Class 8 NCERT Solutions History Chapter 4 - Tribals, Dikus and the Vision of a Golden Age
Tribals, Dikus and the Vision of a Golden Age Exercise 49
(b) The method of sowing seeds in jhum cultivation is known as broadcasting or scattering.
(c) The tribal chiefs got land titles in central India under the British land settlements.
(d)Tribals went to work in the tea plantations of Assam and the coal mines in Bihar.
Tribals, Dikus and the Vision of a Golden Age Exercise 50
(b) Cocoons were bought from the Santhals and sold by the traders at five times the purchase price.
(c) Birsa urged his followers to purify themselves, give up drinking liquor and stop believing in witchcraft and sorcery.
(d) The British wanted to preserve the tribal way of life.
The British were uncomfortable with groups who moved from one part of the region to the other and did not have fixed homes.
For administrative and economic reasons, the British government wanted the jhum or shifting cultivators to settle down and become peasant cultivators. However, settled plough cultivation did not prove to be helpful to these jhum cultivators in areas where water was scarce and soil was dry.They often suffered because their fields did not produce good yields.
The new forest laws also affected the lives of the shifting cultivators. Shifting or jhum cultivation is usually done on small patches of forest land. Under the forest laws, the British extended their control over all forests and declared forests as the state property. Thus, in these forests, people were not allowed to move freely, and the jhum cultivators were prevented from practising jhum cultivation freely. Many were forced to move to other areas in search of work and livelihood.
The tribal chiefs had considerable amount of power before the advent of the British. They had the power to administer and control their territories. The tribal chiefs on some places had their own police. They also managed the forests. After the arrival of the British, the tribal chiefs lost many of their administrative powers and had to follow the rules that were formulated by the British. They also had to pay taxes to the British and also had to discipline their tribal groups on the behalf of their colonial masters. Thus, though the tribal chiefs were allowed to keep land titles, they were now unable to fulfill their traditional functions.
The tribals considered the British, moneylenders and traders as ‘dikus’ which means outsiders. They believed that the ‘dikus’ were responsible for their miseries. The traders and the moneylenders came into the forests to buy forest produce and to offer cash loans to the tribals. They gave loans to the tribals at very high rates of interests and made huge profits. The tribals once caught into the debt trap were never able to get out of it.
The traders purchased forest produce from the tribals at very low rates and sold them in the markets at very high rates earning huge profits. Thus, the latter considered them as their main enemies who had inflicted untold miseries upon them.
The British were also looked down by the tribals as evil force who by passing various Forest Acts were destroying their sources of livelihood. They were also forcing them to practice settled cultivation. According to the tribals, they had eroded the power and the authority of their chiefs by demanding tributes. Thus, there was anger amongst the tribals against the ‘dikus’.
Birsa Munda was a charismatic leader of the Munda tribe residing in the present regions of Bihar and Jharkhand. Birsa’s vision of a golden age was the arrival of the time when the tribals would regain their lost glory. He wanted them to tap natural resources, plant trees and orchards and practice cultivation for earning livelihood. He talked about the age when the tribals would not kill each other and live a clean and an honest life. He also wanted them to give up witchcraft and sorcery.
His vision appealed to the people as they believed that all their miseries were the result of the exploitative policies of the ‘dikus’. It is only when they will regain their land that they would be able to live an independent and peaceful life.