Online Santal Resource Page: the Santals identity, clans, living places, culture,rituals, customs, using of herbal medicine, education, traditions ...etc and present status.

The Santal Resource Page: these are all online published sources

Santal Gãota reaḱ onolko ńam lạgit́ SRP khon thoṛ̣a gõṛ̃o ńamoḱa mente ińaḱ pạtiạu ar kạṭić kurumuṭu...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

British Adminitration During Santal Rebellion



Lord Dalhousie (1848-56)

1. Introduced the policy of ‘Doctrine of Lapse’ or Law of Escheat’ which postulated that Indian states having no natural heir would be annexed to the British Empire. The Indian states thus annexed were Satara (1848), Jaitpur and Sambhalpur (1849), Baghat (1850), Udaipur (1852), Jhansi (1853), and Nagpur (1854).

2. Introduced the system of centralised control in the newly acquired territories known as “Bon-Regulation System”.

3. Introduced Wood’s dispatch known as the Magna Carta of English education in India prepared by Charles Wood, the President of the Board of Control in 1854. It suggested a scheme of education from the primary to the university level. Also recommended opening of many colleges.

4. The Dispatch recommended the establishment of Anglo-ver-nacular schools in districts, government colleges in important towns and universities in presidency towns and introduction of vernacular language as medium of instruction. This system is based on the Thompsonian system.

5. The establishment of Universities of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay (all in 1857) was also based on the Woods’ Recommendations.

6. An Engineering College was set up in Roorkee (presently in Uttarakhand).

7. Boosted up the development of railways-laid the first railway line in 1853 from Bombay to Thane and second from Calcutta to Raniganj.

8. Gave a great impetus to post and telegraph services. Telegraph lines were laid (first line from Calcutta to Agra in 1853).

9. Organised a separate Public Works Department by divesting the Military Board of this power.

10. Started the works of the Grant Trunk Road. It was based on the ancient road constructed by Sher Shah in the 16th century.

11. Shimla was made summer capital and army head quarter.

12. Hindu Remarriage Act was passed in 1856, making widow re-marriage legal.

13. Annexed Awadh in 1856 on excuse of misgovernment when Nawab Wajid Ali Shah refused to abdicate.

14. In 1853, recruitment of the covenanted civil service started through competitive examination.

15. Post Office Act was passed in 1854. Postage stamps were issued for the first time in 1853.

16. Santhal uprising took place in 1855.

17. Abolition of the title of Nawab of Carnatic. He also abolished many titles and pensions of former native rulers.

18. Whole Punjab was annexed in 1849 after second Anglo Sikh war (1848-49)

19. Lower Burma (Pegu) was annexed after second Burmese war (1853)

20. The Charter Act of 1853 threw open the Civil Services to a competition for the citizens of the empire. Till then, the Civil Servants were nominated by the Directors of the East India Company. The system was known as patronage.
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Lord Canning (1856-62)
1. Revolt of 1857. It was suppressed in 1858.

2. He was the last Governor General and the first Viceroy.

3. Queen Victoria’s Proclamation (1st November 1858) and passing of the India

Act of 1858. This Act ended the rule of East India Company in India

4. Doctrine of Lapse started by Lord Dalhousie was withdrawn in 1859.

5. Foundation of the universities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras in 1857.

6. Indigo Revolt in Bengal in 1859-60.

7. White mutiny by the European troops of East India Company in 1859.

8. Bahadur Shah, the last Mughal Emperor was sent to Rangoon (burma) & the Mughal Empire came to a formal ending.

9. Enactment of Indian Penal Code (1858) and Code of Criminal Procedure (1859).

10.1861, Indian Council Act.

11. Indian High Courts Act, 1861.

12. Income Tax was introduced for the first time in 1858
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Source:http://abhi-exam.blogspot.com/2009/10/history-rulers-of-british-india.html
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INDIA/MILITARIA: Santhal Rebellion: Escort Conveying Santhal Prisoners from The Camp of The 7th Native Infantry to Jungpore, Genuine original antique



INDIA/MILITARIA: Santhal Rebellion: Escort Conveying Santhal Prisoners from The Camp of The 7th Native Infantry to Jungpore, Genuine original antique engraving, 1856.

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Source:http://www.goantiques.com/detail,india-conveying-santal,2151258.html
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"The Santhal Insurrection -- The 49th Regiment, Native Infantry, burning a Santhal village and recovering plunder," from the Illustrated London News,




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Spurce:http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00routesdata/1800_1899/britishrule/northeast/northeast.html
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"Santhal Rebellion: Beerbhoom, the head-quarters of the Santals," from the Illustrated Times, 1855




"Santhal Rebellion: Beerbhoom, the head-quarters of the Santals," from the Illustrated Times, 1855
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Source:http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00routesdata/1800_1899/britishrule/northeast/northeast.html
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"Santhan Rebellion: Affray between Railway Engineers and Santhals," Illustrated London News, 1856



"Santhan Rebellion: Affray between Railway Engineers and Santhals," Illustrated London News, 1856


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Source:http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00routesdata/1800_1899/britishrule/railways/railways.html
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Santhal Rebellion: The Rajmahal hills (Country of the Santhals), Sketched from the Ganges

Santhal Rebellion: The Rajmahal hills (Country of the Santhals), Sketched from the Ganges
Genuine original antique engraving, 1855


Caption below picture: 'The Rajmahal hills (Country of the Santhals), Sketched from the Ganges'
Santhal Rebellion
The Santhal rebellion (sometimes referred to as the Sonthal rebellion) was a native rebellion in what is now Jharkhand, in eastern India against both the British colonial authority and the upper caste zamindari system by the Santal people. It lasted from July 1855 to May 1856 before being defeated by troops loyal to the British Raj.

Background of the rebellion
The insurrection of the Santals was a reaction to practices of usury, moneylending, and the zamindari system, and to claims on their land from the British, from local upper caste landlords and zamindars in the tribal belt of what was then known as the Bengal Presidency. Before the advent of the British in India, Santals engaged in an agrarian way of life in the hilly districts of Cuttack, Dhalbhum, Manbhum, Barabhum, Chhotanagpur, Palamau, Hazaribagh, Midnapur, Bankura and Birbhum.

The Santal rebellion
On 30 June 1855, two Santal rebel leaders, Sidhu and Kanhu Murmu, mobilized ten thousand Santals and declared a rebellion against British colonists. After some initial Santals success using guerilla tactics the rebellion was ultimately put down by the British.
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Source:http://cgi.ebay.com.sg/INDIA-Rajmahal-hills-Santal-country-from-Ganges-1855-/270459657341
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The Indian Mutiny: rejection of empire


Issue: 2033 dated: 13 January 2007
John Game writes that the Indian mutiny against the British Empire in July 1857 is an inspiration to today’s anti-imperialists

This year is the 150th anniversary of the greatest armed rising against British imperialism the world has seen. It began as a mutiny of the largest army in Asia – the East India Company’s Bengal Presidency Army – and turned into a general rising of the peasantry across the whole of what today is northern India.

India at the time was dominated by the British in the shape of the East India Company – a private corporation that, following the Battle of Plassey in 1757, had transformed itself into a representative of British sovereignty on the subcontinent.

But 1857 saw the disintegration of Company rule. The rebellion stretched from great urban centres such as Delhi and Lucknow through to the smallest villages. Every symbol associated with British authority was targeted – government buildings, courts, jails and even post offices.

As the mutiny progressed, soldiers merged into the local peasantry. They attacked record offices associated with rent collection, destroying not only European property but also that of local moneylenders and businessmen.

Telegraph offices – the sinews of British power – were also destroyed, but not before they were used to spread the revolt. Out of a force of some 139,000 troops, only 7,800 remained under British command by the end of the year – and their loyalty was regarded as doubtful.

The Bengal Presidency Army – or Sepoys, as they were commonly known – had been at the heart of Britain’s wars of conquest inside India itself and around the world. From Russia to Burma, from China to Afghanistan, the Sepoys fought and died for the British.

India was the barracks of British imperialism and the Bengal Sepoys were the major engine of what had become a perpetual motion machine of violence, conquest and “loot” (a word taken from Indian languages).

This process of pillage and accumulation was central to the formation of the global capitalist system.

Just one year before they mutinied, the Sepoys had taken part in the repression of the Santhal uprising of tribal peasants. Out of 50,000 Santhal rebels, some 20,000 were killed. This was just one of a series of peasant risings in India that punctuated Company rule in the first half of the 19th century.

The revolts were hardly surprising – land revenue collected by the British in India was 70 percent greater than that collected previously. It amounted to a quarter of the revenue of the British state, then presiding over the industrial revolution.

This money was used to break into the vast military labour market of the Mughal empire, India’s previous rulers, and thus secure a monopoly of armed force on the subcontinent.

Military campaigns

But getting hold of this revenue involved more wars to subdue the various successor states of the old Mughal empire, whether Islamic, Sikh or Hindu. These military campaigns lasted the best part of 100 years from the Battle of Plassey through to the Sepoy Mutiny itself.

The initial spark for the revolt began in Meerut, a military camp near Delhi, when soldiers refused to use new rifle cartridges because of rumours that the grease was made up of a mixture of pork and beef fat.

Having to bite such cartridges to load their rifles would be blasphemous to Hindus and Muslims.

No mercy was shown to Christians, whether European or Indian. The issue of religion was becoming bound up with resistance to British rule.

However British annexation of the kingdom of Oudh, which meant the loss of land for 40,000 of the Sepoys, casts doubt on whether religion should occupy such a central place in explaining the mutiny.

The other two Presidency Armies of Madras and Bombay remained largely unaffected. After all, the Sepoys had no problem with using their cartridges against the British during the mutiny.

Wider controversies have emerged out of debates among historians about the role of the rebellion in world history.Was it a backward looking attempt to restore the old landed classes and political elites of the pre-Company era, or was it a precursor of modern anti-colonial nationalism?

Were peasants drawn into the rebellion by their landlords and established political elites threatened by British reforms? Or were landlords and old elites forced to join the rebellion as British authority disintegrated, leaving them confronted by an armed and mobilised peasantry?

Was the final defeat of the rebellion inevitable? And if not, what would the consequences have been of the destruction of imperialism’s main military engine, both for India itself and the subsequent history of global capitalism?

William Dalrymple’s book The Last Mughal is a new popular history of the rebellion that focuses on the fate of Bahadur Shah II in his court in Delhi.

Dalrymple does not answer these central questions, partly because his focus emphasises the old elites and the British, rather then the new forces that confronted them. But he does raise issues central to contemporary controversies about religion, politics, and imperialism.

For what has bewildered generations of historians is the way that the centrality of religious symbols during the revolt fuelled unity between the subcontinent’s Hindus and Muslims, rather than increasing such divides – a dynamic most historians assume to be inevitable.

Slogans emphasised the threat of the Christian “ferengees” (foreigners) to both Muslims and Hindus. The Sepoys, typically upper caste Hindus, flocked to Delhi, the seat of the old Islamic Mughal empire, and demanded that its sovereignty be restored.

In Oudh, the storm centre of rebellion, the Sepoys promised to restore the authority of the old elites only if they swore solemn oaths of fealty to the Muslim emperor and turned their backs on the “disloyal” British.

These demands reflected a desire to return to the emerging order of relatively independent sovereigns of various religions operating under the broader umbrella of Islamic “suzerainty”. This was a decentralised system of rule emerging in the 18th century, inherited by the British, who wrote it off as “Oriental despotism”.

Dalrymple’s main focus, however, is on the way the foundations of the modern British Raj, which replaced Company rule after 1857, were laid in the bloody and brutal repression that followed the mutiny.

This “devil’s wind”, as it was called, shaped both the fervent racism and the religious bigotry of the British Empire. It also sparked the emergence of fundamentalisms, Hindu and Muslim, which have distorted Indian politics since.

One very useful part of the book is the documentation of what some historians call the “Delhi Renaissance”. Dalrymple demonstrates how new currents of thought – cultural, religious and scientific – flourished in the Mughal capital, before being destroyed by the British.

Razed to the ground

The British killed every single male adult they found in Delhi, forced the women and children out of the city, then razed to the ground some of its greatest monuments.

For all the talk of “Muslim backwardness”, it transpires that Muslim modernisation was eradicated by the British – along with whole sections of people who had been the standard bearers of a new culture.

It was in the aftermath of this repression that the foundations of what is today called “Islamic fundamentalism” emerged. The British strengthened the old Hindu landowning and trading elites, as a new Islamophobia came to obsess the Raj.

The changing balance of social forces that resulted had much to do with the later shape of both communalism and nationalism in India.

All this provides excellent material for socialists. Typically we are told that modern capitalism, along with many modern progressive ideas, emerged on the basis of colonial conquest. What such arguments neglect is that imperialism was a deranged vehicle for such “progress” producing many of the horrors wrongly associated with previous “tradition”.

The possibility opened up by Dalrymple’s approach – that these things might have developed differently – contains important pointers to reassessments of the Sepoy rebellion and its more global significance.

There are however some difficulties with Dalrymple’s book which readers should be warned about. He draws too sharp a contrast between post-mutiny racism and an earlier period when British colonial officials had more respect for Indian culture.

In doing so he underplays the violence, bloodshed, and plunder of Company rule in the proceeding period. He obscures the social basis of an earlier generation of colonial officials, who often had Indian wives and “went native”, but were fabulously rich – which was only made possible by the use of military force against starving peasants

This neglect of the material framework of ideological exchanges between British officials and Indian subjects opens the door to rehabilitating the idea of empire. This material framework ensured that the benefits of enlightenment were available only to a narrow elite.

Dalrymple has a tendency to see many features of the rebellion in the same light as this elite – a bunch of uncivilised marauders, as opposed to an armed anti-colonial insurgency – and neglects much recent historical work that questions this picture.

These debates and others are bound to receive a thorough airing this year as the anniversary of the Sepoy Mutiny looms. But whatever the contradictions of the great rebellion, socialists should celebrate an event that destroyed the East India Company, shook the British empire – and inspired later generations of people battling against imperialism.

The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi, 1857 by William Dalrymple is available from Bookmarks, the socialist bookshop, for £25. Phone 020 7637 1848 or go to www.bookmarks.uk.com

John Game is researching labour history at the SOAS in London
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Source:http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=10446
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Santhal Rebellion

Before the the British came to India the Santhals resided peacefully in the hilly districts of Cuttack, Dhalbhum, Manbhum, Barabhum, Chhotanagpur, Palamau, Hazaribagh, Midnapur, Bankura and Birbhum.They leaded a peaceful life by clearing the forest and also engaged themselves in hunting for subsistence. But when the British claimed their rights on the lands of the Santhals, they peacefully went to reside in the hills of Rajamahal. After some few years the britishers and their counterparts started claiming as this new Santhal owned land theirs. The British were helped by the local Zamnidars, who were with them for their own selfish needs.

The simple and honest Santhals were cheated and turned into slaves by the zamindars the money lenders who first appeared to them as mere business men who gave them loans. These loans however hard a santhal tried to repay never ended in fact through corrupt measures of the money lenders it multipled to an amount for which a generation of the santhal family had to work as slaves.Furthermore the santhali women who worked under labour contractors were disgraced and used . This loss of freedom that once which they enjoyed turned them into rebels and finally they took oath to launch a Rebellion on these axis of evil, which was done on 30th June, 1855. The attacke against the British was launched by two rebel leaders, Sidhu and Kanhu Murmu. Although the Rebellion was brutally suppressed, it marked a great change in the colonial rule and policy. The day is still celebrated among the Santal community with great respect and spirit for the thousands of the Santal martyrs who sacrificed their lives along with their two celebrated leaders to win freedom from the rule of the Jamindars and the British operatives.

Today, the government is trying to preserve forests, so cultivation shifting is limited. There is also an increase in the amount of irrigated land. As a result, other sources of income have been developed. They include such jobs as working in the tea plantations of the Northeast, working in the steel industry, or working as day laborers for local Hindu landowners. Since the Chotanagpur Plateau is the richest mineral belt in India, some of the Santhals earn wages by mining. Both men and women work to bring home adequate income for their families.
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Source:http://www.indianetzone.com/19/the_santhal_rebellion.htm
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Santhal Rebellion


Before the the British came to India the Santhals resided peacefully in the hilly districts of Cuttack, Dhalbhum, Manbhum, Barabhum, Chhotanagpur, Palamau, Hazaribagh, Midnapur, Bankura and Birbhum.They leaded a peaceful life by clearing the forest and also engaged themselves in hunting for subsistence. But when the British claimed their rights on the lands of the Santhals, they peacefully went to reside in the hills of Rajamahal. After some few years the britishers and their counterparts started claiming as this new Santhal owned land theirs. The British were helped by the local Zamnidars, who were with them for their own selfish needs.

The simple and honest Santhals were cheated and turned into slaves by the zamindars the money lenders who first appeared to them as mere business men who gave them loans. These loans however hard a santhal tried to repay never ended in fact through corrupt measures of the money lenders it multipled to an amount for which a generation of the santhal family had to work as slaves.Furthermore the santhali women who worked under labour contractors were disgraced and used . This loss of freedom that once which they enjoyed turned them into rebels and finally they took oath to launch a Rebellion on these axis of evil, which was done on 30th June, 1855. The attacke against the British was launched by two rebel leaders, Sidhu and Kanhu Murmu. Although the Rebellion was brutally suppressed, it marked a great change in the colonial rule and policy. The day is still celebrated among the Santal community with great respect and spirit for the thousands of the Santal martyrs who sacrificed their lives along with their two celebrated leaders to win freedom from the rule of the Jamindars and the British operatives.

Today, the government is trying to preserve forests, so cultivation shifting is limited. There is also an increase in the amount of irrigated land. As a result, other sources of income have been developed. They include such jobs as working in the tea plantations of the Northeast, working in the steel industry, or working as day laborers for local Hindu landowners. Since the Chotanagpur Plateau is the richest mineral belt in India, some of the Santhals earn wages by mining. Both men and women work to bring home adequate income for their families.
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Source:http://www.indianetzone.com/19/the_santhal_rebellion.htm
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Santhal Rebellion


Before the the British came to India the Santhals resided peacefully in the hilly districts of Cuttack, Dhalbhum, Manbhum, Barabhum, Chhotanagpur, Palamau, Hazaribagh, Midnapur, Bankura and Birbhum.They leaded a peaceful life by clearing the forest and also engaged themselves in hunting for subsistence. But when the British claimed their rights on the lands of the Santhals, they peacefully went to reside in the hills of Rajamahal. After some few years the britishers and their counterparts started claiming as this new Santhal owned land theirs. The British were helped by the local Zamnidars, who were with them for their own selfish needs.

The simple and honest Santhals were cheated and turned into slaves by the zamindars the money lenders who first appeared to them as mere business men who gave them loans. These loans however hard a santhal tried to repay never ended in fact through corrupt measures of the money lenders it multipled to an amount for which a generation of the santhal family had to work as slaves.Furthermore the santhali women who worked under labour contractors were disgraced and used . This loss of freedom that once which they enjoyed turned them into rebels and finally they took oath to launch a Rebellion on these axis of evil, which was done on 30th June, 1855. The attacke against the British was launched by two rebel leaders, Sidhu and Kanhu Murmu. Although the Rebellion was brutally suppressed, it marked a great change in the colonial rule and policy. The day is still celebrated among the Santal community with great respect and spirit for the thousands of the Santal martyrs who sacrificed their lives along with their two celebrated leaders to win freedom from the rule of the Jamindars and the British operatives.

Today, the government is trying to preserve forests, so cultivation shifting is limited. There is also an increase in the amount of irrigated land. As a result, other sources of income have been developed. They include such jobs as working in the tea plantations of the Northeast, working in the steel industry, or working as day laborers for local Hindu landowners. Since the Chotanagpur Plateau is the richest mineral belt in India, some of the Santhals earn wages by mining. Both men and women work to bring home adequate income for their families.
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Source:http://www.indianetzone.com/19/the_santhal_rebellion.htm
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Customs of the Santhal Tribes:The Santhals follow their own customs regarding birth, death and marriage.


After the birth of a child, the Santhal midwife of Daragin cuts the umbilical chord of the child with an arrow and buries it near the door. The child is named on the day of the birth or on any odd numbered day following birth. The first-born son is given the name of his grandfather; he is also given another name for calling him.

Marriage and divorce:
The Santhals have different types of marriage. Their marriages are exogamous and these marriages known as `Bapla` are of seven types namely Sanga, Kadam, Kirin, Upagir, Tanki Dipil, Itut, Nirbelok etc. At the end of every marriage, the bride money is collected. A woman made pregnant by another male can be socially accepted in marriage. Divorce can be obtained easily; however, some alimony has to be given whole divorcing. If marriages are undertaken within one`s own group, such couples are ostracized and chased away from society. There is also the practice of the son-in-law staying in his in-laws` house.

Death:
The dead are cremated as well as buried. After the death of a respected person of the community who occupies an important post such as Manjhi, Paranik, Gudit, etc, all Santhals participate in the death ceremony. The entire village has to mourn the death. On the evening of the death of a person, a rooster is killed and Khichadi (porridge) cooked and offered to the soul of the dead. After seven days the Santhals purify themselves by bathing in a river. The last rites (Mandan) are undertaken at an appropriate time after another seven days. The last rites or purification are undertaken on the same day of the week as when the dead was buried.

Santhal villagePhysically short people, men mostly with a beard, long but flat nose, these black complexioned tribals are strong and hard working. In the hills, the Santhals settle in villages comprising of closely clustered houses. Their prime food is Rice, Dal and Meat. Every village has a Headman who is responsible for conducting the affairs of the village. They worship nature in any form as their God and also propitiate their ancestors for their well being. They are very superstitious in character. They make their livelihood on agriculture, Cultivation of fruits and vegetables and at times on hunting. The Santhal women use various ornaments as adornment. They are of silver, brass, bronze, shell, glass or flowers. Their houses are also decorated with beautiful colored animal, and forest motifs. They are very skilled painters as well, and their folk-paintings have inspired many great artists.
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Source:http://www.indianetzone.com/19/customs_santhal_tribe.htm
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Beliefs and Tales of Santhal Tribes

The Santhals however, recognize ghosts and spirits like Kal Sing, Lakchera, Beudarang. The gods of Santhal are Jaheraera, Marangburu, Manjhi, etc. The god of the mountains is called Marangburu. The Santhal are animists, and they sacrifice animals to their gods. The Santhal also worship the village deity of Gramdeuta. The priest of Santhal is called Naiki and the shaman Ujha. Pilchuhadam and Budi are their ancestral deities. The religion of Santhal is called Sarna religion.

According to their folk tales, in the beginning there was only water in the world and then came the land mass. At that time the creator THAKURJI or God was living in the sky. On the request of his wife THAKURJI created a pair of birds. On the branches of a Karam tree two eggs were laid by the bird and from those eggs a couple of human beings emerged. They made roofed huts and started cultivating crops. They gave birth to seven sons and eight daughters and in this manner Santhal originated and multiplied. Today, their supreme god is the sun god. However, they have also adopted the Hindu deities in addition to tribal gods and goddesses. The Hindu village priest is the ritual specialist, and they observe many Hindu festivals. They do have a firm belief in an almighty creator and also in "mother earth."
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Source:http://www.indianetzone.com/19/beliefs_tales_santhals.htm
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Art and culture of Santhal Tribe


By nature, the Santhals love Dance, Music and wine. There cannot be a festival without these. Their fairs and festivals are very colorful.

The Santhals celebrate their biggest festival, Sohoray, from the end of Paush and for the entire month of Magh. They also celebrate festivals like Janthad Lonan Puja, Baha Utsav, Aerak Parba or Ashare Puja and Sakranti (Fagu) Parba (Ijam). "Karam" festival is celebrated by the Santhals in the month of Aswin (September- October) in order to have increased `wealth and progeny` and to get rid of the evil spirits. During this festival, two youths after being purified, fetch two branches of Karam tree from the forest and plant them just outside the house. The head of the household offers rice beer and other articles to Manjhi Haram and Maran Buru and pray for the prosperity of the house. This worship is followed with singing, dancing and playing of instrumental music. All those present there, are given rice-beer. The traditional dress of Santhal women is called Pandhat, which is a covering from the chest to the foot. Bow and arrows are the favourite weapons of Santhals.

Art of the Santhals:
Local mythology includes the stories of the Santhal ancestors Pilchu Haram and Pilchu Bhudi.

Santal music differs from Hindustani classical music in significant ways. The Santal traditionally accompany many of their dances with two drums: the Tamak` and the Tumdak`. The flute was considered the most important Santal traditional instrument and still evokes feelings of nostalgia for many Santal. Santal music and dance both retain connections to traditional celebrations.

Dance of Santhal TribeThe Santhals are musicians and dancers par excellence and have dances for every imaginable occasion. The martial dances - Golwari and Paikha are marked with vigour, virility and a lot of jumping and leaping in the air. They carry bow and arrows while doing martial dances and perform mock fights and attacks. Their courtship and marriage dances are typical. These dances, romantic and lively in nature, are performed on full moon nights. The loud drumming, resembling thunder, calls the belles of the community and they come dressed in their fineries, adorned with flowers, feathers and assemble under a large banyan tree. The young men come forward taking strides with drums and lilting songs on their lips, and then the dance commences in two rows, their arms interlinking in pairs. The rows surge forward like rhythmic waves and then recede with supple footwork and swaying heads and bodies. The boys in the row opposite play on flutes, drums, and large cymbals and sing songs in perfect harmony. After the dance the boys and girls mingle and have a good chat.

They have their hunting and sowing dances. On Dassai festival men-folk dance from one locality to another. Then there are the Jhika and the Lagren type dances in which men and women dance together. Men form the outer ring and the women the inner circle. The Dhang and Langi are exclusively confined to women. The Lagren has many forms and variations according to the occasion, be it a marriage, a festival or social gathering. All these dances reflect their collective nature, cohesion, community feeling and social awareness. They are great spontaneous collective singers and dancers. The Santhal women and girls can be seen singing and dancing while engaged in their daily chore like sowing, plantation, journeying to and from the forest. They work and sing simultaneously and in between pause for a round of dance. They use song and music as a convenient tool of dancing. Dance is a super ordinate and all the rest is subordinate. They are gay, colorful tribe and enjoy every moment of the life.

Dance of Santhal Tribe The names of many Santal tunes are derived from the traditional ritual with which they were once associated. Sohrae tunes, for example, were those sung at the Sohrae festival. Santali rituals are mainly comprised of sacrificial offerings and invocations to the spirits, or bongas.

A Santal myth reported by the musicologist Onkar Prasad tells the story of seven brothers who one day killed their only sister in order to eat her. The youngest brother, however, could not eat his portion because he so loved his sister, so he buried it in a white anthill. On this spot there grew a beautiful guloic tree, from which a melodious sound was heard. A passing yugi, who often came to pick flowers, heard this sound and decided to cut a branch from the tree to make the first dhodro banam, an instrument mostly used by Santhali people. The Santhals believe the musical instruments to be a gift from supernatural forces. With the assistance of these instruments, they can communicate with entities from other worlds. They believe that they are physically related to the dhodro banam and consider the instrument to be a human being. Santhal believe that all beauty created by man is destined to disappear with him, and thus the Santal usually bury or burn their exquisitely decorated instruments. This, however, has not always been the general rule. The creators of the songs of the Santal remain anonymous. As soon as a new song appeared, it became common property. There was no distinction made between the performers and the composer.
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Source:http://www.indianetzone.com/19/art_culture_santhal_tribe.htm
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Santhal:Largest Tribal Community in India

Largest tribal community in India, found mainly in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa. Satars or Santhals are one of the most backward ethnic groups of the neighboring country Nepal. They live in the districts of Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari. There is also a significant Santal minority in neighboring Bangladesh. Santhals also call themselves Hor. They prefer to live in the peripheries of forests and rivers. They have their own unique religion and culture. They are animist. Hunting and fishing are their favourite occupations. Their ancestral deity is Thakurjiu and their paternal guardian deity is Maranburu. Bow and arrows are their traditional weapons. Their favorite meat is pork. Most Santals are engaged in farming and labor. They belong to the Austro-Asiatic group of human families. They have also been called as a subgroup speaking a language belonging to the Munda family (Dahal, BS2051/052). Their language is called Santhali. They have their own script, which was developed by Dr Raghunath Murmu in 1925. It is called Olchiki.

Racially the Santhals belong to the protoastraloid racial group, linguistically they belong to the Mundari group of Austro-Asiatic linguistic family and economically they may be classified as plain agricultural type. The Santhals are very conscious about their identity and heritage. And this is the reason why they have, most probably consciously, built up a sense of solidarity amongst themselves. Their internal solidarity is often based on their principle of likeness, that is a shared cultural characteristic, which binds them together. The Santhals live in peace and harmony among themselves.

Population:
The Santhal Tribe - West BengalThe Jhapa district in Nepal has the highest population of Santhals and Morang district has slightly less. Their population, according to the census of 2001, is 42,689. The Southern part of the Bihar is called as `Santhal Praganas` because of the density of the Santhal tibe in this area. They had multiplied from proto – Australoid origin. It is also believed that they had come from the Districts of `Santha` and that is why they are called as `Santan` or men of Santha state. The Munda-Santal of northeastern India and Nepal comprise of nine different, but very closely related people groups. They are distributed politically throughout the states of Bihar, West Bengal, and Orissa, India. Most of the tribes live in the hilly areas of the Chotanagpur Plateau, located in southern Bihar. Others prefer living in the plains. Beyond this region, they have spread widely throughout India as agricultural and industrial laborers.

The seven groups who occupy territory farther north include the Santhal (of India and Nepal), the Bhumij, the Koda, the Mahili, the Ho, and the Agariya. The two remaining groups, the Juango and the Gadaba, are located in the southern portion of India, nearer to the coast of the Bay of Bengal.

Language:
The Santhali language is part of the Austro-Asiatic family, distantly related to Vietnamese and Khmer. The history of the Santals may be traced to Africa from where started the human migration. It was found that humans from Africa started to migrate towards the Eastern part of the world or Asia. The Santhali script, or Ol Chiki, is alphabetic, and does not share any of the syllabic properties of the other Indic scripts such as Devanagari. It uses 30 letters and five basic diacritics. It has 6 basic vowels and three additional vowels, generated using the Gahla Tudag.

Santhals did not have a written language until the twentieth century. Therefore the script is a recent development. A distinct script was required to accommodate the Santhali language, combining features of both the Indic and Roman scripts. The modern Ol Chiki script was devised by Pandit Raghunath Murmu in 1925. He wrote over 150 books covering a wide spectrum of subjects. Darege Dhan, Sidhu-Kanhu, Bidu Chandan and Kherwal Bir are among the most acclaimed of his works. Pandit Raghunath Murmu is popularly known as Guru Gomke among the Santhals, a title conferred on him by the Mayurbhanj Adibasi Mahasabh.

Judicial system:
The Santhals traditionally had an organized judicial system for the management and solution of the various problems within the community. They make every effort to solve the social problems arising within their community by themselves. The head of the Santhal community is called Manjhi Hadam. He is the chief of the executive, judicial and all other functions within society. He is assisted by other office bearers like Paranik, Jagmanjhi, Jagparanik, Naike, Gudit, etc, who work in their respective fields to solve various kinds of problems. After the birth of a child, the Jagmanjhi and following the death of a person the Gudit and others are present. Manjhi Hadam undertakes the looking into judicial cases and the dispensing of justice and above him is Disham Manjhi, and above both is Diheri. The Diheri is the highest judicial office bearer of Santhals. The Santhals who generally like to live in concentrated settlements of their own near rivers and forests are divided into 12 thars or groups. As the groups are in accordance with professional specialization, this appears as a form of social system. The Murmu are the priests of Santhals and Murdi the businessmen, while Kisku are the rulers and Hemram judges. Similarly, the Tudu are musicians and Soren soldiers. The organizations of Santhals are village council (Manjhibaisi), Proganna Council (Pramatrabaisi) and the highest council (Labirbaisi).
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Source:http://rashidfaridi.wordpress.com/2008/03/30/santhallargest-tribal-community-in-india/
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Santhal family at Shantiniketan, Bolpur,India


Sculpture by: Ramkinkar Baij


Ramkinkar Baij (Bengali: রামকিন্কর বেজ) (May 20, 1906 - August 2, 1980) is an Indian sculptor, known as the Pioneer of Modern Indian Sculpture.
Santhal Family, widely considered to be the first public Modernist sculpture in India, was made by Ramkinkar Baij in 1938 depicting a mother, father, child and dog from the Santhal tribe, carrying their few possessions with them to a new life.
At first glance, these statues appear to be made of mud, but a closer inspection reveals that cement cast and laterite pebbles were the materials used.
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Bapla: The Santhali Marriage

Marriage in Santhal Adivasi community is sign of a prosperity and beginning of new life. In spite of some social upheaval in social norms during the past century in Santhal communities, one can find the institution of marriage is very strong. Bapla is a Santhali word which means marriage. Marriage have significant place in Santhal society. In Santhal like most ancient societies needed a secure environment for the perpetuation of the species. Although many view Santhals marriage as a private expression of their love for one another, but for centuries Santhal matrimony has been a very public institution impacted by tradition, culture, religion and Santhali laws. Santhals marriage is private as well as social obligation. Without joyful night by singing, dancing, drumming and playing flutes Santhal marriage is not considered.



History of marriage in Santhal:



Discourse of Santhal’s marriage starts with two names Pilchu hadam and Pilchu bhudi. Folklore is believed that, Santhal’s world started with them and they were the first couple to get married. Rest followed and modified in due course of time.



Anthropologists have documented a diverse variety of marriage practices in Santhals cultures. Edward Westermarck defined Santhal’s marriage as "a more or less durable connection between male and female, lasting beyond the mere act of propagation till after the birth of the offspring.”

The anthropological handbook Notes and Queries (1951) defined marriage as "a union of a man and a woman such that children of the woman are recognized as legitimate by both parents”.



Meaning of Santhali marriage:



The ritual of marriage generally comes in the life of all boys and girls in Santhals. Monogamy is the usual form of marriage. Bigamy is also allowed. Levirate and Surrogate marriage are possible depending on the situation. Pre-marital relation within lineage group is not allowed. But in case of other lineage group it is excused and finally results in marriage or social segregation. Marriage may take place between boys and girls of two lineages but generally it is avoided. They generally follow village exogamy. Usual way of acquiring bride is by bride-price (Gonog) and through the consent of parents of boys and girls. But marriage by exchange, elopement service and love may also take place followed by customs only.



The Santhals have different category of marriage. Their marriages are exogamous and these marriages called as `Bapla` are of twelve types namely Sanga Bapla, Kadam Bapla, Kirin Bapla, Upagir Bapla, Tunki Dipil Bapla, Itut Bapla, Nirbelok Bapla, Diku Bapla, Sange Bariyat, Haram Bariiyat, Gardi-Jawain.



At the end or mid of every marriage, the bride price is collected. A woman made pregnant by another male can be socially accepted and converted in marriage. Divorce can be obtained easily; however, some alimony has to be given whole divorcee. If marriages are undertaken within one`s own group, such couples are ostracized and chased away from society. There is also the practice of the son-in-law staying in his in-laws` house.



Marriages in Santhals are regarded as pure and sacred. It is therefore done with all customs. First few steps are common in every type of marriages. Parents of boys or girls will appoint an interlocutor called Raibaar. Raibaar is that who, mediate in initiating talk about marriage proposal to either family. Generally Raibaar is known by both the family, and have jesting relation with both boy, girl and parents too. Each process customs are followed strictly by the Raibaar and parents of boy or girl. One can divide the whole process in different phases.





Phases in Bapla:



Phase 1: (Sar Sagun) Talk initiated by Raibaar to both the families.

In this phase Raibaar take initiative to visit both families. He talks mostly with parents (if parents are dead, then head of the family) about the other family’s interested in bride for their son/brother. Raibaar allow girl’s family to have discussion with other family members. After few weeks or couple of day’s times, if girl’s family shows interest will inform Raibaar. So, that he can inform boy’s family for the further processes.



Phase 2: (Orah duar njel) Visiting of parents and relatives to each other’s home.

If girl’s family shows interest in the proposal put up by Raibaar. It means they are ready to go for further process, which is visiting to each other families. By visiting each other’s families, they will not only examine the condition of living, status and other things but also check how the family members are and presenting themselves in front of other family members. For that reason not only parents, relatives also visit to observation and discuss in various issues. After going back to respective home all family members come together and share point of their observation and all will give their opinion for the proposal. But in most cases final decision is only depends on the parents of the boy or girl.



Phase 3: (Horah chinah) Final decisions and conveyed by Raibaar.

After family has come to the final decision they will convey their decision through Raibaar. And it is his responsibility to convey other family. If the decision is negative, the process will end in this phase. If the decision is positive, the process will continue to next phase of marriage. Both parents will convey their decision to Majhi (headman of village) in order to get social sanctioned and involvement. It is rarely possible to arranged marriage without Majhi and villagers. Process also includes with substantiation by presenting cloths (most often) for to be bride and groom and the process is called Horoh Chinah.



Phase 4: (Taka chal) Express decision to Manjhi (or Majhi) (headman of the village) and arrangement of marriage.

Parents will convey their decision of marriage to other family boy or girl by going to Majhi’s home. After got confirmation from parents, Majhi call Jogmajhi and assign him to prepare for marriage. Majhi, Naike, Jogmajhi and villagers are also stake holders of marriage in village. Many customs are incomplete without the help of Majhi, Naike and Jogmajhi. And villagers play a vital role in helping marriage’s whole processes. Taka Chal is the custom included with the process. In this process groom’s family has to hand over meager money to bride’s family.



Phase 5: (Newta) Invitation to relatives and final preparation of marriage

After conveying decision of marriage to Headman, family members will be relaxed because they know the Majhi will take care of the customs and ceremonies. Family members will be busy inviting their relatives, friends, near and dear once. But first invitation is always to the Majhi.



Phase 6: (Bapla) Holding of Marriage





Different categories of Santhali Marriage:



1. Sangha Bapla (Ader bapla): Sangha Bapla (Marriage) is referred to marriage done by elder brother’s wife by younger brother in case of death and lost. It is common understanding between bride and groom side. Also need consent from wife of elder brother. This marriage is done in order to prevent anyone from widowhood. Society accepts followed by some rituals and customs by more hor (five eminent people of village) villagers, naike and manjhi haram (headman). In brief it is required a man to become the husband of a deceased brother’s widow.



2. Kadam Bapla: Kadam Bapla is generally done under kadam tree with all rituals and customs. This is oldest kind of marriage in Santhal community. In olden times, Santhals had no strong witness then nature. Kadam tree is useful and considered to be sacred in Santhal tradition. Now a day’s even branch of Kadam tree is solving the problem- if kadam tree is not available.



3. Kirin Bapla: Kirin in Santhali means purchase. Kirin Bapla is referred to purchase of to be bride from her parent’s home. In Santhali family, everyone in family contribute to occupation, which is agriculture. Therefore, each family member is considered to be manpower. To compensate manpower one has to pay certain amount for bride to their parents. It is not considered to bride price but a customs for identify value of bride.



4. Upagir Bapla: Santhal community is open towards interaction to male or female. Any male or female get along and come to common consent of getting marriage. Society accepts such kind of unionism and considered as marriage. It is without the information of parents but, later on parents are being informed by messenger of village i.e. assigned by Headman. Such kind of marriage occurs from haat (village, daily or weekly local market), pata (mela or community celebration of some occasion). There is special function for newly married couple called Tiril-Tarob. Where villagers have rights to ask and clear their doubt about both of them. This custom is done through a representative by headman. The entire question is being asked in indirect way to maintain the decorum of custom. Question like, have you ever married? Is being asked as “have you crossed anyone barricade before?”



5. Tunki Dipil Bapla: This kind of bapla is also known as Rahi Chaudal Bapla (portable house for bride). After finishing all customs bride sit inside decorated rahi chaudal to groom’s house. Bride has to be taken only in Rahi Chudal by the villagers/relatives from groom’s village.



6. Itut-Sindur Bapla: Process of applying vermillion in mid of forehead of bride by the groom is called Itut. Usually the process is done in door of bride’s home. This process is part and partial of marriage custom. And Itut custom is being done after completing certain years too.



7. Nirbelok Bapla: This kind of marriage is fixed in the childhood by parents. Nirbelok means who is not attended the age of adult.



8. Diku Bapla: Replicating Hindu methods of marriage or other than Santhal custom is called Diku Bapla. Diku in Santhal means outsider, term Diku was being used to denote British or any outsider in pre Independent India by Santhal Adivasi.



9. Haram Bariyat Bariyat: Haram mean old man in Santhal. Marriage led by Haram hor.



10. Sange Bariyat or Sange: Marriage accompanied by many.



11. Ghardi-jawain: In such marriages, groom is liable to stay in bride’s house after marriage. This sort of marriage is mostly with single girl child family or elite Santhal family.



Some Santhali Marriage terms used above:



Gonog is a bride price, that groom has to pay to the bride’s family. Generally it’s a pair of oxen. It helps the family in agricultural activities.



Merhed-Sakom: It is to be a distinctive feature for married person (especially bride). So that she can be identified by others in social occasions and other functions or in general day to day life. It’s a special kind of bangle only for married women. It is social obligation to wear Merhed Sakom to all married women. There is special function for wearing of Merhed Sakom in the process of marriage.



Daram-Gande: If bride is having elder sister and not married. This process is to respect her by presenting pair of cloths. It is social custom, by which she will not be able to touch groom after marriage. And also, if groom is having elder brother, bride is not supposed to touch him after marriage.
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Source:http://jharkhandi.com/SanthalAdivasiMarriage.aspx
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Auditing Gender Equality Among Santhals

by:Sudipta Ghosh and S.L. Malik
Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi, Delhi 110007, India


Abstract
There is a slim line of demarcation between ‘being different’ and ‘being unequal’. The latter one is a hierarchical model, often associated with the concept of superiority / inferiority and is thus socially value loaded. In order to investigate gender differences in activity patterns, health and nutritional status of Santhals, a cross-sectional sample of 400 households of Santhal from 18 villages of Bankura district, West Bengal was collected. Santhals of this area belong to low socio-economic class. In terms of nutritional intake, no gender differentials are evident. Both men and women take their meals together at least twice a day, sharing every preparation equally. Analysis of BMI suggests that Santhals are either ‘Underweight’ or ‘Normal weight’, but are rarely ‘Overweight’ and almost never ‘Obese’. Such a distribution of BMI might be due to their low socio-economic conditions. Both men and women do most of the agricultural work together, except ploughing, which is tabooed for women. Generally, women do relatively higher level of physical and muscular activity, which is evident in their greater Mesomorphic component than men in body physique.

Full Source:www.isical.ac.in/~wemp/Papers/PaperSudiptaGhosh.doc

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