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'Gujarat's tribal revolutionaries' tableau

Published: 31st Jan, 2022

Context

In the Sabarkantha district of Gujarat, a more horrific massacre than Jallianwala Bagh was committed by the British, and about 1,200 tribals were martyred.

  • On the 100th anniversary of this unknown historical event, the Gujarat government will highlight it through tableaux, named as 'Gujarat's tribal revolutionaries', at the Republic Day Parade.

About

  • The 45-feet long, 14-feet wide and 16-feet high official tableau from Gujarat for the Republic Day parade will represent the incident of indiscriminate firing by the British army on the tribal revolutionaries of Pal Dadhvaav village.
  • A seven-feet statue of Motilal Tejawat, who was regarded as the ‘Gandhi of Koliyari’ by the tribals, will be the main highlight of the tableau.
  • A statue of H G Saturn, the British cavalier who gave the firing order, will also be depicted in it.

Protest of Bhil tribal in freedom movement

  • About 600 innocent civilians were killed at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab on April 13, 1919.
  • Later in 1920, Gandhiji started the non-cooperation movement in Calcutta. The freedom struggle had started all over the country.
  • In the Sabarkantha district of Gujarat, the Bhil tribals, who lived a lavish life in the Aravalli hills, also protested the:
    • exploitation
    • harsh taxes
    • tyranny of the British and the feudal lords

Bhil Tribals

  • Bhills are considered as one of the oldest tribe in India.
  • Once they were the ruler in parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Malwa, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
  • They are a cross section of great Munda race and a wild tribe of India.
  • Bhills could be identified as one of the Dravidian racial tribe of Western India and belong to Austroloid group of tribes.
    • o   They speak a language of Dravidian origin

About the forgotten horrific incident

  • Date:March 7, 1922
  • Location: Sabarkantha district of Gujarat
  • Tribal leader: Motilal Tejawat
  • British Officer: Major HG Stern
  • This horrific incident took place in the Sabarkantha district of Gujarat, three years after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
  • Freedom-loving tribals met under the leadership of Motilal Tejawat, known as the Gandhi of Koliyari.
  • An armed military force of the British paramilitary force called Mewar Bhil Corps (MBC) was stationed on the Jaramara hills.
  • Major HG Stern, the British officer of the MBC, ordered to shoot at the thousands of tribals, who had gathered, and around 1,200 innocent tribals were shot dead.
  • The sound of gunshots from machine guns erased the dance and drums of the tribals forever.
  • There were piles of dead bodies everywhere.
  • Like a battlefield, the whole field was filled with corpses.
  • The nearby Dhekhaliya Kuwa and Dudhio Kuwa were filled with the bodies of around 1,200 innocent tribals.
  • Motilal Tejawat was also shot twice. Later, his companions made him sit on a camel and took him to the hills along the river.
  • The tribals of this region still sing songs of this event in their wedding songs.
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