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Demand for a separate state of Bhil Pradesh

  • Published
    26th May, 2022

The demands for a “Bhil Pradesh”, a separate state for tribal people in western India, have of late begun to be raised again.


Bhil Pradesh:

  • The Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), a political party based in Gujarat, envisions Bhil Pradesh as a separate state carved out of 39 districts spread over four states:
    • 16 in Gujarat,
    • 10 in Rajasthan,
    • seven in Madhya Pradesh, and
    • six in Maharashtra
  • Bhil social reformer and spiritual leader Govind Guru first raised the demand for a separate state for tribals back in 1913 after the Mangarh massacre.
  • The massacre, which took place six years before Jallianwalla Bagh and is sometimes referred to as the “Adivasi Jallianwala”.
    • It saw hundreds of Bhil tribals being killed by British forces on November 17, 1913 in the hills of Mangarh on the border of Rajasthan and Gujarat.

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. 
  • Tribe Sub-categories:
    • Ugaliya Bhil is basically the Kshatriya who wandered into the forests at the time of the Mughal invasion.
    • Langot Bhil: They are the original Bhils who live in the forests, their custom is still ancient. These mainly live in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Bhils or Bheels are an Indo-Aryan speaking ethnic group in West India.
    • They speak the Bhil languages, a subgroup of the Western Zone of the Indo-Aryan languages.
  • Tribal occupation:
    • The source of income for the Bhils is agriculture and animal husbandry.
    • Poultry and labour also source of income of this community.
    • The Bhils have knowledge of the manufacturing of handloom products also.
  • As of 2013, they were the largest tribal group in India with over 16,673,000 inhabitants (Joshua Project Data) with the majority living in the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. 
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