Tribal uprisings in the 18th and 19th centuries:Tana Bhagat

Tana Bhagats were formed by Oaron saints Jatra Bhagat and Turia Bhagat. Jatra Bhagat of Gumla, Ranchi proclaimed that he was divinely ordained to establish a new sect, the Tana sect, which was mark­edly different from the Oraon community. The Tanas sought to reorder the Oraon society by opposing the traditional leadership of the pahan (Oraon priest) and mahto (village representative in secular affairs), and by rejecting the practices of spirit worship and sacrifice. In its earlier phase it was called as Kurukh Dharma. Kurukh is original religion of the Oraons.

It was during 18 Th   century agrarian trouble that their faith in the old tribal system was completely shaken. The Oraon saw that their old Gods and spirits failed to bring any relief and to protect them against their manifold troubles . There was a strong desire for delivery from oppressive Zamindars and money lenders as well as the new land laws etc. Consequently, a new religious movements of the old Bhagat pattern was started by the Oraons who called its KURUKH DHARM or the religion of the Kurukhs . The leaders of the new faith gave assurance to their followers that through worship to DHARMESH, the only God, They would be able to raise their present degraded position to higher level as occupied by their fellow tribesmen who became Hindus or Christian converts and thus secured protection of missionaries which enabled them to improve their economic condition considerably. The religious movement was first started in april 1914 by a young man called Jatra Bhagat of the village Chipri Nawatoly of Bishunpur thana. Jatra Bhagat,when he started this movement was undergoing Matis (witchcraft) training. It is believed that one night while he was returning home after his lessons, Dharmes, the supreme God of Oraons appeared before him and told him to give up his Matiao(ghost finding and exoricison)and his belief in the blood thirsty sprits and other deities which called for animal sacrifices. God told him to stop all animal sacrifices and to give up animal food and liquor and to give up plough in their land which meant cruelty to cows and oxen, but failed to save the people from famine and poverty. They lost faith in the land on which they where entirely dependent for their livelihood. He told the people that God does not want them to work as coolies and labourers under the zamindars or to men belonging to other castes and nontribals. He proclaimed that he had been ordered by God to lead his people and to teach them to worship Dharmes and through worshiping Dharmes  they will achieve their desired goal. Thus Jatra Bhagat gave expression to the ideas which have long been fermenting in minds of the people and who where struggling to give shape to a definite tribal cult, This idea , however , was not new to the tribals of Jharkhand. The seed of freedom movement among tribals was germinated by Birsa Munda who is considered as founder of Tribal political cult, Jatra Bhagat and other prophets later gave a definite shape to this cult which exists till date.

Jatra Tana Bhagat spread like a fire in the jungle throughout the Oroan country. People refused to work for Zamindars and other nontribals. Jatra Tana Bhagat was put behind the bar but this movement went on many local leaders took leadership in different parts of the tribal land.

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