Buchanan's description of Hill folk of Rajmahal

Buchanan's description of Hill folk of Rajmahal

Questions - How does Buchanan describe the hill folk of Rajmahal?

The hills of Rajmahal are named after the town of Rajmahal. It lies to the east in the state of Jharkhand. During the 19th century, hills of Rajmahal were a part of Bengal. Francis Buchanan, a physician, had came to India and served in The Bengal Medical Service (1794-1815). He has written a journal in which he describes the hills of Rajmahal and the people who lived nearby. The village hill folks of Rajmahal were known as Paharias.

The villagers– In his journal Buchanan mentions that the people of these hills were aggressive and terrorizing. They showed their unwillingness to talk to the officials. Many villagers fled from their villages and got settled in the hills of Rajmahal.

Occupation– The village folks depended on hunting, forest produce, shifting cultivation by cutting bushes and clearing forest patches, charcoal production and silkworm rearing. They grew millets and pulses for consumption. They collected flowers for food, silk cocoons for sale and wood for charcoal production.

Life of the folks– The lives of the village folks of Rajmahal were completely connected to the forests. They lived in hutments within tamarind grooves and rested under the shades of mango trees. The chiefs maintained the unity of the group and helped in solving disputes.

Conflict– As agriculture expanded, it created conflict between the hill folks and settled cultivators. The hill folks began to raid the settled villagers.

Eyes of suspicion– The village folks went deep into the mountains but still they carried on a war with the outsiders. They saw outsiders, especially the white men, with suspicion and distrust.

Emergence of Santhals– A lot of Santhals started entering into the zone of the village folks. They started cultivating rice and cotton. The Santhal settlers occupied the lower hills. This made the village folks move deeper into the Rajmahal hills.

Facts and figures

- Sidhu Manjhi was the leader of the Santhal rebellion.

- Damin-i-Koh was known as the land of Santhals.
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