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Filed under: Latest News — admin     2:44 pm March 17, 2011

Ahwa, headquarters of the tribal-dominated Dang district, wore a festive look as tens of thousands of tribals had come down from the hills and forest on Wednesday to attend the annual Dang Darbar festival that the state government organises in honour of the five tribal kings whose forefathers ruled the district till mid-19th century.

The three-day-long festival, inaugurated by Gujarat governor Dr Kamla, is the annual attraction for the tribal in the Dang district ahead of the Holi festival. The five tribal kings are given away their political pension during this function.

For three long days, the tribal people from hills and forest will visit the fair at Ahwa along with their families and friends and purchase household goods and other items sold at discounted rates.

On the eve of the festival, the five tribal kings – Karansinh Yashwantrao Pawar of Gadhavi, Tapanrao Anandrao of Daher, Trikamrao Sahebrao Pawar of Pimpri, Dhanrajsinh Chandrasinh Suryavanshi of Vasurana and Bhawarsinh Hasusinh of Amala-Linga – leave their houses located in the interior of the dense forest of Dang and reach Ahwa traversing treacherous and bumpy ride along with their wives, children and relatives. The tribal kings are kept in some small room at an undisclosed spot in Ahwa, where they eat, drink and enjoy with their family friends and relatives from the villages.

The next morning, these tribal kings, dressed in the traditional white paghris (turban), a pair of shoes and dhoti-kurta, accompanied by their bhavbandhs (relatives) and naiks (soliders) reach the district collector’s office in Ahwa from where they participate in the massive procession attended by hundreds of tribals from Dang.

The five kings of Gadhavi, Pimpri, Amala-Linga, Vasurana and Daher were invincible. The Mughals and Maratha could never conquer the hilly tracts of the Dang. Neither could the British, who made a truce with the Dangi kings. In 1842, the British made them sign a timber lease offering Rs11,230 annually for permitting the Royal Indian Naval Dockyard in Bombay to collect teak wood from the forests.

Thus began the Dang Darbar 150 years ago. The annual fair continued even after Independence, though in 1954 the privileges of the kings and naiks were cancelled and instead hereditary political pension was granted to them.

But the Dangi kings have long been at the receiving end. They are not happy with the meagre political pension paid by the state government.

“We now survive on the paltry political pension of Rs 3,000 a month. We also till the land and get some money from cutting trees that the government allows us. Time and again we have demanded the government should increase our political pension, but in vain,” said Dhanrajsinh Suryavanshi, king of Vasurana.

Source: The Times Of India

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