Ranchi: Birsa Munda , the iconic tribal freedom fighter from erstwhile Bihar who fought the British Raj is set will be unchained. Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das on Wednesday directed the arts and culture ministry to replace iconic tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda’s statues showing him in shackles with new ones without shackles.
“Birsa Munda’s is a guiding light for the youth of Jharkhand . Statues showing him in chains cast a negative effect on the minds of youth,” the CM said in a statement. Das directed immediate implementation of the order and asked all government departments and buildings to replace Munda’s statues showing him in chains.
Munda, a resident of Ulihatu village in Erki block in Khunti district in modern day Jharkhand, led a military uprising against British Raj in the 19th century. He was captured and jailed in Ranchi, where he died aged 25 due to cholera. Munda is addressed ‘Bhagwan’ by the tribal fraternity.
Director of state art and culture Anil Kumar Singh said shackles also commemorate the Indian subjugation to its colonial masters and evokes a sense of shame among people. “Letters have been issued to all departments. Besides statues, photographs depicting Munda in shackles will also be replaced,” he said.
In a state where Munda’s name features in government buildings, airport, stadium, government schemes and restaurants, the government does not have any record as to how many statues of the freedom fighter have been erected across state by government departments and public.
However, the state’s most prominent Birsa statue , situated in Birsa Chowk in Ranchi, shows him in chains. The 8 feet statue, erected in 2001 after Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar, will be replaced on an ad-hoc basis, the art and culture department said.
The same issue hogged media attention 15 years ago after Samresh Singh, a minister in Babulal Marandi cabinet, symbolically knocked the chains of the hands of Munda’s statue and requested government to patronize the same across Jharkhand.