Tana Bhagat Movement



  • During the colonial time period, tribal uprisings were taking place in different parts of India due to the local reasons and Tana Bhagat movement is one of them.
  • This movement was religious in its initial stage, but gradually targeted the political objectives.
  • This movement is considered as an extended part of the Birsa movement.
  • Tana Bhagat movement was started in April 1914, under the leadership of Jatra Bhagat.
  • Basically Tana Bhagat movement was started to stop the evil practices which were taking place in the Oraon community of Chotanagpur and to oppose the Jamindars policies which were exploiting the Oraon people directly.
  • People adopted non-violence as their strategy to make this movement successful as the followers of this movement were influenced by Mahatma Gandhi.


Reasons of the movement

  • In April 1914 Jatra Bhagat announced, that he had a direct message from God Dharmesh (God of Oraon community) to revive the Oraon religion, because some bad practices like- exorcism, ghost hunter, animal sacrifices for God and alcoholism etc. have entered in their religion and somehow these practices should be abandoned. So these all religious issues provided the platform for movement in the initial stage.
  • Jamindars were exploiting the Oraon community people by taking extra rent of lands. This kind of rebel behaviour of Jamindars agitated the Oraon community.
  • The role of pahan (priests) and mahto (village representative) in the village gave way to the Jatra followers, to raise voice against these people as they believed in ghosts and other evil practices.
  • The Oraon people were also forced for unpaid labour by their landlords.
  • Further, the people of the community, faced land alienation from the Government.



  • Animal sacrifices were stopped
  • Drinking alcohol was prohibited
  • Superstitious belief did not get importance
  • People were exempted from imposed taxes
  • The followers decided that they will not provide services as coolies or labourers
  • Demand of self-governance



  • Later this movement joined the national movement of Mahatma Gandhi and adopted his principles of truth and non-violence.
    • Also, the followers of this movement participated in congress sessions of Calcutta, Gaya and Lahore.
  • In this way the followers of the Tana Bhagat movement took part in national movements against the British rule. In present also Oraon community people follow the Gandhian thought.
    • This movement was very unique in its nature, because it tried to associate with the national movement and played a significant role in Indian independence.