Statues of Birsa Munda, a tribal leader from erstwhile Bihar renowned for fighting the British, will soon be free of shackles, the Jharkhand government has decided. Claiming the current depiction of Munda wearing chains has a negative impact on Jharkhand's youngsters, chief minister Raghubar Das last week approved the state art and culture's proposal to show the tribal freedom fighter unfettered and without handcuffs.
Munda, whose death anniversary is being observed on June 9, is revered among the state's tribal communities.
"Birsa Munda's is a guiding light for the youth of Jharkhand," the chief minister said in a statement. Das has directed that the order be implemented immediately.
However, tribal views were divided on the move. While Ratan Tirkey, member of Jharkhand Tribal Advisory Council, hailed the decision, noted tribal activist Dayamani Barla had a different take. "Birsa in chains or cuffs shows despite all odds he didn't buckle before the British. Today, our country is independent, but in a true sense, we are still struggling for basic facilities. I see Birsa in chains as an inspiration for all of us to keep struggling for our rights," Barla told The Telegraph.
Munda, a resident of Ulihatu village in Erki block of Khunti district in modern day Jharkhand, led a guerilla uprising against the British in the 19th century. He was captured and jailed in Ranchi, where he died of cholera at of 25.