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Tribals' pride synonymous with India's pride: RSS chief; hails 'Bhagwan' Birsa Munda and 'fearless' Dilip Singh Judev

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New Delhi, Nov 14: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday said the pride of tribals is India's pride and appealed to people to protect it for the country, religion and culture.

He unveiled a statue of former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and Union minister late Dilip Singh Judev, hailed by right-wing organisations for his 'Ghar Wapsi' campaign to reconvert tribals from Christianity in the Jashpur region of Chhattisgarh.

Mohan Bhagwat

Addressing a function to mark 'Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas' in Jashpur district, Bhagwat appealed to tribals to stay strong against those who try to dupe them by taking advantage of their innocence.

The event which was held at Ranjeeta Stadium by Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram was attended by a large number of people belonging to tribal communities.

''The pride of tribals is the pride of India. Tribals' pride is the core of our pride and our way of living. People should understand this and stand with tribals to protect their pride for the country, religion, and culture,'' he said.

''The birthday of Bhagwan Birsa Munda (on November 15 which is observed as Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas) and the unveiling of the statue of Dilip Singh Judev are linked or coincidentally linked. Judev was brave. Despite having a name, fame, assets and power, he remained humble. He always stood for the pride of tribals," Bhagwat said.

He said Judev had immense love for the country, religion and culture.

''Bhagwan Birsa Munda was also inspired by the same love and fought for all of us. What is this tribal pride? Our ancestors' tradition is our pride which teaches us how to lead life. It gives us a legacy of bravery and sanctity. It gives the courage to take on challenges of life," he added.

The RSS chief said in the context of religion, ''janjatiya gaurav'' (tribal pride) is a ''dharm gaurav'' (religious pride) of India.

Birsa Munda was a tribal freedom fighter and folk hero who belonged to the Munda tribe. He spearheaded a tribal religious millenarian movement that arose in the Bengal Presidency (now Jharkhand) in the late 19th century, during the British Raj, thereby making him an important figure in the history of the Independence movement.

''Where did the religion of India originate from? There are diverse deities and ways of offering rituals but everyone has the same behaviour. This religion is born out of farmland and forests. All religions of India were given by farmers and forest dwellers," he said and added our religion sees purity in everyone and sees God everywhere including in rivers, trees, and birds.

He said tribal brothers while living with nature and protecting it taught the people to protect the environment.

"We all should stand with tribals to protect their society, pride and culture as Dilip Singh Judev ji did. We have to understand this pride and stay united to protect it for the truth, country, religion, culture and society. The whole world needs that pride which India has. We should not forget that pride. We should not forget our culture, tradition and valour of our ancestors," the RSS chief added.

He hailed Judev and Birsa Munda, saying they taught people how to live and inspired them.

"We don't have to think about what we are and how we are. We don't need to fear anyone. We have our pride. We have our religion. We have our self-respect and we also have fearlessness like Judeo. We have ideals like Dilip Singh ji and Birsa Munda ji. They taught us how to live and we will find our place in the world while living like that," he added.

''One should not get separated from its country, culture and religion. Some people try to dupe us by taking advantage of our innocence but we have to stay strong,'' Bhagwat said.

Earlier in the day, the RSS chief garlanded the statue of Birsa Munda in Jashpur.

Bhagwat's remarks came in the backdrop of allegations levelled by the main opposition BJP that the incidents of religious conversion of tribals are on the rise in Chhattisgarh under the incumbent Congress government.

Senior BJP leaders, including state party chief Arun Sao, were also present on the occasion.

In the 2018 Assembly polls, the BJP lost all three seats, reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates, in Jashpur to Congress.

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