pal-dadhav-massacre

CONTEXT

The Gujarat government has marked 100 years of the Pal-Dadhvav killings, calling it a massacre “bigger than the Jallianwala Bagh”.

About Pal Dadhav Massacre

  • The Pal-Dadhvav massacre took place on March 7, 1922, in the Pal-Chitariya and Dadhvaav villages of Sabarkantha district, then part of Idar state.
  • The day was A major tribal festival which falls just before Holi. The villagers from Pal, Dadhav & Chitariya had gathered on the bank of river Heir as part of Eki Movement led by Motilala Tejawat.
  • The movement was to protest against the land revenue tax imposed on peasants by the British and feudal lords.
  • Following a firing order issued by Major H.G. Sutton, around 1,200 tribals were reportedly martyred on that fateful day. It is also said that wells in the area were filled with the bodies of the tribal people.
  • While the British claimed some 22 people were killed, the Bhils believe 1,200-1,500 of them died.
  • In the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of April 13, 1919, 500-1,000 people are said to have been killed after General Reginald Edward Dyer’s forces opened fire on peaceful protesters.

Who was Tejawat?

  • Tejawat was born into a merchant family, He was employed by a landlord where he worked for eight years.
  • He quit his job in 1920 outraged by atrocities and exploitation of tribal people and devoted himself to social work and reform.

Republic Day Tableau

  • The Pal-Dadhvav massacre was brought into focus at the Republic Day parade this year.
  • A Memorial was built in Gujarat in 2003 on the massacre site surrounded by a ‘Shahid Smriti Van’, where 1200 trees were planted in memory of the martyrs.
  • The R Day tableau featured a seven-ft statue of Tejawat, inspired by the statue at the memorial.
  • It also had a statue of British officers, including Sutton shooting at the tribals, and the two wells.

Tribal population of Gujarat

  • Gujarat has about 14% tribal population that resides along its northern-eastern stretch, called the ‘poorvi patti’, bordering the districts of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
  • Bhils are the dominant tribe in this stretch.

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