Hul Divas (Santhal Rebellion Anniversary) in Jharkhand Date in the current year: June 30, 2022

Hul Divas (Santhal Rebellion Anniversary) in Jharkhand Hul Divas is an annual observance marked in the Indian state of Jharkhand to commemorate the 1855 Santhal rebellion against the British Raj. It is observed annually on June 30 to honor the memory of those killed during the rebellion, especially its leaders.

The Santhals, also spelled Santals, are the largest tribe in Jharkhand in terms of population. Back when their native lands were part of the so-called tribal belt of the Bengal Presidency, the Santhals suffered from the corrupt money lending practices enforced by the British East India Company through zamindars (landowners who ruled over peasants and collected taxes), as well as the colonial police and courts.

Santhals who found themselves in a difficult financial situation had no other choice but to borrow money from wealthy money lenders at exorbitant rates of interest. When they inevitably failed to repay the loans, the debtors’ lands were taken from them, forcing them into bonded labor. The unfairness of the system sparked the 1855 Santhal rebellion that is considered one of the first freedom movements in the British Raj.

On June 30, 1855, two Santhal brothers, Sidhu and Kanhu Murmu, along with Bairab and Chand mobilized several thousand Santhals and declared a rebellion against the British East India Company. According to different accounts, the number of Santhal rebels ranged from 10,000 to 60,000.

The rebellion was initially successful because it took the colonial authorities by surprise. In many villages, armed Santhals captured and executed local zamindars, money lenders and policy enforcers. The authorities sent a small contingent to quell the revolt, but it was met with furious resistance and only fueled the rebels’ rage.

After the initial failure, the British changed their tactic. They announced a significant bounty for the arrest of the Murmu brothers and deployed a large force to suppress the revolt. Instead of trying to fight the rebels in the forest where they were hiding, the British forced them to come out of the forest. A series of skirmishes occurred between July and December 1855, resulting in a large number of casualties for the rebel forces because their primitive weapons were no match to British guns.

The conclusive battle of the Santhal rebellion was fought on January 3, 1856. The British set a trap for the rebels by taking positions at the foot of a hill and firing unloaded guns to lure the Santhals out. When the rebels charged with full potential, they were met with real bullet fire. In addition, the British deployed war elephants. As a result, Sidhu, Kanhu, Bairab, Chand and thousands of other rebels were killed in battle, dozens of villages were destroyed, and the rebellion was suppressed.

Although the Santhal rebellion eventually failed, it led to changes in the colonial policy and rule. The anniversary of its outbreak, June 30, is annually observed in the Santhal community, especially in the state of Jharkhand. Hul Divas is not a full-fledged public holiday, but it does have a special status.

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Category

Anniversaries and Memorial Days

Country

India

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Hul Divas, observances in Jharkhand, observances in India, Santhal rebellion, Santhal rebellion anniversary