Tilka Manjhi was the leader who fought against British from 1771 to 1785. He was from Bhagalpur (Bihar) and was also known as Jabra Paharia .He was the first adivasi leader who took up arms against British. His birth anniversary is celebrated on 11th February. In 2018 his 268th birth anniversary will be celebrated. He organised all adivasis to fight against British and he also attacked Augustus Cleveland ( a British Commissioner ) with his arrow and killed him. He lead the first revolt by Santhal gainst British.
A brief introduction of Tilka manjhi :-
Birth Date- 11th February 1750
Father name- Sundra Murmu
Death- 1785 ( Hanged in Bhagalpur- Bihar )-from banyan
Since he was from Santhal community, he lived in forest. He was well versed in archery, wrestling ( kushti ), climbing on trees, etc. And he was well adapted to the forest environment.
Tilka Manjhi Revolt :-
He was the first armed freedom fighter against the Bristish. We may say approximately 100 years before Mangal Pandey whom everyone knows. It was 1784. This revolt is known as Tilka Manjhi Revolt.
His achievement :-
- He freed Ramgarh Camp from the clutch of British.
- He killed Augustus Cleveland ( a British Commissioner ) on 13th January 1784
He always motivated other tribal people and
Why Tilka Manjhi was against English :-
As he was from tribal community and British used to torture tribal people including children, women and old and also all their lands were held by landlords under British, he started revolt against them. He was against divide and rule policy, British policy of acquisition of land and suppression policy of Cleveland.
So what happened then?
One day when he and his groups were celebrating the victory , the British army attacked and killed some of his group members but he fled in the mountains of Sultanganj and Bhagalpur ( Bihar ). British surrounded the mountain in which Tilka Manjhi and his groups were hiding and cut off the supply of all things such as food, water, etc.
His other group members started dying due to starvation. So he had to come out . When he was fighting guerrilla war, British army captured him. He was caught in 1784.After that he was tied to horse tail and was dragged to Bhagalpur ( Bihar ). And British army hanged him to banyan tree there and in this way the great son of mother India died.
His statue :-
- Bhagalpur ( Bihar )
- Dumka ( Jharkhand )
University after his name :- Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University. Earlier it was named as Bhagalpur University. It was established on 12th July 1960. It is situated in Tatarpur, Bhagalpur, Bihar. PIN code of Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University is 812007. For more information about this university you can visit Wikipedia.
When he was hanged , the so called first freedom fighter of India Mangal Pandey was not born. So Tilka Manjhi may be called as first freedom fighter of India. Historians might have forgotten some of our heroes like him but still in Bihar and Jharkhand there are still many haats, localities, roads, chowks, etc are after his name. Local people sing songs in his rememberance. That is all about this great freedom fighter hero Tilka Manjhi.