Short Note on Kolis Uprising

The kolis were neighbours of the Bhills and lived in the country both and below the Sahyadri in the Thane. They were scattered over the whole area from the border of Kutch to the Western Ghats. By nature, they were fighting race. In 1824, Kolis of Gujarat burnt and plundered village. For the British rule, it was the first taste of their might. It was only the use of force that could stop the activities of kolis.

Ramaji Bhungere a Koli officer who resigned the government service raised the standard of revolt in 1828. The large number of Kolis joined him, since most of them became unemployed due to the British advancement. Government sent troops to suppress the revolt. The Kolis were inspired by the example of the Ramoshiss. They got support of common people in their struggle against the British. They plundered a large number of villages in the Sahyadri. They were also joined by others dissatisfied leaders of Maratha nobility such as Chimaji Jadhav, Bhau Khare. The rebels declared the change of the Government in the name of Peshwa. But the British government put down the revolt. Soon many Kolis were captured and put to death. However the spirit of Koli community was not destroyed.

They broke into revolt again in 1844. This time Raghu Bhungere was their leader. They raided several villages. The police and the Kolis experienced many skirmishes. They attacked police station and killed many police men. It is interesting to note that during the Koli rebellion of May 1845, the leaders of the Ramoshis uprising had also joined the Kolis at Purandar in Pune. In 1845 the rebellion spread in Purandar. Though Bapu Bhungere was captured the Koli continued their struggle till 1850. By 1850 the first phase of Koli rebellion had been suppressed. In 1873 Honya an influential Koli raised a well trained band of followers in the Poona. This time the moneylenders were main target of Kolis. Honya was against the moneylenders because they cheated the poor tribesmen. Though he was cough in 1815 the spirit of rebellion never ceased. Between May to July 1875 many moneylenders were targeted. British decided to crush the rebellion of kolis so they sent many able officers to pun to an end revolt of Koli.

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