Telangana

No clarity on Bheem martyrdom date

Iconic figure: The first bust of Raj Gond martyr Kumram Bheem, which was shifted after his memorial was inaugurated, gives his date of death as September 1, 1940, at Jodeghat in Kumram Bheem Asifabad district.  

Legendary Raj Gond martyr Kumram Bheem continues to evoke deep interest among various sections of society, his saga being a watershed event in the history of Adivasis living in north Telangana. This time a debate is on about the exact date of his martyrdom which, in any case, is not the date on which the aboriginal Raj Gonds pay homage to their leader.

The Integrated Tribal Development Agency, Utnoor, which organises the official function observing the martyrdom at Jodeghat village in Kerameri mandal of Kumram Bheem Asifabad district, gives the date of Bheem’s killing in police firing as September 1, 1940. This was written on the plaque of the first-ever bust of the Raj Gond leader, made in early 1980s, which was shifted from Jodeghat to Dhoba village where his grandson currently lives.

Official note

A faculty member from University of Hyderabad Bhangya Bhukya, meanwhile, posted copies of a document written by the then Director General Police and Jails dating back to the tumultuous times sourced from Telangana State Archives in Hyderabad.

The document is titled ‘Note on a clash between Police and Gonds in Asifabad district’ dated Aban 9, 1349 Fasli, which gives the date of the Raj Gond leader’s death as Aban 5, 1349 Fasli, which the academician says corresponds with September 10, 1940. Tracing the events leading to the firing on the Adivasis, the note says the Gonds were insisting on rights to cultivate lands near Babejhari village which the Forest Department as well as a court denied them.

Subsequently, the Adivasis are said to have assaulted a forest employee about two months before the actual Jodeghat firing incident took place. On 5th Aban, the report notes among other things, Bheem (original name being Kumra Bhimu) fired upon armed policemen who had gone to arrest those who were involved in cases injuring a policeman.

This resulted in the firing in which 10 tribals died, 13 were injured and 31 arrested.

In the light of the official document in the archives the government needs to clarify once and for all on the date of Bheem’s martyrdom as well as the number of Adivasis killed on that day.

The Integrated Tribal Development Agency gives out the number of dead tribals in Jodeghat incident as 15 including the Raj Gond leader.

Another clarification which the world outside the Agency areas of undivided Adilabad needs is the day on which the Raj Gond tribe pays homage to all the departed souls.

The homage, called ‘Sunaleer Puja’ as per the customs and traditions of the tribe, is paid only on the full moon which follows Dasara festival irrespective of the date of death of individuals and is extendable by two days under extraordinary circumstances.


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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 9:15:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/no-clarity-on-bheem-martyrdom-date/article19612359.ece

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