Lake city of Udaipur, the seat of erstwhile rulers of Mewar, on February 25, witnessed a unique gathering of Vanvasis, who had assembled there to pledge that they are inseparable part of Hinduism and would fight against those forces that are trying to create a division in the Hindu society.
Thousands of Vanvasis, from Vanvasi-dominated districts of Dungarpur, Banswara, Slumber, Rajasamand and Chittorgarh started reaching the city since early morning to participate in the Rashtra Shakti Sammelan, organised by Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad, workers of which are working in these area for the uplift of the Vanvasis The Parishad, which has strong presence among the Vanvasis, had been preparing for the sammelan for the past several months and wanted to make it an impressive show of the Vanvasis.
The sammelan adopted a resolution which says that if a Vanvasi changes his religion, he would not get the benefits of reservation, for which they are eligible as ST part of Hinduism. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh'sSarsanghachalak, Shri K.S. Sudarshan, who was the main speaker at the gathering, warned those who are trying to create a rift between Vanvasis and Hindus.
The Rashtra Shakati Sammelan of Vanvasis came at the time when Rishbhdev area was witnessing a kind of divide between the Vanvasis and the Jain community over the Rishbhdev temple. The sammelan was an expression of solidarity by Vanvasis that they are nothing but Hindus.
The Vanvasis, from different districts, had assembled at seven points in the city. These seven groups of Vanvasis started their procession around noon and after taking various routes in the city, merged at the Maharana Bhupal Stadium, the venue of the sammlan. More than two dozens arched gates were put up by the local residents to welcome the Vanvasis.
They and their women folks were in their best colourful costumes. Dancing, singing and beating drum with joy they were attraction for the city people. The gathering was no less than one lakh. Providing food and drinking water to such a big gathering was not an easy job. The Parishad had formed 250 different groups of workers to make and supervise the arrangements of the sammelan, which was well disciplined and started at the right time.
The Parishad workers had decked the city with saffron flags carrying Om on it. The venue of the sammelan was full of flags. A huge dais was built and in the backdrop was a huge photograph of Shri Guruji. At the dais were Peethadheeshwar of Ramsnehi sampardaya Ramdayal Maharaj, Mewar Mahamandaleshwar, Mahant Murli Manohar Sharan Shastri and Sabla Harimandir Peethadheeshwar, Achutaya-nandji Maharaj. They not only blessed the gathering but also called the forces of Hindutva to work relentlessly for the uplift of their Vanvasis brothers.
They also said that they would ensure no Vanvasi, SC and ST Hindu is barred from entering any Hindu temple. In fact a day earlier these Hindu saints along with many others, had met Sanwaliyji in Chittorgarh and passed a resolution urging the managements of some Hindu temples, where such restrictions are imposed, to lift this kind of a ban, as it is against the spirit of Hinduism which believes in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. There was a big rush among the Vanvasis to get closer to these saints to touch their feet and get their blessing.
According to Shri Suresh Kulkarni, the regional Pracharak of the Parishad, cooking food for the participants was not difficult but by we decided to involve the local people and the families with an aim to give them a sense of belongingness with their Vanvasis brothers and sisters.
In its typical style of working, the Parishad workers had approached 55,000 families in the town to contribute two packets each of food for the Vanvasis taking part in the sammelan. The students of local schools were in the forefront to offer water to the percussionists on their way to the stadium. It was a scene to be watched, when children were welcoming the Vanvasis.