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Bir Budhu Bhagat remembered

By Correspondent

BONGAIGAON, Feb 17 � The All Kurux (Oraon) Sahitya Sabha of Assam today celebrated the 223rd birth anniversary of the first Adivasi freedom fighter of the country, Bir Budhu Bhagat at the District Library here.

Bimol Toppo, a Kurux writer from Jharkhand and former vice president of the Kurux Literary Society of India, who was the appointed speaker in the open session of the celebration, flayed some historians for their biased attitude.

Bir Budhu Bhagat, who was born on February 17, 1793 at Chota Nagpur in Bihar (now Jharkhand), led the �Kol Revolt� at the age of 28, opposing the collection of hiked taxes from poor Adivasi farmers by British rulers, Toppo said.

According to Toppo, it was Budhu who sparked a revolt (hulhul in the Oraon language) against the British for the first time in the country as the Adivasis were the worst sufferers of British hegemony.

Instead of dying at the hands of British soldiers, Budhu committed suicide when his Adivasi Janata Sena was attacked by British soldiers on February 13, 1832 at Tiko village in Jharkhand, Toppo said.

Concluding the life history of Budhu Bhagat, Toppo called upon the Adivasi community to turn the pages of history and do research on Adivasi heroes to inspire the young generation.

Sabha general secretary Alex Minj said, �The Kurux (Oraons) were the founders of the Indus Valley Civilization, but due to the negligence of some historians, the fact has not been mentioned in history books.�

�Though in government documents, we have been named as Oraons, but we are originally Kurux and our native land is Chota Nagpur in Jharkhand,� said Minj.

�Our mother tongue is Kurux which will become extinct in the next 10 years as per a UNESCO report if we fail to conserve it,� he warned.

According to Minj, the total Kurux population in Assam is around 7 lakh. The community came to the State during 1778.

All Koch Rajbongshi Students� Union president Biswajit Ray, in his speech, urged the Centre to install a bust of Bir Budhu Bhagat at the Delhi Parliament building campus to honour the freedom fighter.

Sabha president Kamaleswar Toppo chaired the open session, which started with a Kurux folk song and dance.

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