102 years of Raj’s Jalliyanwala Bagh Massacre
Udaipur : Leaders across the political spectrum on Tuesday would gather at the famous Maangarh Dhaam to pay homage to the hundreds of martyrs who were killed in a massacre better known as Rajasthan’s Jallianwalla Bagh, on the 102th anniversary of the tragedy. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Union minister of state for tribal affairs Mansukh Bhai Vasava, union minister Sudarshan Bhagat, Tribal Minister Nandlal Meena, Home minister Gulabchand Kataria are among the dignitaries to be present here on the occasion.
On November 17, 1913, Banswara district of South Rajasthan was witness to a little-known massacre of around 1500 tribals by the British, echoing the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in which 329 people were killed in firing. British forces, supported by the forces of the princely states, on this day, opened fire on tribals who had gathered on the Mangarh hillock situated in the Aravali mountains on the Rajasthan-Gujarat border. Sadly even after a century of the tragedy, the historically important site remains neglected and demands of the locales to make it a protected area under the Archaeology department has been unheard. To commemorate the incident, the natives also have been demanding postal ticket and coin to be released on the name of Govind Guru, the great leader who inspired the tribals to throw off the yoke of British reign.
Govind Guru, influenced by social reformers like Dayanand Saraswati, launched the ‘Bhagat movement among the Bhils (tribal caste) asking them to adhere to vegetarianism, and abstain from all types of intoxicants.The movement slowly took on a political hue and turned into a movement against the oppressive policies of the British. The Bhils began opposing taxes imposed by the British and forced labour imposed by the princely states of Banswara, Santrampur, Dungarpur and Kushalgarh. Worried by the tribal revolt, the Britishers and princely states decided to crush the uprising. From October 1913, Govind Guru asked his followers to gather at Mangarh hill from where they would conduct their operations.
The British asked them to vacate Mangarh hill by November 15, but they refused. On November 17, the tribals were gathering for a meeting when the British forces under Maj S Bailey and Capt E Stiley opened fire from cannons and guns on the crowd. Though there are no official estimates, locals believe more than 1500 people were killed. Govind guru was captured and exiled from the area. He was imprisoned in Hyderabad jail and released in 1919 on grounds of good behavior. But as he was exiled from his homeland, he settled in Limdi in Gujarat where he passed away in 1931.