Congress govts ignored tribal welfare, we don’t: PM Modi in MP
Contributions of India’s tribespeople to the country’s freedom struggle was ignored by previous governments but the current administration is focussed on their development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Bhopal on Monday in a big outreach to the tribal communities ahead of high-stakes elections in seven states next year.
Launching the Janajatiya Gaurav Diwas to mark the birth anniversary of tribal icon Birsa Munda in Bhopal, Modi also said one couldn’t imagine Hindu god Ram’s life without tribal culture, customs and tradition. He also inaugurated in Bhopal a revamped railway station that was recently renamed after a Gond queen, Rani Kamalapati.
“India is celebrating its first Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas after Independence and on such a grand scale. The contribution of the tribal in the freedom movement and nation building is being remembered with pride. I am here today to express my gratitude to the tribal society of Madhya Pradesh,” the PM said.
The PM said that many people didn’t know about the contribution of tribespeople to India’s progress.“The reason for this is that the contribution of the tribal society was either not told to the country, and shared in a very limited way because, after Independence, those who remained in the power for decades, ignored the tribal society for decades and exploited them. They ignored their suffering and culture,” he said, taking a jibe at the Congress without naming the opposition party.
Attacking previous governments, the PM said tribal-dominated districts were deprived of even basic facilities of development and tagged backward.
“It is necessary to discuss it on every forum, why tribal communities have been ignored for years. How political parties have kept tribal society away from every resource of comfort and exploited their resources. During the elections, their votes were sought in the name of development but what they should have done for the tribal community, they didn’t do.” he said.
“We have decided no state, no district, no individual and society should be left behind in the race for development,” he added.
The PM linked the tribal community to the legacy of Ram. “Is it possible to imagine the success in the life of Lord Ram without tribals? Not at all. During the time spent with forest dwellers during his exile, Lord Ram learnt customary, customs and traditions of tribal. Tribal made a significant contribution in transforming a prince into Maryada Purushottam Ram,” Modi said.
He mentioned different schemes run by the Centre and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Madhya Pradesh government for tribal welfare and development. He launched the Ration Aapke Dwar, under which the state government will provide ration at home to tribal in 89 development blocks, and the Sickle Cell Mission, which will provide gene cards to tribal couples to get an idea of the probability of diseases such as sickle cell anaemia in their children.
The PM said both these programs will play a very important role in the advancement of health and nutrition of the tribal society.
He hailed Birsa Munda, the 19th-century figure revered as a freedom fighter and tribal icon, and said the Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas will be celebrated every year on the lines of the anniversaries of MK Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel and BR Ambedkar.
He detailed the contribution of tribal communities, mentioning Queen Durgavati, a queen of the Gondwana kingdom who ruled in the 15 century, Queen Kamalapati, another Gondwana queen who ruled in the 17th century, and the struggle of the Bhils with Maharana Pratap against Mughal emperor Akbar in Rajasthan. “We are all indebted to them, we cannot repay it but by giving them a respected place, we can fulfil our responsibility,” the PM said.
He also recalled that people from the many respected figures from tribal communities were conferred the Padma Awards recently. “When they reached Rashtrapati Bhavan without any footwear on the feet, it stunned the whole world. The tribal, who are working in the rural society, are the real heroes of the country and they are our diamonds. In the tribal society, there is no shortage of talent,” he added. Some prominent tribespeople who were honoured included Rahibai Popere, a farmer, Tulsi Gowda, an environmentalist, and artist Bhuri Bai.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan thanked Modi for providing a vision for tribal development, and said the MP government is going to implement Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas ( PESA) Act which allows governance by gram sabha, and give community forest rights to communities that are traditionally forest dwellers.
Chouhan also attacked the Congress for ignoring tribal people. Governor Mangu Bhai Patel, Union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, agriculture and farmers welfare minister Narendra Singh Tomar and others were present at the function.
The PM also inaugurated Birsa Munda Udyaan and Museum in Jharkhand’s Ranchi. He said, “Dharti Aaba (term used for Birsa Munda) didn’t live very long but he wrote a complete history for the country and gave direction to future generations of India.” Birsa Munda was a tribal freedom fighter, religious leader, and folk hero who belonged to the Munda tribe.
Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) organised a function on the birth anniversary of Birsa Munda in Jabalpur. Speaking there, MPCC president Kamal Nath said, “After 18 years, Shivraj Singh Chouhan is remembering martyr Birsa Munda and his birth anniversary is being celebrated on a grand scale, where was he for the past so many years?
“BJP’s event is a government event and it is being organised by installing a grand dom by using the contractors and by giving target of the crowd to the administration. Tribal community can never get respect by such events, it can never be beneficial for them. BJP leaders always mislead every section of people by diverting their attention and they did the same today.”