Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that the governments of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra should draw up a roadmap for the development of Mangarh Dham, the site of a tribal uprising against the British that has now been declared a national monument.
A memorial to about 1,500 tribes massacred by the British army in 1913, the dham is located in the Banswara district of Rajasthan, close to the border of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, a region with a large tribal population.
The four states together under the leadership of the Center can develop the dham more so that the place of tribal leader Govind Guru, Mangarh Dham, can have a global identity, the prime minister said at a meeting, which included tribes, here.
Those who were massacred in 1913 were led by social reformer and tribal leader Govind Guru, who the prime minister said was a hero to thousands of tribes and a revolutionary.
The event is also seen as the BJP’s outreach to the community ahead of the election polls in Gujarat in the coming weeks and in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh next year.
While the Union’s event organized by the Ministry of Culture was underway, the Press Information Bureau tweeted: “PM@narendarmodi declares Mangadh Dham as National Monument, #Rajasthan.” “More than 1,500 innocent tribes were killed by British shelling on November 17, 1913, but unfortunately in the history written after independence, this did not get the place it deserved. Now the country is correcting the mistake made decades ago,” Prime Minister Modi said.
He shared the podium with the chief ministers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, Ashok Gehlot, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Bhupendra Patel, and also said that a discussion has been held here about the comprehensive development of Mangarh Dham.
Modi said that “we all have a strong desire for the beautiful expansion of Mangarh Dham and for this Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra must work together”.
“It is my request to all four state governments to have a detailed discussion in this direction, to establish a roadmap so that also the place of Govind Guru can create his identity in the whole world,” he said.
The prime minister said he believes the development of the dham will make this area “an awakened place of inspiration for the new generation”.
Some call it a national monument or can be given a name, but the central government and tribal communities in all these four states have a direct connection to the dham, Modi said.
“These four states and the government of India can take it to a new height and in that direction the central government is fully committed,” the prime minister added.
He stressed the contribution of tribes to the freedom struggle and said the center has a clear policy for tribal development across the country, from Rajasthan and Gujarat to the northeast.
Water, electricity and health, among other things, will be provided and linked to employment, while forest resources will also be protected, Modi said.
Tribes had already started the freedom struggle before the 1857 uprising, he said, adding that the community has a rich history of sacrifice in the freedom movement.
Speaking of Govind Guru, Modi said that he was a social reformer, revolutionary, saint and religious leader and that he opened a front not only against the atrocities under British rule but also against social evil.
Govind Guru was not a king of a princely state, but he was a hero to thousands of tribes. Although he lost his family, he never lost his courage, the prime minister said.
Modi said development works were carried out in the part of the Mangarh Dham that falls in Gujarat when he was the prime minister. This helped spread Govind Guru’s teachings and improve people’s quality of life, he said.
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