The birth anniversary of Tilka Manjhi — slated on February 11 — would be a low-key affair though there is a university named after the legendary freedom fighter in the town.
Tilka Manjhi’s reputation is part history and part folklore. He reportedly led a Santhal insurgency against the British in 1784 and was the hero of a rebellion in Santhal Pargana (now in Jharkhand). The colonial government in Bhagalpur hanged Manjhi. After Independence, his statue was installed in the town.
But no functions are scheduled for the day this year. The varsity does not even have a holiday on Monday.
“The university spends lakhs in research but there has been no study on the life of Tilka Manjhi. School and college students are also not taught about him,” said Raman Sinha, a senior teacher at SM College in the town.
Sinha, who has carried out extensive research in the history of Anga Pradesh, added that Tilka Manjhi was none other than Jaora Paharia (1766-1784) — a dacoit operating in the Rajmahal Hills. “He was later appointed the commander of 1300 Hill Archers by General Eyre Coote in 1782 at Bhagalpur. ” The university authorities were unavailable to comment on the issue.