Singh (Birsa Munda and his Movement 1874-1901, Delhi 1983) notes, the Mundas, in fact, accepted Christianity with the belief that the German missionaries would set things right by checking the malpractices of the zamindars. In fact, around 1857 some zarnindars attacked the German mission at Ranchi, as it sympathised with the Mundas. From around 1858 we get references to Christian tribals resisting oppressive zamindars. This trend became quite pronounced between 1862 and 1888. In 1867 as many as 14,000 'Christians' filed a petition against the Raja of Chotanagpur and the local police, and submitted it to the colonial authorities. Some steps were taken to restore lands of some of the dispossessed Mun&s. In March 1879 the Mun&s claimed that Chotanagpur belonged to them. In 1881 some sardars led by one John the Baptist set up a kingdom at Doesa. After this the movement went through some major changes. Dissatisfaction with the German missionaries made the Mundas severe their links with them. Instead, they turned to the Catholic mission. The colonial officials and the zarnindars came closer to each other in order to smoothen the movement. What developed was a struggle which united the 'rebels' against all Europeans including Christian missionaries and officials as well as the dikus and the landed elements.
Popular Uprisings : Second Half of the 19th Century # 6. Birsa Munda It was in this context that the Mundas were led by Birsa Munda-whose initial popularity was based on his medicinal and healing powers. The Mundas envisaged an ideal and just order which would be free from the internal as well as European exploiters. Their search f6r invincibility against their powerful oppressors made them look upon 'forest water' as I something which would make them invincible. There was active participation of women in this movement. On some occasions there was violence also. However the movement lacked , animosity vis-a-vis the economically subordinate non-tribal people. , The movement of Birsa Munda was ruthlessly suppressed. Birsa was handed and the 1 repressive machinery directed against the rebels to break the rebellion. j On the basis of the above discussion certain conclusions can be drawn. The popular t movements we have discussed were directed against colonialism as well as the Indian rich j (i.e. moneylenders and the zamindars) often identified as dikus or outsiders. What needs to be emphasised is that the opposition to these dikus was based on the exploitation perpetrated I by them and not btcPusc they were non-tribals. t 7.6 CHARACTERISTICS OF MOVEMENTS 1 The movements had certain characteristics: ! i) Inherent in most of them was the attempt to look back into the past W:~CZ 'life was much better'. This included the fury directed against machines during the 1857 i Rebellion. This was the reason for the struggle for a better present. A tendency existed t !