- August 12, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Context: A dispute in Rajasthan’s Udaipur district over hoisting of a flag on August 9 on the statue of Rana Punja Bhil, a historical figure considered as a hero by the tribal Bhil community has triggered tensions between Adivasi groups and BJP members.
- Punja Bhil was a contemporary of 16th century ruler of Mewar, Maharana Pratap.
- Punja is considered to be a significant character who bolstered the strength of Maharana Pratapduring his battles with Mughal emperor Akbar.
- Bhils are an ancient tribe, whose history goes back to even mythologies. Due to their unmatched knowledge of the hills and forests of Mewar, the community has always exercised a strong influence in the region
- Bhils or Bheels are an Indo-Aryan speaking ethnic group in West India. They speak the Bhil languages, a subgroup of the Western Zone of the Indo-Aryan languages. As of 2013, Bhils were the largest tribal group in India.
- In the battle of Haldighati, Bhils played a crucial role. Due to lack of soldiers, a shift was seen from the earlier custom wherein only kshatriyas were allowed to take part in battle
- The Bhil community-classified as a scheduled tribe in Rajasthan.
- Bhils have always had control over the forest produce from Mewar which is rich in natural resources. The Bhils were also adept in guerilla warfare with bows, arrows and slingshots and were a significant part of the Rajput resistance against the Mughal Army during the battle of Haldighati owing to their knowledge of the region’s topography.
- The Rajput rulers consistently recognized the importance of Bhils in their kingdoms and the emblem of the Mewar royal family also has a Bhil alongside a Rajput, reflecting the importance of alliance between the two.