the 1930’s in the Central Provinces.
46. Tribals took time in understanding why during 19th Century traders and moneylenders started approaching them.
47. The reason behind the outsiders offering cash loans and work to tribals on wages can be understood with following situations:
48. 18th-century Indian silk was in demand in European market. As the market expanded, the East India Company officials tried to encourage silk production to meet the growing demand.
49. Hazaribagh in present-day Jharkhand was area where Santhals reared cocoons. The traders dealing in silk sent their agents who gave loans to tribals and further process took place.
50. Plight of the tribals who had to go far from home in search of work was worse.
51. From Late 19th century, tea plantation and mining became important industry. Tribals were recruited in large numbers.
52. Rebellion by the tribal groups started in different parts of the country.
53. Among tribals rebellions, important movement that was led by Birsa Munda was really a great movement.
54. Birsa was influenced by several ideas that came in touch in process of his getting older day by day, with all those he started movements aimed at reforming tribal society.
55. In 1895 Birsa’s followers were urged by Birsa to recover their glorious past. Birsa’s desire was that his people will once again work on their land, settle down and cultivate their fields.
56. Political aim of Birsa Movement worried the Britishers. According to Birsa he wanted to drive out missionaries, moneylenders, Hindu landlords and government.
57. He wanted them all out and set up Munda Raj as land policies of the British were destroying their traditional land system.
58. The more the movement gained momentum, the more the Britishers decided to act against.
59. Arrest of Birsa happened in 1895.
60. After his release in 1897, he adopted traditional way to gather as much support in removing the Britishers and establishing his own leadership.
61. White flag was raised as symbol of Birsa raj.
62. In 1900 Birsa died of Cholera and movement got faded.
63. The movements against colonial rule showed the capacity of tribals to protest against injustice and express their anger against colonial rule.
64. All this shows Tribals, Dikus and vision of golden age.
Tribals, Dikus and the Vision of a Golden Age Class 8 CBSE Notes Important Terms
Dikus: The outsiders.
Fallow: The field that was left uncultivated for some time to make soil fertile again.
Sal: A tree.
Mahua: Flower species that is eaten and used for making alcohol.
Bewar: Term used in Madhya Pradesh for shifting agriculture.
Sleeper: Horizontal planks of wood on which railway lined are laid.
Vaishnav: Worshippers of Lord Vishnu.
Satyug: Age of truth.
Embankments: A wall or bank of stone-built to prevent river flooding the area.
Notes of History Class 8 Chapter 4 Time Period
1821-32: Thekols rebelled against the colonial forest law
1855: Santhals rose in revolt.
Mid-1870s: Birsa was bom.
1895: Birsa was arrested.
1897: Birsa was released.
1900: Birsa died.
1906: Songramsangma revolt in Assam
1910: The Bastar rebellion in central India broke out
1930: the forest satyagraha in the central provinces
1940: the warli revolt in Maharashtra took place.