INDIA Santal Rebellion Searching for rebel Santals antique print 1856
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Home > Prints and Maps by Country > Asia > India | Hindustan | British India

INDIA: Santal Rebellion: Searching for rebel Santals, antique print, 1856

Price: £4.99

CAPTION BELOW PICTURE: 'Searching for rebel Santhals'

The Santals (also spelled as Santhal) are the largest tribal community in India, found mainly in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, and Orissa. There is also a significant Santal minority in neighboring Bangladesh.

The Santal Rebellion

The insurrection of the Santals was mainly against the corrupt moneylenders, zamindars and their operatives. Before the advents of the British in India they resided peacefully in the hilly districts of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Dhalbhum, Manbhum, Barabhum, Chhotanagpur, Palamau, Hazaribagh, Midnapur, Bankura and Birbhum. They started their agrarian way of life by clearing the forest and also engaged themselves in hunting for subsistence. But as the agents of the new colonial rule claimed their rights on the lands of the Santals they peacefully went to reside in the hills of Rajamahal. After a brief period of peace the British operatives with their native counterparts jointly started claiming their rights in this new land as well. The simple and honest Santals were cheated and turned into slaves by the zamindars and the money lenders who first appeared to them as business man and allured them first by goods lent to them on loans. These loans however hard a santal tried to repay never ended in fact through corrupt measures of the money lenders it multiplied to an amount for which a generation of the santal family had to work as slaves. Furthermore the santali women who worked under labour contractors were disgraced and abused. This loss of freedom that once which they enjoyed turned them into rebels.

On 30 June 1855, two great Santal rebel leaders, Sido Murmu and his brother Kanhu, mobilized ten thousand Santals and declared a rebellion against British colonists. The Santals initially gained some success but soon the British found out a new way to tackle these rebels. The legend is that the Santals so skilled in archery that they could shoot arrows extremely accurately and with great power. The British soon understood that there was no point fighting them in the forest but to force them come out of the forest, so in a conclusive battle which followed, the British, equipped with modern firearms and war elephants, stationed themselves at the foot of the hill. When the battle began the British officer ordered fire without loading bullets as the Santals could not trace this trap set by the much experienced British war strategy charged with full potential. This step proved to be disastrous for them, since as soon as they neared the foot of the hill the British army attacked with full power and this time they were using bullets. Thereafter attacking every village of the Santals, they made sure that the last drop of revolutionary spirit was annihilated. Although the revolution was brutally suppressed, it marked a great change in the colonial rule and policy. The day is still celebrated among the Santal community with great respect and spirit for the thousands of the Santal martyrs who sacrificed their lives along with their two celebrated leaders to win freedom from the rule of the Jamindars and the British operatives.

(Source Wikipedia)

Notes on the historical context / background to the print can be viewed at: Santal Rebellion

DATE PRINTED: 1856    

IMAGE SIZE: Approx 16.0 x 23.0cm, 6.25 x 9 inches (Medium)

TYPE: Antique wood engraved print

CONDITION: Good; suitable for framing. However, please note: Verso text quite apparent; The image shown may have been scanned from a different example of this print than that which is offered for sale: The print you will receive is in Good condition but there may be minor variations in the condition compared to that shown in the image. Please check the scan for any blemishes prior to making your purchase. Virtually all antiquarian maps and prints are subject to some normal aging due to use and time which is not obtrusive unless otherwise stated. We offer a no questions asked return policy.

AUTHENTICITY: This is an authentic historic print, published at the date stated above. It is not a modern copy.

VERSO: There are images and/or text printed on the reverse side of the picture. In some cases this may be visible on the picture itself (please check the scan prior to your purchase) or around the margin of the picture.


PROVENANCE: Illustrated London News

INDIA: Santal Rebellion: Searching for rebel Santals, antique print, 1856
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