Kol of Uttar Pradesh
The Kol tribals in Uttar Pradesh are found mainly at Visvesh's house of Mirzapur, Varanasi, Banda and Allahabad. It is the largest tribe found in Uttar Pradesh, and numbered 135,617 according to the 1981 Census of India. They are said to have migrated from central India some five centuries ago. The Kol are further divided into a number of exogamous clans, such as the Rojaboria, Rautia, Thakuria, Monasi, Bhil, Chero and Barawire. They are now Hindu and speak the Baghelkhandi dialect. Most Kol are landless, and the forest is their main source of income. They collect firewood and leaves from the forest and sell these at the local markets. The Kol have been granted Scheduled Caste status.
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The Kols (aka Ho/Larka) inhabited a large portion of the Chota Nagpur region. They rebelled to resist British entry into their dominion. Soon they joined the Munda rebellion.
It was only in the middle of 19th century that the Kols and the Mundas were finally defeated. In 1820 the Raja of Singhbum acknowledged the supremacy of the British. The restless Kol tribes, however, resented the agreement and broke into a rebellion in 1831-1832. They were joined by the Munda tribe. The immediate cause of the Kol uprising was the oppression of the local tribes by the non-adivasi thikadars (contractors) or farmers of rented lands. The Kols, the Mundas, the Santhals and the Oraons joined and burnt the houses of many diku (outsider) landlords and killed many of them. The British suppressed the rebellion with great effort. A register of all tribal land was completed in 1862. It was in favour of the landlords than the adivasis. The Adivasi kols of Chotonagpur area was divided into many subcastes. They lived independently there. (1) In 1820 the king of Porhat accepted the British governance and settled to give a huge tax to the British Government. After that he demanded the surrounding area as his realm. The British Government accepted his demand. The problem arose when he went collect the revenue from the Ho. They killed the retainers or servants of the king. After that the Kols dressed with bow and arrow, the jabbing etc. came to a fight with the English. They fought till the death and hindered the English a lot; but at last the wood-word Kol had to surrender in 1821. (2) In 1831 the Kols rebelled again. In that part of Chotonagpur area the 'Ijara' was given to Hindu, Muslim, Shikh Mahajans. They exceeded the limit of oppression. In protection of the oppression Buddhu Bhagat, Joya Bhagat, Jhindrai Manaki and Sui Munda amassed the Kols. In 1831 Munda and Oraon cultivators broked their first rebel in Ranchi district. The rebel immediately spread to Singbhum, Manbhum, Hajaribag and Palamu districts. All the men like Jamindar, Jotdar (one kind of Jamindar), Businessman, Mohajon (who lends money to the farmers for interest), English Servant except Adivasi came under the aegis of this rebel. The rebel was taken into control after the continuous effort of two years and killing a thousands of innocent children, woman and man.
The Hos are closely akin to the Mundas. In 1901 they also inhabited the Chota Nagpur Division and numbered 386,000. Also known as the Laraka (or fighters) Kols, they successfully defended their territory against all comers until they were invaded by the British in the early part of the 19th century. Like the Mundas, they are animists. Both Mundas and Hos speak dialects of the language family known as Munda, Mundari, Kol, or Kolarian. The Ho specifically speak the Ho language.
- Tribes and Castes of North Western Provinces and Oudh by William Crook
- People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Two edited by A Hasan & J C Das pages 833 to 840 Manohar Publications
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.