The Santhal Rebellion, also known as the Santhal Hool, against British rule in 1855-1856 was primarily fueled by several key factors:
1. Exploitation by Moneylenders and Landlords: The Santhals were exploited by the local moneylenders (mahajans) and landlords (zamindars). They were often trapped in cycles of debt due to high interest rates and unfair practices, leading to the loss of their lands.
2. British Revenue Policies: The British revenue policies disrupted the traditional agrarian structure. The introduction of a new land revenue system was harsh and unfamiliar to the Santhals, often resulting in heavy taxation and further loss of land.
3. Cultural and Administrative Alienation: The Santhals felt alienated under British rule. The administrative and legal systems imposed by the British were unfamiliar and often discriminatory against tribal communities, causing social and cultural disruption.
4. Loss of Traditional Lands: Encroachment on their ancestral lands by non-tribal settlers, backed by British laws, led to a significant loss of land for the Santhals. This not only affected their livelihood but also their cultural and social fabric.
5. Desire for an Independent State: The rebellion was also driven by the desire of the Santhals to establish their own self-governing community, free from external control and oppression.
6. Leadership and Mobilization: The rebellion was led by the Murmu Brothers – Sidhu and Kanhu. They mobilized the Santhals to rise against the British and their allies, uniting them under a common cause.
The Santhal Rebellion was a significant uprising in Indian history, representing a major challenge to British authority and highlighting the plight and resistance of indigenous communities against colonial exploitation and oppression.