VARANASI :  Union Law and Justice Minister Sh. Kiren Rjiju has said that freedom is achieved with struggles and sacrifices of everyone and not by the efforts of a few. Speaking at a day-long seminar in BHU on the “Contribution of Tribal Heroes in the Freedom Struggle” jointly organized by National Commission for Scheduled Tribes and Banaras Hindu University on Thursday, the law minister said that for long only a select were highlighted and glorified for being part of the freedom struggle, and many great leaders and heroes who had played significant role were ignored and forgotten. There was hardly any mention of tribal leaders and icons who fought long battles to set the country free from the clutches of foreign rule. He called for narrating these tales of real Indian heroes to present and upcoming generations. The freedom we enjoy today isn’t because only a handful of people worked for it, which was being repeated over and over again, but also because numerous tribals were fighting the oppressors in villages, forests and remote areas, added Sh. Kiren Rijiju. He said a series of programs are being organized in universities all over the country to shed light on the contribution of tribal heroes. There couldn’t be a better place than Banaras Hindu University to host this event as BHU in itself is a city and has students from all parts of the country. The minister said that we keep hearing that tribals must be brought to the mainstream. Questioning this idea, Mr. Rijiju said that the way and wherever tribals live and lead life is the mainstream. This idea was propagated because some people who were privileged looked down at others, especially those who lived differently. This is not the right approach, said the minister. He said that things have seen a great transformation in the past couple of years. Sense of pride in being Indian has grown stronger. People from under-privileged and downtrodden segments feel empowered. Expressing his gratitude towards Banaras Hindu University for hosting the program, the law minister exhorted students of BHU to be proud of being part of such a great institution whose contribution is unparalleled.

Delivering the keynote address Laxman Singh Makram, Deputy Secretary, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, discussed the contribution of various tribal heroes like Bhagwan Birsa Munda, Tilka Manjhi and Ram Ji Gond. He said that the tribal community which made unequalled and supreme sacrifices in India’s freedom struggle cannot be forgotten. Mr. Makram said the tribal community was subjected to brutalities and extreme oppression during British rule just for being protective of their culture and legacy. Yet, they bravely fought for their motherland. Citing examples from historical texts and academic works, Laxman Singh Makram elaborated on the contribution of tribals.

Sh. P. K. Malhotra, Former secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India, and representative of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, called upon teachers to make students aware of the glorious contribution of tribal heroes in the Indian Independence Struggle. He said that there are numerous unsung heroes who most of us were never told about. The series of seminars by the commission is an effort to popularize the tales of these icons so that people get to know about the rich and glorious legacy they have as Indians. He also appealed to the students coming from ST category to take benefit of various schemes and initiatives for them.

Delivering the Presidential Address Vice-Chancellor Prof. Sudhir K Jain said that Banaras Hindu University is a very unique institution. This university was established by Mahamana with philanthropic contributions and without taking any financial help from government or industrialists. The sole aim was to produce citizens who contribute to nation building by providing modern education to students and making them aware of Indian knowledge and value system. The Vice-Chancellor said that there is no other university that offers such diversity of disciplines. Prof. Jain said that diversity encourages creativity and BHU offers such an atmosphere where students from diverse backgrounds get education in diverse disciplines. The vice-chancellor said India has been a leader in many areas for centuries and we must be proud of our legacy. He said that having an urge to serve the country in whichever way we can is very important. Underlining the need for universities to produce good and talented students, the Vice-Chancellor said that good education plays a vital role in growth and development of a nation and as institutions we must strive to achieve that.

An exhibition of tribal heroes of the Independence struggle was also organized at Swatantrata Bhavan. Union Law Minister Sh. Kiren Rijiju, Vice-Chancellor Prof. Sudhir Kumar Jain and other dignitaries visited the exhibition.

The program was conducted by Dr. Pratima Gond. Dr. Ram Shankar Uraon, Institute of Management studies, gave a brief about the program. Dr. Raju Manjhi delivered the vote of thanks. Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Joint Registrar, was the administrative convener of the program while Dr. Abhay Kumar was the academic convener. A large number of students attended the seminar.

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