Veer Budhu Bhagat

Veer Budhu Bhagat: The Leader of Kol and Larka Rebellion: Forgotten Freedom Fighter

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Backgroung: Early Life of Veer Budhu Bhagat

Whenever we talk about the freedom fighters who had made the highest sacrifice for Maa Bharti we often forgot to pay tribute to those people who led the tribal revolt against the British Raj.

From men like Gunda Dhur or Alluri Sitaram Raju, there are countless tribal leaders who despite having a lack of military knowledge and skill fought against the heavily trained British troops for the freedom of the Indian sub-continent.

Image of Veer Budhu Bhagat
Image of Veer Budhu Bhagat

In this article, we will cover the story of a tribal leader who declared war against the Raj.

This charismatic warrior was born on 17 February 1792 at Silagain village of present-day Jharkhand. Born in the family of farmer Budhu Bhagat from his early childhood days hated the British and their authority over his territories.

He had a deep interest in fencing along with archery. He always had wanted to involve himself in an armed struggle against the British regime. Later when the British along with the local zamindars started exploiting the lives of tribal people Veer Budhu Bhagat decided to exhibit an armed insurrection against the invaders.

He was also a great horse rider and due to his skills in the art of war and weaponry, the village people often considered him as a divine entity.  

Revolt Against the British Raj

In the year 1831 Veer Budhu Bhagat led Kol rebellion against the British at Singhbhum. Other people who led this revolt were Madara Mahato, Joa Bhagat, etc. This was 27 before the great mutiny of 1857 and this can also be seen as the first war of Independence.

The effect of this rebellion was tremendous and later it spread over Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Palamu, and Manbhum.  

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In the year 1832 Budhu Bhagat led the Larka rebellion and motivated the tribal people to fight against the oppressive rule of the British and zamindars. The rebellion completely shook the British authority and soon places like Sonpur and all over Chhotanagpur.

The British adopted the policy of ruthless suppression. They took all majors to capture or kill Budhu Bhagat because they believed without him (Budhu Bhagat) the rebellion will become weak.

The tribal army of Budhu Bhagat adopted the policy of Guerrilla warfare and they completely demoralized the British soldiers. The hit-and-run tactics of Budhu soldiers inflicted heavy casualties among the British troops who were unaware of the terrain of the region.

Forgotten Legacy

It is difficult to believe that when more than half of the Indian sub-continent was captured by the British forces and most of the Indians were following the alien rule at that time a young warrior from Jharkhand armed with traditional weapons like axe, sword, bow, and spear was fighting for the independence for Maa Bharti.

Note: Budhu Bhagat not only fought against the Raj but also generated a sense of togetherness and a spirit of independence among his fellow tribal people. 

To stop the spread of this rebellion the British called their forces from Barrackpore, Danapur, and Patna. They offered a 1000 rupees reward for those who will provide the information about the whereabouts of Budha and his tribal army.

Veer Budhu Bhagat
Statue of Veer Budhu Bhagat

But the native of Jharkhand didn’t fall into this trap and remained loyal toward their hero and land.

On 13 April 1832, the British got the information that Budhu Bhagat and his troops were stationed at Tiku village. They immediately dispatched five companies to either capture or kill Budhu Bhagat.

Note: The British forces were under the command of Captain Impey.

When this news reach Budhu he decided to surrender as he was aware of the fact that the British will show no mercy and wipe out the entire village population.

At that time there were around 300 people present in the village but they all decided to do everything to save their hero.

Fighting with only swords and axe against the advanced guns and weapons of the British the army of Budhu Bhagat fought till their last breath for the independence of their people.

In this engagement, Budhu Bhagat’s children also attained martyrdom and became a symbol of patriotism. Two sons of Budhu Bhagat Haldhar and Giridhar died fighting against the British forces.

The story of Veer Budhu Bhagat is still alive in the folklore of Jharkhand. But outside the borders and mountains of Jharkhand, no one heard the name of this great martyr.

Whenever we talk about the first war of Independence (1857) we should not forget that prior to this many heroes of this country fought against the alien rule for the freedom of this great nation.

R

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