Notes for Students

Who were Gunda Dhur and Birsa Muda?

I am talking about a legendary figure of our region who laid down his life for the sake of the motherland. There were opposition and protest against the British in Bastar like many parts of our country. The protest here was led by a tribal leader called Gunda Dhur.

Let’s have a little talk about Gunda Dhur.

It’s really unfortunate to learn that the historians don’t have much record about the tribal leader but traditional folklore and stories talked much about his contribution.

Who was Gunda Dhur?

Gundha Dhur The Tribal Leader
Gunda Dhur

 During 1910, Gunda Dhur was a tribal leader of village Netanar, of Bastar district, in Chattisgarh. He played a major role on the rebellion of the Dhurwas of Kanger forest in Bastar on 2 February 1910. He was joining by his companion called Murat Singh Bakshi, Balaprasad Nazir and Kalandri.

 More than 50 tribal people fought against the colonial power in Bastar and made every possible effort to drive the power away from Bastar.

The 1910 Rebellion and Gunda Dhur’s role:

The British colonial government proposed to reserve two-thirds of the Kanger Forest as a reserved forest in 1910. This new proposal was opposed by a number of tribal in the area as they could be affected due to the proposal.

Gunda Dhur played a major role in organizing tribes in Bastar district against the British. Red chili, Soil, Bows & arrows, mango-twigs became the symbol of spreading massage among the tribal like Chapatis and lotus for the revolution in 1857.

 As per the decision they had taken each family contributed to the rebellion. The rebels led by Gunda Dhur robbed, looted and burnt British granaries and redistributed grains to the poor. Apart from that, they fought against injustice being done to the tribal by local zamindaar and leaders as well.

The British’s stand on Gunda Dhur.

British power was in great trouble as long as Gunda Dhur along with the tribal troop was opposing. As per the historical records, the British Troops had to take shelter in local caves here.

Later, tribal power began to diminish. The Adivasi leader Gunda Dhur tried to negotiate but the British fired their camps and villages. Although the British succeeded, they never managed to capture Gunda Dhur. But the partial victory of Gunda Dhur was that the British reduced the reservation of forests to roughly half of what was proposed before.


Now the things that brought about changes after the protest.

  • The British had to change their plan to reserve the forest made it almost half of what it proposed.
  • Even today, tribal people living across the Kanger Forest region praise the heroic acts of Gunda Dhur in various folk songs, stories etc.
  • Many educational institutes are named after Guda Dhur.


Another tribal leader who fought against the British was Birsa Munda. He was born on 15 November 1875 in Racnhi in Bihar.

Birsa Munda
Birsa Munda

His early life: Birsa and his family led a nomadic life. And settled down in Kurumdha and began to work in fields, then his family moved to Bamba so Birsa had to join his family.

Birsa like to play in sand on the bank of rivers and excelled in playing flute while working as shephard. He studied in a school in village Ayubhatu for two years when he was living with his maternal-uncle.

Birsa’s protest against the British;

He made a public statement against the British Empire saying “The British does have to do anything with our region Chhota Nagpur since it is our land for long. You can’t take it away.” Birsa began to organize tribal against the British

Birsa Munda
Brisa Munda Being Taken Away By the British

Hearing this British sent troop to oppress the protest led by Birsa. There was fierce battle between the tribal led by Birsa and the British troop. The British arrested Birsa when he was sleeping with his rebellion troop in the forest on 3 February 1900 and sent Birsa to Ranch. Later, he mysteriously died on 9 June 1900 of Cholera. However reports said he had no symptom of Cholera at the point of his death.

Birsa Munda was 25 years old when he died. Tribal in Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa, still remember his contribution.

Many educational institutes are named after Birsa Munda in the regions. Government expressed his gratitude releasing a postal stamp too.

Please click the links below to find out more about me.

Bastar Dashhara

Boda: Forest Produce in Bastar

A Folk Tale




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