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Govind Guru Banjara: A Great Freedom Fighter of India

Govind Guru Banjara: A Great Freedom Fighter
In the second half of 19th century Govind Guru (Banjara), besides leading Adivasi movements not only against English rule, but also against native kings and the Begari (forcing village workers to work without wages) practices of jagirdaars, had spearheaded social reform movements. Apart from launching anti liquor and pro-female education movements, he also fought against prevalent social evils and violence. He was born in a Banjara family. He established Sanmap Sabhas among Bhil and Garasia tribes. On the complaint of the native Rajput Rajas, the British raided his dhuni and massacred 1500 Bhils overnight. This massacre was bigger in scale than that of Jallianawala Bagh. This incident took place in Banswara located in Maangarh. Some times in 1880-81. He was imprisoned.In Rajasthan, Adivasi writers, through their research and writing, have been able to resurrect the revolt of Gobind Guru (Banjara) and the martyrdom of Kalibai. Ramesh Chandra Vadera and Khemraj Pargi have traced the history of Gobind Guru and Kalibai through folk songs. Hariram Meena has also explored this theme in his article. Today we know that a massacre bigger in scale than that at Jalianawala had taken place at Maangarh, where the English, in connivance with Rajput chieftains of Rajasthan and Gujarat, had shot dead 1500 Adivasis in a single night in the hills of Maangarh. But this incident remained buried in history. It is only now that it is being documented.

The movement that Govind Guru, a staunch advocate of education, had spearheaded for establishing of schools for boys and girls, for non payment of taxes to the government and interest to moneylenders, was kept alive by people in their folk songs and folktales; now these are being penned on paper and sculpted in stone by the Adivasi artists.

The following song by Govind Guru that reverberates through the nooks and corners of Rajasthan turned out to be a prophecy for freedom :
O Buratia I refuse to acquiesce
My writ runs in Delhi
In Ahmedabad my jajam (seat)
My armies in Jaambu
In Maangarh my dhuni (base)
I recognize him as the chief
Who proclaims
The authority of Govind Guru. (With thanks from Ramnika Foundation)