Home » Observing Janajati Gaurav Divas is befitting tribute to the Janajati freedom fighters – Prof Lokendra Singh

Observing Janajati Gaurav Divas is befitting tribute to the Janajati freedom fighters – Prof Lokendra Singh

by Rinku Khumukcham
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By -Dr Aheibam Koireng Singh
Imphal, Nov 21:

Janajati Gaurav Divas (Birth Anniversary of Bhagawan Birsa Munda) was observed today at the Banquet Hall, Rajbhavan, Imphal. LA Ganesanji, the Governor of Manipur; and Prof. Naorem Lokendra Singh, Vice Chancellor, Manipur University; Chaoba Kamson, General Secretary, Tingkao Raagwang Chapriak Phom (Assam Manipur Nagaland) attended the function as the Chief Guest and the Guests of Honour respectively with HK Nagu, Vice President, Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram as the main speaker. The function ended with a vote of thanks proposed by the President of Kalyan Ashram Manipur. A pictorial book on Late Jagadevram Ji Oraon (Former President, Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram) was also released on the occasion. Janajati Gaurav Divas is observed on 15 November all over the country. But it was observed today in Manipur since the Governor was out of station.
The programme begins with the rendering of national anthem with Governor of Manipur in the dais followed by an invocation of ceremonial lamp and offering of floral tributes to the portrait of Mother India, Bhagwan Birsa Munda, Haipou Jadonang, Ma Rani Gaidinlu, and Balasaheb Deshpande who is the founder President of Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram who died in the year 1993.
Dr. Lamalu, Assistant Professor, Adult and Continuing Education Extension Dept. of Manipur University gave the Welcome address. Hk Nagu, Vice President of Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram in his deliberation as the main speaker highlighted the contributions of tribal freedom fighters and martyrs in India’s freedom struggle all over the country. While praising Birsa Munda as the vanguard and protector of nature, tribal culture, tradition and customs working along with the firm belief that if nature is destroyed, culture would also be destroyed, he also lauded Manipur as a place of great warrior, whose sons and daughters like Tikendrajit, Rani Gaidinlu, Haipou Jadonang faced the might of the British empire for the cause of the freedom of the land and her people. The women of Manipur too have shown tremendous couragein successfully resistance against the exploitative system of the British. The identity of the Janjatis is such that though they may be poor, they are rich in heart. Janajati Gaurav Divas is linked with ‘Ajadi ka Amrit Mahautsav’ celebrating 75 years of India’s independence. In connection with it, a book containing the life stories and selfless sacrifice of more than 200 Janajat freedom fighters is also planning to be brought out.
Chaoba Kamson, in his speech as one of the Guests of Honour highlighted that HaipouJadonang launched the Indian freedom movements against British rule following Gandhian principles. He predicted the end of the British rule in the later part of 1928. The British government falsely accused and convicted him of killing Betel leaves traders and later hang him to death though he was not at the village by the time the incident happened. His legacy was continued by Rani Gaidinlu. She went underground in her struggle against the British colonial rule and got arrested on 17 Oct 1932 and imprisoned for 14 years. She was released after India got independence. She preserved and promoted the Janajati faith system of her community and introduced it as the ‘Heraka’ religion. The Heraka was later evolved as Tingkao Ragwang Chaprak.
The sacrifices made by these Janajati freedom fighters should be incorporated in the educational curriculum and syllabus of the state. He concluded an earnest wish and prayer that the death anniversary of Haipou Jadonang which falls on 29 August be declared general holiday and observed as Jadonang Day. Prof. Naorem Lokendra, the Vice Chancellor of Manipur University also spoke on the occasion as one of the Guests of Honour. He said in colonial Manipur, the Christian missionaries legitimize imperial and colonial rule along the line of ‘White man’s burden’ as if colonial rule is there to show light to the native people which they out rightly rejected as ‘barbaric and less civilized people’ in return of the support they received from the British colonialism. The colonial rule disrupted the traditional law, property and land system. In the process, Zamindari system, Ryotwari system, etc. were introduced. All sources of livelihood options were taxed heavily leading to the impoverishment and abject poverty of the Janajatis. It was at such contexts that Bhagawan Birsa Munda, in his search for coming out from the colonial yoke started mobilizing for fishing rights, jungle rights, land rights, etc. Similarly Jadonang who was aware of the Gandhiji’s call for quit India movement started by mobilizing against the exploitation by the Cachar Forest authority. He aroused the Rongmei and Zeme people against Christian religion. Himself being a traditional healer, Jadonang was aware of the tribal livelihood, tribal way of life, culture, belief and practices. The Heraka religion which is now evolved with more elaborate procedures is actually a syncretisation of local Janajati faith system with Hinduism. The Government of India’s initiative to observe the Birth anniversary of Bhagavan Birsa Munda as the Janajati Gaurav Divas is a befitting tribute to the Janajati freedom fighters and martyrs of late 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th Century.
Governor LA Ganesanji in his speech stated that British rule was never welcomed in any of the Janajati (inhabited) area of the country. Birsa Munda died very young at the age of 25 but he is a visionary patriot that even after his death, the movement he launched bear fruition even after his death with the British colonial administration abolishing the exploitative land system. He concluded by saying that India’s strength lies in its unity in diversity, ‘Anekta main Ektahindukivisesata.

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