History of Jharkhand

According to some historians, there was a distinct geo-political, cultural entity called Jharkhand even before the period of Magadha Empire. Many scholars believe that the language used by tribes in the state of Jharkhand is identical to the one used by Harappan 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 the Vedic age, Jharkhand remained buried. 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 the 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. People of Jharkhand approached to neighbouring rulers for fair Governance. It became a turning point in history wherein rulers from Orissa ruled for centuries. After 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).

Birsa Munda from 1875 to 1900 and Sidho and Kanho were the legendary heroes of the tribal of Jharkhand state who fought against the oppressive rule of the British Government against exploitation of the original inhabitants by non-tribal landowners and money lenders.

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 movement again received a shot in the arm with the emergence of the Jharkhand MuktiMorcha in 1972.

The step did not become a reality, however, until August 2nd, 2000, when the Parliament of India passed the Bihar Reorganization Bill to create the state of Jharkhand, carving 18 districts out of Bihar to form Jharkhand state on 15th November 2000. On that day it became the 28th state of the Republic of India.