On the occasion of Budhu Bhagat Jayanti, Abhay Majhi writes about how the world remembers an important figure from the Kol and Larka rebellions of the 17th century. This is an account of a man who has been forgotten by history.
We frequently overlook those who led the tribal revolt against the British Raj when we talk about the freedom fighters who had made the ultimate sacrifice for the land of India. Numerous tribal leaders, including Gunda Dhur and Alluri Sitaram Raju, fought against the heavily trained British troops for the freedom of the Indian subcontinent despite their lack of military expertise.
Budhu Bhagat, a farmer by birth, detested the British from a young age and their authority over his territories. This charismatic warrior was born on February 17, 1792, in the village of Silagain, which is now part of Jharkhand.
Along with archery, he had a deep interest in fencing. He had always wanted to fight the British government in the armed forces. Veer Budhu Bhagat later made the decision to stage an armed uprising against the invaders when the British and the local zamindars began taking advantage of the lives of tribal people. He was also very good on horses, and the people of the village often thought of him as a divine being because he was good at war and using weapons.
In 1831, Veer Budhu Bhagat led the Kol rebellion at Singhbhum against the British. Madara Mahato, Joa Bhagat, and others were some of the others who led this revolt. This was 27 years prior to the great mutiny in 1857, which can be considered the first war of independence. This rebellion had a huge impact, and it eventually spread to Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Palamu, and Manbhum.
Budhu Bhagat inspired the tribal people to fight against the British and zamindars' oppressive rule in 1832 by leading the Larka rebellion. The rebellion shook the British government to its core, quickly spreading to Sonpur and Chhotanagpur as a whole.
The British followed a strategy of brutal suppression. They used every major to capture or kill Budhu Bhagat because they thought the rebellion would fall apart without him. Budhu Bhagat's tribal army used guerrilla warfare, which completely demoralized the British soldiers. British troops, who were unaware of the region's terrain, suffered heavy casualties as a result of Budhu soldiers' hit-and-run tactics.
It is hard to believe that a young warrior from Jharkhand, armed with traditional weapons like an axe, sword, bow, and spear, was fighting for Maa Bharti's independence at a time when British forces had captured more than half of the Indian subcontinent and the majority of Indians were living under British rule.
In addition to opposing the Raj, Budhu Bhagat fostered a sense of community and independence among his fellow tribal people. The British called in their forces from Barrackpore, Danapur, and Patna to halt the spread of the rebellion. They offered a reward of one thousand rupees to anyone who could provide information about Budha and his tribal army's whereabouts.
However, the people of Jharkhand escaped this trap and remained devoted to their hero and their land. The British learned that Budhu Bhagat and his troops were stationed at Tiku village on April 13, 1832. They sent five companies right away to either capture or kill Budhu Bhagat.
Captain Impey was in charge of the British army. Budhu decided to surrender to him when he heard the news because he knew the British would kill everyone in the village and show no mercy.
There were approximately 300 people in the village at the time, but they all decided to do anything to save their hero. The Budhu Bhagat army fought until their last breath for their people's independence, using only swords and axes to defeat the British's sophisticated guns and weapons.
Budhu Bhagat's children also became martyrs and became a symbol of patriotism during this engagement. Haldhar and Giridhar, Budhu Bhagat's two sons, were killed in combat with British forces. The legend of Veer Budhu Bhagat persists in Jharkhandi folklore. But nobody knew who this great martyr was outside of Jharkhand's borders and mountains.
When we talk about the first war of independence (1857), we shouldn't forget that many great Americans had fought against foreign rule for this great nation's freedom before that. This 17th February, the birth anniversary of the great martyr, let us celebrate Veer Budhu Bhagat.
About the Author: Abhay Majhi is a postgraduate student studying English Literature at the Department of English, University of Delhi. He loves having discussions on social issues, international politics, history, mythology, science fiction, and fantasy literature. He is also into creative writing and political writing.