The Central Government is celebrating the birth anniversary of Birsa Munda as Tribal Pride Day across the country. Along with this, the date of November 15 is also celebrated as the birth anniversary of Birsa Munda and the foundation day of Jharkhand. President of India Draupadi Murmu has reached Ulihatu village of Birsa Munda, seventy kilometers from Ranchi, where no President of India had reached to date. President Draupadi Murmu reached here and paid tribute by garlanding the statue of Birsa Munda.
For the local villagers, it is a moment of pride for the President to reach their village. Because the President herself comes from the tribal community. If rich heritage were the guarantee of a shining present, then everything in Ulihatu would be a blur. The pillars lined with jackfruit and tamarind trees supplied electricity 24 hours a day, every house had tap water and the toilets built here would not have turned into ruins.
The story of Birsa Munda and why is he special even today?
But, heritage is not a certificate of development. Perhaps for this reason, in the name of development in Ulihatu, the ancestral village of Birsa Munda, who is called ‘God’, the great hero of the country’s freedom struggle, roads made of black stones and tar and smartphones in the pockets?
By the way, the village is being decorated. It has been colored. Beautiful paintings have been made on the outer walls of Birsa Munda’s house (where he was born). Roads have been cleared, Helipads are also been made, Medicines have been arranged in the hospital, and Gates decorated with yellow flowers of marigolds have been made.
Hoardings have been put up and every effort has been made to make the outer face of Ulihatu look clean and beautiful. Jharkhand Chief Secretary Sukhdev Singh had visited the village a few days back. He had directed the officials to make all these arrangements right. Khunti Deputy Commissioner (DC) Shashiranjan and other officials are monitoring these arrangements.
How is Ulihatu?
Ulihatu, a village of about 1.25 thousand people with six tolas, has nothing to distinguish it from other villages except the name of Birsa Munda and the monuments associated with him. This village in Khunti district, located about 70 km from Ranchi, has the status of a model village. It is similar to other villages in the country, where people have to do their share of the struggle daily even for basic needs. The majority of the population living here is of Munda tribals. Their main occupation is farming and labor. The youth of the village are living in cities like Asansol, Durgapur, Murshidabad, etc as well as in metros like Mumbai and Delhi in West Bengal in search of employment. Surrounded by forests, this area was once a Naxal-affected area. Now the situation has changed.
Paramilitary forces have been deployed in the village, but their occupation of government buildings continues to cause problems for the villagers. The villagers discuss these problems with a suppressed tongue.
Descendants Of Birsa Munda
People of the third and fourth generations of Birsa Munda live here. His tiled house is just behind the memorial building of Birsa Munda’s birthplace. His great-grandson Sukhram Munda, who lives here, still lives in a mud house, as he does not have enough land to be allotted a government pucca house.
On normal days, the same Birsa maintains and cleans the memorial. Sukhram Munda said in an interview that “Amit Shah came here in the year 2017. Then Raghubar Das was the Chief Minister and he had started the Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana here. Under this, more than 150 people had to build a pucca house, but till now not a single house has been fully built.”
“Similarly, every house had to have a tap so that people could get drinking water. To date, these problems have not gone away. Every year big leaders keep coming here. Many promises are made but most of the promises are not fulfilled.”
How Will Change Happen?
Birsa Munda’s family with Chief Minister Hemant Soren. Khunti Deputy Commissioner (DC) Shashiranjan said that a plan of about Rs 14 crore has been prepared for drinking water supply in Ulihatu village.
He said, “Under the Jal Jeevan Mission, there is a target of water supply here within the next six months. We are soon going to provide drinking water by a tap in every house here. Similarly, work is being done on other development schemes as well. The villagers have started getting its benefits.
DC Shashiranjan told the media, “There were objections from the villagers regarding the size of the houses to be built under the Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana. After a few meetings of the Gram Sabha, the villagers could be persuaded into the scheme. Due to this, there was some delay but now the money for the construction of houses has been given to the beneficiaries. The construction of many houses is in the final stage. Soon all the houses will be built.”