Birsa Munda

Birsa Munda

Product ID: 7424

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Author: K S Singh
Publisher: Seagull Books
Year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 324
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170482053


Acclaimed as the first of its kind, this study is based on anthropological data and archival material. It traces Birsa’s early life and his transformation into a black Christ against the background of the processes of transformation of the tribal society of Chotanagpur.

This work is a complete account of probably the best known millenarian movement in tribal India. The movement of the Mundas led by Birsa was typical of the resistance and revitalization movements in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

A combination of a religious and a political movement, it represented the struggle and aspirations of his people, sowing the first stirrings of nationalism among them and featuring an urge to recreate the old world which had disappeared under the onslaught of colonialism.

Since the second revised edition of Birsa Munda and His Movement was published in 1983, the Birsa cult has developed further, and Birsa Munda has emerged as the icon of the tribal people all over India. His movement Ulgulan (the upheaval) has been appropriated by all sorts of people, and by all political parties in Chotanagpur to further their agenda. The legend of the lad from Chalkad has traveled far and wide; and his portrait hangs in the Central hall of Parliament, the only tribal leader to have been so honored.

His political movement and his religion are close studied in the context of their impact on the course of history. The book was translated into various languages of the country and inspired various forms of creative adaptation in contemporary folk and regional literature, including Mahasweta Devi’s major novel Aranyer Adhikar.

This centennial edition, being published by Seagull to mark the centenary of the martyrdom of Birsa Munda, which is also the third edition in English, restores official documents and maps which appeared in the first edition, and includes a rare photograph of Birsa Munda, contemporary missionary accounts, and additions to the bibliography, besides a fresh updating of the Birsa story as it is seen today.



Preface to the Centennial Edition

Preface to the Second Edition


The Background of the Movement

Birsa's Early Years

The Making of a Prophet

The Beginning of the Political Movement

The Interlude

The Uprising

The End

The Religious Movement of Birsa and the Birsaites

Consequences of the Movement

Nature and Significance of the Movement





The Family Tree

List of Occurences in Ranchi Districts

List of Outrages in Chakradharpur Thana

A Day in the Trial of the Munda Prisoners

An Extract from the Deposition of Some Witnesses during the Trial

Reults of the Trials

A List of the Birsaites Villages

A Contemporary account of Birsa and His Movement

Millennial Poetry