“सिर सांठे रुख रहे तो भी सस्तो जाण”
Means If you can protect the trees even by getting your head cut, then consider it a win-win deal.
These words are used to describe the immortal mystery of the sacrifice of Khejarli.
Surprised by the statement? Do you think any one can do this to protect trees ?
In this blog post we are sharing a real story of such a sacrifice for protecting the trees that happened in 1731 AD in Khejarli village near Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India.
Centuries ago, when there was no movement on the name of environmental protection. Or it was not even a problem for mankind, hundreds of illiterate people had sacrificed themselves here after preserving the trees.
Story of Khejarli
The event dates back to 1730. Abhay Singh, the then King of Jodhpur wanted to expand his fort and for this, he needed the Khejri trees. Lime was to be prepared from the Khejri trees.
There was an abundance of trees in the vicinity of Khejarli village. And the king ordered his minister, Girdhar Bhandari, to bring cutlery to all trees of Khejri.
When the minister arrived in the area, including the force and started cutting down the trees, this news spread like a forest fire in the villages.
When the minister used the army, Bishnoi of 84 villages gathered and under the leadership of Amrita Devi, they filled the trees in their arms and were not ready to leave at any cost.
She slogan, “सिर सांठे रुख रहे तो भी सस्तो जाण”.
There was a fierce clash of self-defense and military forces in which 363 Bishnois sacrificed their lives to protect their beloved trees. When the news reached Raja Abhay Singh, he considered it best to bow in front of this mass movement.
Do we dare to do this today ? and thats when the problem of global warming is the single biggest problem on planet Earth today.
Only 25 kilometers from the historic city of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, Khejarli village in natures zonal can be of special significance for any environmental lover.
What we can learn from the sacrifice of Khejrli
The inspiration that the new generation can get from here, rarely get from anywhere else.
On the name of development and modernizations, we are forgetting our ancient values and importance of environment.
Today’s environment activists and world leader can learn what kind of will power and determination is required to protect our environment and ultimately the future of planet Earth.
The importance of protection of trees is being given here since then when the problem of environmental pollution was not even born.
Education of forest conservation has been given by the illiterate, unrivaled people and tribes of this country.
Another interesting fact that comes out is – as long as our majority population remains rural and ‘superstitions’ of God’s dwelling in nature, tends to have greater love and respect for the nature. The more civilised we have become, we have lost this love and respect.
What should be the true homage to Khejarli
The irony is that despite the frenetic scandal on the issue of environmental protection and the frenetic development of tourism, this place is not able to do anything except crying on its plight.
Leaving that apart, do we even remember this greatest deed of environment protection? Such a center of spirituality is capable of being the only holy pilgrimage of the environment lover worldwide.
The sad thing is that this shrine of nature protection has been kept as confidential as it is. Neither any publicity, neither discussion in the course nor the facilities to reach here.
Nothing worse today, if a little effort is made then lots of Indian and foreign tourists and environmental lovers can come here to bow their heads to this sacrificial land and get some true inspirations.
- Khejarli should be declared as National heritage.
- Tourism department should develop this place as an international tourist spot.
- Lots of programs should be organized at regular interval to spread the sacrificing history of Khejarli to the world.
- The government should include “Saga of self-sacrifice of Khejarli” in school course so upcoming generation can be introduced to the importance of nature.
- The Khejarli festival which held on Bhaadrapad Sukal Dashmi should be of 3 or more days so more people can attract and connect with this sacrificing land.
Guru Jambheshwar considered the originator of Bishnoi Sect. Bishnoi word is composed of two words Bish (twenty) and Noi (nine), and this means that the twenty-nine principles of life by the community-promoter of this community have been suggested.
Eight rules from these twenty-nine rules are related to nature conservation and enrichment. This includes rules like do not eat meat, not stealing bulls, cutting trees etc.
These rules are followed by this society sincerely even today. A special attachment to this community is seen in wild animals.
Bishnoi sect is silently employed to protect the mute and vegetation by the spirit of Saurabhuntu Sukhin, on the basis of the principles as given by the Guru Jambheshwar. Bishnoi Sect is the custodian of our cultural heritage, social values, and traditions. The contribution and consciousness of this society towards the environment is exemplary.
Rural Tourism and Khejarli
If you are environmental lover then Khejarli is the perfect destination for you. In Khejarli, The whole environment is covered with a martyr monument of Khejri trees, where the birds of the sky are found circulating in a clean way.
There is memorial made in the memory of 363 martyrs who lost their lives to save the trees in 1730. Behind the monument, there is a temple of Guru Jambheshwar Ji which is a symbol of the Bishnoi’s natural affection and reverence.
You can easily see migratory birds, chinkara, blackbuck, peacock and more animals and birds.
Here you can also look for block printing, pottery, handicraft, camel ride in the near areas of Khejarli. You can also enjoy the village food that you never forget.
We insist you to share this story with your friends on social media. It will be like a tribute to those who sacrificed their lives to save trees on the planet.
We have to find and carve many ‘Khejarli’.