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Birsa Munda: Champion of Indigenous Rights in India – A Comprehensive Biography

Introduction: Birsa Munda, a towering figure in Indian history, stood as a beacon for the rights of indigenous communities. His life and legacy continue to inspire generations, emphasizing the struggle for justice and empowerment. In this comprehensive biography, we delve into the remarkable journey of Birsa Munda, exploring the pivotal moments that shaped his role as a champion for indigenous rights in India.

Birsa Munda
Birsa Munda Photograph from S. C. Roy‘s The Mundas and their Country[1]
Born 15 November 1875

Died 9 June 1900 (aged 24)

Nationality Indian
Movement Indian independence movement
  • Sugana Munda (father)
  • Karmi Hatu (mother)

Early Life: Born in the late 19th century in Ulihatu, Bihar, Birsa Munda witnessed the challenges faced by his community firsthand. Growing up in a society marked by inequality and discrimination, he developed an early awareness of the need for change. His journey began with a commitment to uplift his people from the shackles of oppression.

Leadership and the Ulgulan Movement: Birsa’s leadership emerged during the Ulgulan, or the Tamar Revolt, a movement against British rule and the oppressive policies that marginalized indigenous communities. He skillfully united various tribes, fostering a sense of solidarity that posed a formidable challenge to the established order.

The movement, marked by its nonviolent resistance and strategic brilliance, not only addressed immediate concerns but also laid the foundation for future struggles for indigenous rights in India. It’s a chapter of history that reflects Birsa Munda’s visionary leadership.

Birsa Munda statue by Nabhendu Sen at Naya More, Bokaro Steel City, Jharkhand
Birsa Munda statue by Nabhendu Sen at Naya More, Bokaro Steel City, Jharkhand

Birsa Munda’s Philosophy: At the core of Birsa Munda’s philosophy was the idea of self-determination for indigenous communities. His teachings emphasized the importance of cultural preservation, economic self-sufficiency, and political autonomy. These principles resonated not only during his time but continue to echo in discussions on indigenous rights globally.

Current updates:

Birsa Munda Jayanti: PM Modi paid tribute to Birsa Munda on his birth anniversary, which is also known as ‘Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas’ in Ulihatu.

Taking to X, the Prime Minister wrote, “Respectful tribute to Lord Birsa Munda ji on his birth anniversary. Many best wishes to my family members across the country on this special occasion of Tribal Pride Day.”

On the occasion of Bhagwan Birsa Munda’s birth anniversary, the Prime Minister will be launching scheme worth 24,000 crore for the welfare of tribals in the country. He will also inaugurate the Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra from the land of Birsa Munda.


  1. ^ Rycroft, Daniel J. (4 January 2002). “Capturing Birsa Munda: The Virtuality Of A Colonial-Era Photograph”University of Sussex. Archived from the original on 27 August 2005. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  2. Jump up to:a b “The “Ulgulaan” of “Dharati Aba”” [The Revolt of Birsa Munda]. 2009. Archived from the original on 21 April 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2015He was lodged in Ranchi jail, for trial along with his 482 followers where he died on 9 June 1900.
  3. ^ “birsamunda” 1999–2015. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  4. ^ India Today Web Desk (15 November 2021). “Birsa Munda birth anniversary: All about the Indian tribal freedom fighter”India Today. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  5. ^ Awaaz, Aapki (9 June 2015). “बिरसा मुंडा : शक्ति और साहस के परिचायक” [Birsa Munda: represents strength and courage] (in Hindi). Archived from the original on 11 June 2021. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  6. ^ Singh, K. S. (1983). Birsa Munda and His Movement, 1874–1901: A Study of a Millenarian Movement in Chotanagpur. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-561424-4. Archived from the original on 9 June 2023. Retrieved 27 May 2023.
  7. ^ Birsa Munda birth anniversary: All about the Indian tribal freedom fighter: Article published in india today dated 15-11-2021 |url=|
  8. ^ “Remembering Birsa Munda On ‘Janjatiya Gaurav Divas'”Pragativadi. 15 November 2021. Archived from the original on 15 November 2021. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  9. ^ “Birsa Munda”Parliament of India: Rajya Sabha – Council of StatesArchived from the original on 9 June 2021. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  10. ^ Singh, Kumar Suresh (2002) [1983]. Birsa Munda and His Movement (1872–1901): a Study of a Millenarian Movement in Chotanagpur. Seagull Books. ISBN 978-817046205-7.
  11. Jump up to:a b Birsa Mumda commemorative postage stamp and biography Archived 6 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine India Post, 15 November 1988.
  12. ^ “Villages in Erki (Tamar Ii) Tehsil, Ranchi, Jharkhand”MapsofIndia.comArchived from the original on 4 August 2016. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  13. Jump up to:a b c d e Neeraj (2009). Birsa Munda. New Delhi: Ocean Books Pvt Ltd. pp. 3–10. ISBN 978-8188322930. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  14. ^ Tiu, Priti. “बिरसा मुंडा: भारतीय स्वतंत्रता सेनानी का जन्म”Singhbhum Times. Singhbhum Times. Retrieved 10 July 2023.
  15. ^ Suresh, Sushma (1999). Who’s who on Indian Stamps. Mohan B. Daryanani. ISBN 978-84-931101-0-9.
  16. ^ “The Curious History of a Munda Fanatic”Modern Review. Vol. 9, no. 6. June 1911. p. 546. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  17. ^ A.K.Dhan (2017). BIRSA MUNDA. Publications Division Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. ISBN 978-81-230-2544-5.
  18. ^ “Jharkhand: In the land of Birsa Munda, tribals to boycott polls on May 6”indianexpress.comArchived from the original on 5 May 2019. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  19. ^ “Chotanagpur Tenancy Act: What next”telegraphindiaArchived from the original on 6 August 2021. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  20. ^ Pandit, Ambika (11 November 2021). “Centre to observe Birsa Munda birth anniversary on November 15”The Times of IndiaArchived from the original on 11 November 2021. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  21. ^ Tribals celebrate Birsa Munda birth anniversary Archived 15 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine Times of India, 18 November 2001.
  22. ^ Homage to Bhawan Birsa Munda on his Birth Anniversary at Ranchi Archived 10 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine Raj Bhavan (Jharkhand) Official website. 15 November 2008.
  23. ^ Bihar Regiment
  24. ^ “बिरसा मुंडा 150 फीट ऊंची प्रतिमा लगाएंगे” [Birsa Munda will get 150-foot-tall statue]. Inextlive (in Hindi). 16 November 2016. Archived from the original on 12 November 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  25. ^ Prasath, Rajendra (9 October 2018). “பழங்குடி இன சுதந்திர போராளி பிர்ஸா முண்டா கதையை திரைப்படமாக்குகிறார் கோபி நயினார்!” [Life of indigenous freedom fighter Bursa Munda being made into a movie]. Filmibeat (in Tamil). Archived from the original on 16 November 2018. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  26. ^ Rajendran, Sowmya (13 November 2018). “‘The doors close the minute we know the person was Dalit’: The Pa Ranjith Interview”The News MinuteArchived from the original on 16 November 2018. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  27. ^ Ulgulan-Ek Kranti [The Revolution]. (Motion picture) (in Hindi). 2004. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  28. ^ “Birsa Munda – The black Iron Man (2004)”Indiancine.maArchived from the original on 22 April 2022. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  29. ^ “Film Gandhi Se Pehle Gandhi is on Birsa Munda”. 2011. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2019.[dead link]
  30. ^ “खूंटी में शुरू हुई भगवान बिरसा मुंडा पर आधारित बायोपिक फिल्म की शूटिंग” [Shooting of biopic film based on Bhagwan Birsa Munda has started in Khunti]. Dainik Bhaskar (in Hindi). 2 August 2019. Archived from the original on 22 April 2022. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  31. ^ Biography for Mahasweta Devi Archived 26 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine “Ramon Magsaysay Award Official website.”
Birsa Munda captured and conducted to Ranchi(1890)
Birsa Munda captured and conducted to Ranchi(1890)

Legacy and Influence: Birsa Munda’s impact extends beyond the years of his active leadership. His legacy is imprinted in the social fabric of India, serving as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for indigenous rights. The celebration of Birsa Munda’s birthday is not just a commemoration but a call to action, urging society to uphold the values he fought for.

* *He is commemorated in the names of the following institutions and organizations:


Birsa Munda on a 1988 daak ticket of India post
Birsa Munda on a 1988 daak ticket of India post

Hyperlinks: Within this narrative, we take a closer look at a recent article from The Telegraph India, exploring the political dynamics surrounding the commemoration of Birsa Munda’s birthday.

For a more in-depth understanding of Birsa Munda’s life, I recommend visiting Wikipedia. This comprehensive resource provides a detailed overview of his contributions and the historical context in which he lived.

Conclusion: Birsa Munda’s life story transcends time and remains relevant in the ongoing struggle for indigenous rights. His commitment to justice, equality, and self-determination continues to inspire individuals and movements worldwide. As we reflect on his legacy, let us not only honor the past but also strive to create a future where the principles he stood for are fully realized.

This comprehensive biography is a tribute to Birsa Munda, a champion whose impact reverberates in the hearts of those advocating for a more just and equitable world.

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