" Democracy was
also a great narrative and not merely a monolithic kind of democratic participation."

Tantaya Mama

Booklet: ‘Tantaya Mama’ (Tantaya Uncle)
Author: Joshila Jagdish
Publication: Archana Prakashan, Bhopal
Edition: 2005
Price: Rs. 10/-
Pages: 48

Tantaya was born in Bhil family. Bhils are a warrior tribe. As a child, he was enthusiastic, energetic and brave. He grew up to be an honest and hardworking farmer. He lost his land to his enemies by fraud. Humiliated and rebuked, he was a silent sufferer. A sage gifted him a ‘tabeez’ (amulet) that protected him from physical hazards. His benevolence for destitute, was misconstrued and he was taken as a criminal to be imprisoned. Rejection and humiliation drove him to banditry and subsequent imprisonment. He escaped and travelled through villages and jungles, committing decoities and helping needy people. He was venerated as “helper of oppressed”. He became popular as ‘Tantaya Mama’. He openly challenged the police and his enemies. Well-trained English officers were deployed and rewards were announced for arresting him but each time he escaped from their traps. Finally, he was caught and awarded capital punishment. This incident became a news item for national and international newspapers. However, his death still remains a mystery. He posed certain questions regarding country’s fate, government, administration, police and public, which still remain unanswered.


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