Today, the whole country is enthusiastically observing the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ and ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign in view of the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, however, there is a tribal community that adores the tricolor every day for the past 100 years.
The community, named ‘Tana Bhagat’ in Jharkhand, is so devoted to the Habs that they only take food and water every morning after worshiping the flag.
The country became independent 75 years ago, but this community worships and worships the Tricolor as its supreme symbol and Mahatma Gandhi as a man-god since 1917. Tricolors in their homes have the spinning wheel symbol inscribed in place of the Ashoka. chakra. It was the shape of the Habs during the freedom movement. Since then, this community has imbibed the mantra “Har Ghar Tiranga, Har Haath Tiranga”.
The imprint of Gandhi’s ideals is so deep on this community that even today non-violence is the life mantra of this community. People here have a simple lifestyle and do not consume non-vegetarian foods or alcohol.
Khadi white clothes and Gandhi caps are their identity.
Bigle Tana Bhagat, a resident of Saraiya village here in Chatra, says that the tricolor with a spinning wheel is the religion of their (community).
Shivcharan Tana Bhagat, who studied up to the second year, says the day begins with the worship of the tricolor. “We eat purely vegetarian food after worshiping the Tricolor in Puja Dham at home every day.”
In fact, Tana Bhagat is a sect which was started by Jatra Oraon in 1914. He resided in a village named Chingari in Bishunpur block of Gumla district in the state.
Jatra Oraon started a campaign against animal sacrifice, meat eating, animal killing, ghost superstition and alcohol consumption in tribal society. He put the sattvik formula of life before society. The campaign was effective. Those who followed this new lifestyle were called Tana Bhagats. Jatra Oraon is also known as Jatra Tana Bhagat.
At that time, the exploitation and atrocities committed by the British government were at their peak. Thousands of tribals, who joined the Tana Bhagat sect, had agitated against feudal lords, moneylenders, missionaries outside British rule.
Jatra Tana Bhagat refused to pay taxes and do forced labor. The British government panicked and arrested Jatra Oraon in 1914. He was sentenced to a year and a half in prison. He died suddenly after being released from prison, but the Tana Bhagat movement became associated with Mahatma Gandhi’s Swadeshi movement because of its non-violent policy. Jatra Tana Bhagat had given the ‘Guru Mantra’ to his followers who do not demand food from anyone and adopt your identity with the Habs. It was only after this that the Tricolor became the supreme symbol of the Tana Bhagat sect and they began to regard Gandhi as a man-god. Gandhi’s name is included in their traditional prayers to this day.
Tana Bhagats attended the Gaya Congress Conference in 1922 and Nagpur Satyagraha of 1923 in large numbers. During the Ramgarh Congress session in 1940, Tana Bhagats donated a bag with Rs 400 to Mahatma Gandhi.
Earlier in 1917 when Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Rajendra Prasad came to Ranchi, they met Tana Bhagats. In 1926, under the impetus of Rajendra Prasad, an exhibition of Khadi was organized at the Arya Samaj Mandir in Ranchi, then Tana Bhagats also participated.
Tana Bhagats also participated in the boycott of the Simon Commission. When the country became independent, Tana Bhagats hoisted the Habs near their Tulsi Chaura (place in the yard of a house where the sacred Tulsi plant is worshipped).
Even today, days like 26th January, 15th August and 2nd October are as auspicious as festivals for Tana Bhagats. They don’t do any agricultural work these days. They get up in the morning and clean the village. After taking a bath, they hoist the national flag while collectively singing the national anthem.
Everyone chants slogans like “Swtantra Bharat ki Jai, Mahatma Gandhi ki Jai, Rajendra Babu ki Jai and Tana Bhagat ki Jai”. They organize processions in the village and even distribute “prasad”. There is a general assembly in the afternoon.
According to the records of history, in 1914, around 26,000 people were followers of the Tana Bhagat sect. Even today, their number is about the same.
When the Tana Bhagat movement started, the British government auctioned its lands to suppress it. Even after independence, the government could not return their land to them. Even today, they continue to make non-violent agitations for their claim.
However, in 1948, the government passed the “Tana Bhagat Rayat Farmland Restoration Act”. In this act, a provision was made to recover the lands of Tana Bhagats which were auctioned by the British government during the period of 1913 to 1942.
Ganga Tana Bhagat, former MP for Mandar Assembly Constituency in Ranchi, says: “Our community fought against the British for independence by leaving home, place, property, but it is sad that even after repeated promises from governments, our community is neglected. .”
Tana Bhagats families are mostly settled in different villages in Lohardaga, Gumla, Khunti, Ranchi, Chatra, Latehar, Simdega districts of the state.