With the exit of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) from the alliance with the BJP last year, the Yogi Adityanath government has now chalked out an elaborate plan to commemorate the contribution of Maharaja Suheldev in national integration and reach out to the Rajbhar community.
According to the government spokesman, various programmes will be organised across the state and a grand memorial will also be built at Chittaura in Bahraich where a huge statue of Raja Suheldev, who is revered by the backward Rajbhar community in eastern Uttar Pradesh, will be installed.
The event to mark the birth anniversary celebration on February 16 will be addressed virtually by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This is the first time that the government is celebrating Suheldev’s anniversary.
“While the Prime Minister will address the programme virtually, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will be in Bahraich and is expected to announce major projects for Bahraich and Shravasti. Among other projects, the memorial of Suheldev in the middle of Chittaura Lake will also get a facelift. Earlier, BJP had issued a postal ticket and also announced a train in his memory,” the spokesman said.
The programmes will also include poetry recitation by renowned poets followed by lighting of 1.25 lakh ‘diyas’ and other cultural events.
Bahraich district magistrate, Shambhu Kumar, said: “The state government has decided to organise the Maharaja Suheldev birth anniversary programmes across the state. The chief minister will visit Bahraich, the birth place of Maharaja Suheldev, and inaugurate the ceremony.”
He further said, “The Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) has been entrusted with the responsibility of lighting 1.25 lakh diyas.”
BSA Dinesh Kumar Yadav said at least 300 people had been engaged for the work.
The move is apparently designed to appease the Rajbhar community, which constitutes around 17-18 per cent of the population in the Purvanchal region.
The Chief Minister has issued directives to hold events to mark Suheldev’s birth anniversary at the memorials of martyrs in all districts.
An officer in the state tourism department said the government would expand Chittaura as a tourist spot and a memorial would be built which would have a meeting hall with the seating capacity of 2,000 people. The memorial would be built on 82 bighas of land belonging to the royal family of Payagpur.
Availability of land was the biggest obstacle for the construction of Maharaja Suheldev Memorial. Most of the land here is owned by the Payagpur royal family.
Raja Yashuvendra Vikram Singh has been appointed the lifetime vice-president of Maharaja Suheldev Memorial Committee while the Bahraich district magistrate would be the honorary president.
“The temple of Maharaja Suheldev was built by Raja Virendra Vikram Singh of the royal family and his father Raja Yadvendra Singh has been the president of the temple,” Raja Yashuvendra Vikram Singh said.
Suheldev was a legendary king of Shravasti (in present day north-eastern Uttar Pradesh) who is known to have defeated and killed the Ghaznavi general, Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masud, in Bahraich in the early 11th century.
Raja Suheldev finds mention in ‘Mirat-i-Masudi’, a 17th century Persian-language historical account.
According to the legend, Suhaldev was the eldest son of King Mordhwaj of Shravasti.