Gujarat's R-Day tableau to showcase 1922 massacre of tribal freedom fighters by British

Ahmedabad: Gujarat's tableau at the Republic Day parade in Delhi will showcase the massacre of 1,200 tribal freedom fighters of Sabarkantha district by the British, an official said on Saturday.

At least 1,200 tribal freedom fighters of Pal Dadhvaav in Sabarkantha district were killed by the British in an unprovoked firing on March 7, 1922.

“The 45-feet long, 14-feet wide and 16-feet high official tableau from Gujarat for the Republic Day parade will represent the incident of indiscriminate firing by the British army on the tribal revolutionaries of Pal Dadhvaav village,” an official release said.

A seven-feet statue of Motilal Tejawat, who was regarded as the 'Gandhi of Koliyari' by the tribals, will be the main highlight of the tableau and a statue of H G Saturn, the British cavalier who gave the firing order, will also be depicted in it, the release stated.

Apart from these, there are six other statues on the tableau and six artistes will also be performing to bring to life the pain of the tragedy, it was stated.

There will be 4-feet tall statues of four tribal freedom fighters carrying torches as the symbol of revolution. These statues showcase the bravery, courage, and devotion of the tribal people in the freedom struggle. Along with the tableau, 10 tribal artistes dressed in traditional costumes will perform Gair dance (popular folk dance) and sing a song describing the event in folklore.

The tableau has been designed and constructed by Siddheshwar Kanuga, owner of Smart Graph Art Pvt Ltd, it said.

As per the official records of the incident, on March 7, 1922, in the remote corner of Gujarat inhabited by Bhil tribes, villagers from Pal Dadhvaav and Chitariya villages in Sabarkantha, had gathered on the banks of Her river under the leadership of Motilal Tejawat to protest against the land revenue system imposed by the British and feudal lords.

Soldiers from Mewad Bhil Corps arrived at the procession and under direction from its officer Major H G Saturn fired on the gathering. In the unprovoked firing, about 1,200 innocent tribals were killed.

Two wells — Dhekhadiya and Dudhiya — were overflowing with bodies. About 1,200 innocent tribals were killed in the incident. Tejawat was also shot twice, and his companions carried him away on a camel to a hill by the river, it was stated.

While this horrific incident, which took place just three years after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, was largely forgotten, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his days as the Gujarat chief minister had got monuments of Shaheed Smriti Van and Shaheed Smarak constructed at the site. PTI

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