*Pictures show the first Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi who visited the birthplace of Adivasi legend Birsa Munda and met his dwindling followers Birsait at Ulihatu, Khunti district of Jharkhand on November 15, 2023.

First consider this.

* Three helipads built. 

* Shining statue of Birsa Munda with a new staircase. 

* Black 5-7 km long double-lane road from Adki to his birthplace. 

* Piped drinking water to every family member and resident.

* Electricity in every home. 

Three days after India’s first PM Narendra Modi visited Ulihatu, signs of change are visible at the birthplace of legendary Adivasi hero Birsa Munda. This change is also palpable inside the house of Birsa Munda’s great-grandson Sukhram Munda. 

His house carries colourful tiles and cemented walls painted afresh even as the dust has begun to cover it right now when Sukram Munda has demanded a new “ big house” for himself, a feature common among many Adivasis at Ulihatu. Birsaits, followers of the tribal legend Birsa Munda, are no different. 

From new houses to new mo - bikes and laptops, each one of them who had come and got a group photograph with Prime Minister Narendra Modi has different demands from the government. Against this backdrop, they do not praise PM Modi.“ Bahut Accha Laga”(Felt very nice), recalls one of them. 

As it is, Birsa Munda’s birth anniversary was celebrated on November 15 as Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas, and this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the tribal freedom fighter’s birthplace Ulihatu, Khunti, Jharkhand, to pay tribute to him. On the occasion, PM Modi launched the Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra — to ensure the last-mile delivery of government services and schemes. 

PM Modi launched the PM Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan, a programme to empower and protect the most marginalised among the tribes, the Particularly Vulnerable Tribes. He also unveiled projects worth around Rs 7,200 crore related to coal, petroleum, railways, roads, and education. 

Tribal communities, no doubt, take great pride in their traditions, culture, and history, including historical icons. The BJP has aptly acknowledged this aspect of the tribal psyche and has translated it into an important agenda of politics to showcase government action and interventions. 

At ground level, a lot of resources are earmarked for tribal research institutes, museums, research fellowships, residential education, etc. This gives an additional edge to the BJP as a champion of the tribal cause, as such issues were not addressed by non-BJP parties in the past. 

Yet, all Adivasis are not inclined to back the BJP led by the PM. “ We have our own identity. We want the Sarna Dharm code to keep our religious practices intact”, says a Munda echoing the sentiments of a group of his community. 

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