This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Kanan Gupta. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Jaipal Singh Munda: A Tribal Writer, Athlete And Political Leader

More from Kanan Gupta

On December 1946, when the constituent assembly was discussing on new Constitution, the national movement leader: Pt Nehru, Patel, Ambedkar and Sarojini Naidu had uttered on Democracy, Fundamental Rights and Liberty. Then on 16 December, 1946, a voice raised and heard very deep, that was Jaipal Singh Munda for the first time.

Singh said, “I rise to speak on behalf of millions of unknown crowds — yet very necessary — as non-recognised fighters of freedom, the authentic and native people of India who have variously been recognised as a backward tribe, primitive tribe, criminal tribe and a whole lot. Sir, I’m proud to be a Jungli; also that is the name by which we are known in many parts of the country. 

“As a Jungli, as an Adivasi, I’m not expected to apprehend the prison intricacies of the resolution. You can’t teach democracy to tribal people; you have to grasp democratic ways from them. They’re the foremost Democratic folks on earth.”

The Journey from Pramod Pahan to Jaipal Singh Munda

Jaipal Singh Munda was born in 1903, 2 years after Bhagwan Birsa Munda was martyred, in the same Munda tribal area where the fire of freedom had not extinguished against the outer British Raj. That Munda area is still the same fighter today. But now there is nothing left in that village for anyone to know that it is the village of the same person called Marang Gomke (Great Leader) of the Adivasi.

Singh was born as Pramod Pahan and acquired a new name and date of birth in 1911 when his father enrolled him in the St Paul’s School in Ranchi. But he says he never could remember why his name changed. At the age of 13, Jaipal was sent to Oxford missionaries to study priesthood. He always described him and his family rich and wealthy according to Adivasi culture.

While studying in Oxford, Singh was not merely bookish; he was a sportsman, skilled speakers and popular organisers. His skill and knowledge were created by the social and political movements that Europe was centred on. He graduated in 1926 with honours in social science associate degreed and was conjointly the primary Indian student to become an Oxford Blue in hockey.

In 1928, Singh captained the Bharat squad at the Amsterdam Olympic Games to win its first-ever Olympic trophy. In 1938, he came to Ranchi and was elected as the President of the Adibasi Mahasabha.

In the political-economic world, it was ruthlessly crushing the diverse societies which were shaking their way and the opposing masses. The citizens of his own country whose hard work laid the foundation of the British Empire were refusing to give citizenship.

Like the Aryans, Britain’s white society hated and called them coloured instead of being called human. History, language, literature, culture, knowledge and art skills were incorporated and adapted in the European framework for their profit and economic prosperity.

Being a student of economics, Singh had a keen eye on all these political ups and downs. His deep and sharp eyes can be seen with great vigour in his later life. From a player, he became a teacher, teacher to administrator and administrator to a politician. In every phase, he pulled a line from his intellect which no one has been able to do to reduce.

Whether it was the playground or politics, with his unique and remarkable organisational capabilities and talent in the 50s, he modified the “Adivasi Sabha” into the “All India Adivasi Mahasabha” for the rights and participation of tribals in the new fresh democratic society of India.

A Bengali Son-In-Law: A Visionary

Singh was asked to resume his education on the condition that he would do it for an additional year. This implies that his probation was extended for a year. He felt that his dignity and self-esteem were being affected by this determination. So he did not attend ICS training again; instead, he returned to India.

Singh met his future wife Tara Winfred Majumdar in Calcutta. She was Womesh Chynder Banerjee’s granddaughter, the first president of the Indian National Congress in 1885. But their marriage did not last long.

The assignment took him from Calcutta to the Gold Coast in Ghana, Africa, and to Raipur, the present capital of Chhattisgarh. He moved on to Rajputana, where he was appointed Colonial Minister and Tax Commissioner in the princely state of Bikaner. His unimpeachable achievement as a minister and tax commissioner earned him rewards and he was appointed foreign minister of Bikaner state.

First Gold Medalist Captain of India

Indian_hockey team 1928 Olympics
In 1928, while he was in England, Singh was asked to captain the Indian hockey team for the 1928 Olympic Games.

Singh was a man of many parts — an accomplished writer, excellent public speaker, iconic hockey captain, visionary, patriot and a tireless campaigner for tribal affairs. When he was selected to captain the Indian hockey team for the Olympic Games, the authorities at the Indian office refused him permission to play in the Amsterdam Olympics. His options were limited, either Olympic hockey or ICS.

“I didn’t get a vacation. I decided to defeat the verdict and take the consequences,” he said later. By opting for the former, he brought India’s first Olympic medal to a compatriot he has apparently forgotten.

As an athlete, he believed that when a door closes before a determined man opens at the same time. An athlete does not see defeat as a defeat but sees it as a challenge, and at its core turns into an opportunity.

Demanded a Separate State For Jharkhand

Demand for separate Jharkhand state was established in Indian politics. He gave an appropriate reply to each plan to divide the social groups within the name of faith and arranged all tribal teams out of the kin group within the political landscape of recent Bharat as a thought. He repeatedly aforementioned, “The social group folks are the foremost democratic community within the world.”

From them, new Bharat and Indian society can be compelled to learn democracy. He wanted no religious, communal, ethnic and gender discrimination in the way of thinking of tribals. The same idea should be in the Constitution, the political parties here, and the country’s people.

His dream of a tribal-state has partially turned into reality. His vision for the Adivasi state was bigger, comprised the Tribal district of Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, besides those of Bihar and Orissa. He wanted Ranchi and there he was received tumultuously by the tribals. The rest is history.

His dream for a separate tribal state fructified in the midnight of 15 November, 2000. A new State of Jharkhand came into being.

Choose Education, Health and Employment Instead of Reservation

Singh was the sole political leader in the 50s who accentuated basic desires like education, health, and employment instead of reservation. He advocated for “equal opportunities for living” for the tribals, dalits, backward, and country girls. He believed that the new Republic of India ought to emphasise the equality of chance.

We have to expand this kind of governance system, a system wherein there may be no restriction for women, tribal and anti-caste politics and society. But his idea changed into omitted via means of the whole Constituent Assembly and Gandhi-Nehru, Jinnah, and Ambedkar.

Divide the country into portions and set the entire country into a place of racial, sexual, ethnic and non-secular violence. In which it’s far nevertheless burning.

It is the fulfilment of Singh’s tribal policy that the country’s tribal community is not ready to abandon its system of self-government and its symbiotic ideology. However, these constitutional provisions did not apply as they wanted, which is why, despite the fifth-sixth list and the TAC, India’s tribals have to fight for water, forest and earth. In its original proposal, the TAC was an influential tribal political institution.

A Speaker who Gave Goosebumps to All

Singh bemoaned the lack of tribal representation in the Constituent Assembly, particularly the lack of a single tribal woman member.

He argued that legislative intervention was imperative to raise the adivasi community’s social, economic and education standards. Further, he wanted Adivasis to be given reservation in the legislature.

Highlighting the troubled history of exploitation and dispossession of the adivasi people, he still hoped that independent India would offer a new chapter for the people, an India: “Where there is equality of opportunity, where no one would be neglected.”

Singh is undoubtedly one of the twentieth-century dreamers who had no other connection, who sacrificed ICS for the country, who gave up his favourite hockey game because of apartheid, sacrificed his love for the Jharkhand movement, abandoned Tara and the children. He has not earned any personal property, never been caught up in corruption.

Such a parable is not found in the life of any other politician in India. He is accused of having sold Jharkhand to Congress, which was, in fact, a political settlement, there are many unsuccessful political compromises in the world, the responsibility of which is not completely lost on politicians, but Singh, the victim of a political betrayal, was expelled to his own house. The existence of tribal and separated Jharkhand in the country can only be imagined by them.

He is a true tribesman — a dreamy tribal writer, journalist, athlete, experienced organiser, ideological theorist and political leader.

You must be to comment.

More from Kanan Gupta

Similar Posts

By Sushil Kuwar

By Akshay S

By Ankur Ranjan

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below