For Siddho Murmu, revolt and violence was the last form of resistance. Born to a Santhal family in the earlier half of the nineteenth century, he was the first child of the family. Three more were to follow him. In a time when the zaminadari act was working like a well oiled machine, the four brothers Siddho, Kanno, Chand and Bhairon were born of lineage that were the sufferers of the system.
Santhals naturally attached to their land, were inhabitants of the area of Northern Jharkhand which falls outside of the infertile land of the Chotanagpur plateau. Christened the Santhal Pargana, northern Jharkhand has been the agricultural haven of the region for centuries. During the British rule, due to the introduction of the zamindari act and permanent settlement in the area the indigenous population were driven from being autonomous owners and farmers to mere labourers, heavily in debt most of the time.
The archives present us with enough material to believe that the revolt didn’t start off abruptly, but was in fact caused by the indifference shown by the colonials towards the Santhal protests. Petitions and letters to several members of the bureaucracy passed back and forth with no result.
Such was the background Siddho and Kano found themselves growing up in. Religion has always been a old method of uniting people towards a revolt in our country and Siddho – Kanno were no different. The extermination of the British from India was preached as a mission of god. Leads us to wonder how different god’s missions are nowadays. The big fellow has lost his way in today’s mesmerising and complex world.
Picture of The Jharkhand Telegraph 12 May 2009