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The Unsung Martyrs of Mangarh

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November 19, 2022

Why in news?

Recently, Prime Minister attended a programme ‘Mangarh Dham ki Gaurav Gatha’ and paid homage to the sacrifice of Govind Guru.

Who is Govind Guru?

  • Govind Guru was born in a nomadic community in the Dungarpur-Banswara region of Rajasthan.
  • He was influenced by the teachings of Swami Dayanand Saraswati to work for the socio-religious upliftment of people from the Bhil community.
  • He founded the Samp Sabha in 1883 to promote harmony amongst the tribal communities.
  • The Bhil community was always in debt that lingered for generations and thus Bhils worked as bonded labourers at farms.
  • Govind Guru quickly saw the social setup and liquor as the primary causes of woes and decided to fight the malaise.
  • He started Bhagat Sampradaya (sect) in 1908.
  • Mangarh massacre - Govind Guru demanded the colonial state to reduce the revenue rate during famines and to stop the encroachment of the religious freedom of tribal communities.
  • A massive gathering occurred at Mangarh in 1913 in support of the demand for a separate state for Bhils.
  • Terming the meeting as rebellion, rulers' forces fired indiscriminately leading to the death of more than 1,500 tribal freedom fighters.


What are the major contributions of Govind Guru?

  • Unity of Bhils - He was the pivotal force in uniting Bhils to demand a separate entity in the British period.
  • Reforms within the community - Guru’s work that prompted Bhils to reform their outlook.
  • The guru's followers started to work right from the elimination of archaic traditions of marriage to the establishment of schools.
  • Impact on Indian National Movement - Govind Guru’s calls for protesting against the injustice of the colonial rulers laid the foundation of the Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • The sacrifices of these heroes increased the moral quotient of the national movement.
  • The spirit of taking ownership of the country’s welfare has passed down to people after the country gained Independence.


  • 1780s - Santhal Sangram was fought under the leadership of Tilka Manjhi.
  • 1830-32 - The country witnessed Larka Andolan under the leadership of Budhu Bhagat.
  • 1855 - Sidhu-Kanhu Kranti energised the nation.
  • Bhagwan Birsa Munda inspired everyone with his energy and patriotism.
  • In Andhra Pradesh, Alluri Sitarama Raju’s contribution is notable.
  • In Rajasthan, the Adivasi Samaj stood with Maharana Pratap.

What efforts have been taken regarding the tribal communities?

15th November, the birth anniversary of Bhagwan Birsa Munda is celebratd as Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas

  • Mangarh Dham is to be developed as a joint project of the governments of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
  • It will be a national memorial showcasing tribal legacy and their rich cultural heritage.
  • The government is already setting up tribal museums in 10 states to raise awareness about the sacrifices made by tribals during the freedom struggle.
  • Droupadi Murmu, a person from Odisha’s tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district, taking over as the President of India is a landmark in the country’s history.
  • The pro-poor welfare policies, Eklavya Model residential schools, scholarship schemes for students, etc. stands testimony to the idea of social justice.



  1. The Indian Express│ The unsung martyrs of Mangarh
  2. Times of India│ Bhil reformer who preceded Bapu
  3. PIB│ PM attends ‘Mangarh Dham ki Gaurav Gatha’
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