List of Tribal Movements in India – UPSC Notes

The tribal societies have always been conservative and wanted to retain the feature of their community. Before the British rule in India, tribals had been living peacefully in their regions in harmony with nature.

But, after colonial rule, the British began interrupting their lifestyle, which caused resentment among the tribals. These tribal groups revolted against this forceful instruction by the British into their life and region.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, India witnessed numerous such rebels and movements. However, the British suppressed almost all of these rebellions. A list of Tribal Movements in India is given below in chronological order.

Tribal MovementYearPlaceLeaderCauses
Chuar Rebellion1768MidnaporeJagannath SinghAboriginal Tribesmen of Midnapore revolted against the oppressive land revenue policy of the British and economic distress.
The revolt started in the Dhalbhum, Manbhum, Midnapore and Bankura districts of Jungle Mahal, Bengal.
Halba Rebellion1774-1779BastarAjmer SinghHalba tribe rebelled against the British colonial rule in Dongar in the Bastar district of Chhattisgarh.
The cause of the rebellion was the lack of money and food among the ordinary people.
The fear caused by the Maratha and the British on the people led to the uprising.
Chuar Revolt1771Jungle MahalsSubla Singh of Kaliapal,
Shyam Ganjam of Dhadka, Dubraj Singh of Birbhum
Bhumij tribes of Jungle Mahal led a revolt against the British due to the exploitative land revenue policies of the East India Company.
Pahariya Revolt1778Chota NagpurRaja JagannathPahariya Sardars of Chota Nagpur rebelled against the British expansion over their territory.
Raja Jagganath led the Pahariyas of Raj Mahal Hills against the British.
Tilka Manjhi Revolt1784Santhal RegionBaba Tilka ManjhiTilak Manjhi organised the tribal people to form an armed group to fight against resource grabbing and exploitation by the British.
Tamar Rebellion1789-1795Chota NagpurThakur
Bholanath Singh
Oraon tribe of Chota Nagpur revolted due to the exploitation by the British East India Company, tehsildars, zamindars, and non-tribals.
The main reason for the Tamar uprising was the deprivation of land for the tribals.
Bhopalpatnam struggle1795BastarThis struggle took place in order to stop Captain Blunt from entering Southern Bastar (mainly Bhopalpatnam) by the Gond Tribals. Captain Blunt was the first English traveller in Bastar.
It was one of the major uprisings in Chhattisgarh during British rule.
Chuar rebellion1798RaipurDurjan SinghDurjan Singh and his supporters indulged in violent activities in Raipur to halt the auction of the estate of Raipur.
Bhil Revolt1818-1831Western GhatsSewaramThe Bhils, an aboriginal tribe of Western Ghats with their strongholds in the Khandesh region of Maharashtra, revolted against the British East India Company rule, which denied them their ancient forest rights and exploited them.
During British rule, they faced famine, economic distress, and misgovernment.
Ho Uprisings1820-1837SinghbhumRaja of ParahatRaja of Parahat organised Ho tribals in 1820 to rebel against the colonial occupancy of Singhbhum (now in Jharkhand).
Later in 1831, Ho tribals, joined by the Mundas of Chotanagpur, again protested against the newly introduced Farming revenue policy.
Ramosi Uprisings1822-1829SataraChittur Singh,
Umaji Naik
Ramosis rose against the British in 1822 under Chittur Singh and plundered the country near Satra.
These tribal people believed that the new structure of the British administration was highly unfair to them.
In 1825-26, under the leadership of Umaji Naik of Poona and his supporter Bapu Trimbakji Sawant, the Ramosis again rebelled against the British.
Koli Uprising1829-1848MaharashtraBhau Khare,
Chimnaji Jadhav,
Nana Darbare
The Kolis, primarily found in Gujarat and Maharashtra, were scattered over the whole area from the border of Kutch to the Western Ghats.
They resented the imposition of British rule, which caused large-scale unemployment for them and the dismantling of their forests.
The revolt occurred in 1829 and 1839 and again in 1844-48.
Khasi Rebellion1829-1830Khasi Hills (Meghalaya)Tirot Singh (ruler of Nunklow), Bar ManikAfter the British occupied the hilly region of Garo and Jaintia Hills, they wanted to build a road through the Khasi hills linking the Brahmaputra valley with Sylhet.
The tribals of these regions, mainly Khasis, Garos, Khamptis, and the Singphos, rebelled under the leadership of Tirot Singh against the British occupation of the hilly area.
Singphos Rebellion1830AssamSua GonsaiThese tribals revolted against the occupation of their region by the British.
The uprising led to the murder of the British political agent of Assam by Singphos in 1839.
Kol Rebellion1832Chotanagpur regionBuddho BhagatTribals of the Chotanagpur region revolted against the British and moneylenders.
Khond Uprisings1837-1856OdishaChakra BisoiThe Khonds of the hilly region extending from Odisha to the Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh rebelled against the Britishers due to interference in their tribal custom, imposition of new taxes, and the entry of zamindars into their areas.
Santhal Rebellion1855-1856Rajmahal Hills (Bihar)Sidhu Murmu,
Kanhu Murmu
Santhals rebelled against the practices of zamindars and money lenders.
The revolt turned into Anti-British Movement.
Bhuyan and Juang Rebellion1867Keonjhar (Odisha)Ratna NayakIt was an outcome of intense resentment of the Bhuyans against the British policy of interference in their age-long practice of crowning or rejecting the king of their choice.
Naikdas Movement1868Panch Mahals (Gujarat)Rup Singh,
Joria Bhagat
Naikda forest tribes of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh revolted to end the oppressive British rule and establish the “Dharma Raj” in India.
Kherwar Movement1870-1874BiharBhagirath ManjhiKharwar of Bihar revolted against the revenue settlement activities.
Rampa Rebellion1879VisakhapatnamIt was an insurrection by the hill tribes in the Rampa region of the Vizagapatnam (Visakhapatnam) district against the British government of the Madras Presidency.
The Madras government introduced a law that made toddy tapping illegal, leading to a full-scale rebellion in early 1879.
Koya Revolt1879East Godavari region (Andra Pradesh)Tomma SoraThese tribals rebelled against the oppressions of police and money lenders, new regulations and denial of their customary rights over the forest areas.
Ramosi Rebellion1879Satra regionVasudev Balwant Phadke It was an uprising against the British failure to take up anti-famine measures.
The Deccan famine of 1776-77 caused more hardships to the peasants. The peasants resented the exploitive land revenue policies of the British.
Kacha Nagas Revolt1882Cachar region (Assam)SambhudanThis revolt took place against the British land revenue policy.
Koya Rebellion1886Eastern Godavari (Andhra Pradesh)Raja AnantayyarThe rebellion was against the new regulations and denial of their rights over forest areas.
Bhuyan Uprising1891Keonjhar (Odisha)Dharanidhar NaikBhuyan rebelled against the oppressive policies of the king of Keonjhar Dhanurjay Bhanja.
The policies, such as forced labour (Bethi) and pushing the framers to sell grains at low rates to the State, were particularly oppressive.
Munda Uprising1899Chotanagpur regionBirsa MundaThe Munda tribe revolted against the British government and the introduction of zamindari, tenures, and exploitation by moneylenders and forest contractors.
These tribal people wanted to establish the ‘Munda Raj’.
Bastar Revolt1910Jagdalpur (Bastar)Gunda Dhur,
Lal Karendra Singh
The tribals of Jagdalpur revolted against the British colonial policies regarding forest usage.
Khond Revolt1914OdishaThe rebellion took place in the Orissa region to end British rule so the Khonds could gain an autonomous government.
Jatra Bhagat Movement1914Chotanagpur regionJatra Bhagat, Balram BhagatOraon tribes in the Chhotanagpur area revolted against the policies of local British authorities. They resented the interference of outsiders in their region.
The movement stood for monotheism and abstention from meat, liquor and tribal dance.
Kuki Revolt1917ManipurKhotinthang Sitlhou,
other chieftains called haosa
The revolt took place against the British policies of recruiting labour during the first World War.
Tana Bhagat Movement1920Chotanagpur regionJatra Bhagat,
Turia Bhagat
Tana Bhagats was a tribal community formed by the Oraon saints, Jatra Bhagat and Turia Bhagat.
They opposed the taxes imposed on them by the British and staged a Satyagraha against British rule.
Zeliangrong Movement1920ManipurZemi, Liangmei, and Rongmei tribesZeliangrong revolted against the failure of the British to protect them during the Kuki violence of 1917-19.
Chenchus Uprising1921-1922Nallamala Hills (Andhra Pradesh)K. HanumanthuK. Hanumanthu organised a Forest Satyagraha in Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh against the increasing British control over forests.
Rampa Revolt1922-1924Rampa region (Andhra Pradesh)Alluri Sitarama RajuThe rebellion broke out in August 1922 against British rule for their imposition of the Madras Forest Act of 1882, which severely restricted the free movement of tribal communities within their own forests.
Naga Movement1931-1932ManipurHaipou Jadonang,
Rani Gaidinliu
Jadonang envisioned establishing an independent Naga Kingdom (Naga Raj), which brought him into conflict with British rule in India.
This movement sought to drive out the British from Manipur and the surrounding Naga areas.

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