One of the largest and first tribal revolts ever in India is considered to be the ‘Hul Rebellion’. This happened in Santhal Pargana. The Santhal pargana extended from Bhagalpur in Bihar in the north to Odisha in the south and from Hazaribagh to the border of undivided Bengal. Like all other tribals, Santhal tribals also lived in the forests. They lived and farmed there in their traditional way. By the way, this fight was against the moneylenders and moneylenders who used to collect arbitrarily tax on the land of these tribals, gave loans at huge interest and forced them to pay crops along with the loans. As a result of which many times they were forced to give not only their crops to the moneylenders but also their domestic animals, plows, bullocks, land and crops. Very soon they all converted into bonded labor and then worked in the fields and houses of these moneylenders, moneylenders.
The British were also equal partners with the moneylenders in the exploitation of the Santhals. The Mahajans wanted to grab the land of the Santhals and the British interfering in the tribal customs, tradition, grabbing the mineral wealth present in their forests. Another reason for these popular resistance was the socio-religious reforms initiated by the British, often carried out by Christian missionaries. The tribals also opposed them due to the infiltration against their primitive religion and the British started torturing the Santhals for this. Forests and land were their main sources of livelihood. They used to get the basic things they needed to survive from the forests. They tried to destroy the self-sufficient economy of the tribals and these communities. All these ruined to some extent the life of the tribals who lead a peaceful life. Their lands were not only being snatched away, but their cultural identity was also being erased.
Even now it is taught in history that the freedom struggle of 1857 was the first revolt that took place against the British and the same has been recorded in history. Since it has been a rebellion against the British by the communities cut off from the mainstream, it has been analyzed by mainstream historians from a limited perspective.
Then a decree was issued from the British government that if the Santhals surrendered, all except their leaders would be pardoned. Initiated peace establishment in the region and it was said that their problems would be redressed. Despite this decree, none of the Santhals surrendered. Then in the month of November, the British rulers handed over the Santhal regions of undivided Bengal to the British rule. The government declared that any Santhal found in possession of a conventional weapon would be considered an opponent or enemy of the British government and imprisoned. Although earlier the fight of the institutions was with moneylenders and moneylenders, but by this order this fight had become of water, forest, land and tribal identity. In this rebellion, Sidhu was first arrested by the British contingent and hanged under a tree. Now this fight was taking place under the leadership of Chand-Bhairava. After some time he also lost his life in the firing and Kanhu was also arrested. At the end of the year 1856, he was presented before a special commissioner where he was sentenced to death and hanged in Bhognadih, Jharkhand.
This mass revolution in Santhal Pargana compelled the British to return the rights of the tribals with respect. It is said that due to this revolt, the British finally had to enact the SPT-CNT Act (Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act, Chhota Nagpur Tenancy Act) and the Schedule District Act 1874, the basis of which eventually emerged as the Fifth Schedule, which was for the tribal-dominated states of this country. Provides rights of water, forest, land to tribal communities in the areas. Due to all these Acts today tribal areas of remote provinces are reserved and the communities in these areas have the right to self-government. However, even now it is taught in history that the freedom struggle of 1857 was the first revolt which took place against the British and the same has been recorded in history. Since it has been a rebellion against the British by the estranged communities, it has been analyzed by the mainstream historians from a limited point of view and refused to consider it as the first freedom struggle. There are many such facts which are completely successful in proving that in fact the Santhal rebellion of 1855 was the first freedom struggle. This Hull revolution against exploitation, tyranny and British rule is celebrated every year on 30 June as Hull Day. These heroic tribal leaders and heroines are bowed down and vows are taken to preserve their water, forest and land.