NCERT TEXTBOOK QUESTIONS SOLVED
Q.1. Fill in the blanks:
(a) The British described the tribal people as ............ .
(b) The method of sowing seeds in jhum cultivation is known as ............ .
(c) The tribal chiefs got ............ titles in central India under the British land settlements.
(d) Tribals went to work in the ............ of Assam and the ............ in Bihar.
Ans. (a) savage
(d) tea plantations, coal mines
Q.2. State whether true or false:
(a) Jhum cultivators plough the land and sow seeds.
(b) Cocoons were bought from the Santhals and sold by the traders at five times the purchase price.
(c) Birsa urged his followers to purify themselves, give up drinking liquor and stop believing in witchcraft and sorcery.
(d) The British wanted to preserve the tribal way of life.
Ans. (a) False
Q.3. What problems did shifting cultivators face under British rule?
Ans. The life of shifting cultivators was directly connected to the forest. So, when the British brought changes in forest laws, their life was badly affected. The British extended their control over all forests and declared that forests were state property. Some forests were classified as Reserved Forests for they produced timber which the British wanted. In these forests people were not allowed to move freely and practise jhum cultivations. As a result, many jhum cultivators had to move to other areas in search of work.
Q.4. How did the powers of tribal chiefs change under colonial rule?
Ans. The tribal chiefs were important people. They enjoyed a certain amount of economic power and had the right to administer and control their territories. Under the British rule, the functions and powers of these tribal chiefs changed to a great extent:
(i) They were allowed to keep their land titles over a cluster of villages and rent out lands, but they lost much of their administrative power and were forced to follow laws made by British officials in India.
(ii) They had to pay tribute to the British and discipline the tribal groups on behalf of the British.
(iii) They lost the authority they had earlier enjoyed amongst their people, and were unable to fulfil their traditional functions.
Q.5. What accounts for the anger of the tribals against the dikus?
Ans. The tribals wanted to drive out the dikus—missionaries, moneylenders, Hindu landlords, and the government because they saw them as the cause of their misery. The following facts account for their anger against the dikus:
(i) The land policies of the British were destroying their traditional land system.
(ii) Hindu landlords and moneylenders were taking over their land.
(iii) Missionaries were criticising their traditional culture.
Q.6. What was Birsa’s vision of a golden age? Why do you think such a vision appealed to the people of the region?
Ans. Birsa was deeply influenced by many of the ideas he came in touch within his growing-up years. The movement that he led aimed at reforming tribal society. He urged the Munda to give up drinking liquor, clean their village, and stop believing in witchcraft and sorcery. He often remembered the gloden past of the Mundas, when they lived a good life, constructed embankments, tapped natural springs, planted trees and orchards, practised cultivation to earn their living. They did not kill their brethren and relatives. They lived honestly. Birsa wanted to restore this glorious past.
Such a vision appealed to the people of the region because they were very much eager to lead a free life. They had got fed up with the colonial forest laws and the restrictions that were imposed on them.