Author: Rahul Ranjan

Birsa Munda, Adivasi leader (Indigenous people) led a rebellion at the end of the 19th century against the dikus (outsiders) popularly known as Birsa Ulgulan (tumult, rebellion). The movement targeted British officials, zamindars, and missionaries. One of the immediate effects of the movement emerged in the form of protectionary legislation (Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act) and later played an influential role in the making of Jharkhand. In the contemporary social and political landscape, the presence of Birsa Munda in the form of the built environment such as statue is indelible and offers an exciting opportunity to understand the new aesthetic turn. In particular, the author investigates two statues in Jharkhand. These statues that function as “sites of memory” play a significant role in political mobilisation and vote-bank politics. It also offers a possibility to understand the relationship between the state, elites and subalterns. The paper builds upon ethnographic materials collected during the fieldwork and devices a conceptual tool of “material-memory” to offer the specific role of Birsa’s memory as medium of doing memory politics.

In: Bandung