Unsung Martyrs of Mangarh

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    1. The courageous tribal martyrs led by Govind Guru fought the British rulers in the early 20th century.

    Govind Guru

    • Birth:
      • Born on 20th December, 1858, in a nomadic community in the Dungarpur-Banswara region of Rajasthan.
    • Influence of:
      • Govind Guru was influenced by the teachings of Swami Dayanand Saraswati to work for the socio-religious upliftment of people from the Bhil community. 
    • Worked for bettering tribal communities:
      • While the colonial state was engaged in an organised loot of India’s resources, Govind Guru drew from Indian traditions and ideals to promote harmony amongst the tribal communities
    • Samp Sabha:
      • He was 25 when he founded the Samp Sabha in 1883. 
      • The word samp means interaction and giving up evil practices.
      • It was formed to bring harmony between tribal communities.
      • From 1903 onwards, Mangarh hill became famous for an annual congregation of the Bhils and other tribal groups in the region.

    Image Courtesy: forwardpress 

    • Background:
      • At that time, the demand for self-rule was gathering currency amongst the people of the country. 
      • The divide-and-rule policy of the British, the Bengal Partition and the drain of wealth from the country had dented the moral foundation of British rule. 
      • Govind Guru demanded that the colonial state reduce the revenue rate during famines and stop encroaching on the religious freedom of tribal communities and harming their culture. 
      • The Bhils and other tribals were engaged in a long standoff with the British. 
    • Against British exploitation:
      • On November 17, 1913, a full moon day, Mangarh hill witnessed a mass gathering of more than 1.5 lakh Bhils. 
      • They swore allegiance to their guru and sought to fulfil their spiritual desires. 
      • The gathering also resolved to find ways to end the British hegemony, especially the unjust revenue regime.
      • ‘Bhuretia Nahi Manu Re’ (I will not accept the tyrannical rule of white people), the song of the tribal people has, since then, become an anthem of sorts for them. 
      • Govind Guru’s calls for protesting against the injustice of the colonial rulers laid the foundation of the Civil Disobedience Movement.
    • British Reaction:
      • Sensing trouble from the congregation, the British deputed seven companies to surround the Mangarh hill and tried to suppress the tribals with the fear of bullets and cannons. 
      • But the brave tribals could not be subdued. Their awakened consciousness and new-found spirituality had raised their confidence and the desire to protect the motherland overwhelmed the fear of the bullet.
      • The British ordered a mass shooting, and because of this inhuman act, more than 1,500 tribal freedom fighters died on November 17. 
      • The moral legitimacy of the British kept on eroding, especially after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919.
    • Result:
      • People began to see a stake in the country’s freedom. The spirit of taking ownership of the country’s welfare has passed down to people after the country gained Independence.

    Managarh Dham ki Gaurav Gatha

    • The event was held on November 1. 
    • Mangarh Dham will be developed as a joint project of the governments of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra
    • It will be a national memorial showcasing tribal legacy and their rich cultural heritage. 
    • This will be a significant milestone in recognising tribal contribution in nation-building. 

    About Bhil Tribe

    • The word Bhil is derived from “Veel”, which means “bow” in the Dravidian language.
    • The Bhil tribe is called “Dhanush Purush of India” because they are highly adept at learning Dhanush.
    • Bhils are a group of tribal Indians scattered throughout India from Gujarat in the west to Tripura in the Far East.
    • As of 2013, they were the largest tribal group in India with the majority living in the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
    • Bhils have a rich and unique culture. The Bhilala subdivision is known for its Pithora painting.
    • Ghoomar is a traditional folk dance of the Bhil tribe. 
      • Ghoomar is the symbol of femininity.
      • The young women take art in this dance and declare that they are stepping into women’s shoes.

    Panch Pran

    • Recently, the Prime Minister of India gave a call for Amrit Kaal’s “Panch Pran”. 
    • This involves:
      • removing traces of the colonial mindset, 
      • taking pride in our roots,
      • inculcating unity and a sense of duty and 
      • improving the well-being of the nation. 
    • Importance of tribal communities:
      • The role of tribal communities during the freedom struggle and nation-building provides inspiration for this endeavour. 
      • The environment-friendly lifestyle of these communities and their zeal to protect nature offer valuable lessons to people from the elite class and developed countries who are currently discussing ways to reduce carbon footprints.

    Government’s Efforts

    • The pro-poor welfare policies, people-centric measures, Eklavya Model residential schools, scholarship schemes for students and health schemes of the government have imparted a new meaning to the idea of social justice. 
    • The government is already setting up tribal museums in 10 states — Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, MP, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Kerala — to raise awareness about the sacrifices made by tribals during the freedom struggle.
    • Droupadi Murmu taking over as the President of India is a landmark in the country’s history. 
    • The Union Council of Ministers has eight tribal ministers.

    Source: IE