Birsa Munda Jayanti in West Bengal Date in the current year: November 15, 2022

Birsa Munda Jayanti in West Bengal Birsa Munda Jayanti (Birsa Munda’s birthday) is an official holiday in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is celebrated annually on November 15 to commemorate the birth anniversary of a prominent Indian religious leader and tribal freedom fighter who lived in the 19th century.

Birsa Munda is regarded as a folk hero of the Munda people, one of the largest scheduled tribes of India. During the British Raj (the second half of the 19th century), the English forced the Mundas to pay rent for the land that was rightfully theirs and to work as bonded laborers to wealthy landowners (zamindars). Birsa Munda fought to change that.

He was born on November 15, 1875 in the Bengal Presidency. Birsa’s parents were poor peasants who often had to move in search of employment as farm laborers. However, this didn’t prevent Birsa from attending school. In fact, he was such a sharp learner that his teacher suggested that he enroll in a German missionary school. Birsa converted to Christianity and began his studies in 1886.

Four years later, Birsa left the school at his father’s insistence and reverted back to the Munda tribal religious system. In 1894, he joined the struggle against the British, who took the lands from the Munda. In addition, Birsa actively promoted the revival of the traditional tribal culture and religion.

Soon, he gained a reputation of a preacher, a miracle-worker, and a healer. People from different tribes flocked to the village of Chalkad to get his blessing and a cure for their ailments. Eventually Birsa declared himself a prophet who had come to end the reign of the British queen and reestablish the Munda Raj, the lost kingdom of the Munda people. The Mundas begin to call him Dharati Aba, which means the father of Earth.

The British were concerned by Birsa Munda’s growing influence, so they ordered his arrest in August 1895. Birsa was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison. Following his release in January 1989, he continued to fight against the British authorities and Christian missionaries who wanted to convert the Mundas.

In January 1900, Birsa’s followers killed several police constables, and the colonial authorities ordered to suppress the emerging rebellion and set a reward of 500 rupees for Birsa. A force of 150 mend under the command of commissioner Fobes and deputy commissioner Streattfield defeated Birsa’s guerrillas but Birsa managed to escape.

Sadly, his escape only delayed the inevitable. Birsa Munda was found and arrested in February 1900 and died in prison on June 9 at age 24. The official cause of death was cholera. Following Birsa’s death, his liberation movement gradually faded out. However, the colonial government had to make some concessions and adopted a law prohibiting the transfer of tribal lands to non-tribals.

The birth anniversary of Birsa Munda is still celebrated by the Munda people, who live in the states of Jharkhand, Odisha (Orissa), West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Tripura. It even has state holiday status in West Bengal.

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Category

Anniversaries and Memorial Days

Country

India

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Birsa Munda Jayanti in West Bengal, the birthday of Birsa Munda, holidays in India, holidays in West Bengal, Munda people