The Hul : War for Freedom

Hul : Santal Revolt | Fight for Freedom

Hul is the Santal word which means movement of liberation . Santals in Santal Pargana(Presently in State of Jharkhand) belongs to Santal tribe .

Sido Murmu and Kanhu Murmu, hailing from the village Bhognadih in Sahibganj district, had long been brooding over the injustices perpetrated by the oppressors like hundreds and hundreds of their people .

Santhal Hul

They were four brothers and two sister, Sido Murmu, Kanhu Murmu, Chand Murmu, Bhairav Murmu and sister Phulo Murmu, Jhano Murmu . They all took part in this war . It was Sido and Kanhu who leaded the Hul a Santali Rebillion . the native rebellion in present-day Jharkhand in eastern India against both the British colonial authority and the corrupt upper caste zamindari system .
The situation finally reached a flash point and, not surprisingly, a small episode that took place in July 1855 triggered one of the fiercest uprisings that the British administration ever faced in India. A Heroic episode in India’s prolonged struggle for freedom. It was, in all probability, the fiercest liberation movement India next to Great sepoy Mutinity in 1857 .
With the capture of political power of India by the East India Company, the natural habitats of the Adivasi (indigenous) people including the Santals began to shatter by the intruders like moneylenders. Traders and revenue farmers, who descended upon them in large numbers under the patronage of the Company.
Santal revolt The oppression of British was so cruel that the rate of interest on loan to the poor and Santals varied from 50% to 500%. These intruders were, needless to mention the crucial links in the chain of ruthless exploitation under colonial rule. They were the instruments through which the indigenous groups and tribes were brought within the influence and control of the colonial economy.

30th June 1855, a large number about 30,000 of Santals assembled in a field in Bhagnadihi village of Santal Paragana, They declared themselves as free and took oath under the leadership of Sido Murmu and Kanhu Murmu to fight unto the last against the British rulers and their agents .
This event of Santals frightened the Authority . A Police agent confronted them on the 7th July and tried to place the Murmu brothers under arrest. The angry crowd reacted violently and killed the Police agent and his companions. The event sparked off a series of confrontations with the Company’s Army and subsequently reached the scale of a full-fledged war. At the outset, Santal rebels, led by Sido and Kanhu, made tremendous gains and captured control over a large tract of the country extending from Rajmahal hills in Bhagalpur district to Sainthia in Birbhum district. For the time being, British rule in this vast area became completely paralyzed . 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. Thereafter, attacking every village of the Santals, they made sure that the last drop of revolutionary spirit was annihilated. Although the revolution was brutally suppressed, it marked a great change in the colonial rule and policy. The courage, chivalry and sacrifice of the Santals were countered by the rulers with veritable butchery. Out of 30,000 Santal rebels, 15,000 - 20,000 were killed by the British Indian Army. The Company was finally able to suppress the rebellion in 1856, though some outbreaks continued till 1857. The Santals showed great bravery and incredible courage in the
Sido kanhu statue struggle against the military. As long as their national drums continued beating, the whole party would stand and allow themselves to be shot down. There was no sign of yielding. Once forty Santals refused to surrender and took shelter inside a mud house. The troops surrounded the mud house and fired at them but Santals replied with their arrows. Then Soldiers made big hole through muddy wall, and the Captain ordered them surrender but they again shot a volley of arrows through the hole and Captain again asked them to surrender but they continued shooting arrows. Some of the soldiers were wounded. At last when the discharge of arrows from the door slackened, the Captain went inside the room with soldiers. He found only one old man grievously wounded, standing erect among the dead bodies. The soldier asked him to throw away arms, but instead he rushed on him and killed him with his battle axe. It is believed that Sido was captured by the British forces through treachery and Kanhu through an encounter at Uparbanda. And was subsequently killed in captivity. The Santal Hul, however, did not come to an end in vain. It had a long-lasting impact. Santal Parganas Tenancy Act was the outcome of this struggle, which dished out some sort of protection to the indigenous people from the ruthless colonial exploitation. The understanding the mistake, tired to appease the Santals by removing the genuine grievances. Santal territory was born

Sido Kanhu on Indian Postage Ticket
For their Great effort and Hul movement the Indian Govt. released a Postage Ticket having their photos in order to respect them.
The day is still celebrated among the Santal community with great respect and spirit for the thousands of the Santal martyrs who sacrificed their lives along with their two celebrated leaders to win freedom from the rule of the Jamindars and the British operatives.

Click here to know about Descendants of Sido Murmu

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