Social Scientist. v 13, no. 141 (Feb 1985) p. 46.

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A Fresh Look at the Jnw^i Rebellion

TH EJAINTIA H ILLS, situated in norm-^st India and at present a con-' stitucent of the state ofMeghalaya, became a British territory in 1835. in thai year the Raja ofjainua, Rajendra Singh, was loosed on the charge ofc^m-

Kwith some of his subjects, who, it v^as alleged, had carried off three \ officers and barbarously sacrificed du •!: at the shrine of goddess ||di. tains portion of his territory was cou^qu^ntly annexed by the British, while the hilly portion was given up volvruarilv by the Raja himself as he vas unwilling to rule over a truncated country. The deposed king was removecito S^lhet and a pension ofRs. 500

^ Though Ac hills possessed enough natural resources, the British, fof about a decade, did not make any attempt to harness them. The poHcy of Ac government, during this period, was one of complete non-interference in the internal matter of the country. No administrative change was conceived of and the people were virtually left undisturbed. The former practice ofrccriv-ing a he-goat and a few seers of parched rice once a year from each village aa tribute was also retained unaltered.

The near-independent status of the Symengs (the name by which the Jainuas were known) did not last long as steps were soon taken to bring them under more effective control of the British. Early in 1849 a proposal was made by Capt Lister, the Political Officer, to extend the scope of taxation in the hills by the imposition of a house tax "in consequence of the disposition evinced by some of the people to assert their independence".} In 1853 AJ.M. Mills, judge of the SwUer Dcwam Adalat, on deputation to Khasi and Jaimu Hills, advocated a house tax. "We have acted unwisely and inequitably", argued Mills, "when in the neighbouring hills house tax was paid." H« further suggested that a thana (police station) was to be immediately set up

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