Portraits and busts of Birsa Munda, the tribal freedom fighter who also spearheaded the tribal indigenous religious millenarian movement and became a prophet for millions of tribals across the country, will soon not be seen in handcuffs in Jharkhand.
In a first, the state has passed a resolution to ensure that all portraits, busts, statues of the iconic leader in hand-cuffs installed at public places were removed and replaced with free hand idols. Reason: The government feels such idols are symbolic of slavery and were spreading negative vibes among the youth.
“He is our icon. He gave us freedom. How can we tolerate seeing him in chains when our country is free?” said state’s culture department director, Anil Kumar Singh. The idea mooted by him went to the chief minister and Governor, who wasted no time agreeing to it and gave their consent for issuing it as a government resolution.
Singh said almost seven decades post-independence, there is no reason why countrymen should see idols of their national heroes and freedom fighters handcuffed or in chains. “Their busts/idols are installed at the thoroughfares to inspire the youth, not to frighten them. I am sorry to say that in chains and handcuffs, the idols only spread negative thoughts in the myriad minds of youth,” the director said.
The department has started sending copies of the resolution to all organisations, universities, schools and colleges that have installed Bhagwan Birsa’s statues in chains ordering them to replace them with free hand idols with immediate effect.
In Jharkhand, there are a number of organisations, bodies and structures named after Birsa Munda where his idols stand firm and tall at the entrances. His portrait also hangs in the central hall of the parliament, the only tribal leader to have been so honoured.
Few of them across Jharkhand cities are in handcuffs. In capital Ranchi, at the famous Birsa Chowk near airport stands a tall idol of Birsa in handcuffs.
A tribal organization that had installed the statue has been asked to replace it soon. Authorities in districts have been asked to survey and submit reports on implementation of the resolution to the department soonest.
“We have begun locating handcuffed Birsa idols in our district,” Latehar circle officer, Lallan Kumar said, adding, “Organisations that installed such idols will bear the expenses of replacing the idols.”