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Question 1
What problems did shifting cultivators face under British rule?
For adminstrative and economic reasons, the British government tried settling the jhum or shifting cultivators.However, settled plough cultivation did not prove to be helpful to these jhum cultivators. They often suffered because their fields did not produce good yields. The new forest laws also affected the lives of the shifting cultivators. Shifting or jhum cultivation is usually done on small patches of land. Under the forest laws, the jhum cultivation is usually done on small patches of land. Under the forest laws, the British extended their control over all forests and declared that forests were state property. Thus the jhum cultivators were prevented from practising jhum cultivation freely. Many were forced to move to other areas in search of work and livelihood.
Question 2

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

The powers of the tribal chiefs changed after the British came to power. The chiefs did not have any administrative powers, they were only allowed to keep their land and rent the out if they wanted to. The tribal chiefs had to pay tribute to the British, and discipline the tribal groups on behalf of the British. The chiefs lost the authority they had earlier enjoyed amongst their people, and were unable to fulfil their traditional functions.
Question 3

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

The tribals felt that the dikus or outsiders were enslaving them. The classification of Reserved forests restricted them from entering the forest which angered the tribal against the British whom they considered as outsiders.
Question 4

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

Birsa's vision of a golden age was when the Mundas would be free of the oppression of dikus, and when the ancestral right of the community would be restored. Birsa envisaged the Mundas leading a good life, constructing embankments, tapping natural springs, planting trees and orchards and practising cultivation to earn their living. In this golden age the Mundas did not kill their brethren and relatives but lived honestly.

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