PresenterMEENA JIGYASA - UNIVERSITY OF RAJASTHAN, DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY & INDIAN CULTURE, JAIPUR, India
Panel28 – South Asian sacred spots: Nodal Points in Webs of Connections
Revisiting Eki Movement in the Princely States of Southern Rajputana
The present paper aims to explore the role of sacred spaces in social movements as sites for mobilisation. Here, ‘sacred spaces’ need to be broadly perceived as certain places (such as temples, and shrines), certain gatherings (such as fairs, and ‘melas’), and also certain actions (such as prayer congregations) in which the divine or the holy is considered to be present. The proposition focuses on the ‘Eki’ movement led by Motilal Tejawat mobilising the Bhil tribal community in the erstwhile Princely states of Southern Rajputana in the first half of the twentieth century. Sacred spaces were employed as rallying points to raise and strengthen the movement as faith holds immense importance in tribal and less literate societies. It played a significant role in expanding their participation and spaces for asserting their voices. Though the ‘Eki’ movement rose in the remote corners inhabited by the tribals, much away from mainstream activism, connected itself to the larger Gandhian movement in Colonial India. In the larger context, the leaders such as Tejawat provided that essential connecting link that joined these regional upsurges to the larger movement, through their own language, symbolism and spaces.