HUL: Cry Rebel!
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315 pages

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When the ancient ways of a peaceful but brave tribe is threatened by the arrogance of an empire, savagery of the “civilised” and greed of the affluent, the only thing left to do is rise in rebellion. The year is 1855. The tribe: Santals. Born a few months after the British soldiers raided their village and killed his father, Bikram grows up with a strong intolerance for injustice. Lt. James Davies of the British Native Infantry finds himself in the madding world of 19th century Colonial India. But he is quick to learn and develops a strange affection for this complex land and its people. Shibani is a Bengali child-widow and an heiress, who finds her life lonely and stifling. Of the many burdens she must bear at a young age are protecting her estate and the future of her son. Their lives collide in the backdrop of mounting unease amongst the tribals. Result of extensive historical research and brimming with memorable characters, the story moves through a whirlwind of passion, greed, betrayal, cruelty and sacrifice. As Bikram grows up, he realises it’s his identity as a Santal that has become a bane. He finds himself sucked into the vortex of Hul – the Great Santal Rebellion against the British and their lackeys –the ‘dikus’. Thousands of Santal tribesmen wage a desperate war for self-determination. Bare feet against boots; arrows against howitzers. The odds seem insurmountable. 50,000 Santals are massacred in the Hul.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 mai 2013
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9788174368904
Langue English

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Sanjay Bahadur holds master’s degrees in economics and business administration and has been an officer of the Indian civil service since 1989. He has worked as an investigator, administrator, policy maker, and regulator. His most recent assignment was as Advisor in the Competition Commission of India. His debut novel, The Sound of Water , was longlisted for the inaugural Man Asian Literary Prize 2007 and has been published internationally, earning critical acclaim. India Today commented, ‘This book should be made required reading for every bureaucrat, politician and schoolchild in this country.’ Kirkus Review described it as, ‘...revealing, moving and well-written debut offers a dramatic, engaging lens through which to view an endlessly complex country.’ To know more about the author, please visit
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© Sanjay Bahadur, 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of the publisher.

All characters and events in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to real characters, living or dead is purely coincidental.

First published in 2013
An imprint of
Roli Books Pvt. Ltd
M-75, Greater Kailash II Market
New Delhi 110 048
Phone: ++91 (011) 4068 2000
Fax: ++91 (011) 2921 7185
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Also at
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Cover : Bonita Vaz-Shimray
Cover Painting : Nilanjan Das
Layout Design : Sanjeev Mathpal
Production : Shaji Sahadevan

ISBN: 978-81-86939-67-3
For Shampa
They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them. *
You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.
Mahatma Gandhi

The world was liquid. There was just water. No earth. Just the trampling Day Horse, the Sun – Sin sadom – in the clear blue sky. No life. Only Thakur-Jiu standing in all His dark glory, bursting with an urge to create. He bent low to touch the shimmering water and ran a finger through the ripples, creating life in its wake. The crab. The crocodile. The alligator. The raghop boar fish. The sole. The prawn. The earthworm. The tortoise. And more.
That done, He dipped His hand deep into the water to scoop out some earth and made two creatures: Men! The Day Horse swooped down from the horizon on a gossamer thread, burning with jealousy and trampled the exquisite creations beneath its fiery hooves. Thakur-Jiu sighed and created two birds. Hansa and Hansil. They sat gracefully, triumphantly, lightly on His hands. They looked beautiful. Thakur-Jiu smiled at them. Then they flew off in a burst of plumes and feathers and soared into the crisp skies above. They circled, dipped and soared. But all flights must end. They grew tired and returned to rest on Thakur-Jiu’s outstretched hands. There was no other place to land. So He decided to pull earth out of water.
He asked all the water-creatures one by one to bring up earth but none could, till finally, He called upon the tortoise. The tortoise dove happily into water and heaved, bringing up earth. And Thakur-Jiu moulded mountains on the surface of the wet earth. He then planted doobi-grass, green plants and tall trees and there was vegetation. Satisfied, he gently pushed away Hansa and Hansil. They fluttered away, squeaking in protest and gracefully landed in a clump of sirom plants. Hansil laid two eggs.
In time, the eggs hatched and one boy and one girl were born. Thakur-Jiu urged Hansa and Hansil to find a better home for their offspring. That is how they found Hihiri Pipiri. The boy was named Haram and the girl Ayo. They grew up in Hihiri Pipiri eating grain and corn. They had no clothes but they felt no shame. They lived in great peace.
One day Lita ak – the rainbow – came to them and told them that there was more to life. He taught Haram and Ayo to brew beer, which they drank from leaf-cups. They had never felt such joy and they lay down together. When they woke up they felt ashamed but Lita ak just smiled at them and blessed them. Haram made a loin-cloth out of ficus-leaves for himself and then a skirt for Ayo.
In some days, Ayo gave birth to seven handsome boys and seven lovely girls. These children grew up strong and beautiful. One day, after a hunt, they lay down in pairs under fig trees. The next morning Haram happily married off the couples. He declared seven septs. They lived in simple happiness for many years and when Haram and Ayo died, their children and grand children moved away from Hihiri Pipiri. They travelled through grasslands, crossed many rivers, climbed many hills till they came to the lush country of Khoj Kaman.
There they made a home. There the earth was moist with water, black with hidden wealth and fragrant with flowers of mahua trees. The tribe of Haram and Ayo grew lazy and mindless – like buffaloes. Secure in the richness of Khoj Kaman, they stopped obeying Thakur-Jiu. So He decided to obliterate them. Only one couple heeded his warning and went into the warm darkness of the caves of the Harata mountain. They survived the seven days and seven nights of fire-rain that Thakur-Jiu unleashed. When they emerged from the caves after seven days, they found and rescued several animals from under glowing cinders. They built a new home at the foot of Harata mountains and lived happily and produced many children.
When the children grew up, they trekked to the turmeric fields of Sasan Beda and from there to Jarpi where they divided into clans. They lived there for a long time till the earth became barren and the trees yielded no more fruits. They had to move once again and they reached the lofty, snow-capped mountains – Maran Buru. They prayed to the towering peaks for a safe passage and finally made a crossing through the Sun Gate – Sin Duar, to arrive in the paradise of Champa. There they lived in peace and prosperity for generations.
Tired of being uprooted, the ancient people decided to make Champa their final destination – their homeland. They built the mighty forts of Champa, Khairi, Koenda, Badoli, and Sim to protect themselves against the marauding hordes of aliens – the dikus. For years, no diku dared to enter the blessed land of Champa. They feared the lethal wall of spears and deadly canopy of arrows that greeted them at every attempt. But even that era was not meant to last. The ancient people fell victims to tyranny and greed and had to flee Champa.
At last they came upon the thick forests of Saont, which sheltered them from the evil world of the dikus. The menacing barrier of the forest proved a better protection than the forts of Champa and the ancients were at peace. They made clearings in the heart of the Saont forests and settled down. Men hunted boi bindi deer, caught fish in the clear streams, gathered honey from the trees and made their own beer from mahua flowers. The women gathered sweet fruits and succulent herbs and served their men folk and children delicious meals on lotus leaves. Life was good. Till the dikus found the tribes of Saont once again. They came looking for Saontalis. They came with greed in their eyes, hunger in their hearts and a war cry on their lips. They came with steel, pointing sticks that spat fire, riding heavy horses that crushed skulls of babies. The forests of Saont were no longer safe for the Saontals.
For many years, the ancients traversed the hill country beyond the Saont forests. But wherever they went, the dikus followed. The world was not big enough to hide the Saontals. They ran, hid and fought but there were always too many dikus to kill. Always too few Saontals to fight. They couldn’t understand what the dikus wanted. Was it land? Or forests? Or rivers? Or hills? Or was it just blood?
The Saontals kept going till they reached the banks of the holy river, Damuda and settled one last time. The dikus, tired of grabbing land and drinking blood let them be. Their covetousness did not extend to the craggy valleys of the Damuda river – to the land they referred to as the ‘Santal Parganas’.
The Santal – as the ancients were now called – believed that they had outrun the greed of the dikus. But they didn’t know that there was another danger coming that was to destroy their way of life for ever. When they first heard of it, they couldn’t believe their ears. News started tri

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