Ramakanta Biswas

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday remembered tribal freedom fighter from Odisha, Birsa Munda, during his address to the nation through 'Mann Ki Baat' programme. 

The birth anniversary of the brave warrior is falling on November 15.

"Bhagwan Birsa Munda is also known as 'Dharti Aaba'. Do you know what this epithet means? It means the father of earth. The way Bhagwan Birsa Munda fought to protect his culture, his forest, his land, it could have only been done by Dharti Aaba," the PM said.

He taught us to be proud of our culture and roots. The foreign rule subjected him to countless threats and applied immense pressure, but he did not relinquish the tribal culture. If we have to learn to love nature and the environment, for that too, Dharati Aaba Bhagwan Birsa Munda is one of our greatest inspirations. 

"He strongly opposed every such policy of foreign rule, which was detrimental for the environment," the PM added. 

Modi said Birsa Munda was always at the forefront while helping the poor and the distressed. He also made society aware of eliminating social evils. 

"Who can forget his leadership during the UI-gulan movement? This movement shook the British and as an aftermath, the British had placed a huge reward on Bhagwan Birsa Munda. The British government put him in jail; he was tortured to such an extent that he left us at the age of less than 25 years. He left us, but only in the body; in the public psyche, Lord Birsa Munda resides forever," Modi said.  

Stating that Birsa Munda's life remains an inspirational force for the people, he said even today folk songs and stories, full of his courage and valour are very popular in the central region of India. 

"I bow to 'Dharti Aaba' Birsa Munda and urge the youth to read more about him. The more you know about the unique contribution of our tribal populace in the freedom struggle of India, the more you will feel proud," the PM added.