Remembering Birsa Munda: Nationalist, crusader of social justice and tribal messiah

Birsa Munda was a folk hero and a tribal freedom fighter hailing from the Munda tribe. He was a spearhead behind the Millenarian movement that arose in the Bihar and Jharkhand belt in the early 19th century under the British colonisation.

Here is all you need to know about the tribal warrior:

  • Birsa Munda was born on a Thursday and was named after the day of his birth according to the Munda custom.
  • Many folk songs have been made to celebrate the life of the great warrior.
  • Birsa converted to Christianity to join German Mission School since it was compulsory to convert to Christianity to join the school and was renamed as Birsa David, which he later changed to Birsa Daud.
  • When he was in school, the German and Roman Catholic Christian agitation was at its peak. This made his father, Sugana Munda, withdraw his son from the school.
  • Birsa Munda started to propagate the principles of Hindu religion and advised converted tribal people to read their original religious system thoroughly. He became such an important figure that tribal people used to seek his blessings.
  • Birsa Munda did all this by the age of 25 when he died in a prison in Ranchi on June 9, 1900, after being arrested in March from Chakradharpur’s Jamkopai forest, where he had been resting with his tribal guerrilla army.
  • Many organisations have been named after him such as Birsa Munda Airport Ranchi, Birsa Institute of Technology Sindri, Birsa Munda Vanvasi Chattravas, Sidho Kanho Birsha University, Purulia, and Birsa Agricultural University.
  • He is the only tribal leader whose portrait hangs in the Central Hall of Indian Parliament as a mark of honour.

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