Munda unveils statue of late Munda,champion of tribals

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MP Ram Dayal MundaArmed with drums and clad in colourful dress,scores of his fans gathered today at Morahabadi Maidan in Ranchi to pay tributes to their beloved leader.To mark the event,his statue was installed there.

The statue made of fibre was unveiled by chief minister Arjun Munda.”We owe a lot to him”,said the CM Munda.

Rajya Sabha MP Ram Dayal Munda, an eminent educationist and a key player in the formation of Jharkhand, lost his battle against cancer on August 23 last year.He was survived by his wife and son.Both led and organized the statue installation function.

Ram Dayal Munda,who was also a member of the National Advisory Council,was a man of many roles and interests.A vocal champion of tribal interests, his passion for the nagara (drum) and flute — he would even play them during his election campaigns — was equally famous.

Born in 1939 at Diuri village, about 60 km from here, Munda, who was honoured with the Padma Shri last year, was also known for authoring a number of books on tribal languages, culture and politics of the region. He was also a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award.

Munda did his PhD in Linguistics from the University of Chicago in 1970 after finishing MA in Anthropology from Ranchi University in 1963. After teaching stints at the University of Chicago and University of Minnesota, he returned to Ranchi University, where he headed the Department of Tribal and Regional Languages. He went on to become the Vice-Chancellor in 1985.

This was around the time when the fight for Jharkhand was gaining momentum. As RU V-C, Munda provided the intellectual base to the agitation and helped set up the All Jharkhand Students Union and Jharkhand Coordination Committee. The AJSU-JCC stir drew the attention of then PM Rajiv Gandhi, opening the doors for dialogue with the Centre. Munda was made a member of the Committee on Jharkhand Matters, which was set up soon.

In electoral politics, however, Munda could not really make a mark, losing deposit in both the elections he fought. He contested the Assembly polls from Ranchi as an Independent in 1995 and Lok Sabha polls from Khunti on a JD(U) ticket in 2004. In 2010, the Congress nominated him to the Rajya Sabha.

In his memory, groups of Adivasis held meetings in different parts of the state including his birth place-Tamar block in Ranchi district.

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