Janjatiya Gaurav Divas

Janjatiya Gaurav Divas

Government of India has declared 15th November as Janjatiya Gaurav Divas dedicated to the memory of brave tribal freedom fighters. The declaration was done during 2021.

The date is the birth anniversary of Sri Birsa Munda who is revered as Bhagwan by tribal communities across the country. Birsa Munda fought bravely against the country against the exploitative system of the British colonial system and spearheaded movement against British oppression giving a call for ‘Ulgulan’ (Revolution).

The declaration acknowledges the glorious history and cultural heritage of tribal communities. The day will be celebrated every year and would recognize the efforts of the tribals for preservation of cultural heritage and promotion of Indian values of valour, hospitality and national pride.

Born on 15th November 1875, in Ulihatu village of a present-day Jharkhand, Birsa spent his childhood in abject poverty in a tribal Munda family. This was the time when exploitative British Raj started penetrating into the deep jungles of Central and Eastern India, disrupting the tribals who had been living in harmony with nature and natural resources. The Britishers introduced a feudal Jamindari system in Chhota Nagpur region, destroying tribal Khuntkatti agrarian system. The Raj brought in the outsiders – moneylenders and contractors, as well as feudal landlords, which aided the British in exploitation of tribals.

It all culminated into Birsa Munda taking up the cause of Adivasis. He worked for refining and reforming the religious practices, discouraged many superstitious rites, brought in new tenets, new prayers, reformed many habits, and worked for restoring and reviving the tribal pride. Birsa impressed upon the adiwasis about “Sirmare firun raja jai” or ‘victory to the ancestral king’ thus invoking sovereignty of the tribals’ ancestral autonomous control over the land. Birsa became a mass leader, and began to be considered as a Bhagwan and Dharati Aba by his followers.

Birsa Munda had clearly identified that the British colonial rule was the root cause of all the problems and oppressions. It was amply clear to him that “Abua raj setar jana, maharani raj tundu jana (meaning: Let the Kingdom of the Queen be ended and our kingdom be established). Bhagwan Birsa ignited the spark in the minds of the masses. The Mundas, Oraons, other adivasis and non-adivasis responded to his call and joined ‘Ulgulan’ against the colonial masters and the exploitative dikus under the leadership of Birsa, for their social, economic, political and cultural emancipation. Soon he was captured by British police and lodged in jail, where he died in captivity on 09 June 1900.