Jharkhand (lit. "Bushland"), is a state in eastern India. It was carved out of the southern part of Bihar on 15 November 2000. Jharkhand shares its border with the states of Bihar to the north, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the west, Odisha to the south, and West Bengal to the east. It has an area of .
The industrial city, Ranchi, is its capital and Dumka is sub capital, Jamshedpur is the largest and the biggest industrial city of the state, while Dhanbad and Bokaro Steel City is the second & fourth most populous city. Jharkhand accounts for 40% of the mineral resources of India.
According to some writers like Gautam Kumar Bera, there was already a distinct geo-political, cultural entity called Jharkhand even before the period of Magadha Empire. Bera's book (page 33) also refers to the Hindu Mythological book Bhavishya Purana. The tribal rulers, some of whom continue to thrive till today were known as the Munda Rajas, who basically had ownership rights to large farmlands. Many scholars now believe that the language used by tribes in the state of Jharkhand is identical to the one used by Harappa people. This has led to a great interest in the deciphering of Harappa inscriptions using rock paintings and language used by these tribes. For a greater part of Vedic age, Jharkhand remained unnoticed. During the age of Mahajanpadas around 500 BC, India saw the emergence of 16 large states that controlled the entire Indian subcontinent. In those days the northern portion of Jharkhand state was a tributary to Magadha (ancient Bihar) Empire and southern part was a tributary to Kalinga (ancient Orissa) Empire.
According to legend, Raja Jai Singh Deo of Orissa had declared himself the ruler of Jharkhand in the 13th century. The Singh Deo's of Orissa have been very instrumental in the early history of Jharkhand. The local tribal heads had developed into barbaric dictators who could govern the province neither fairly nor justly. Consequently, the people of this state approached the more powerful rulers of Jharkhand's neighboring states who were perceived to have a more fair and just governance. This became the turning point in the history of the region wherein rulers from Orissa moved in with their armies and created states that were governed for the benefit of the people and involved their participation, thus ending the barbarism that had marked the region for centuries. The good tribal rulers continued to thrive and were known as the Munda Rajas, and exist to this day. Later, during the Mughal period, the Jharkhand area was known as Kukara. in the year 1765, it came under the control of the British Empire and became formally known under its present title, "Jharkhand" - the Land of "Jungles" (forests) and "Jharis" (bushes).
In 1765, the region came under the control of the British East India Company.The subjugation and colonisation of Jharkhand region by the British East India Company resulted in spontaneous resistance from the local people. Almost one hundred years before Indian Rebellion of 1857, adivasis of Jharkhand were already beginning what would become a series of repeated revolts against the British colonial rule:
The period of revolts of the Adivasis to protect their Jharkhand land took place from 1771 to 1900. The first ever revolt against the landlords and the British government was led by Tilka Manjhi, a Santhal leader in Santal tribal belt in 1771. He wanted to liberate his people from the clutches of the unscrupulous landlords and restore the lands of their ancestors. The British government sent its troops and crushed the uprisings of Tilka Manjhi. Soon after in 1779, the Bhumij tribes rose in arms against the British rule in Manbhum, now in West Bengal. This was followed by the Chero tribes unrest in Palamau. They revolted against the British rule in 1800 AD. Hardly seven years later in 1807, the Oraons in Barway murdered their big landlord of Srinagar west of Gumla. Soon the uprisings spread around Gumla. The tribal uprisings spread eastward to neighbouring Tamar areas of the Munda tribes. They too rose in revolt in 1811 and 1813. The Hos in Singhbhum were growing restless and came out in open revolt in 1820 and fought against the landlords and the British troops for two years. This is called the Lakra Kol Risings 1820–1821. Then came the great Kol Risings of 1832. This was the first biggest tribal revolt that greatly upset the British administration in Jharkhand. It was caused by an attempt by the Zamindars to oust the tribal peasants from their hereditary possessions. The Santhal rebellion broke out in 1855 under the leadership of two brothers Sidhu and Kanhu. They fought bitterly against the British troops but finally they too were crashed down. Other notable Adivasi warriors are Jabra Paharia, Veer Budhu Bhagat, Poto Sardar, Telenga Kharia, Phulo-Jhano, Manki Munda, Gaya Munda.
Then Birsa Munda revolt, broke out in 1895 and lasted till 1900. The revolt though mainly concentrated in the Munda belt of Khunti, Tamar, Sarwada and Bandgaon, pulled its supporters from Oraon belt of Lohardaga, Sisai and even Barway. It was the longest and the greatest tribal revolt. It was also the last tribal revolt in Jharkhand. All of these uprisings were quelled by the British through massive deployment of troops across the region.
British Government faced a lot of tribal revolt in Chhota Nagpur Division. Wherever resistance to British rule existed they tried to divide them. The policy of "Divide and rule" was made effective by Lord Curzon, when he was Governor General of India. He carried out Partition of Bengal in 1905, when the Princely states of Gangpur and Bonai of Chota Nagpur States were transferred from the control of Commissioner of Chhota Nagpur Division to Orissa Division and Princely states of Jashpur, Surguja, Udaipur, Chang Bhakar and Koriya were transferred from Chhota Nagpur Division to Chhattisgarh Division of Central Provinces, leading to shrinkage of Chhota Nagpur Division. Due to popular resistance to Partition of Bengal, the two Bengals were reunited in 1912 by Governor General Harding, and the province of Bihar and Orissa was created by taking out of Bengal the Bihar Division, Chhota Nagpur Division and Orissa Division. During this creation Midnapur, Purulia and Bankura remained with Bengal. Thus, whenever there was reorganisation of provinces, Chhota Nagpur Division lost some area. Thus during British rule, tribal areas, although geographically continuous, were put under different administrations.
Birsa Munda (1875-1900) and Sidho and Kanho are the legendary heroes of the tribal of Jharkhand state who fought against the oppressive rule of the British government. The Birsa Munda movement of 1885-1900 was the most important among early uprisings against exploitation of the original inhabitants by non-tribal landowners and money lenders. Birsa Munda fought for the tribal natural right over forests and land that was mercilessly being acquired by the British for exploitation. After a long fight, Birsa Munda was captured by the British authorities and died in prison. In 1914 the Tana Bhagat resistance movement started which gained the participation of more than 26,000 adivasis, and eventually merged with Mahatma Gandhi's Satyagraha and Civil Disobedience movement. A landmark in the movement was the formation of the Chotanagpur Unnati Samaj in 1915, which acquired political overtones with the demand for a sub-state for the adivasis. The demand was, however, turned down by the Simon commission.
The 20th century Jharkhand movement may also be seen as moderate movement as compared to the bloody revolts of the 19th century. Having the Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act 1908 to protect their lands, the tribal leaders now turned to socio-economic development of the people. In 1914 Jatra Oraon started what is called the Tana Movement. Later this movement joined the Satyagrah Movement of Mahatma Gandhi in 1920 and stopped giving land tax to the Government. In 1915 the Chhotanagpur Unnati Samaj was started for the socio-economic development of the tribals. This organisation had also political objectives in mind. When the Simon Commission came to Patna in 1928, the Chhotanagpur Unnati Samaj sent its delegation and placed its demand for a separate Jharkhand State for self-rule by the tribals. The Simon Commission however did not accede to the demand for a separate Jharkhand State. Thereafter Theble Oraon organised Kishan Sabha in 1931. In 1935 the Chhotanagpur Unnati Samaj and the Kishan Sabha were merged with a view to acquire political power.
When India gained independence in 1947 and after the Princely states acceded to Government of India in 1948, the Princely states of magadha were put under Odisha province, Princely states of Jashpur, Surguja, Udaipur, Chang Bhakar and Koriya were put under Madhya Pradesh and Midnapur, Purulia and Bankura were put under West Bengal. Princely states of Gangpur and Bonai were combined together to form Sundergarh District. Princely states of Koriya and Chang bhakar were combined together to form Koriya district and Udaipur was included in Raigarh District.
For almost six decades the movement had been changing colour and strategy to gain a foothold. Gradually, the Jharkhand Party grew politically stronger but the commissions examining the demands for a separate Jharkhand State rejected it one after another. In August 1947 the Thakkar Commission rejected it saying that it would not be beneficial for the Adivasis. In 1948 Dar Commission also examined the demand for a separate Jharkhand state but rejected it on linguistic grounds.
The next important step was the formation of the Adivasi Mahasabha, which saw non-tribal coming out openly in support of the movement for the creation of a separate state. Among those who spearheaded the Jharkhand movement was Jaipal Singh, an Oxford - returned tribal Christian who helped the regional aspiration gain national recognition.
The Adivasi Mahasaba was rechristened the Jharkhand Party here in 1949 under the leadership of Jaipal Singh. It was with the emergence of this party that the Jharkhand movement became purely political. The Jharkhand Party contested the 1952 elections with a declared aim of strengthening the demand of a tribal homeland and won 32 seats in the Bihar Assembly. In the second General Election in 1957, too, Jharkhand Party won 32 seats and for two terms the party remained the leading opposition party. In 1955 the Report of the State Reorganisation Commission came out. Here, too, the demand for a separate Jharkhand state was rejected. In the third general election in 1962 the party could win only 23 seats in the Bihar Assembly. The Jharkhand party became the largest opposition party in the Bihar Assembly winning all the 32 seats from south Bihar and giving fresh impetus to the government for a separate state. Considering its growing strength, the Congress started efforts for engineering a split in the Jharkhand Party. As a consequence, Jaipal Singh fell into its trap and joined the Congress with his followers in 1963. Jaipal Singh became a minister in Vinodanand Jha's government in Bihar. N. E. Horo, a close associate of Jaipal Singh, however, refused to join the Congress and kept the Jharkhand flag flying. But the loss of the Jharkhand Party veterans, who joined the Congress, proved too much for the pro-statehood forces whose strength steadily eroded in successive elections since 1969. In the 4th General Election held in 1967 the party had a very poor show. It could win only eight Assembly seats. The party was soon split into several splinter groups each claiming to be the genuine Jharkhand party. These were the All India Jharkhand Party led by Bagun Sumroi, the Jharkhand Party led by N.E. Horo, the Hul Jharkhand Party led by Justin Richard which got further fragmented and came to be called the Bihar Progressive Hul Jharkhand Party and it was led by Shibu Soren.
The movement was infused with a new radicalism when Santhal leader Shibu Soren formed the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) in league with the Marxist co-ordination Committee in 1972. In its early years, the JMM under Soren's leadership, brought industrial and mining workers mainly non-tribals belonging to Dalit and Backward communities such as Surdis, Doms, Dusadh and Kurmi-Mahtos, into its fold. However Soren's association with the late congress M.P. Gyanranjan brought him close to then prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi, in New Delhi. He won the Dumka Lok Sabha seat in 1972. Irked by Soren's association with the Congress, a few of the younger members of the JMM banded together in Jamshedpur and set up the All Jharkhand Students' Union (AJSU).
In response, Buta Singh, the then home minister, asked Ram Dayal Munda, the then Ranchi University vice chancellor, to prepare a report on Jharkhand. Munda handed his report in September 1988, advising the Home Ministry to grant 'autonomy' to 'Greater Jharkhand'. In August 1989, the Union Home Ministry formed a committee on Jharkhand Matters (CoJM) to look into the issue. These were followed by further talks between the then Bihar Chief Minister, Satyendra Narayan Sinha, the central government and Jharkhand groups. In September 1989 the COJM submitted its report proposing the alternatives to the formation of a greater Jharkhand, a Union Territory or a Jharkhand general council. In 1995 the Jharkhand Area Autonomous Council (JAAC) was set up after a tripartite agreement was signed by the Union government represented by the then minister of state for home, Rajesh Pilot, the Bihar government represented by the chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and Jharkhand leaders like Soren, Munda, Mandal, Besra and Tirkey. Horo did not sign this agreement. He dubbed the JAAC as the 'fraud' and stuck to his demand for Tribal Homeland. So did the AJSU and JPP.
This did nothing to stunt the growth of the JMM in the 1991 Lok Sabha election where the JMM won six seats. The growing strength of the JMM was reflected in the Lok Saba and Assembly elections and the demand for a statehood for the first time shook the corridors of power with the then prime minister of India Mr. Rajiv Gandhi setting up a Committee on Jharkhand Matters (CoJM). In the light of the recommendations by the CoJM, prolonged negotiations between the Centre, the Bihar government and the movement leaders led to the setting up of the Jharkhand Area Autonomous Council (JAAC) in August 1995. It was hailed as a major step towards the creation of Jharkhand.
Buckling under pressure from the JMM members, with whose support the RJD had a majority in the state Assembly, the Bihar government on July 22, 1997, adopted a resolution for the creation of a separate state. In 1998, however, RJD leader Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav reversed his stand on Jharkhand statehood. The JMM reacted sharply, withdrawing its support to the RJD government.
After the last Assembly election in the state threw up a hung Assembly, RJD's dependence on the Congress extended support on the precondition that RJD will not pose a hurdle to the passage of the Bihar reorganization Bill (Jharkhand Bill). Finally, with the support from both RJD and Congress, the ruling coalition at the Centre led by the BJP which has made statehood its mail poll plank in the region in successive polls earlier, cleared the Jharkhand Bill in the monsoon session of the Parliament this year, thus paving the way for the creation of a separate Jharkhand state.
On December 23, 2014, BJP-led NDA grabbed majority in the Jharkhand Assembly Election, becoming the first political coalition to rule the state with single majority. BJP and alliance won in 42 of the total 81 seats while JMM trailed with 19 seats.
On 28 December 2014, Raghubar Das was sworn in as the new chief minister of Jharkhand in the BJP-led government. He is the first non-tribal CM in Jharkhand.
Jharkhand state was formed on 15 November 2000 after almost half a century of people's movements to evolve a Jharkhandi identity, which disadvantaged societal groups articulated to augment political resources and influence the policy process in their favour. It is the 28th state of India. The Jharkhandi identity and the demand for autonomy was not premised solely on the uniqueness of its tribal cultural heritage but was essentially a fallout of the failure of development policy to intervene in socio-economic conditions of the adivasis and non-adivasis in the region.
The dynamics of resources and the politics of development still influence the socio-economic structures in Jharkhand, which was carved out of the relatively under developed southern part of Bihar. According to the 1991 census, the state has a population of over 20 million out of which 28% is tribal while 12% of the people belong to scheduled castes. Jharkhand has 24 districts, 260 blocks and 32,620 villages out of which only 45% have access to electricity while only 8,484 are connected by roads. Jharkhand is the leading producer of mineral wealth in the country after Chhattisgarh state, endowed as it is with vast variety of minerals like iron ore, coal, copper ore, mica, bauxite, graphite, limestone, and uranium. Jharkhand is also known for its vast forest resources.