The demands for a “Bhil Pradesh”, a separate state for tribal people in western India, have of late begun to be raised again.
Who are ‘Bhils’?
- Bhils or Bheels are an Adivasi ethnic group in West India.
- Bhils are listed as tribal people of the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
- Bhils are one of the largest tribal group in India.
- They speak the Bhil languages.
What is ‘Bhil Pradesh’?
- The Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), a political party based in Gujarat, was formed in 2017.
- It envisions Bhil Pradesh as a separate state carved out of 39 districts spread over four states: 16 in Gujarat, 10 in Rajasthan, seven in Madhya Pradesh, and six in Maharashtra.
About the Mangarh massacre –
- Bhil social reformer and spiritual leader Govind Guru first raised the demand for a separate state for tribals back in 1913 after the Mangarh massacre.
- The massacre, which took place six years before Jallianwalla Bagh and is sometimes referred to as the “Adivasi Jallianwala”, saw hundreds of Bhil tribals being killed by British forces on November 17, 1913 in the hills of Mangarh on the border of Rajasthan and Gujarat.