Vanavasi Kalyana Karnataka

Who are these Vanavasis?

  • Vanavasis are our brethren who live in the remote forests (vana) and hilly areas of our nation.
  • They are known as Janajatis in the constitution of India.
  • They constitute nearly 9% of India’s population.
  • They are in every state of our nation, but majority of them are in Northeast India.
  • Vanavasis worship the nature - animals, the Sun, trees, forests, idols, stones, various Gods and Goddesses, and even the formless God.
  • There were legendary heroes among the Vanavasis who fought against foreign aggressors, including British, for centuries – Birsa Munda (from Bihar),Talakkal Chandu (from Kerala), Punja Bhil (from Rajastan), Rani Durgavati (from M.P.), Padma Vibhushan Rani Gaidinliu (from Nagaland) to mention a few.
  • They have been victims of foreign conspiracy since the British rule.
  • Even today some of them are not even reachable to the so-called civilized society.
  • In spite of independence, industrial development and globalization, the living conditions of the Vanavasis are pathetic compared to the “Nagaravasis” (city dwellers) and “Gramavasis” (villagers) of India.
  • In spite of the various cultural onslaughts, they have retained their deep cultural values.
  • Their innocence and poverty have made them victims of anti-social and anti-national forces causing serious problems for the national integrity. (Ref: Niyogi Enquiry Commission Report 1956 - 57.)

Vanavasis’ – Upanishads to contemporary world

The tribals are part and parcel of the sanathana Dharma. The all pervasive Aditi, refered in Upanishads, is the mother of Adithya the Sun God , Indra, Agni, Vayu, Varuna, are the basic natural forces worshiped by tribals. The great epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata originated from forest. Valmiki, the author of Ramayana was a tribal. Shabaris affection and life long eagerness to meet Rama, Guha the Nishada Tribal King’s concern for Rama, give us a glimpses of the tribal character and value systems during Ramayana.

Ekalavya, from the Nishadha tribe, is one of the inspiring characters of Mahabharata, who learned archery through the statue of Guru Dhronacharya and excelled Arjuna the great warrior to whom Sri Krishna narrated Bhagawat Geeta. It is again the Tribals who give information of Duryodhana hiding in Vyshampayana to Pandavas resulting in the victory of Pandavas in 18 days Dharma Yuddha.

Legendary heroes:

Among the Vanavasis there were great warriors and heros who fought against foreign aggressors including British, for centuries –

  • Shivaji (1627- 1680): The great Maratha Chatrapati , who fought against Mughals, was helped by the Mavlas in his guerrilla war.
  • Rana Punja: was the chief of the Bhil tribesman, and one of the most trusted and respected leaders who fought along the side of Rana Pratap, in the battle of Haldi Ghati (1576 AD): Rana Punja Award is constitued in his name.
  • Rani Durgavati (1524 – 1564): After the death of her husband the Gond King, protecting her son and Gondwana, she fought mighty Akbara’s army, when defeat was inevitable she stabbed herself with the dragger to save her vanity. Rani Durgavati University in Jabalpur is named after her. Birsa Munda- (1875 -1901), was revered as God among his tribes in Jharkhand, he was a fierce freedom fighter, worried by his popularity, Britishers treacherously caught him and he died mysteriously at the age of 25 in Ranchi jail. Birsa Munda Airport at Ranci is named in his honour.
  • Tilka Manjhi of Santhal tribe (from Bihar) : In 1785, was hanged to death in Bhagalpur , had accumulated about ten thousands Santhal to run parallel government against British rule.
  • Talakkal Chandu (from Kerala)- The Kurichiyas and Kurumbas tribes inhabiting the mountains of Wayanad in Malabar were led by their chieftain Talakkal Chandu, brought many victories to Pazhassi Raja trough guerilla warfare against the British. Talakkal Chandu was captured by British in 1804.
  • Padma Vibhushan Rani Gaidinliu (1915- 1993): At the age of 13 this young girl from Manipur joined the revolutionary movement against the British, was captured and sent to life imprisonment for waging war against the British crown. She was released after 14 years on 14th October 1947. Haipou Jadonang (1905- 1931)- He organized Heraka army - separate women battalion and challenged mighty British empire. The great freedom fighter of Manipur was captured and hanged by British on 29th August 1931.
  • Birsa Munda- (1875 -1901), was revered as God among his tribes in Jharkhand, he was a fierce freedom fighter, worried by his popularity, Britishers treacherously caught him and he died mysteriously at the age of 25 in Ranchi jail. Birsa Munda Airport at Ranchi is named in his honour.
  • Tilka Manjhi of Santhal tribe (from Bihar) - In 1785, was hanged to death in Bhagalpur , had accumulated about ten thousands Santhal to run parallel government against British rule.
  • Padma Vibhushan Rani Gaidinliu : (1915- 1993) – At the age of 13 this young girl from Manipur joined the revolutionary movement against the British, was captured and sent to life imprisonment for waging war against the British crown. She was released after 14 years on 14th October 1947.
  • Haipou Jadonang (1905- 1931)- He organized Heraka army - separate women battalion and challenged mighty British empire. The great freedom fighter of Manipur was captured and hanged by British on 29th August 1931.
  • Tatya Tope: A Bhil was awarded death sentence on April 17, 1859 by British for his part in the First Freedom struggle of 1857 in nearby Jhansi. He was hung to death in Shivpuri.
  • Shambhudan, Phundlo from Assam
  • Mahadev Koli from Maharastra
  • Govind Guru from Rajastan

News
  • Two day National Workshop for urban volunteers “Akhil Bharatiya Vanavasi Karyakarta Nagariya Aayam Baithak” held on July 3 and 4, 2016 at Prashanti Kutiram, Benguluru, Karnataka. 136 select delegates from 25 pranths attended this national workshop.


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