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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Munda Manki Governance System & Wilkinson Rule - JPSC/ JSSC

Munda Manki Governance System 

The 'Ho' tribe is the fourth largest tribe in Jharkhand in terms of population. Their cluster is in Kolhan. Their social and political system has a unique identity. There is a Panchayat in Ho village, which resolves the village disputes. Serious allegations are brought before the Gram Panchayat. 


Munda Manki Governance System


Socio-culture:

  • Having sexual intercourse with blood relations is considered a serious offense. For this, the offender is punished by social exclusion.

  • Witch practice is found here. If there is a shred of strong evidence related to a woman being a witch, in such a situation, the said woman is severely punished.

  • Food and drink are also strictly prohibited by other castes. The offender is caste out of the gotra for this crime but is included in the caste on the feast. Penalties in the form of cash or material are incurred for ordinary offenses which are used on mass celebrations.

Gram Panchayat:

Family disputes, village disputes, property matters are also settled by the Panchayat.
  • Munda= the head of the village.
  • Dakua= the assistant of Munda.
  • Peed= an inter-state panchayat of many villages or subdivisions.
  • Manki= the head of the Peed. 
  • There are usually 5-10 villages in a victim. Some victims have more villages and more than a standard. In the Gram Panchayat, all the heads of the family are involved in the decision-making.

British Invasion:

  • After the fall of Mughal rule, the British declared this area in the district of Bengal. Singhbhum continued to operate from Lohardaga in the present Jharkhand state, but could not recover tax from Singhbhum.

  • 1830-32: There was a rebellion (Kol rebellion) in protest against tax collection ad arbitrariness of the British. The Kol-tribe is also called Ho-tribe.

  • 1837: After the suppression of the rebellion, a settlement was reached between the company and the tribals. The settlement resulted in the "Wilkinson Rule". Sir Captain Thomas Wilkinson was commissioner at the time. In the same year, he declared the governor as the agent of all the Munda (village head) of Kolhan and as the king of their villages and it was said that all Mankis and Mundas would be hereditary as before.  

  • Munda's work: After the British subjugated the Singhbhum region, it was announced that the Munda people collect 1-rupee tax from their village and deposit 12-ana out of 1-rupee as tax.

  • Manki's work: Manki will deposit the tax collected from his subordinate Munda people to the government's tresury.

  • As before, Manki and Munda were also allowed to keep 2 to 3 dakuas as a peon with them, to help them in their work. Half the punishment was paid to the dakuas as their remuneration and half the amounts were used for the wellness of the haatu (gram).

The Wilkinson's Rule:

A British-era instrument to control the Kolhan region, comprising now West Singhbhum, East Singhbhum, and Saraikela- Kharsawan districts of Jharkhand.

  • Chotangapur came under British control after Sir Robert Clive defeated the joint forces of Nawabs of Oudh and Bengal, supported by Mughal emperor Shah Alam II, in the battle of Buxar in 1765. The British entered into an agreement with the local kings, to collect rent on their behalf. Later, the king of Porhat, now a town in Chaibasa, promised the British higher revenue if he was given control. The British agreed. 

  • In 1832, however, the Kol tribe rose in rebellion against the high rent and usurpation of their land by outsiders. The then British agent for the Kolhan region, Sir Thomas Wilkinson, decided to occupy the area by force. For three months, the Kols fought, but the rebellion was quashed.

  • 1n 1837 though, Wilkinson decided that Kolhan be declared a 'Kolhan Separate Estate' headquarter in Chaibasa. He came out with what was called 'Wilkinson's Rule', under which 32 provisions and traditional customary laws of Munda-Manaki would continue to be followed. While the Munda were responsible for civil issues at the village level, Manaki, one per gram panchayat, looked after criminal issues.

  • With the success of Munda-Manki Mahasabha, Captain Wilkinson wrote the panel system, cultural traditions, and the new tax system prevalent in Kolhan. The matter which Munda could not resolve was settled by Manki. Manki also had to monitor his subordinate Munda people. 


  • Whereas Munda Manki had a fair knowledge of the justice system and the general public had a strong belief in the same, Wilkinson's Rule was quite successful.

The history of the 'Ho' has been glorious. The then British officers have written that the people of Kolhan can not be won by fighting. Something can happen by way of consent. Only then, through the Wilkinson's Rule, the British made a treaty with them and their self-government system was recognized. 'Ho' tribes struggled for their identity. Even today this region is a vibrant land of tribal self-government.


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