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