Tribal Policy – UPSC GS1

Critically examine how did British colonialism affect tribal way of life and their relationship with the forests in the nineteenth century. How did tribals react to this and with what consequences? Examine. (200 Words)

At the time British advent in India was having a thick forest cover and mostly inhabited by the tribals who in their own way had an association of harmonious sustenance with nature. But with the increase of the British commercial interests given the vast diversity of crops and minerals in India , they have started cutting down forests and thus came in conflict with tribals.
They were made to pay land revenue and often debarred from their lands, they were not allowed to practice Jhum cultivation, forced to do begar and the missionary influence who tried to convert them to and persuade them to leave their centuries old traditions.
This has evoked popular discontent in the tribal and several tribal uprisings such as Santhal, Munda, Gonds, Lushai, Bhil, Kols etc. have erupted which waged all out struggles against the Britishers to safeguard their lands and people.
Although they fought valiantly with great leaders such as Birsa Munda, Sido and Kanhu but given the military and modern artillery of the Britishers, they were not able to face them for long and eventually faced catastrophic repressions amounting to pogroms.
Last but not the least they have shown the way to the much educated and modern Indians to fight and assert for their rights.



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