The Santhals were peace-loving people and worked under primitive agricultural conditions. But they found under the British rule, that the land which they had cultivated for centuries were overnight placed under the zamindars in terms of the Permanent Settlement of 1793.
Besides, the Santhals were also oppressed by the contractors, money-lenders, revenue-collectors and other agents of the British.
Initially, the Santhals lodged complaints against the oppressors to the Courts and government authorities.
But when they found that these could not bring relief to them the Santhals took recourse to armed insurrection under the leadership of Kanu and Sidhu, the two brothers.
They gave a call to their Santhal brethern to take possession of the country and set up a government of their own. TI us the ultimate aim of the Santhal rebellion were to bring an end to the foreign rule.