NCERT Solutions for Class 8 Social Science Our Pasts Chapter 4 : Tribals, Dikus and the Vision


How did the powers of tribal chiefs change under colonial rule?


 Before the establishment of the British rule in India, the tribal chiefs enjoyed a certain amount of economic power and had the right to administer and control their territories. They had their own police and decided on the local rules of land and forest management. Under the British rule, the functions and powers of the tribal chiefs changed significantly.

(i)  The British allowed them to keep their land titles over a cluster of villages and rent out lands; however, they lost much of their administrative power and were forced to follow British laws and rules.

(ii)  Since they lost the authority that they had earlier enjoyed amongst their people, the tribal chiefs were unable to fulfil their traditional functions.

(iii)   The tribal chiefs were forced to pay tribute to the British.


What problems did shifting cultivators face under British rule?


(i)  The British were uncomfortable with the shifting cultivators who moved about and did not have a fixed home.

(ii)  They wanted them to settle down and become peasant cultivators.

(iii) Settled peasants could be controlled easier than people who were always on the move.

(iv) From the settled peasants, the British could also collect regular revenue for the state.

(v)  So they introduced land settlements. They measured the land, defined the rights of each individual to that land, and fixed the revenue demand for the state.

(vi) Some peasants were declared landowners; others were tenants who paid rent to the landowner who in turn paid revenue to the state.


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.


(a) False

(b) True

(c) True

(d) False


What was Birsa’s vision of a golden age? Why do you think such a vision appealed to the people of the region?


(i)     In 1895, Birsa appealed to his followers to recover their glorious past.

(ii)    He talked of a golden age in the past. He described it as a satyug (the age of truth).

(iii)   According to him, the Mundas lived a good life, constructed embankments, tapped natural springs, planted trees and orchards, practised cultivation to earn their living.

(iv)   They did not kill their brethren and relatives. They lived honestly.

(v)    Birsa also wanted people to begin again the cultivation works on their land and settle down.

(vi) People saw themselves as the descendants of the original settlers of the region. They wanted to fight for their motherland.

(vii) Birsa Munda also reminded people of the need to win back their kingdom.


What accounts for the anger of the tribals against the dikus?


(i)   There were innumerable reasons for anger of the tribals against the dikus.

(ii)  The word “dikus” means “outsiders” or who come from outside like – moneylenders, traders, zamindars, contractors, British, etc.

(iii) These outsiders came to forests to sell their goods and buy forest produce. They offered cash loans with high interests to the tribal communities.

(iv) The traders bought forest produce from the tribes at low price and sold it in the market for higher price.

(v)  Due to these reasons, the tribals were against moneylenders, traders, zamindars, contractors, British and called them evil outsiders.


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.


(a) wild and savage

(b) broadcasting or scattering

(c) land

(d) tea plantations, coal mines

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