Jharkhand 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 79,710 km2 (30,778 sq mi). Jharkhand It was formed 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 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. The name "Jharkhand" means "The Land of Forests". Jharkhand accounts for 40% of the mineral resources of India.
Most of the state lies on the Chota Nagpur Plateau, which is the source of the Koel, Damodar, Brahmani, Kharkai, and Subarnarekha rivers, whose upper watersheds lie within Jharkhand. Much of the state is still covered by forest. Forest preserves support populations of tigers and Asian Elephants.
The state was formed with 18 districts that were formerly part of south Bihar. Some of these districts were reorganised to form 6 new districts, namely, Latehar, Saraikela Kharsawan, Jamtara, Sahebganj, Khunti and Ramgarh. At present, the state has 24 districts:Ranchi, Lohardaga, Gumla, Simdega, Palamu, Latehar, Garhwa, West Singhbhum, Seraikela Kharsawan, East Singhbhum, Dumka, Jamtara, Sahebganj, Pakur, Godda, Hazaribag, Chatra, Koderma, Giridih, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Deoghar, Khunti and Ramgarh. One interesting thing about Jharkhand is that all its districts, except Lohardaga and Khunti, share a border with a neighboring state.
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 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 southern part was a tributary to Kalinga (ancient Orissa) Empire.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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