Eki Movement or Bhomat Bhil Movement under Motilal Tejawat

Eki Movement or Bhomat Bhil Movement under Motilal Tejawat

The tribal movement under the leadership of Govindgir was confined to the States of Dungarpur, Banswara, Sunth Rampur and Idar only. A large number of Bhils in the States of Udaipur, Sirohi and Bundi remained aloof from this movement. The movement of the Bhils under Govindgiri was suppressed by the British forces, but it influenced the Bhils of Gujarat, Central India and Rajasthan.

Motilal Tejawat – Masheeha of Tribals / Baavji of Bhils

Moti Lai Tejawat was Oswal bania by caste and born in village Kolhari in Jhadol tihikana of Udaipur State. Due to some differences with the Jagirdar of Jharole he left the service of Jhalore thikana as Kamdar and adopted the profession of a spice merchant. Further, his business brought him in close contact with all the Bhils of Udaipur State. He was aggrieved by the plight of the Bhils and started work among them for their upliftment.

The social reform activities of Moti Lai Tejawat spread his popularity among the Bhils. Along with these he also started Eki (Unity) movement. The Eki movement aimed at a united opposition to all types of exploitation of Bhils by the States and jagirdars. Moti Lal Tejawat met Vijay Singh Pathik and other leaders to chalk out a programme for redressal of the grievances of the Bhils. By this time the Bijolia peasant movement bad also reached to its climax which inspired Tejawat and in 1921, he gave a call for the non-cooperation movement to the Bhils along with the call of no-rent campaign at Matrakundia, Chittorgarh.

The Bhils with their demand assembled at Lake Pichola near the Palace. Under pressure Maharana of Mewar called Motilal for discussions and he presented Maharana with list of 21 demands (labelled as Mewar ki Pukar). Maharana agreed to 18 of 21 demands but did not agree to Forest Rights, Begar and killing of Wild pigs. The officers  did not implement the 18 agreed conditions and as a result Motilal Tejawat intesified the revolt. Additionally, he started door to door campaign where he preached against the social evils prevalent in Bhil society. Due to this he became famous as Maseeha of Bhils.

Bhomat Bhil Movement

Bhomat was the area densely populated by the Bhils. It comprised of parts of various Jagirs and the Khalsa land of Udaipur State. To keep the Bhils under control the British formed Bhomat an administrative unit under the rule of a military officer of the rank of a Major with headquarters at Kotra and Kherwara.

Tejawat extended his activities to Bhomat area and enlightened the tribals. The Bhils followed him and refused to pay land revenue, cesses, other taxes and to perform begar. The administration became paralysed and lost control over a large tract of Udaipur State. Under growing pressure, in 1922 the Udaipur State, British authorities announced various concessions and agreements were reached. However, the agreements could not succeed in bringing the movement to an end because various disputes arose in the implementation of agreement. The Bhil movement of Udaipur State finally ended after 1929 when Tejawat was arrested.

Conclusion:

  • The tribal movement under the leadership of Moti Lai Tejawat began under the influence of the Non-Go-operation Movement but comparatively it was more radical.
  • The tribal movement was not owned by the Indian National Congress and could not be integrated in the National movement, but it strengthened the national cause.
  • The movement awakened the ignorant tribe men to break their age- old bondage.
  • These movements proved severe attacks on the feudal system of Rajasthan and paved the way for social development.
  • These also prepared the ground for freedom movement in Rajasthan and when the Prajamandal in various states came into being the awakened tribal men joined these organisation.