From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Rampa Rebellion
Mains level : Major tribal uprisings in freedom struggle
Hundred years ago, in August 1922 the “Rampa Rebellion” or “Manyam Rebellion” took place in the forests of the Godavari Agency in the Madras Presidency.
- The Rampa Rebellion of 1922, also known as the Manyam Rebellion, was a tribal uprising led by Alluri Sitarama Raju in Godavari Agency.
- It began in August 1922 and lasted until the capture and killing of Raju in May 1924.
- Forced labour, embargoes on collecting minor forest produce and bans on tribal agriculture practices led to severe distress among the Koyas in the area.
- Sitarama Raju did not belong to the tribal community, but understood the restrictions that the British colonial administration placed on the tribal way of life.
Background of the revolt
- The Rampa administrative area comprised around 1,800 square km and had a mostly tribal population of approximately 28,000.
- They had traditionally been able to support their food requirements through the use, in particular, of the podu system, whereby each year some areas of jungle forest were burned to clear land for cultivation.
- The British Raj authorities had wanted to improve the economic usefulness of lands in Godavari Agency, an area that was noted for the prevalence of malaria and blackwater fever.
- The traditional cultivation methods were greatly hindered when the authorities took control of the forests, mostly for commercial purposes such as produce for building railways and ships.
- This was done regardless of the needs of the tribal people.
Why did people revolt?
- The tribal people of the forested hills, who now faced starvation had long felt that the legal system favoured the muttadar (estate landowners) and merchants.
- This had also resulted in the earlier Rampa Rebellion of 1879.
- Now they objected also to the Raj laws and continued actions that hindered their economic position and meant they had to find alternate livelihood.
- They objected to attempts at that time to use them as forced labour in the construction of a road in the area.
Role of Raju
- Raju was a charismatic sanyasin, believed by many tribal people to possess magical abilities and to have an almost messianic status.
- He saw the overthrow of colonial rule in terms similar to a millenarian event and he harnessed the discontent of the tribal people to support his anti-colonial zeal.
Course of revolt
- Alluri Sitarama Raju, along with 500 tribal people, attacked the police stations of Chintapalli, Krishnadevipeta and Rajavommangi.
- They walked away with 26 police carbine rifles and 2,500 rounds of ammunition.
- Legend has it that Alluri himself would forewarn the British officers of an imminent attack and would challenge them to stop him with the superior resources that they had at hand.
- He was finally captured, tied to a tree and shot dead.
Try this PYQ:
Q. With reference to the history of India, “Ulgulan” or the Great Tumult is the description of which of the following event?
(a) The Revolt of 1857
(b) The Mappila Rebellion of 1921
(c) The Indigo Revolt of 1859-60
(d) Birsa Munda’s Revolt of 1899-1900
Post your answers here.