According to the hindu calender, today is the day around 233years back (in 1787), Maharaja of Jodhpur Abhaysingh ordered his men to fetch wood for construction of his new palace called Phool Mahal (Flower Palace). His men reached Khejarli (a village under the king) for the wood
Since Khejarli was a village of Bishnois, a dharma whose sole vow is to protect environment at any cost, the trees were present in ample amount. King's Men started to cut the trees and when villagers came to know about it, they opposed. Leader was a lady named Amrita Devi Bishnoi
When King's men refused to stop, Amrita devi hugged a tree and said "If you want to cut the tree, you have to cut me with it". King's men didn't stop and cut her with the tree. For their surprise, other villagers followed the suit and King's men had to cut a person to cut a tree
Villagers from nearby 84 villages gathered when the news broke out. By the time the news reached to the king, 363 Bishnois were cut along with the trees. King ordered to stop the massacre. He also issued a decree ordering No tree to be cut in Bishnoi territory under his rule.
Today is the day when a remembrance is held at Khejarli Village (District Jodhpur in Rajasthan) by Bishnoi community. 1 tree who was witness to that day, still stands. Khejarli later became inspiration for Chipako Aandolan.
Indian Govt facilitates Environment workers for their excellent work in this field with Amrita Devi Award each year. Amrita's last words were recorded as being "A chopped head is cheaper than a chopped tree", and this couplet later became a rallying cry for the Bishnois.
Its not one incident of some bishnois sacrificing themselves for environment. Even till today there are atleast 10 cases per year where bishnoi people are in news for taking bullet while saving wild life. As a community we honour them as martyr.
Then there are people like Salman Khan and his sympathizer who killed a black buck on the sacred land of those martyr, trying to being human to whitewash their crimes and gets audience while people who laid/lying their lives for environment are being forgotten. Tragic.
Anyways We celebrate the martyrdom of those 363 souls as Khejrali Balidan Diwas on this day every year. And to keep her legacy alive, we keep doing our share of environment protection irrespective of the cost. Shir sathe runkh rahe, toh bhi sasto jaan 🙏
Even when King's men cut 363 people, not a single one retaliated violently. Casualty on king's side was ZERO. Can you even simulate the courage and determination of them men and women??cause I simply can't.
The date of this event according to the english calender falls on 11th September which has been declared as National Forest Martyr's Day by Govt of India.
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