Mammoth Meet: Tribals recall Gundadhur, seek forest-land rights on Bhumkal Day in Chhattisgarh
Shams Ur Rehman Alavi
RAJNANDGAON: A massive meet was taken out in Chhattisgarh in memory of legendary freedom fighter Gundadhur* and the Bhumkal rebellion during British rule.
Tens of thousands of tribals apart from members of scheduled castes and backwards, besides other sections of society, attended the event.
Recalling the sacrifice of Gaundadhur--the revolutionary tribal leader, they demanded due implementation of constitutional provisions for the protection of tribals' rights (in spirit) and raised their voices in this regard.
Addressing the huge gathering, tribal leaders urged the scheduled tribes to join hands and fight for their rights. Asserting that BJP was defeated by tribals due to their land acquisition law for which Adiwasi populace punished them, the tribal leaders said that now it's time that tribal groups create awareness about rights in their communities and they are no longer exploited.
The entire town was choc-a-bloc with the people and businesses remained shut in Manpur town in Rajnandgaon. The tribal leaders under the banner of Sarva Aadiwasi Samaj, demanded the implementation of fifth schedule and spoke in favour of their rights on forest.
They also opposed the recent decision of Centre to provide 10% reservation to those falling in the unreserved category.
The tribal youth gave a performance of folk dance e.g. Rela Karma. A massive rally was taken out from Gondwana Bazar to the Bus Stand. Nandkumar Baghel, father of chief minister Bhupesh Baghel, was present at the event.
Former MP Sohan Potai, Gondwana Samaj leaders, heads of tribal communities and representatives of Adiwasi Samaj, were present. People from neighbouring states including Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, had also come for the Bhumkal Diwas.
*Gundadhur was a legendary tribal leader and warrior who rebelled against British rule. The revolution had started in the year 1910. The British demonized him. He remained a thorn in the flesh of British in Bastar region. For tribals, he is their hero, someone who fought against tyranny and exploitation.
Forgotten elsewhere and not given adequate representation in texts or history of freedom movement, he remained alive in the hearts of Adiwasis. He found place in their folk songs and oral history. After Chhattisgarh state was carved out, the tribal communities began reclaiming this great son of soil.