Come Holi and it is time to relive the regal past. Literally. In the tribal dominated Dang areas in Ahwa district, Dang Darbar is a major festival, celebrated just before Holi. This year, the festivity has been planned through March 4 to March 8 and will see a line-up of traditional fanfare, music, dances and kiosks to showcase the native art and craft of the tribals.
The Dang Darbar holds an immense historical importance. It is said that neither Mughals, Marathas or the British were able to conquer the region. The core region comprises five princely estates: Gadhavi, Pimpri, Amala-Linga, Vasurana, and Daher. Although the privileges of kings were revoked in 1954, the contribution of these five royal families is still honored by giving a political pension each year, on the first day of the Dang Darbar Festival.
People from nearby 300 villages gather during the Darbar in Ahwa to honor the five kings. For visitors, Dang Festival offers a great occasion to live through the lives and culture of tribal people of the region that include Kunbis, Bhils, Gamits and Warlis.
The day also sees erstwhile royalties ride in regal entourage, with state officials including the Governor, lined up in obeisance. Despite the amount being a trifle, the political pension or salianu as it is called, is a token of acknowledgement of the imperial past and salutation to the lineage of the present.
The Dang Darbar has been held since 1870. It is believed that the felicitation owes to successive defeats by the British to subjugate the region, failing which, an agreement was reached in 1842. Accordingly, the Europeans were limited to outside the district while the tribals were not to seek any land outside.
In modern day context, the pension is handed out to each of the five progenies. When Narendra Modi was chief minister of Gujarat, he also allotted district land to the descendants for building homes.
KiranSingh Yashwantrao Pawar Gadhvi Raj: Rs 2,32,650
Chhatra Singh Bhawar Singh Amalaraj: Rs 1,75,666
Dhanraj Chandrasingh Suryavanshi Vasuna Raj: Rs 1,47,553
Tapanrao Awandrao Pawar Daher Raj: Rs 1,58,386
Trikamrao Sahebrao Pawar Pipriraj: Rs 1,91,246
452 retainers and second-in-line: Rs 6,33,4073
Total: Rs 72,39574