From The Unread Pages Of History Of Indian Freedom Struggle: Part 1

By: Amitabh Dixit, Editor-ICN

TANTIA/TANTYA MAMA

LUCKNOW: Historian Griffin has written, “Never before has a more significant event occurred in India than the revolution of 1857.” Although the Revolt of 1857 was unsuccessful, the results were unprecedented, widespread and lasting improvements.

From the womb of the same revolution of 1857, many such heroes emerged, who have got very little reference in history, but they are still alive and respected in the public even after more than 150 years, in folk tales and in folk songs.

One of such them was TANTYA MAMA.

Before we start talking about him let us know a few things:

Bhil or Bheel:- People of Bhil tribe speak Bhil language. The word Bhil is derived from “Veel” which means “bow” in the Dravidian language. The Bhils are a Scheduled Tribe in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, the Khadim of the Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishti in Ajmer are also descendants of the Bhil ancestors. The Bhils are also settled in Tripura and Tharparkar district of Sindh, Pakistan. Bhils mostly reside in Rajasthan, here they are the symbols of valor who do not back down in offering their sacrifices. Here Rana Poonja Bhil ji is remembered who along with Maharana Pratap defeated the Mughals. Bhil loves a freedom. They have their own customs and traditions, they are nature worshipers. The Bhils have a rich and unique culture. The Bhilala sub-division is known for its Pithora painting. Bhil painting is characterized by the use of multi-colored dots as in-filling. Ghoomar is a traditional folk dance of Bhil tribe which is considered the symbol of womanhood.  According to a research, the Bhils never beg.

Nimar:  

Nimar is the southwestern region of Madhya Pradesh state in west-central India.This region also having sub-regions like nimad, khandya, bhuwana. The region lies south of the Vindhya Range, and consists of two portions of the Narmada and Tapti river valleys, separated by a section of the Satpura Range, about 15 miles (24 km) in breadth. In ancient times Nimar was called Anup district. Later it was called Nimar. Nimar has been formed as a district of British India, in the Nerbudda Division of the Central Provinces having its administrative headquarters were at Khandwa in those days. Nimar was also a district in the princely state of Indore lying west of the British district on both banks of the Narmada. From 1823 onwards this tract, then belonging to Sindhia rulers of Gwalior, was under British management; in 1861 it was ceded in full sovereignty to the British, but in 1867 it passed to Holkar rulers of Indore as the result of an exchange of territory.

After Indian independence in 1947, The former British district became the Nimar District of the new state of Madhya Pradesh, with its administrative seat at Khandwa; the Nimar District of Indore state became the Nimar district of the new state of Madhya Bharat, with its administrative seat at Khargone. When Madhya Bharat was merged into Madhya Pradesh on 1 November 1956, The former Madhya Bharat district became West Nimar District, while the eastern district became East Nimar District. West Nimar district was split into the districts of Barwani and Khargone on 24 May 1998 and similarly East Nimar district was split into the districts of Khandwa and Burhanpur on 15 August 2003. The Nimar region is home to the Nimadi language, which is related to the Malvi language of Malwa as well as the other Rajasthani languages.

Nimar region has had a hot climate since thousands of years. The cultural history of Nimar is very rich and glorious. Narmada, one of the oldest rivers in the world, developed itself in Nimar. The period of Narmada-Valley-civilization has been considered to be about two and a half million years based on the archeological evidences found in Navadatoli in Maheshwar. Navdatoli is located on the opposite side of the shores of River Narmada. It is regarded as a pre-historic site, which used to be the home for the various cultures from the Paleolithic period till the 18th century. During an excavation in 1950, its ruins were found in along with the painted pottery and numerous microliths. Vindhya and Satpura are very ancient mountains. The valleys of these mountains are the refuge of the humans since pre historic times. Even today, tribal groups live in the forest of Vindhya and Satpura The life of Nimar has been enriched with art and culture, where not a single day of life goes when songs are not sung. Omkareshwar, Mandhata and Mahishmati are at the center of the mythological culture of Nimar. The present Maheshwar is ancient Mahishmati only. Ancient poet Kalidasa has described Narmada and Maheshwar.

Padmashree Ramnarayan Upadhyay writes about Nimar’s identity – “These hard-looking districts kept alive the tradition of folk literature in their hearts.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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