Birsa Munda

Birsa Munda

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Category: Social Work

Birsa Munda Profile

  • Name:
  • Birsa Munda
  • Born:
  • November 15, 1875
  • Died:
  • June 9, 1900

Birsa Munda Biography

Birsa Munda was a tribal freedom fighter and folk hero from Bihar who was associated with Millenarian movement of tribal groups against British. He is one of the most respected freedom fighters of India though his life spanned for only 25 years. Born in 1875, for his fights against British forces, he was arrested on 3 March 1900 in Jamkopai forest, Chakradharpur and given life time imprisonment. He died in Ranchi jail, of present day Jharkhand the same year, fighting with Cholera. He was fondly called "Dharati Aba" and was worshipped as "Birsa Bhagwan" during his lifetime. Their folk songs have a heavy influence of this tribal leader.


Birsa Munda was born or 15 November 1875 at Ulihatu of Ranchi District of present day Jharkhand. His family later moved to Kurumbda near Birbanki in search of job, before his birth and his childhood days were spent at Chalkad. He was an expert in flute and one of the handsome guys of his tribe. Birsa was taken to Ayubhatu, his maternal uncle’s village due to bad financial conditions of his family. He studied at Salga and was a bright student. He got converted to Christianity and changed his name to Birsa David to join German Mission School. But later he got drawn towards Hindu mythological stories and epics.  


He stayed at Chaibasa from 1886 to 1890, the crucial period of his life. After a series of dramatic incidents, his family gave up their membership of the German mission and he joined Sardar agitation. His schooling was completed at Salga, Burju and at the Chaibasa English Middle School. He later thought about the maladies of his society and challenged British government through his actions. On 1st October, 1894 the young Birsa led the Mundas to Chaibasa to petition for remission of forest dues. Thus he turned a tribal leader. He claimed to be a messenger of god, which resulted in the conversion of many people from Christianity to his religion.


In 1895 he was arrested and sentenced for jail for 2 years. He rose to prominence and for his fights for tribes, he was worshipped by tribe people. Under the leadership of Munda, Mundas fought against British in 1897 to 1900. They attacked the Khunti Police Station, which resulted in the defeat of Mundas. In January 1900 many of the tribal people were killed and injured and Munda got arrested. He along with 39 members was sentenced to transportation for life and 23 for 14 years jail. He died in jail the same year suffering from Cholera.

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Updated: July 09, 2014

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