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Friday, 22 March 2013

BAMCEF pays tribute to Marang Gomke Adarniya Jaipal Singh Munda on his 42nd Death Anniversary.

BAMCEF pays tribute to Marang Gomke Adarniya Jaipal Singh Munda on his 42nd Death Anniversary.
With Regards
LT  COL  SIDDARTH BARVE
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Our tribute to the greatest Mulnivasi Tribal Mahapurush : Marang Gomke
Adarniya Jaipal Singh Munda on his 42nd Death Anniversary

Jaipal Singh Munda

Jaipal Singh Munda (January 3, 1903 – March 20, 1970) was a Munda tribal man, who
captained the Indian field hockey team to clinch gold in the 1928 Summer Olympics in
Amsterdam. He is well known for his sportsmanship and political skills.

Later he emerged as a sole leader of Adivasi cause and creation of a separate home land
for adivasis of central India. As a member of the Constituent Assembly of India he actively
campaigned for the rights of the scheduled tribes.

He formed Adivasi Mahasabha in 1938, himself as its president. After independence the name
of the party was changed to Jharkhand Party to accommodate non-tribal people to achieve long
term goals. He is popularly known as "Marang Gomke" (meaning Great Leader) by the tribals of
Chotanagpur. He was a gifted speaker and represented all the tribals of India at the Constituent
Assembly of India (which was responsible for drafting the constitution of Independent India).
The following is an excerpt from a famous speech made by him, where, while welcoming the
Objectives Resolution, he highlighted the issues facing the Indian tribals.

“As a jungli, as an Adibasi, I am not expected to understand the legal intricacies of the
Resolution. But my common sense tells me that every one of us should march in that
road to freedom and fight together. Sir, if there is any group of Indian people that has
been shabbily treated it is my people. They have been disgracefully treated, neglected
for the last 6,000 years. The history of the Indus Valley civilization, a child of which
I am, shows quite clearly that it is the new comers — most of you here are intruders
as far as I am concerned — it is the new comers who have driven away my people
from the Indus Valley to the jungle fastness...The whole history of my people is one of
continuous exploitation and dispossession by the non-aboriginals of India punctuated
by rebellions and disorder, and yet I take Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru at his word. I
take you all at your word that now we are going to start a new chapter, a new chapter
of independent India where there is equality of opportunity, where no one would be
neglected."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MAINSTREAM, VOL L, NO 8, FEBRUARY 11, 2012

Jaipal Singh Munda

The Commonwealth Games, Delhi 2010, a 12-day extravaganza left an enduring imprint of India’s rising capabilities as a sporting nation. In the meanwhile “the government has made a necessary change in the eligibility criteria for a person getting the India’s highest civilian honour”1 in any field of “human endeavour”. There have been extensive discussions and media campaign for conferment of Bharat Ratna favouring certain sports personalities. Strangely, not once did the Indian media, print and/or electronic, ever recall the role and sacrifice of the legendary hockey player Jaipal Singh during the CWG or in the post-CWG period. When I focused the case of Jaipal Singh for the award of Bharat Ratna in online comments of a leading English daily recently, there was a counter-question: “Who was that?” The person who asked the question and many like him do not know Jaipal Singh or his role as a hockey player in colonial India. This is the real crux. We are very knowledgeable people in many respects. At the same time we are equally forgetful of inconvenient achievers. The case of Jaipal Singh falls in this category, though India, under his stewardship, reached the pinnacle of glory at the Amsterdam Summer Olympics in 1928: it won its first ever Olympic Gold. Indeed that was Asia’s first Olympic Gold too.
Ignorance Cannot be Basis for Denial of Justice to Jaipal Singh
JAIPAL was born on January 3, 1903 at Tapkara village under Khunti subdivision (now a full-fledged district) in Ranchi district in Jharkhand. Takpara is a Munda village and Jaipal was Munda, a tribe of the sylvan country. His family had embraced Christianity. Sparks of his talent coupled with leadership qualities were noticed early in the day by the missionaries of SPG Mission Church of England. After initial schooling, Jaipal shifted from his village to Ranchi and studied at St. Paul’s run by the said missionaries. His character and qualities enamoured almost all whoever came in touch with him. A hockey player of exceptional calibre and abilities, he exhibited his mark quite early in his youth.
The Principal of St. Paul’s sent him to the Oxford University for higher education. Jaipal did not take much time to demonstrate his mettle as an ace hockey player in the celebrated University and soon charmed his way into the Oxford University Hockey Team. “The hallmarks of his game as a deep defender were his clean tackling, sensible game-play and well-directed hard hits. He was the most versatile player in the Oxford University Hockey Team. His contribution to the University Hockey Team was recognised and he became the first Indian student to be conferred the ‘Oxford Blue’ in Hockey.”2
He was a prolific columnist on sports, particularly hockey. Leading English newspapers used to publish regularly his columns on the game, which were widely acclaimed by readers. In 1928, he was selected for captaincy of the Indian Hockey Team for the Amsterdam Summer Olympics. It was both a unique honour and tough challenge that called for his sacrifice.
Conflict between Personal Interest and National Dignity: Jaipal Sacrificed his Personal Interest
A student of Economics (Honours) at Oxford University, Jaipal passed his examinations with flying colours. He took the ICS examination, which was the dream of every Indian youth in the colonial era. He cleared it with the highest marks in the interview. While he was under-going training in England as an ICS probationer, he was selected as the captain of the Indian team for the Amsterdam Summer Olympics. It was a call from his motherland that presented to him the defining moment. He was asked to reach Amsterdam and join the team immediately. When he applied for leave of absence to take up the charge of captaincy, the India Office, London rejected his prayer outright. He defied the refusal order of the India Office which conducted the affairs of the Government of India from London. The import of his disobedience was pregnant with severe consequences.
Undaunted, Jaipal proceeded to Amsterdam and joined the hockey team for practice. He was well aware that his conscious decision and calculated move was fraught with the inevitable disciplinary action: he had qualified himself by his defiance for major punishment. Charges of disobedience and indiscipline against an ICS probationer were too serious to overlook by the colonial masters. Jaipal was without parallel in this behalf by responding to his patriotic impulse as well as conscience. He was indeed peerless, though history is yet to accord due importance to this event.
The Imperial Service was known for its strict rules, rigid discipline and unplugging adherence to unbending procedures. Jaipal nonchalantly flouted the mighty authorities. The Indian Hockey Team for Amsterdam had the following members: Jaipal Singh (Captain), Richard Allen, Dhyan Chand, Maurice Gateley, William Goodsir-Cullen, Leslie Hammond, Feroze Khan, George Marthins, Rex Norris, Broome Pinniger (Vice-Captain), Michael Rocque, Frederic Seaman, Ali Shaukat and Sayed Yusuf.3
Nine countries divided into two Divisions A and B participated in the Olympic Hockey. In all, 31 players scored 69 goals in 18 matches. Of them, India [in Division A] scored 29 goals—the largest number by Major Dhyan Chand, 14, followed by Feroze Khan and George Martins, five each, Frederic Seaman, three, Ali Saukat and Maurice Gateley, one each. In the final match, India defeated Holland by 3-0 goals. Germany and Belgium had to contend with the third and fourth positions.
In the final against Holland, however, Jaipal Singh did not play. Serious differences of opinion had cropped up between the team manager A. B. Rossier and the Captain. As a result, Jaipal Singh opted out of the final match. The Vice-Captain Broome Pinniger stewarded the team to victory by inflicting a crashing defeat on the rival Holland team.
Part-II
A Bengali Son-in-law: a Visionary
AT the close of the Games, Jaipal returned to England. He was personally congratulated by the then Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin, for his excellent captaincy and the team performance. The India Office appeared to have relented under the Olympic glow and softened down their stubborn attitude. Jaipal was asked to rejoin his training with the stipulation that he would undergo it for an extra year. This implied that his probation was extended by a year. He felt that his dignity and self-esteem were compromised by this stipulation. So he did not rejoin the ICS training; instead he returned to India. A British oil major, Burmah Shell, offered him a very lucrative job while he was in England. Jaipal joined the company at Calcutta.
There at Calcutta Jaipal Singh met his future wife, Tara Winfred Majumdar. She was the grand-daughter (daughter’s daughter) of Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee, the first President of the Indian National Congress (1885). Their marriage, however, did not last long. Educational assignments took Jaipal away from Calcutta to the Gold Coast in Ghana, Africa and to Raipur (the present capital of Chhattisgarh) in the then Central Provinces and Berar. He further moved to Rajputana where he was appointed the Coloni-sation Minister and Revenue Commissioner in the Princely State of Bikaner. His unimpeachable performance as the Minister and Revenue Commissioner earned him further rewards.. He was elevated to the post of Foreign Secretary of the state of Bikener.
At this stage, he felt a profound urge to do something for his people, the neglected and exploited tribal communities in Chhota Nagpur in Bihar. He returned to Bihar and met the President, Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee, Dr Rajendra Prasad, at Sadaquat Ashram, Patna. The Sadaquat Ashram gave a cold reception to Jaipal. A sportsman does not take defeat as a defeat; instead he takes it as a challenge and turns it into an opportunity. Jaipal was a sportsman to the core. When one door closes before a determined man, another opens up simultaneously.
At this juncture, the Governor of Bihar and Orissa, Sir Maurice Hallet, offered membership of his Legislative Council to Jaipal. He politely declined it. Then the Governor as also Robert Russel, the Chief Secretary, advised him to take up the cause of the tribal people who were already in a restive mood. Jaipal Singh went to Ranchi and there he was received tumultuously by the tribals. The rest is history. His dream for a separate tribal State fructified in the midnight of November 15, 2000—a new State of Jharkhand came into being.
Jaipal Singh was a man of many parts—an accomplished writer, iconic hockey captain, excellent orator, visionary, patriot, and an indefatigable champion for the tribal cause. When he was selected as the captain for the Indian hockey squad for the Olympics, the authorities in The India Office refused him leave to play at the Amsterdam Olympics. He had limited options: either Olympic hockey or ICS. “I did not get leave! I decided to defy the ruling and take the consequences,” he said later. By opting for the former, he brought the first Olympic laurels for India. His countrymen, it seems, have forgotten him.
Subhas Chandra Bose earned his first feather in his patriotic cap by resigning from the ICS. He is cheered all through as courageous and spirited for that step. Surendranath Banerjea, who was dismissed from the ICS (1874) for misconduct, has been lionised in history. They held that the Britishers’ loss was India’s gain because he (Surendranath) joined politics and led the anti-partition agitation of Bengal and the swadeshi movement (1905-11). Though Jaipal voluntarily took up the hockey captaincy in the teeth of official refusal for grant of leave from training schedules during his ICS probation, his countrymen do not count or even recall this as a unique sacrifice. Bengalis have swept under the carpet the fact that the Munda youth was one of their most shinning sons-in-law. Nothing is ever attempted officially or otherwise at the national level to refresh public memories over Jaipal Singh’s contributions and accomplish-ments in various fields.
His dream of a tribal State has materialised partially into reality. His vision for the Adivasi State was bigger, that was to comprise the tribal districts of Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, besides those of Bihar and Orissa.
Evaluation of a person in India is influenced more by the social class and identity he bears on his sleeves. If one is from the lower social strata, he stands to face and embrace prejudice from the entrenched privileged Indians, irrespective of his contribution to the nation. Prejudice becomes insurmountable for them; even their patriotic sacrifices are not to be counted. Jaipal Singh Munda is another case in point. Let ignorance in certain quarters not be the touchstone for injustice against him. It will be a national shame.
FOOTNOTES
1. The Times of India, December 16, 2011.
2. Jaipal Singh wikipedia.
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/field_… summer_olympics The author is a former Vice-Chancellor, B.R. Ambedkar University, Muzaffarpur, Bihar. He may be contacted at atul.biswas@gmail.com for comments and observations, if any.