GUJARAT STATE FUNCTIONS TO CELEBRATE
ANNIVERSARY OF INDIA’S INDEPENDENCE HELD IN RAJPIPLA
The Gujarat State functions to celebrate the 62nd anniversary of India’s independence were held in Rajpipla, the headquarters of Narmada district on 14th and 15th August 2009.
Picturesque Rajpipla, earlier known as Nandod, on the banks of the river Karjan with the western Satpuras forming an enchanting backdrop, was the capital of the eponymous princely state till merger with the Indian Union in 1948. It now drew all the top leaders and functionaries of the state of Gujarat.
The 279-year-old historic town looked spic and span, freshly painted and beautifully illuminated.
The Governor Shri S.C. Jamir and Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi landed in a specially prepared helipad at the edge of the town. The Chief Minister began his programme by paying obeisance to the deity of the Gohil clan, Shri Harsiddhi Mataji. He garlanded the statues of the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, and the champion of the oppressed Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, in Rajpipla town. Next on his agenda were the inauguration of a sports complex at the old Dhaba ground and a visit to tribal children from the weakest sections at the Vijay Palace complex.
The Governor’s At Home on the eve of Independence Day was held in the grounds of the magnificent Vadia Palace.
The Chief Minister visited Kevadia colony, 15 kilometres from Rajpipla, which was set up to rehabilitate people displaced by the gigantic Sardar Sarovar Dam on the holy river Narmada.
Later in the evening the Chief Minister made a stirring speech, announcing huge development initiatives for the people of Narmada district. Several leading personalities of the area were honoured by the Chief Minister, including the former Maharaja and Maharani of Rajpipla, Raghubir Singhji and Rukmini Devi, and Major-General Randhirsinh Gohil.
Thereafter a dramatic cultural extravaganza was staged before an enthralled crowd of about 20,000 people. The turnout was stupendous considering that the population of Rajpipla is around 50,000.
Conceived and choreographed by Shri Vishnu Pandya and his team, the event depicted episodes from India’s freedom struggle with particular reference to the role of Rajpipla during the mutiny of 1857 when there was a rebellion under the then Gohil ruler Maharana Verisaji II. As a result Rajpipla was out of the control of the British for several months. The architects of this rebellion paid a heavy price. The Mamlatdar of Rajpipla was executed by the British, who also deposed Maharana Verisalji II in 1860, placing his 13-year-old son Gambhirsinhji on the gadi or throne of Rajpipla.
No event in this tribal belt can be complete without traditional Bhil dances. Adivasis in their colourful attire and carrying rustic weapons and instruments staged an enthralling show that brought the audience to its feet.
The Chief Minister stayed overnight in the lovely forest guest cottages in a corner of the 151-acre Vadia Palace estate.
On India’s Independence Day, 15th August, Chief Minister Narendra Modi unfurled the National Flag at 9 A.M. in the Physical Training Institute Stadium before another huge gathering seated under massive white shamianas bearing the Indian tricolour. The youth of Narmada district displayed their yoga skills even as the tribal dancers regaled alongside.
There was a joyous finale as the Chief Minister went around the stadium in an open jeep greeting the people gathered there and acknowledging their felicitations, bringing down the curtain on two memorable days in Rajpipla.