Santhal Rebellion (1855 – 56)
Santhals were freedom – loving people. They lived in the southern part of the chhottanagpur plateau and tilled land for livelihood. However, under the permanent settlement of 1793 the lands which the santhals had been cultivating traditionally passed on to the Zamindars. The santhals then shifted to villages in the hills of Raj Mahal but these lands were also claimed by the cultivation of indigo by European planters. This brought them in confrontation with the British.The construction of railways taken up in the northern areas also disturbed the tribal habitat. The railway officials humiliated their women besides meeting out all kinds of atrocities on them.
The atrocities perpetrated on the tribals took the shape of an unrest, which erupted in the from of an armed revolt in 1855 – 56. The tribals of Bhagalpur, Manbhoom, Raj Mahal participated in the revolt. Siddhu Khanhu, Chand and Bhareo, four sons of chulu santhal of bhagna Dihi village of Raj Mahal district provided them the leadership. Nearly 10,000 men armed with bows & words & spears gathered in Bhagha Dihi village and made a solemn declaration under the leadership of Siddhu and Khanhu that there is no govt, thanedar & hakim over us. The establishment of a santhal state was also announced. The infuriated santhals made the houses of moneylenders, zamindars revenue officers railway stations and indigo factories their main target of attack. Their slogan was destruction of zamindars, moneylenders & government officials.
To suppress the santhal rebellion the British army was put under the command of Brigader General Lyoed. On 15 Aug, through a public declaration the santhals were warned to surrender within 10 days or face severe punishment. In November, the govt imposed the martial law. Gradually the mutiny slackened. However, the fire lit by them could not be extinguished by the British adm in India.