Suheldev to Birsa: How PM saluted 'unsung heroes'
Nov. 26, 2022

In News:

  • Recently, PM Modi addressed at the closing ceremony of the year-long celebrations of 400th birth anniversary of Ahom commander Lachit Barphukan.
  • This marked a continuation of his government's efforts to honour the heroes whose contributions haven't received due recognition in the pages of Indian history.

What’s in today’s article:

  • News Summary

News Summary

  • The government is putting efforts so that the unsung heroes of India are given due importance, respect and promotion, for the benefit of youngsters and society at large.

Few Unsung Heroes of India

  • Shri Govind Guru
    • Few months back, PM Modi paid homage to Bhil freedom fighter Shri Govind Guru.
    • Govind Guru was a social and religious reformer in the early 1900s in the tribal border areas of present-day Rajasthan and Gujarat states in India.
    • He started working with the Bhil community during the great famine of 1899-1900 and saw their oppression at the hands of the princely states.
    • He started Bhagat Sampradaya (sect) in 1908.
      • His disciples followed strict rules including abstinence from liquor and meat, the adoption of hygienic practices, and the rejection of bonded labour work and witch-doctors.
  • Nadaprabhu Kempegowda
    • Recently, PM Modi unveiled the 108-feet-long bronze statue of Sri Nadaprabhu Kempegowda in Bengaluru.
    • Nadaprabhu Hiriya Kempegowda, also known as Kempegowda, was a chieftain under the Vijayanagara Empire.
    • He is also known as the founder of Bengaluru in the 16th century.
    • He is credited for prohibiting the custom of amputating the last two fingers of the left hand of the unmarried women during "Bandi Devaru", an important custom of Morasu Vokkaligas.
  • Alluri Sitarama Raju
    • He is believed to have been born in present-day Andhra Pradesh in 1897-98.
    • At a very young age, Raju channeled the discontent of the hill people in Ganjam, Visakhapatnam and Godavari into a highly effective guerrilla resistance against the British.
    • As the government sought to secure forest lands, colonial rule threatened the tribals' traditional podu (shifting) cultivation.
      • The Forest Act of 1882 prohibited the collection of minor forest products like roots and leaves and tribal people were forced to work for the colonial government.
    • While the tribals were exploited by muttadars (village headmen hired by the colonial government to extract rent), new laws and systems threatened their very way of life.
    • Strong anti-government sentiment, shared by muttadars (dissatisfied with the British curtailment of their powers), erupted into armed resistance - the Rampa or Manyam Rebellion - in August 1922.
      • Several hundred tribals led by Raju attacked several police stations in the Godavari agency.
      • The rebellion, which coincided with Mahatma Gandhi's Non-Cooperation Movement, lasted until May 1924, when Raju, the charismatic 'Manyam Veerudu' or Hero of the Jungle, was finally apprehended and executed.
  • Birsa Munda
    • The Union Cabinet approved the declaration of November 15 as, "Janjatiya Gaurav Divas" to honour the contributions of tribal freedom fighters.
      • November 15 was chosen because it was the birth anniversary of Birsa Munda.
    • In November 2021, the PM inaugurated Bhagwan Birsa Munda Museum in Ranch
      • Under his vision, 10 museums, cherishing the memories of tribal freedom fighters from various states, are also being constructed across the country.
    • Birsa Munda, a member of the Munda Tribe of the Chhota Nagpur Plateau, was an Indian freedom fighter, religious leader, and folk hero.
    • His action is recognised as a powerful symbol of opposition to British authority in India.
    • He was a driving force behind the Bengal Presidency's Millenarian movement (Present-day Jharkhand).
  • Maharaja Suheldev
    • In February 2021, Modi laid the foundation stone of Maharaja Suheldev Memorial in Bahraich, UP.
      • Legend has it that when waves of Muslim invaders were sweeping through India, Raja Suheldev of Shravasti gathered together heads of tribes including the Tharu and Banjara, and the rulers of several small estates, to resist the invaders.
      • His army is said to have defeated and killed Ghazi Salar Masud, purportedly a favourite nephew of Mahmud of Ghazni, in battle in Bahraich in 1034 AD.