The Yogi Adityanath government is constructing a Nishadraj Park in Shringverpur in Prayagraj. Nishadraj, the king of Nishads, had helped Sri Ram, Sita and Lakshman cross the Ganga in Shringverpur when they were on their way to the forests to spend 14 years in exile. The park is being built to mark the event.
The park is being built in an area of 5,600 square metres at an estimated cost of Rs 15 crore and is expected to be a major tourist attraction. According to a government spokesperson, “The park will also have a statue of Lord Ram and Nishadraj embracing each other, placed on a high platform. This statue will give the message that there was never a feeling of high and low caste in India. Social harmony has been a tradition here. There can be no other greater example of this than Lord Ram.”
He said Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had initiated various religious tourism projects in the state. Of these, Shringverpur will become an example of social harmony. It will also be a part of the Ramayana circuit in the state.
He said that the park would showcase the Sri Ram’s night halt in the fisherman’s hut, Sri Ram’s request for a boat to cross the Ganga, the communication between Sri Ram and Nishadraj and Sri Ram’s love for the boatman. These incidents will be brought to life through murals in the park.
The park will also chronicle the meeting of Shringi Rishi with his sister Shanta. Shringverpur reportedly got its name from Shringi Rishi, who is believed to have meditated there. He is the sage who performed the Kameshti Yajna at Makhota Dham in Basti for King Dasharatha to get a son.
Shringverpur is located on the Lucknow-Prayagraj road on the banks of the Ganga and finds mention in the Puranas.
With the Nishadraj Park, the BJP is apparently eyeing the Nishad community. For the first time in Uttar Pradesh, the Nishads emerged as an important vote bank in the Purvanchal region in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Nishads have consolidated themselves to such an extent that no political party can afford to ignore the community.
The community includes sub-castes like Manjhi, Kevat, Bind, Mallah and refers to the fishermen and boatmen community that lives along the banks of rivers and thrives on water resources. They are among the 17 OBC communities that have been proposed for the Scheduled Caste status by the Samajwadi Party (SP) government in 2004 and then in 2016.
The state government issued a government order for inclusion of these caste groups in the list of Scheduled Castes but the Allahabad High Court stayed the decision.
The Nishad community that has acquired political bargaining power and have been acknowledged by all major political parties, began consolidating into a political group in 2013 when the Rashtriya Nishad Ekta Parishad was set up.
The Nishad community has sizeable population 19 Lok Sabha constituencies in eastern Uttar Pradesh. To mark its political presence, the Nishad party was registered in August 2016, and made its debut in Uttar Pradesh elections in 2017 and contested 62 seats though it won only in Bhadohi.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with minor edits to conform to HinduPost style guide)
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