Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Yaad Karo Qurbani’ rally on Tuesday commemorating revolutionary Chandrashekhar Azad at his birthplace in Madhya Pradesh, did not find favour with the natives of the tribal heartland.
They, in fact, boycotted Modi’s mega event, which was seen as a bid by BJP to woo them into its fold, and commemorated their leaders in a grand manner in Alirajpur.
“We respect Chandrashekhar Azad and his revolutions to oust British from India, but it was our own tribal leaders like Tantia Bhil, Khajya Naik, Chittu Kirad, Birsa Munda who fought for our rights,” said Arvind Mujalda, a local tribal youth leader.
Modi’s rally could have been held on July 23, Azad’s birth date, but BJP has chosen World Tribal Day or International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples to propagate its nationalist ideology. However, tribals have their own distinct culture, Mujalda said.
“The huge publicity around Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Bhabhara to celebrate the anniversary of Chandra Shekhar Azad and project him as a messiah of the Adivasis, which he actually was not, may be interpreted as an attempt by the Sangh Parivar to blunt the incipient movement of Adivasi Ekta Parishad to establish a distinct Adivasi identity,” said Rahul Banerjee, a tribal rights activist working in Malwa and Nimar region for last two decades.
Of late, with the surge of Adivasi movements in the region, Hindu outfits and the BJP have been put on back foot. However, the Hindu outfits are trying hard to gain ground with a strong pitch that Adivasis are Hindus and not a distinct community, said Banerjee.
“The tribal culture and religion is different from the dominant mainstream religions Hinduism, Christianity and Islam, and is centred around the conservation of nature and living