Pal-Dadhvav massacreDate: 10 March 2022 Tags: Historical Places
A ceremony was organized by the Gujarat government to mark 100 years of Pal-Dadhvav killings.
The government claims that the massacre was bigger than the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of Amritsar. It has also featured on the state’s Republic Day tableau.
The massacre of Pal-Dadhvav occurred on March 7, 1922 in the villages of Pal-Chitariya and Dadhvav, located in Sabarkantha district.
The incident occurred on Amalki Ekadashi, which comes before a major tribal festival, Holi. The villagers from Pal, Dadhvav, and Chitariya were gathered for the festival.
They were gathered on the banks of Heir river as part of Eki Movement organised by Motilal Tejawat, an outlaw of Udaipur state.
The tribals had assembled to protest against the land revenue tax (lagaan) imposed on the peasants by the British and feudal lords.
The paramilitary force raised by the British, known as Mewad Bhil Corps (MBC), heard of the gathering and went to arrest Tejawat.
Tejawat asked gatherers to raise their bows towards the British forces and deny payment of taxes.
The British forces fired in unison, causing a stampede. Many tribals were killed by bullets and many others jumped into nearby well.
The British claimed that 22 tribals were killed during the incident but villagers claim that 1200-1500 people died.
In 2003, the Gujarat government represented the massacre in the Republic day tableau, which also featured Tejawat and British officer.
A memorial called ‘Shahid Smriti Van’ was built by the state government and also a memorial for Tejawat.
He was a landlord employed by the British. Looking at exploitation of tribals, he quit his job to work towards tribal upliftment and reform.
Tribals in Gujarat
About 14% of Gujarat’s population consists of tribals, residing in a stretch called ‘poorvi patti’, bordering the districts of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
The dominant group is the Bhils. They are in significant numbers in districts of Aravali, Sabarkantha, Dahod, Tapti, Navsari, Narmada etc.