Why did the people of Bastar rise in revolt against the British? Explain.
Bastar is located in the Southernmost part of Chhattisgarh, on the borders of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Maharashtra. A number of different communities like Maria and Muria Gonds, Dhurwas, Bhatras and Halbas live in Bastar who speak different languages but share common customs and beliefs. They believe that each village was given its land by the Earth and in return they look after the land and give some offerings at each agricultural festival.
Rise of Revolt in Bastar
When the colonial power proposed to reserve two-thirds of the forest in 1905 and stop shifting cultivation, hunting and collection of forest product, the people of Bastar became worried.
Some people were allowed to stay in ‘forest villages’ on the condition that they worked for the forest department and protected the forest from fires. Other people were displaced without any notice or compensation.
For long the villagers had been suffering from increased land rents and frequent demands for free labour and goods by colonial officials.
Moreover there were two terrible famines, one in 1899-1900 People began to gather and discuss these issues in their village councils, but the initiative was taken by the , Dhurwas of Kanger forest, where reservation first took place.
In 1910, mango boughs, a lump of earth, chillies and arrows, began circulating between villages.
The rebels looted the Bazaars, the houses of officials and traders. Schools and police stations were burnt and robbed and grains were redistributed.
Consequence of the Revolt
The British troops suppressed the rebellion. Adivasis fled in to jungles, their leaders Gunda Dhur could not be captured.
In a major victory for the rebels, work on reservation was temporarily suspended and the area to be reserved was reduced to roughly half of that planned before 1910.