June 30 Great Santal Rebellion Day: Tribute rallies and discussion meetings held at various places

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Hill Voice, 1 July 2022, Special Correspondent: Discussion meetings, tribute offerings and rallies have been held at various places in North Bengal to mark the 167th anniversary of the Great Santal Rebellion.

In Rajshahi, a discussion meeting and rally was held at Kakanhat Municipality Auditorium on the initiative of Godagari Upazila Branch of the Jatiya Adivasi Parishad.

President of the Godagari Upazila Branch of the Jatiya Adivasi Parishad  Robin Hembrem presided over the meeting. Panel Mayor of Kakanhat Municipality Md. Al-Mamun, Central General Secretary (Acting) of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad Ganesh Majhi, Organizing Secretary Bimal Chandra Rajoar, General Secretary of Rajshahi Metropolitan Committee Andrias Biswas, Former President of Godagari Upazila Nandalal Tudu, friend of indigenous peoples Anwar Hossain, Adivasi Youth Parishad member Uttam Kumar Mahato, Adivasi Chatra Parishad Central Committee President Nakul Pahan and others spoke on the occasion.

A tribute and discussion meeting was held at Shankharipara in Pabna on June 30 at 11:00 am on the initiative of Pabna District Committee of the Jatiya Adivasi Parishad. Earlier, wreaths were laid in homage at the portraits of the heroic martyrs of the Santal Rebellion.

The meeting was presided over by Subal Chandra Singh, Senior Vice President, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad Pabna District Branch and moderated by Chandi Bagdi, Organizing Secretary. Ashiq Banias, General Secretary of Pabna District Branch of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Member Anil Bagdi, Arun Mali, General Secretary Atgharia Upazila Branch, Madan Das, Former President Ishwardi Upazila Branch, Hiten Topya, Former Student Leader Adivasi Chatra Parishad of Edward College, Ripon Baraik and others addressed the gathering.

Besides, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad Singra Upazila Branch, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad Porsha Upazila Branch, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad Mahadevpur Upazila Branch and Adivasi Chatra Parishad, Niamatpur Upazila Branch of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad Dinajpur District Branch observed the day through various events.

Notably, the Santal Rebellion or Santal Hull was an anti-colonial and anti-zamindari movement in British India in the 19th century, led by the Santal people. It was started in 1855 in Murshidabad district of West Bengal and Bhagalpur district of Bihar.

During the British rule, the Santals formed a united movement against the revenue and agricultural policies of the local zamindars, moneylenders and the English. The movement was led by four Murmu brothers – Sidhu, Kanu, Chand and Bhairab. The permanent settlement introduced by the Governor-General, Lord Cornwallis, in 1793, put an end to their ancient migratory farming system. So before the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, the Santals made revolution against the British rule.

In 1855, the Santals waged an armed struggle for their rights. They declared the war against the English, moneylenders and merchants. The purpose of this war was to protect themselves from the various rules and regulations of the British troops and their allies- the merchants, profiteers and moneylenders and to establish an independent sovereign Santal territory. It is known from the history of Santal Hull that Damin-i Koh was the Santal’s own territory.