Kol Uprising



  • The Kol uprising was a revolt of the Adivasi Kol people of Chhota Nagpur region, during 1829-1839 as a reaction to British Policies.
  • These people have their own cultures, customs and traditions which is very different from the mainstream. They learn to survive in most hostile environment but stay united.
  • The Kol uprising of 1831- 32 was born out of frustration and anger of Tribal people, against the new system of British Government and laws.


Reasons for Uprising

  • The uprising was a reaction to the appointment of a Political Agent to the Government in South Bihar, and ceded districts nearby around 1819.
    • This resulted in many people moving into these areas which were the lands of numerous Adivasi tribes.
  • Until the British arrived, these tribes had no rulers and their lands were divided according to families that were bound by “parhas” or conferences.
    • With the application of new land laws, the Kols were exploited by outsiders moving into the area and taking up agriculture and commercial activities that were alien to tribal culture.
  • Also, many of the lands of the locals were taken away as securities for un-returned loans.
  • Another irritation was the taxation on the movement of products, such as salt that were formerly freely moved. Corrupt official practices and lawlessness followed.

As a result of above reasons, in 1831, the Kol tribesmen of Chhota Nagpur, who were upset over exploitation by agents of the East India Company (EIC), rose in revolt against the EIC.

  • The rebel kols were under the leadership of Buddhu Bhagat, Joa Bhagat, Jhindrai Manki, Madara Mahato and others.
  • The Kol insurrection started in 1831, when the farm of two Sikh thikadar (contractors) was plundered and burnt. In 1832, there were clashes between the armed forces and the tribals Kols rebels.
  • The characteristic feature of the Kol rebellion was that the Kol tribesmen did not fight alone. Other tribesmen like the Hos, Oraons, and Mundas joined forces with them.


British Reaction

  • British historiography described the Kol uprising as banditry.
  • Despite putting up a very brave fight, the Kols were defeated in the end.
  • Thousands of tribal men, women and children were killed and rebellion was suppressed. But the sacrifice of Buddhu Bhagat and other tribesman didn`t go in vain. However, this rebellion inspired many other followers.