Modi pays homage to unsung tribal heroes and martyrs of the freedom struggle at Mangarh
Mangarh (Rajasthan), November 1, 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today paid homage to the sacrifices of unsung tribal heroes and martyrs of the freedom struggle at a public programme "Mangarh Dham ki Gaurav Gatha" at Mangarh in Rajasthan.
On arrival at the venue, the Prime Minister performed "Dhuni Darshan" and paid floral tributes to the statue of Govind Guru whose death anniversary fell on October 30.
He was a social and religious reformer in the early 1900s in the Adivasi-dominated border areas of present-day Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Addressing a gathering, Modi said, “Mangarh is a shared heritage of the people of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.”
As the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he recollected having served the region of Mangarh which is part of Gujarat. Govind Guru spent the last years of his life here and his energy and knowledge can still be felt in the soil of this land.
The entire area which was barren earlier got transformed with greenery after he urged everyone to contribute via the platform of Van Mahotsav. he thanked the tribal community for selflessly working for the campaign.
The development not only resulted in an improvement of the life quality of the local people but also led to the propagation of the teachings of Govind Guru. “Great freedom fighters like Govind Guru were the representative of India’s tradition and ideals. He lost his family but never lost his heart and made every tribal person his family.
“If Govind Guru fought against Britishers for the rights of the tribal community, he also campaigned against the ills of his own community as he was a social reformer. His intellectual and philosophical aspect was as vibrant as his courage and social activism,” the Prime Minister said.
Remembering the massacre of November 17, 1913 in Mangarh, he said it was an example of extreme cruelty during British rule in India. “On the one hand we had the innocent tribals who were seeking independence while on the other, it was the British colonial rulers who after surrounding the hills of Mangarh, massacred more than 1500 innocent men, women, the elderly and children in broad daylight.”
Due to unfortunate circumstances, such a significant and impactful event of the freedom struggle could not find its place in the history books. “In this Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, India is filling this void and correcting the mistakes that were made decades ago,” he added.
“India’s past, history, present and India’s future will never be complete without the tribal community. Every page of the story of our freedom struggle is filled with tribal valour,” he said.
The Prime Minister referred to glorious struggles that date back to as early as the 1780s when Santhal Sangram was fought under the leadership of Tilka Manjhi.
He mentioned 1830-32 when the country witnessed Larka Andolan under the leadership of Budhu Bhagat. In 1855 Sidhu-Kanhu Kranti energised the nation. Bhagwan Birsa Munda inspired everyone with his energy and patriotism. “You will not find any patch of time starting from the beginning of slavery centuries ago, till the 20th century when the flame of Azadi was not kept ablaze by the tribal community,” he said.
He mentioned Alluri Sitarama Raju in Andhra Pradesh. In Rajasthan, even before that, the Adivasi Samaj stood with Maharana Pratap. “We are indebted to the tribal community and their sacrifice. This samaj has preserved India’s character in nature, environment, culture and traditions. Today is the time for the nation to thank them by serving them,” he added.
He said on November 15, the country will celebrate Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas on the birth anniversary of Bhagwan Birsa Munda. “The Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas is an endeavour to educate the masses about the history of tribals in the freedom struggle”, he said.
Modi noted that special museums dedicated to tribal freedom fighters were being built across the country to take the history of tribal society to the masses. This grand legacy will now become a part of the thought process and provide inspiration for the younger generations, he added.
The Prime Minister expressed the need to work with a dedicated spirit to extend the role of tribal society in the country.
The Government was working with clear policies to serve the diverse tribal society in all parts of the country ranging from Rajasthan and Gujarat to Northeast and Orissa. The tribal population was being provided water and electricity connections, education and health services and employment opportunities through Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana. “Today, forest cover is also increasing in the country and resources are being protected. At the same time, tribal areas are also being connected with Digital India.”
The Prime Minister also mentioned Eklavya residential schools that provide opportunities for modern education to tribal youth along with traditional skills.
He said he will be heading to Jambughoda to inaugurate the grand administrative campus of the university named after Govind Guru.
Last evening, Modi flagged off a train on Ahmedabad-Udaipur broad gauge line. He underlined the importance of the 300 km line for the people of Rajasthan as it will connect many tribal areas of Gujarat with the tribal areas of Rajasthan and will give a push to the industrial development and employment in these regions.
In the discussion about the total development of Mangarh Dham, he requested the four state governments of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra to work together and have a detailed discussion about preparing a roadmap so that this memorial site of Govind Guru Ji finds a place on the world map.
“I am sure that the development of Mangarh Dham will make this area a place of inspiration for the new generation,” he added.
Chief Ministers Bhupendra Patel (Gujarat), Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan) Shivraj Singh (Madhya Pradesh), Madhya Pradesh Governor Mangubhai Patel, Union Minister of State for Culture Arjun Ram Meghawal, Union Minister of State for Rural Development Faggan Singh Kulaste, Members of Parliament, MLAs were present on the occasion.
As part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the government has initiated several steps to celebrate unsung tribal heroes of the freedom struggle. These include declaring November 15 (the birth anniversary of tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda) as ‘Janjatiya Gaurav Divas’, setting up tribal museums across the country etc to recognise the contribution of tribal people to society and increase awareness about their sacrifices in the freedom struggle.
Mangarh hill holds special importance for the Bhil community and other tribes of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh. During the freedom struggle where Bhils and other tribes engaged in a long stand-off with the British, more than 1.5 lakh Bhils rallied at Mangarh Hill on November 17, 1913, under the leadership of Govind Guru. Britishers opened fire at this gathering, leading to Mangarh Massacre where approximately 1500 tribals were martyred.