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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Handia: The Source of Livelihood of Tribal Women

A Case Study on Munda Women in Keonjhar District, Orissa

Paper presented at the conference Livelihoods and Poverty Reduction: Lessons From Eastern India, 25-27 September 2001, by Nirupama Satpathy, Research Associate (Gender) in Livelihood research project in Keonjhar district of Orissa, and Rashmi Ranjan Satpathy, Research Associate in Livelihood research project in Keonjhar district of Orissa.



Contents


Impact of Handia on tribal people

The term "Handia" is used in the Chotanagpur plateau for local consumption. It is a country liquor made from fragmented rice with toxic herbs. It is a liquid substance, which is essential among the tribal community, especially in the Munda and Santhal tribes. Handia is regarded as a popular drink among the tribals of Keonjhar, Mayurbhanja, Sundargarh, Deogarh, Sambalpur, Balangir, Dhenkanal and Angul Districts of Orissa and also in other states like Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. It is also found among the tribals in Bangladesh and Nepal. It is very difficult to know which tribes initiated the use of Handia. Both Munda and Santhal claim to be the inventor of it. Handia is now a very popular drink in the whole Chotanagpur region. Initially Munda and Santhal used it but nowadays it is getting popular in other castes and other tribes, like Kissan, Ho, Oram and Bhumija. It is also called "Diang" in Munda, “Handi” in Santahaly and “Kusuna” in Kissan.
Handia occupies a pivotal role in the tribal community, socially, culturally and economically. Handia is accepted as a most sacred drink in the Munda and Santhal tribes. It has religious uses and values. Handia is offered to local deities and in dead ancestors' rituals.
The use of Handia is very common in the occasion of marriages, birth anniversaries and festivals.Baa Parba and Nuakhai (Phulabaguni), Akhitrutiya, Raja Parba, Ratha YatraRakhi Parba. Handia is the best treat for guests and friends, and it has been used in this way from time immemorial. The festivals are: and
From a social and cultural point of view, Handia binds the tribals together like a string of thread.  
Firstly, during social meetings and social functions (i.e. marriage, birth and death rituals), the tribals greet each other with Handia.
Secondly, while going to friends' or relatives' houses, they take Handia with them as a present. It indicates the status, love and affection of the guests. Similarly, the host also welcomes them with Handia.
Thirdly, at the time of common rituals and cultural functions, the tribal people drink Handia, dance and enjoy themeselves together. During funeral ceremonies, the deceased's household offers Handia to villagers and relatives. But in these days Handia is not made in the deceased's house. So the relatives bring Handia with them to help the household. In this study, it is observed that Handia occupies a most important place in day-to-day life of the tribal community.
In the preparation and business of Handia, the tribal women play the key role, as its production is regarded as kitchen work. It also generates significant income for the household. By promoting Handia preparation and sales, the tribal women have been able to make economic gains.

Methodology

The present study has been undertaken in five villages of Keonjhar district as part of a livelihood research project. The study is based entirely on primary information collected from the households, information which is both quantitative and qualitative. Qualitative data were collected about production processes, methods of sale, reciprocal trading relations and seasonal household consumption. The quantitative data were also collected on the seasonal production of Handia and Ranu, income within and outside the village, investment of labour time, total expenditure on production, consumption and sale of Ranu (in kg) and Handia (in litres), differentiated by season. Focus group discussions in villages were also used to collect information regarding the social, cultural, and religious importance of Handia in their society. This study is basically designed with a holistic in-depth approach. Some case studies of Munda women and non-tribal business households were also conducted to obtained detailed qualitative and quantitative information. We also visited the Handia Hat and Handia Godown to clarify the marketing procedure of Handia and Ranu. Group discussions with non-tribal persons involved in the Handia business were also conducted, the perception of Handiaby other people was investigated, and a case study of non-tribal people was made.We also collected secondary information regarding the impact of Handia on health and legal status from the Medical and Excise department of Keonjhar District.

Uses of Handia

Handia is used for two purposes - consumption and business. Previously, tribal people used Handia only for consumption, but during the last 30 years it has also been used for business purposes.

Consumption purpose

The tribal people (from children to old people) take Handia as an important drink at breakfast, lunch and dinner. One can manage for 10 to 15 days without any other food. During the summer season, Handia saves the body from sunstroke. By drinking Handia, the tribals become more energetic during work.  Similarly, in the time of cold, it heats the body.
It also compensates for the deficiency of food for as much as 10 to 15 days for tribal people who cannot get even one meal a day. So Handia is regarded as a supplementary food for tribals. Nowadays other caste people also consume Handia for intoxication. As a result, Handia has become commercialized gradually. But these consumers do not allow their children to consume Handia.

Business purpose

During the last 30 years the tribal people have used Handia for business purposes. When the Munda tribes from Bihar migrated to Orissa and settled in different parts of Keonjhar and other districts, they initiated the Handia business and gradually it spread to the tribes in Orissa, who were attracted by the Handia practices (Munda and Santhal tribes). It is a secondary source of livelihood for most of the tribals. Some tribals accept the business as a primary source of income. Most Munda and some Mahanta and Majhi tribal women prepare and sell Handia among the neighbours and at the market. There are four categories of households engaged in the Handia business:
  1. Households engaged in "Ranu" preparation and sale at the market. (Ranu is a tablet composed of rice and roots, which is necessary for preparing Handia).
  2. Households engaged in the Handia business who purchase "Ranu" from others.
  3. Households engaged in both "Ranu" and Handia preparation and business.
  4. Households engaged in collecting roots from the forest and selling them at the market.

Composition of Handia

Uncleansed rice (of a slightly reddish colour) and the tablet “Ranu” are used to prepare Handia. Ranu has various local names, e.g. Mullica / Mulikia and Bakhar. Some of the tribals told us that they did not previously use this tablet, but nowadays they use it for business purpose to make the Handia more intoxicating. Some of the tribals also informed us that the tablet has always been used in Handia production because without it the prepared Handia will decompose.

The tablet "Ranu”

The tablet "Ranu" is bitter in taste. It is composed of sun-dried rice, roots and barks of the following trees:
  1. Agnijhada: This root is also used for medicinal purposes to minimize the lack of appetite.
  2. Patal-garud:  This root also used to cure snakebite.
  3. Bhuinlimba: This root also used for curing skin diseases.
  4. Mahulchhali: This is a bark used for medicinal purposes.
  5. Kuruchi Chhali: This is a bark used for medicinal purposes.
  6. Bhuin Boitalu: This is a fruit generally used to improve digestion.
All the above roots and barks are bitter in taste. These are available in the forest only in the rainy season. So the tribal women keep these roots and barks in stock for the whole year. Some of the tribals collect them from the forest and prepare Ranu at home. Others purchase them at the market. They are also available in small, set amounts, i.e. one handful of the mixture. The cost of one such packet of the mixture is Rs 6/- at the market.

Processing of Ranu

Sun dried rice and the mixture of roots and barks are used to prepare Ranu. First, the bark and roots are dried in the sun and ground together into a powder. Then the sun dried rice is moistened and converted into flour. Mix the rice flour and powder into a dough. After that, roll the dough into small balls. Then lay out straw in four layers, between which the small balls are scattered. Leave the balls to dry for 2 days. The tribals believe that, if the Ranu takes 2 days to dry, and then it will also take 2 days to process the Handia.
While preparing Ranu, some Munda women observe the traditional system that before preparing Ranu, they place rice powder on a leaf in front of the "Pitrupurusa" (ancestor). Then they add water to this powder and make dough. They fold the leaf around the dough and bake it in the fire. Afterwards, the Ranu are served by family members to others. Family members themselves cannot each them. By offering the Ranu mixture to God, they believe that, from that Ranu, they can produce and sell more Handia. The Munda women who are involved in Ranu production prepare it twice a week.

Testing of Ranu

After the Ranu has been prepared, it can be tested by throwing it into the fire. If it blazes up, then it is considered usable and if not, then it is useless.

* Cost Benefit of Ranu Preparation
Particulars Quantity
Market Value
Sun-dried rice 5 kg (10 manas) Rs 30/-
Mixture of barks & roots (1 bundle) According to quantity of rice Rs 10/-
Total   Rs 40/-

From 5 kg of rice one can produce 12 mana Ranu tablets. The cost of one mana Ranu is Rs 15/- only. By investing Rs 40/- for Ranu preparation, one can get Rs 15 * 12 mana = Rs 180/-. So the net profit is: Rs 180/- minus Rs 40/- minus Rs 40/- (two days labour charge) = Rs 100/-.

Processing of Handia

According to indigenous conceptions, Handia is processed by women. Processing takes three days. Uncleansed (bagada) rice and the tablet, Ranu, are used to prepare it. First, the rice is boiled with water in such a way that rice is soaked through with water. Then they break the tablet into pieces, mix these with the boiled rice and keep the mixture untouched for two days. During this time, the mixture will ferment and will have a sour taste.To extract juice from the mixture, one can squeeze the mixture through a sieve (chaluni) for filtration. For one mana or 1/2 kg rice one can use two tablets (or one, if it is large). The HandiaRanu is used. The whole process is performed by women. This is because women are always in charge of the kitchen and Handia-making is entirely kitchen work. can be hard, medium and soft, depending on how the
* Cost Benefit of Handia Preparation
Particulars Quantity
Market Value
Uncleansed rice 6 kg (12 manas)
Rs 30/-
Ranu 12 nos
Rs 2/-
Total  
Rs 32/-

From 6 kg rice it is observed that the tribal women produce 18 litres Handia. They sell the Handiagina amounts (a gina is a local measuring pot with a capacity of 250 ml), which cost only Rs 1/- a piece. By selling 18 litres of Handia, the women get Rs 72/- only. So the net profit is Rs 72/- minus Rs 32/- = Rs 40/- only. in one-
The Munda women prepare a special Handia for religious functions. Before preparing the Handia, they cleanse themselves by bathing, put on clean cloths and also wash the 'Dekchi' (big silver pot) clean. While preparing Handia they eat no food. This Handia is first offered to God and only then may the household members consume it. Others are not allowed to consume this Handia. Munda women prepare Handia two or three times a week. But in the summer season most of them prepare it more often.

Marketing

As with production, the Munda women also have the responsibility for marketing. Because if women do the selling, there is little chance of credit sale. The men are more liberal and unable to collect the price properly. If a man does not want to pay after buying a drink, a female seller is easily able to put pressure on him for on-the-spot payment. The male drinkers want to drink, but they don’t want to be humiliated by the woman at the market place. Secondly, during selling, the Handia needs to be mixed with water and the men do not know the quantity of water to be mixed.

Selling of Ranu

Ranu is sold in at the market and from homes also. Ranu is sold at the market on the basis of a  local measuring system - "Ganda" (4 nos) and mana (local measuring pot). The cost at the market of Duee Gandas (8 nos) of Ranu is Eka Tanka (one rupee).
  • Some women go to different villages for vending Ranu.
  • In many cases, the women supply Ranu on a weekly basis to Handia Gowdams, located in Dhenkikote and Jhumpura.

Selling of Handia

The Munda women prepare Handia in their houses and sell in the following places:
  • Selling from home
  • Selling at daily markets near the roadside, with 10 to 15 sellers
  • Selling at the Saptahik Hat (weekly market), at various locations
  • Selling by order
  • Selling at Jatra (festivals)
Selling from home
Most Munda women sell Handia at their homes. People of different castes, from the same and nearby villages, come to consume Handia. A household will sell more if they maintain good relation with their customers.

Selling at daily markets
Some women come regularly to the daily market or sit by the roadside. This gives them a regular income. Their customers are mostly people travelling along the road.

Handia Hat
The main objective of the "Hat" is to provide Handia to people who wish to consume it outside their homes. The tribal people are so used to Handia that they also require it when they are away from their homes. It is noteworthy that the Handia Hat is always held at a distance from the main Hat because if it is located in the main Hat, then it may:

  • Catch the eye of Excise Department.
  • Cause disturbances for people who are not drinking Handia.
A big Handia Hat is held at Dhenkikot every Saturday. This Hat is completely separated from main market. Nearly 50-60 households from nearby tribal villages come here with Handia for sale. On Saturday, there is also the general "Hat" at Dhenkikot to which people from nearby villages come to purchase vegetable cereals, pulses, clothes etc. There is a get-together of people from different villages. In this situation, the Munda women bring Handia for marketing purpose and sit separately from the main market. After selling their Handia, they purchase basic things at the market. It is seen that the tribal women mostly dominate the Handia Hat, while the general market is dominated by males. As the males are engaged in various work, it is difficult for them to sit still for 8-9 hours selling the Handia, because Handia Hat continues from morning to evening. We also remarked another interesting fact: that the young women coming to the Hat to sell Handia are dressed up in all their finery to attract customers.
Selling by order
Sometimes businessmen and cultivators order Handia from Munda women, so they can provide Handia for their labourers, and attract them to work for them. Also, during social functions, households sometimes order Handiafrom Munda women, to serve their guests and relatives.

Selling at Jatra (festivals)
Most of the Munda women sell Handia at local festivals, like Raja (3 days), Makara (9 days), Rathayatra (10 days), Dola yatra (13 days). The gathering of Handia-sellers is an additional attraction at all the festivals. The income from these festivals is much greater than the daily income.


Limitation

There are some limitations adopted at the time of preparing Handia. These are:
  1. The women do not talk with anyone during preparation.
  2. They do not eat watered rice.
  3. When preparing Handia for worship purposes, they bathe early and put on clean clothes before preparation.

Prohibition

The tribals prohibit Handia consumption by people suffering from fever, cold, cough and tuberculosis. Pre-school and school children are also not allowed to drink Handia.

Disorders

The tribals are so used to Handia that, if they do not take it several disorders are found with them, e.g. headache, bodyache, laziness etc.

Impact in Health & Hygiene

Good Impact
Handia removes jaundice, colic, dysentry; it hinders sun struck and makes the stomach cool.
Bad Impact
Drinking Handia may create inferiority complexes among non-Handia consumers. Some times men expend much money on Handia consumption and this causes familiar disturbances. Excessive drinking of Handia also causes social disturbances and may occasion many diseases like tuberculosis, asthma, bloodlessness, neurological and stomach problems.


Legal status

xAccording to law, Pachwai (Handia) is defined under section 2 (16) of Bihar and Orissa Excise Act 1915, as fermented rice, millets and other grain whether mixed with any liquid or not; any liquid obtained therefrom, whether diluted or undiluted; but does not include beer.
Under the provision of the Bihar and Orissa Excise Act 1915, one can sell and purchase Pachwai (Handia) within the limits of 7 kilograms or liters (undiluted) and 18 kilograms or liters (diluted). If one sells or purchases amounts beyond the limit, that will be treated as an excise offence and he/she will be accused under excise offence 47 (A) of B & O Excise Act 1915. In spite of this, many tribals and non-tribals are actively involved in this business throughout the district, whereas one license is provided for sell and purchase of Pachwai to a non-tribal person at Remuli. In Keonjhar district, 34 cases have been filed against the offence during March ’01 to August ’01 out of which 80% cases were filed against a tribal.
Here the Handia sellers are getting privilege to sell of Handia up to 18 litters in a day, which helps them for their livelihood.
Now, consumption and preparation of Handia is not only limited among the tribes (Munda, Santala), but non-tribal people also undertaken this activity as a business. Our study shows that, different caste accepted this as a business purpose and they gain more profit than the tribals. In our study villages (Ramachandrapur, Bhanjatikra, Sandhiaposi and Barhatipra), all Munda people consume and prepare Handia but 25% of them make a expected profit and others prepare only for consumption and sell Handia to purchase oil, salt and intoxicated items (Tela luna ‘O’ dukuta)
Though Handia is originated from Munda and Santal and it is a most important part of their culture, but they are deprived to utilize it more profitably in their livelihood where as by utilizing same technique and procedure, the non-tribal make profit beyond expectation. From our observation, we assume that there are some reasons for which the munda people can not make profit in this business which are mentioned below :-
  1. Though Handia business is not adopted as primary occupation so they cannot concentrate fully in this business.
  2. There is no wider scope for marketing in the village area.
  3. Most of them are not interested to come to market area for regular sale because there are so many competitors in the market. 
Now the situation is so that, the concept of Handia business among other caste people is now increasing and munda people are going to purchase Handia from non-tribal people for consumption.

Case study of households preparing Ranu and selling it on the market

Gouri Munda

Gouri Munda, a 32 years old woman is the wife of Sukru Munda living in Sandhiapasi village. She has two sons and three daughters aged from 14 to 6 years who are reading in the Hindibhanga school which is 3 kms away from Sandhiapasi village. Sukru Munda is engaged as a mason in the local villages and also working in his own agricultural field. During summer season, he goes to outside for mason work. Gouri assists her husband in their agricultural field from mid-June to mid-November and in between she also works as wage labourer in the village. Apart from this period she is busy in homework because there is no other work around.
As the household rears goats (3 nos), ducks (big: 2 nos & small: 11 nos), bullocks (5 nos) and cow (2 nos) that help the household to earn money and Gouri is the only person to take care of these livestock.  In addition to this she prepare Handia and Ranu throughout the whole year.
Since 17 years Gouri has been preparing Handia in her in-laws house. When she was unmarried she did not know it but after that, her mother-in-law taught her the Handia preparation. At that time she purchased Ranu from others. But since 5 years, the idea of Ranu preparation came to her mind because of two reasons:
  1. By followings others as it is a profitable source of income.
  2. To minimise the expenditure of Handia preparation.
Handia consumption at home
Though all her children are going to school, they do not consume Handia at all. They (she and her husband) are the only persons who consume Handia at home. But since 2 years, her husband is restricted by Doctor to take Handia as he is suffering from tuberculosis. But during summer season, he takes Handia rarely. So she is the only member who consumes and prepares Handia. She prepares Handia mainly for consumption purpose. She uses 3 manas of rice for HandiaHandia which costs Rs 2/-only) and sells the remaining at her residence. By selling at residence she gets Rs 30-40/- in a week. When discussing with her about the expansion of Handia business, she remarked in the following way:-
preparation in a week for her own consumption daily (2 Gina, the measuring pot, of
  1. As most of the most households of Sandhiapasi and nearer villages were making Handia in their houses, as a result there was no sufficient customer for purchasing from her.
  2. Most of the customers purchased Handia on credit basis and did not pay regularly. So, it would be difficult for her part to run behind these customers for money collection.
  3. By selling in the market or door to door vending, she felt uncomfortable because by taking Handia to outside, one should take additional utensils i.e. bucket, danki, dhala and Chalani sieve for selling and it was not possible for her to take all these alone.
  4. She had already set physically and mentally with Ranu preparation.
Keeping all the above matter in view, she has been preparing Ranu since 5 years for business purpose.
Ranu Preparation
Gouri prepares Ranu twice in a week and each time takes minimum three days for preparation. In a week, she chooses two days i.e. Friday and Saturday for preparation, because for selling on Wednesday she can get sufficient time (5 days) for it. For making Ranu, she uses sundried rice, roots and barks. The roots and barks are Bhuinlimba (Burumarchi), Agnijhada, Jhinkiputa, Akalabindu (Pitu), Patalgarud and Bhuinkakharu (Bhuinboitalu). She purchases Akalabindu, Agnijhada, Patalgarud and Banalanka from market because these are available in the distant Hill and she is unable to collect these from the hill. For collecting Jhinkiputa and Bhuinlimba, she goes to Jangle (Forest) with other munda women, which is 2-3 kms from the village. Sometimes Bhuinlimba is not available in the jungle, so she has to go to other jungle near Manoharpur and Suakati with other women by bus. If necessary, they have to stay for 2-3 days there, for collection of Bhuinlimba. So, in that week, she cannot prepare Ranu.

Ranu Processing
At first, the roots and barks are dried up in the sun and then are grinded with sundried rice into power. For grinding purpose, she uses “Dhinki”or husking pedal block (an indigenous instrument for grinding these substances) and she takes 5 hours for grinding. Sometimes her husband assists her for this activity. The detailed activities and the time she spends for Ranu preparation is given below.

Days Activities Time
Hours
1st day (Thursday) Collection of roots and barks 8AM - 4PM
8 hours
2nd day (Friday) Husking of Paddy to rice 5AM - 9AM
4 hours
Grinding of rice, roots and barks 10AM - 4PM 6 hours
Preparing Ranu and setting in straw bed 5PM - 9PM 4 hours
3rd day (Saturday) Same as 2nd day 5AM - 9PM 14 hours
4th & 5th days (Monday & Tuesday) Pick up the Ranu from straw bed and dry it in the sun
4 hours
Cost of Ranu Preparation
For one week, she prepares Ranu in two phases and in each phase, she invests 7 manas of sundried rice. The details cost for this is given below-

Days Particulars Quantity Market Value
Friday Rice 7 manas Rs 40/-
Roots and barks 1 bida Rs 10/-
Saturday Rice 7 manas Rs 40/-
Roots and barks 1 bida Rs 10/-
Total   14 manas & 2 bidas Rs 100/-

So, for one week she invests 14 manas of rice, which cost Rs 80/- and Rs 20/- for roots and barks. Sometimes she increases the quantity according to the order of the customers. From 14 manas of rice, she produces 25 manas of Ranu.
Marketing System
For marketing of Ranu, she has contacted four villages i.e, Balibandha, Hundula, Dehuripada and Kashipal and she goes once in a week i.e. Wednesday to these villages for sale. She goes by bus to Balibandha for which the bus fair is Rs 4/- and then she moves by foot to Hundula, Dehuripada and Kashipal, which are 4 kms, 3 kms and 3 kms from Balibandha respectively. She is vending Ranu among 11 households in Balibandha, all households (20 HHs) in Hundula, 4 HHs in Dehuripada and 3 HHs in Kashipal. All these 38 households belong to SC and ST (Kamar, Bhumija, Santal, Kolha, Bhuian and Ganda). Out of total Ranu, she sells a maximum amount in Hundula village because all the households prepare Handia and sell in Jurudi Hat near Joda on a regular basis and they all depend on her for purchasing Ranu. Most of the times more Ranu have been ordered from this village. According to her, during summer season, Raja and Makar festival, the demand of Ranu increases. Sometimes, she can not fulfill the target, as she is the only person to prepare Ranu at home.    

By selling 25 manas Ranu, she gets Rs 300/- in a week @ Rs 12/- per one mana Ranu, whereas others sell Ranu @ Rs 15/- per mana. By clarifying the above, she answered that, though all the contacted households are the permanent customers for her and she has been selling them in Rs 12/- from the beginning, so she could be liberal to them.
Regarding the sale of Ranu at “Hat”, she stated that, she could not sell Ranu at nearby market named as “Jhumpura Hat” because all the Ranu sellers had fixed their customers who are coming regularly to that Hat. If she goes to the Hat, then the regular sellers might not cooperate her to sale and no customers would purchase Ranu from her and it would also take more time to make the customers towards her.

Case study of households engaged in both Ranu and Handia preparation

Jema Munda

Jema Munda, the wife of Udaya Munda who is a 35-year-old woman residing in the village Bhanjatipra. She has six daughters (one of which is married) and three sons. The main occupation of the household is agriculture and she works in her own agricultural field and also works as agricultural worker in inside and outside the village. She also produces vegetables from her kitchen garden. She also collects sal seeds and mahua flowers from the forest.
Besides the above activities, Jema Munda prepares Handia to earn additional income for the household. She has been preparing Handia since six years, but at first she prepared Handia for consumption purpose of the family. At that time she purchased Ranu, the tablet from market or others. When she realised that other households are making profit by selling Handia, she decided to take off this as a business.
Handia Consumption at home
All the family members except the last two children who are two years and 6 months old are consuming Handia daily at home. Both husband and wife consume 16 Gina (steel cup) Handia in a day which cost Rs 16/- only @ Rs 1/- per Gina (1 Gina = 200 g approximately). Sometimes Udaya Munda takes 10 to 15 Gina Handia in a day. The elder 3 children (aged 19, 18 and 15 years) drink 15 Gina Handia (5 Gina per head) in a day whereas the small children (aged 9, 6 & 5 years) also take 6 Gina Handia. The last two small children (aged 2 yrs & 6 months and 6 months) are not allowed to take Handia. The family members take Handia twice (in morning after brushing the teeth and after coming from work) in a day. The total consumption of Handia in a day is Rs 37/- approximately.

Preparation of Ranu
Since four years she has been preparing Ranu and before that purchased Ranu from market or from other sources.  She prepares Ranu for own purpose and she does not sale these.  The only purpose of making Ranu in the house is that, it minimizes the expenditure of Handia preparation.

There is no certain date for making Ranu in a week or month. At a time she prepares some Ranu and finishing these, she prepares again.  For once, she uses 6 mana of sundried rice and Jhinkilai (Jhinkiputa) for making Ranu. She only uses Jhinkilai instead of other roots and barks and she collects Jhinkilai from the near hill. Before making Ranu, she goes to hill with other women to collect these from morning to evening and after finishing these, she goes again to collect.
Processing of Ranu
The first activity is grinding paddy to get sundried rice and for this, she uses "Dhinki" or husking pedal block (an indigenous instrument for grinding these substances). Then before grinding sundried rice, she takes bath and after that grinds sundried rice and Jhinkilai into power by "Dhinki” and keeps some power in a leaf separately in front of Pitrupurush (Ancestor God). After preparing Ranu and setting in the straw beds, she adds water with the separated rice power to make a dough. Then the dough is folded with a leaf and burnt by fire and shared by all members of the household. No out-sider is allowed to share with this. The detailed activities and the time she spends for Ranu preparation is given below.

Days Activities Time Hours
1st day Collection of Jhinkilai from the Hill 8AM to 4PM 8 hours
2nd day Paddy husking to rice 3PM to 7PM 4 hours
3rd day Grinding of sundried rice and Jhinkilai to power 7AM to 11AM 4 hours
Preparing Ranu and setting in straw beds 11AM to 3 PM 4 hours
6th day Pick up the Ranu after drying up and then dried in the sun 8 AM to 10 AM 2 hours

For processing of Ranu, it takes 3 days. The most interesting thing is that, from grinding  sundried rice to preparing Ranu,  Jema Munda makes fasting. She is in faith that, by performing this ritual, she can produce better Ranu.
Cost of Ranu Preparation
For one time, she invests 6 mana sundried rice, which costs Rs 36/- and 150 g of Jhinkilai which she collects from hill. She produces 9 mana of Ranu from 6-mana rice. If she sells in the market, then she may earn Rs 135/- but she does not sell.

Handia Preparation
She prepares Handia daily and each time takes two and half days in processing. She  invests  6 kg of parboiled rice each time. She purchases these rice from the shop @ Rs 6.50/- per kg and she adds one Ranu in one mana rice. Firstly she boiled 6 kg of rice with water and after cooking, it leaves for cool. Then she adds 12 nos of Ranu into the cooked rice and leaves it for two and half days for processing. To extract Handia juice from the cooked mixture, she squeezes it in the mixture with water and uses a sieve (chaluni) for filtration.

In summer season, she prepares Handia daily and each time she uses 7 to 8 kg of para-boiled rice for preparing Handia.
In religious functions, she prepares special Handia (Bangadiang) for warship and the family members consume this Handia. The other members are not allowed to consume this Handia.
Marketing System
Jema Munda sells Handia in her own house. Sometimes she goes to nearby market for sale. Different castes people (Munda, other castes like milkman, Brahmin, Washer man and others) from Nusuripasi Barhatipra, nearby villages and other people who come across in front of her house, purchase Handia from her. She sells Handia on Gina (steel cup) basis and she gets Rs 1/- by selling 1 Gina Handia. In winter and Rainy season, she earns Rs 30/- to Rs 40/-, while she earns Rs 50/- to Rs 60/- in summer season. The reason is that, during rainy season, the weather is cold and Handia is not prepared well. The income is also less in winter season because in this season most of the families prepare Handia and they need not come here to purchase.

While asking her question about the sale of Handia in the market, she told that, as the customers are coming to her house, she does not need to go to market to sell Handia.

Impact of Handia on non-tribal people

In Dhenkikote area, some of non-tribal people undertake the Handia business by quitting their previous occupation. Here we are presenting a case study how a non-tribal household makes more profit by selling Handia at Dhenkikote area.

Gurucharan Mahakud

´belongs to Gopala/Gauda community and the traditional caste occupation of the community is to rearing cattle and selling milk. For last 36 years he is residing at Dhenkikote and at that time he was engaged in his little betel shop at Dhenkikote market. At that time he had undertaken furniture business to maintain his family of 4 members (wife and two sons).
The concept of Handia business as a profitable trade, came into his mind in 1998 by the inspiration of Bula Sahoo, a rice businessman at Dhenkikote market. In the beginning, he started to drink Handia by preparing it at home because his wife knew the preparation. At first he started this business with a small amount of rice and when he observed that the people came to the house to purchase Handia frequently from him then he increased the amount upto10kg rice in a week. According to the growing demand of the people, he increased the amount gradually up to 1-quintal rice at a time to strengthen the business. Material needed for preparing Handia
For preparing Handia, para boiled rice and Ranu are needed. In the rainy season, he prepares 2 to two and half quintal rice (2 to 2 ½ quintals) of rice in a week where as 3 to 4 quintal rice is needed in a week for winter and summer season. He purchases the 10 to 15 quintal rice at a time from Dhenkikote market and every time he has stock of 10-quintal rice at home.

For preparing Handia, he purchases Ranu from outside. One household from Dandipasi village provides Ranu to the household. He is purchasing Rs 500/- Ranu in a week depending on the preparation of Handia from the household of Dandipasi where 5 members in that household are engaged to prepare and supply Ranu. 
Preparation of Handia
Now Gurucharan and his wife, Madhabi prepare Handia thrice in a week (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday) and it takes three days for processing. In Wednesday of every week and every month he prepares excess Handia (1 quintal rice) to meet the need of people on Hata day, which is held on every Saturday at Dhenkikote. As two persons are not sufficient for HandiaHandia consumption (10 bela = Rs 20/-). They cook 80 kg to 1 quintal parboiled rice at a time in 4 nos of silver dekichidekichi to process. He uses two rooms for preparing Handia one is store room and another is kitchen with processing room.
preparation, Satrughna Naik, a resident of Dhenkikote who knows the preparation, is appointed as a full time worker to help them. Satrughna takes Rs 25/- with one lunch and (big cooking pot in which 20 kg rice can be cooked). They use table fan to cool the boiled rice, then 160 to 200 nos of Ranu are mixed with it and they keep the substance for three days in
Household consumption
In this household Gurucharan only consumes Handia of 10 bela (Rs 20/-) in a day and Madhabi takes Handia rarely. It is very interesting that the domestic animals of the household also consume Handia. The cows (3 nos) consume 12 bela Handia (Rs 24/-) whereas the goats (4 nos)  take 3 bela Handia (Rs 6/-). Gurucharan told that without giving Handia to his calf, he does not sell Handia to anybody. He again told that the animals are so used to Handia that, if  they do not drink it, they make disturbances by destroying the Handia pots.

Marketing
For marketing Handia he/she does not go to outside. All caste people from nearby villages are coming to his house to drink Handia. In Hata day (Saturday), the number of the customers are so excess that, the three persons cannot sell properly. In order to smooth selling, he has appointed 2 persons Ghasiram Mahakud and Narayan Naik to sale Handia. Each of them earns Rs 25/- with lunch and Handia consumption. Everyday 150 to 200 people are coming here to drink Handia but in every Saturday, the number of people increases to near about 500. For smooth distribution of Handia to 50 persons at a time, the household has purchased 50 belas. To make the business more attractive, Gurucharan also prepares gram item and serve them for Rs 1/- only. Sometimes, contractors take a huge amount of Handia of Rs 200/- to Rs 300/- at a time to give their workers. During marriage time, some mundas also take Handia to distribute their neighbourers and relatives. Gurucharan maintains the accounts of Handia selling.

Cost Benefit of Handia preparation
Expenditure for one week
Sl No Particulars Quantity Amount
01 Parboiled rice 2 quintal or 200 kg Rs 1200/-
02 Ranu 400 nos Rs 50/-
03 Fire wood Rs 50/- * 7 days Rs 135/-
04 Labour charge (1 no) Rs 25/- *  7 days Rs 175/-
05 Marketing cost (for two persons) Rs 25/- * 2 (persons) Rs 50/-
06 Gram 5 kg per day @ Rs 22/- per kg Rs 770/-
Total     Rs 2380/-

The above expenditure is only for winter season. Though the demand of Handia increases in summer season, the cost of Handia preparation is minimum Rs 3005/- only (for three quintals of rice).

Income per week

Sales per day (6 days a week) @ Rs 500/- * 6 Rs 3000
Sales on Hat day (Saturday)   Rs 3000
Total   Rs 6000
     
Total income   Rs 6000
Total expenditure   Rs 2380
Total profit per week   Rs 3620
Total monthly profit Rs 3620/- * 4 Rs 14.480

 

Savings of the Household from Handia Business

Out of the income from Handia business, Gurucharan saves Rs 30,000/- in LAMPS at Dhenkikote and Rs 50,000/- in Baitarani Gramya Bank at Barhatipra. He also deposited Rs 300/- in LIC for three years in the name of his wife. In addition to the above deposit, he has constructed 11 rooms upto roof level for which he has already spent more than 3 lakhs rupees.

Perception of other people towards the household

In Dhenkikote area, 12 non-tribe households are doing Handia business since 15 years and as Gurucharan has developed a lot during three years, so they are jealous to him. Regarding this, he said that the neighbourers do not tolerate his progress, so they do not come to his house. As he is making Handia business like a Munda, he has not good relation with his relatives and neighbourers. Nobody likes to come to his house.



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Source: http://www.anthrobase.com/Txt/S/Satpathy_N_Satpathy_R_01.htm


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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Primary textbooks contain misinformation on Adivasis

Roundtable told

Despite making corrections, the primary school level textbooks still contain some wrong and misleading information about the culture and lifestyle of the country's indigenous communities, speakers said at a roundtable yesterday.
The inaccurate information is leaving a negative impression on the young minds and may put communal harmony at stake, they said, calling for bringing more modifications in the books, portraying Adivasis positively and including their contributions.
The roundtable "Ethnic identity in textbooks: Our attitude" was organised by Development Initiative for Inclusive People (DIIP) and Zabarang Kalyan Samity in cooperation with Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) and Ministry of CHT Affairs at Jatiya Press Club.
Speaking on the occasion, DIIP Executive Director Chowdhury Ataur Rahman Rana gave some examples of misinformation. The class V textbook Poribesh Porichiti Samaj (Social Science) says Garo women wear blouse and lungi, which is not correct, he said. "Garo women put on a traditional dress which resembles their identity."
He also said the social science book for class IV described rabbit meat, pork, and crabs as favourite food items for Santal community, which was irrelevant in the children's textbooks and might create a mental distance between people who consumed them and who did not.
Ataur Rahman urged the writers of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) books to be more responsible while writing about indigenous people.
"The textbooks portray mostly negatives things on indigenous people," claimed Shaktipada Chakma, organisational secretary, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum.
Shaheen Anam, executive director of MJF, said, "We've to portray them positively so that our children do not have any negative attitude towards them."
Primary and Mass Education Minister Afsarul Ameen said making correction was a continuous process, and they would bring necessary changes to the textbooks.
NCTB Chairman Mostofa Kamaluddin said the class V textbook would be replaced next year with more positive contents under a modern curriculum.
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Lawyers unleash unprecedented hatred against Adivasis



In an unprecedented manifestation of hatred, the lawyers of Joypurhat Bar Samity asked Jatiya Adivasi Parishad (JAP) to replace 26 water glasses which some Adivasi people used to drink water on Thursday.
This has deeply hurt the entire indigenous community in Joypurhat.
"The incident was unexpected in a modern civilised society," said JAP Secretary General Rabindranath Soren, who was one among the Adivasis who drank water in one of those glasses.
Witnesses said several hundred Adivasi people of Joypurhat brought out a procession to the deputy commissioner's (DC) office in the district town from Durgapur upazila on Thursday, demanding a separate land commission for indigenous people and arrest of land grabbers, among others.
They reached the town around 3:30pm, marching a 10km distance from Durgapur and had lunch boxes prepared in Joypurhat Bar Samity's canteen. Around 250 Adivasis had lunch outside the canteen and used the canteen's glasses to drink water, said organisers of the procession.
As soon as the Bar Samity lawyers learned the incident, they reached the Samity office and shouted at the canteen manager Nurul Islam since he allowed the Adivasis to use the glasses.
Amid pressure from the lawyers, the canteen manager handed over 26 glasses to Adivasi leader Advocate Babul Rabi Das, also lawyer of Joypurhat district court and himself a member of Joypurhat Bar Samity.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, Babul Das, also president of Joypurhat unit JAP, said he received the water glasses from the canteen Thursday. He said he would pay for the glasses.
Rabindranath Soren said the lawyers who were meant to protect human rights forced the canteen manager to demand replacement of the glasses.
General Secretary of Joypurhat Bar Samity Advocate Abu Nasir Mohammad Shamim Inam, however, claimed that he was "unaware" of the incident and said he only protested the cooking of launch in the canteen for others.
Similar claim was made by Advocate Yunusar Rahman, a member of the Bar Samity, who runs the canteen as lessee. "I just heard it from you (The Daily Star correspondent)," he said, when contacted.
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Thursday, November 8, 2012

The unsung artistes of Santhal Parganas

The rich cultural heritage of the Santhal Parganas region of Jharkhand is mirrored in the State’s ubiquitous legends, art and culture. And painting occupies the pride of place in this rich spectrum of folk media. It is still customary among the Santhals in this area to paint motifs known as Bhittichitras on the walls of houses and on tree trunks — a reflection of the vibrant present and expectant future of the tribe.
The Santhal tradition of Bhittichitra is very rich and ancient, a reflection of their unique social, cultural and economic identity among all the tribes of the State. These paintings depict their socio- cultural traditions, which are steeped in religiosity with an overtone of mythology. The tribe attributes the beginning of this art to their legendary fort of Chai Champa Garh, whose walls and ramparts, according to their songs and lore, were adorned with beautiful paintings in this style. Paintings themselves show difference in execution and form according to two main regions where it is practised, Santhal Parganas and Chotanagpur region. The paintings of Santhal Pargana are more primitive in form and style, and lay emphasis on form and shape; while those of Chotanagpur show a lot more refinement and emphasis on the use of colours.
Most of the paintings are done after harvest, when mud houses get repaired that were damaged by rains. First, the old mud plaster is scraped off the walls and the cracks and crevices filled. Then they are plastered with a fresh layer of clay, locally known as fotahosa, using a wooden implement named roosa to ensure that the surface is flat and even. In some places, a layer of black colour extracted from burnt hay is applied to the walls. The motifs to be painted and their location are decided during the repairing process or while building a new house.
The motifs are first lightly carved on the walls and doorways with a sharp tool and then colours are applied. Themes are chosen from their natural surroundings or everyday activities that range from harvest, a happy family, a field, dances and quarrels torevered gods and goddesses, plants, fish to birds of different kinds. Wild flowers, leaves, creepers, peacocks and geometrical shapes, such as rectangles, circles, semi-circles, parallel lines (as stripes), also figure prominently. Flowers are usually circular in form and with three or four petals, a reflection of their significance in the Santhal culture. Potted plants and gracefully curving creepers with pointed leaves and blossoms are commonly painted as growing out of the pot on both sides of the doorways and meeting at the top of the door. Animals are rarely depicted and peacocks are always shown in conjugal pairs above the plants. Fishes are also drawn in pairs, connected by water hyacinths or fishing hooks. The colours used are mostly clay-based and made from the different coloured clay found in and around their settlements. Colour schemes are devised as per the theme and motif. The Santhals of the region favour colours like white, blue, red and black, while the Chotanagpur area shows more use of yellow, white, green, blue and black, and shades created by mixing these colours. Three to four coats of colour are applied to make it dark and durable.
However, it is an irony that in a State that prides itself on its tribal heritage, very little has been done to bring this art form from its domestic confines to the mainstream. “This unique art form represents an unwritten social custom, but it has not been studied in depth and very little has been written about it,” says Prakash Oraon, former TRI director. The art has got hardly any commercial exposure and scholars have barely touched upon it, except a stray monograph or a passing mention in some books.
Source: http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/ranchi/70577-the-unsung-artistes-of-santhal-parganas.html
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Using their arrows for sport, not war

By Rupa Chinai

















From sports clubs that build team spirit to special schools for dropouts, it's ordinary people who are working to strengthen and develop Bodoland In a sports field outside Dologami, an obscure village in the Chirang district of Bodoland, a line-up of young Bodo and Santhal boys and girls are poised with their bows and arrows, ready to hit a bull's-eye. At the height of the struggle for a separate Bodoland from Assam, Bodos and Santhals fought and killed each other with these very instruments. Today, this group presents a remarkable story of hope, which is finding similar expression in various corners of Bodoland.

This story of hope comes from ordinary people who are demonstrating that individuals can make a difference in society. They are showing that the various communities that live here are capable of coming together and developing their homeland. That they don't have to wait for external help. It is these young people who raise the flag of Bodoland, telling us about all that is refined and noble in the great culture of our country's tribal people.

Standing out from the group is a graceful archer, a 16-year-old Bodo girl, Buli Basumatary, who is from Samtaibaria village and studies in Class 10. She won gold at a national-level competition, and two gold and one silver medal at state-level tournaments. Also in the group are two young Santhal boys, Robilal Kisku, aged 16 and a Class 9 student, and Monjoy Soren, aged 13, who studies in Class 8.

Archery is part of the traditional culture of both the Bodos and the Santhals. This skill has, over the years, helped them hunt and survive. Instead of wasting it in fighting each other, they are now demonstrating a newfound pride in who they are and where they come from. Brought together by the Sunjarang Sports Club and Library, these archers are part of a group of over 80 young people living in the area. They come together every evening to engage in sports like tennis, boxing, hockey, football, kabaddi and judo.

Apart from Buli, the group has a national and state-level champion in Daimalu Brahma, a boxer who holds two gold and one silver medal. The club also boasts national-level players in kabaddi and judo. Sturdy and tall, used to hard work, exercise and a sensible diet, the youth of the area are natural sportspersons.

Even more remarkable than the achievements of its young members, is the story of 38-year-old Guno Shankar Wary who founded the Sunjarang Club. Trained as a physical instructor in Gwalior, Guno Shankar now works with the Chirang district sports office. The Sunjarang Club is entirely his personal creation, and is financed through major chunks drawn from his own salary, the support of well-wishers and the wo[B] [/B]rk of his young comrades.

Although it lacks both finance and infrastructure, the club thrives on creativity and hard work. The hockey sticks are carved from the branches of trees and bamboo. The tennis court was levelled and rolled with a well ring, and then plastered with a mix of mud and cowdung, using bare hands and brushes. Earth was manually lifted to even out the football field. Young people come from villages within a radius of 10 km. Many are small children who are weak in studies; the club facilitates their coaching by older, college-going students.

Guno Shankar provides free coaching in all the 10 sports that are practised at the club, and travel money for teams attending sports events at the district, state and national-level is raised after considerable cajoling on his part. The only major support the club has received so far has been from the Bodoland Territorial Council, which gave Rs 10,000 as a one-time grant-in-aid. Guno Shankar is worried about how to raise funds for the forthcoming state-level boxing, hockey and tennis tournaments where his teams are participating.

He says: "It was in these very villages that severe clashes took place between the communities, resulting in displacement, killings and distrust between the communities. I have sought to bring these youth on the platform of sports, which nurtures a feeling of brotherhood and equality. Sports facilitates better concentration in studies and the rounded development of a personality. Above all, it helps us to learn to play and live as human beings. Those who excel in this bring name and fame for themselves, their families and the communities of Bodoland. Sports also enables our youth to get scholarships and jobs. I am doing this for my village, state and also for India."

Another story of hope, in another corner of Bodoland, is the young brother and sister pair of Michael and Stella Hansda from the Santhal community. They are based in Shashipur, a picturesque village in Baksa district, on the banks of a river along the foothills of Bhutan. Hailing from a poor family, their father works as a sweeper with the Border Roads Organisation. Stella and Michael have set up a unique school for 'dropout' children called Educare Institute, which operates out of bamboo and thatch huts. The pair have demonstrated what individuals can achieve through education, and how much they can contribute to society when they set out to share what little they have.Educare Institute is open to children from all communities in the area -- primarily Santhal, adivasi (tea garden tribes), Bodo, Nepali and Bengali. The school started out with nine students; today their numbers have swelled to 265. Taught in the English medium, the non-formal system of education here prepares the children for the matriculation exam.

A brief visit to one of the classrooms and discussions with the children reveal their ability to speak in fluent English and interact with confidence and enthusiasm. "We dropped out of the Assamese schools where we previously studied because we could not afford the fees. We enjoy coming here and it is affordable," says one of the students.

The students pay a fee of Re 1 every day, which is shared between the 11 teachers who volunteer their services. The children spoke of their aspirations to go in for higher education, to become doctors, engineers, nurses, mechanics. Though they lack books, games and other infrastructure, they demonstrate a thirst for learning and exposure to new ideas.

Says Michael: "We are stressing learning in English because everyone is running to the towns for jobs. We are trying to make them understand that they can work in the village. From here in rural India we should communicate with the urban areas, and with the rest of the world. We have to strengthen our youth through education. Economic, social and political advancement for our communities will come through education, which creates enlightened leaders in every field. These persons will not consider caste and creed but will work for humanity."

Remarkable in this story are Stella and Michael themselves. Despite their poverty and illiteracy, their parents scraped together the funds to send their five children to Tezpur in upper Assam for education at the Silesian missionary school. Recalls Michael: "My father had a transferable job. He used to bring me job application forms where 3,500 candidates had applied for five posts of sweeper. Boys holding degrees were in this queue. People were desperate for jobs. I felt that educated people should be creating jobs for unemployed youth. We had seen what our parents had done for their children and realised how education had benefited us. Hence we decided to create a school where poor children can study. We are not perfect in our learning. But whatever we have learnt we are trying to share the best we can."

Speaking of their community, the Santhals, Stella and Michael talk of a people in a time warp, cacooned by the smallness of their world and a life consumed by alcohol. The Bodo and Santhal students in this area have joined together to campaign against alcoholism. Those caught creating a disturbance in an inebriated state are warned that they will be "beaten until the stick breaks". Many have experienced this threat.

Struggling to articulate their vision, Michael says: "Our people have no concept of what change and development could mean for them. They have not understood that they can be useful to society. We have to make them realise that society needs them. We need a platform to reflect their lives. We want to bring that reflector to them so that they can see themselves in that mirror. Through it they can begin to see how they think and live, and see their future. They will then begin to ask, 'If we continue the way we are at present, what will our future be? Supposing there is change, what is the future we can have?' We need a proper reflector."

For Michael and Stella's mother, that reflector and the vision she got from it was clear: "I did not want my children to work as servants in other people's houses as we have done," she says with simplicity and firmness.

Joining Stella and Michael in their quest to impart meaningful education is a Bodo, Dominic Basumatary. Holding a master's degree in social science from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, in Mumbai, Dominic's effort to develop human resources -- "the most important resource of Bodoland" -- has brought him to the path of education. Setting up the Centre for New Learning, a school in Bengtol village, Dominic and his wife Ersilia are seeking to introduce a holistic approach to education, based on the concept of 'learning while doing' rather than mere teaching. It aims at developing observation skills, teamwork, leadership, resource management and confidence-building.

Elsewhere in Bodoland, a group of around 400 young unemployed youth, some operating individually, others in groups, are demonstrating that there are ways to make an independent and satisfactory living through small tea and rubber plantations. Obtaining government-allotted revenue land, large tracts of which are available along the Bodoland-Bhutan foothills and considered unfit for paddy cultivation, these youth started to first grow sugarcane and ginger and then tea. The tea leaves are sold to larger tea companies for further processing, earning around Rs 8 per kg.

Supporting the small tea gardens in this effort is the Jorhat-based Toklai Tea Research Institute that has provided the technical training. While regular banks consider tribals "unbankable" because of their poor payback of loans, these planters are now finding supporters in institutions like the North-East Development Finance Corporation which is so convinced by their track record that it is willing to advance them sizeable loans. Profits earned from these efforts are being put back into expansion of the business.

Says Bijit Basumatary, a young tea planter from amongst a group of 12 partners who have set up a tea garden in Kokrajhar district: "We tell our youth that it is we who have closed the doors to obtaining bank loans and it is we ourselves who must now open them again. We are demystifying the myth that only Tatas and Birlas can create wealth."

One of the greatest strengths of Bodo society is that practically every woman knows how to weave. Tapping this potential are NGOs like ANT (Action Northeast Trust) and other weaving societies that are opening up a whole new world of possibilities for Bodo women through innovative design inputs, improved techniques and marketing ideas.

ANT started its activities in 2000; today it works with 150 weavers and has a turnover of several lakhs. Its trendy cotton outfits in bright colours are based on traditional Bodo designs and fabrics, and have even reached the Western market. Many young Bodo weavers are learning new skills as they take charge of production, make decisions on pricing and organise exhibitions and sales outside the region.

Others are finding the means to pay back family debts, or support the higher education of siblings. Moina Bora in Udalguri, for instance, studied up to Class 10 and earns Rs 3,000 a month through her weaving. She sends Rs 1,500 to her younger brother who is studying foreign languages at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

[I](Rupa Chinai is an independent journalist based in Mumbai. [I]This is the concluding part of her series on Bodoland[/I])[/I]

Source:http://infochangeindia.org/governance/features/using-their-arrows-for-sport-not-war.html
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Munda vows to make Santhali second language

BOKARO: Hundreds of Santhals on Thursday participated in the 11th General Congress of Santhal at Luggu Buru Ghantavadi Dhoramgaad, situated in the foothills of Luggu Hill at Lalpania under Gomia block of the district. Participating in the function, chief minister Arjun Munda announced that the state government will provide Rs 5 crore for the development of the area. The CM also assured to take initiative in including Santhali as a second language of the state.
He also appealed to the Santhalis coming from other states to raise the demand of including Santhali as the second language from the government of their respective states.
Other political leaders, including Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) chief Babulal Marandi, Giridih MP Ravinder Pandey, Dumri MLA Jagarnath Mahto also participated in the congress.
Santhals, the largest tribal community in India, assemble here from all parts of the country once every year and offer prayer to Luggu Baba by performing religious rituals. During the congress, they also discuss on the progress and future development of Santhali culture. "This is our biggest religious gathering. The Santhals from Nepal, Manipur, Orissa, Bihar and other states have arrived to participate in the function," said Babuli Soren, a member of the organizing committee.
A huge fair was also organised on the occasion. North Chottanagpur Zone inspector general M L Meena, Koylanchal DIG Laxman Prasad Singh, Bokaro DC Sunil Kumar and SP Kuldeep Dwivedi were also present at the function. Security has been beefed up in the area, a red zone, in view of the function and Munda's arrival here.

Source:http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-11-11/ranchi/30386245_1_santhalis-second-language-arjun-munda
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Debate on Santhals and Chrsitanity........More

Member's View :

Mon Oct 29, 2001  6:00 pm
dear Francis,
thanks a lot for joining this e-group and expressing your concern on the issue of Santal identity. Conversion has been the thorny issue and continue to be so in the years to come. Here I don't want to condemn or support something outrightly which has different meaning to different people. I'm expressing my views here so as to facilitate healthy discussion on this. Itis wrong to say Christian or non-Christian Santals as Santals are an entity with specific nomenclature with a history dates back to the birth of Jesus Christ.A person can either be a Christian or a Santal and not a combination of both. The process of proselytisation emaned from the very fact that those who did/do not like the social milieu of Santals changed their belief on the Saviour and embraced Christianity. The use of term Christian Santals or with this prefix with some tribal group is based on convenience so as to avail some concessions given to the Santals/tribal groups by the Govts. Otherwise there is no point in calling oneself by a name which he disliked in some point of time. The use of Christian and non Christian Santals defies the concept of unique society. If we allow the existence of this duality, then automatically blame come to the persons responsible to create a division in a unique sociey. It is, therefore, advisable to the persons converted to Christianity not to call themselves as Santals. If they are doing so, they are commiting blasphemy in their new found belief. The gap you are identifying is the response to this reality. My endeavour is not to pin point who is wrong or who is right but the highlight the difference between the principle and practice. Traditionally, Santals are a self supported and self sufficient social group. For this reason they cannot be called as Hindu Santal, Christian Santal, Buddhist Santal or Muslim Santal etc.
 I feel proud to be known as a Santal without a prefix or suffix. Those who like to use prefix or suffix can share their side of story. It is interesting to see that Santals those who had/have decided/desired to assimilate themselves in an international stream(community) still prefer to be known by a name which once upon a time was disliked. From the fact that persons with strong support base (as a member of Christian community) still cherish and feel comfortable to be known as "Santals", repose a sense of pride in me that Santals too have some characteristics though not all which are superior than the Christian Commandments. It is nice to see intelligent and highly educated people like you have started questioning this duality in search of a unique identity.
yours PC Hembram

 Hello Francis,
Welcome to this egroup. I also wanna put my two cents thoughts in this issue i.e. division of santal race under Christian and non-Christian Hindu) and in this situation what wesanthals egroup should comprise of. Santal is not only a race, but also a religion. When we refer "Santal" as a race, we mean it is a group of human, and officially meant as schedule tribe of India. When we say religion, it consists of certain belief and some tradition similar to other religion like Hindu, Muslim, Christian. We named it as "Sarna". The relationship between "santal" and "sarna" is such that one is called santal when she obeys the tradition of sarna religion. They r like two sides of a coin. The significance of sarna religion is implied by calling herself as Santal. So in my opinion, one should call himself as santal when he will worship in Jaher, belief in Marang Buru, marry according to the santal culture and prefer to cherish the santal culture and tradition.  ( I don't pin point anyone either Hindu /Christian,who is going out of this circle) In this context, how the concepts of hindusm/christianity came in to our race? Generally we, santals were poor in terms of knowledge, wealth and power. So in the past, the identity of our religion was ignored. We were counted as Hindu. Although, the original Hindus consider us as lowered class Hindu, but we preferred to stay like that as we didn't have voice to raise against them. But we never neglected to adopt our sarna tradition. In the mean time, the Christian community came to India and started helping the poor people. The few santals need their help (some actually needed it) and others sold their identity with the money. But the sad part is that they almost washed away the tradition, culture of santal society. They left the Jaher culture, they left the puja at their home to their forefathers, they left the marriage tradition of santals. This is what they have done mistake. If Christianity is adopted for help, then none will stop u from making "Johar in Jaher". None will stop u by making marriage in santal tradition, but most of SO CALLED christian-santals hesitate to do that.  I wish if someone is called himself as Santal, he must prefer to follow the santal culture and tradition. He must create the faith of sarna in his and his children's hearts. Hope, all of us will mrecover back to that very soon.mIn this context, for whom is the wesantahls yahoomgroup? It's for all type of santals, who feelsmhim/herself as santals. I don't want if someone is  going out of this feeling, to be out of this group. But hope we all will comeback to strengthen us with the spirit of Jaher culture, bcoz it's mission is not to divide us but tu unite us to stuggle for our common targets. with regards

Raj
PS: We r not conservative, we r preserving thesantal identity.

 Tue Oct 30, 2001  3:09 pm
Hallo,
Before presenting my views here, i would like to review of some of the definition which is really very important for discussion.
 Definition of Ethnic Group:The term ethnic means of or relating to sizable groups of people sharing a common and distinctive racial, national, religious, linguistic, or culture heritage.
Definition of Community:
A group of people who share "some thing" common .It can be nay thing. e.g. Community Halls, Community kitchen , or computer graphics community etc....

Christian can be Santhals ?
If you all these definition , you will have idea theres some kind of vagueness of all definition. There is not any clear cut way of definition is given here and if you go through any book of sociology, you will find lot definitions. That is where lies the root cause of all problem. It gives some kind of discretion of the people who are practising it or who are in command position. I am little bit surprised to see the trying to find simple solution out of complex and vast class  of solutions. Two my friends given their opnions about this. But I find the assesement ot estimate are from the religion point of view. Why can not think in terms of community ? We have vast numbers of things common, eg. physical characteristics,Linguistic,etc . Let leave alone the religion part right now for sake of arguments. This definitely serves one kind of platform for community. We can think of betterment of language , script,, we can together also think of betterment of community as whole. Here does not lie any conflicts or it does not originates any problem of recognised as Santhals community.  But our problem lies in the thin division line goes between the religion and culture.This is inextricably mixed with eachother.

Why there is division or conflicts ?
Religion originates in an attempt to represent and order beliefs, feelings, imaginings and actions that arise in response to direct experience of the sacred and the spiritual. As this attempt expands in its formulation and elaboration, it becomes a process that creates meaning for itself on a sustaining basis, in terms of both its originating experiences and its own continuing responses.  The essence of Christianity is a belief, a particular truth claim: that Jesus was the sole son of God andthat he redeemed mankind from sin by his crucifixion and resurrection. Modern Bible scholarship has made that belief untenable. The propagation of thsese beliefs were entirely within the Jewish tradition, at least within its fringe of culture and tradition of that time. Christian religion is flourushed at Europe, So many of eouropian culture has assimilated into the Christian Religion. Other way, This culture is synonym of Christian. although it is not true ! When missionaries preaches this religion, they some time unable to understand or seperate the culture and religion and they impose the tradition of Europians in the name of Christian. This gives some kind of wrong impression of Christianity.That is why you can find out lot of difference between "Christian Santhals" and Santhals. I have quite lot of experience at organising Get-together at Bangalore. I can still remember,some reason we could not organise the get-together in October. We planned to host this at December 1st or 2nd. And the same time there was a some person wanted to host Christmas party at his residence. We had been forced to change the schedule of get-together and many of them refused to come to get-together. Even some told me, my religion come first and then my culture or whatever it is . I really got pain their thinking of culture. There is no scope of Culture when it goes little bit against the religion. This I can highlytake a sample from vast populations. This reflects conflict of relgion and culture and tradition. This kind of behavior of misguntled poeple make or create the division of Christian and Santhals. This some time does not allow the assimilation of Christians into Santhals community frame work. Now let me look at ourselves........How much we are able to preserve or conserve our cultural roots and vignettes ? Why are we so resistive to assimilate some thing else in the frame work of community ? Let us introspect ourselves.......When we are allowed to assmilate some of Hindu Culture into our tradition, why not other ? For example, our name.....Naresh, Ramesh, Raj, Jadeswar etc. This is not the name from our language. It is from Bengali or Oria language. We never hesitate to tell that this not part of our lanaguge , why not put some kind of Santhali Name...e.g. Marang, Greetin , Burulukui etc. So it means that we are presenting the  interpretation dogmatic views. Is not it ?

What we can conclude from this ? We have to think some thing what we can do better out of the present situation. Which way we can preserve our fundamentals of our culture and tradition with small assimilation or incorporation of other  elements.

My views: One should not call Santhals Christian or some thing like this to distinct oneself from other. I feel it is better to say I am Santhals... Not Chriatian Santhals......
With regards
Naresh

Hello everybody,
Its nice to have a new member in our group , a warm welcome to Francis.As Francis has raised the question of a gap between non-christian santal and christian santal I would like to have a few say in this regard. It is very sad to say but it is a fact that there infact exist a gap.As far as I know some santals who have adopted chritianity as their religion have almost given up their rites and rituals that have been descended from our forefathers.(I dont know whether all those santal who have adopted chritianity are like that or not, but the ones who I know).This is something very unfortunate. In my view all religions preach the same thing,that is to love mankind, to adopt peaceful means etc. So whether you adopt Hinduism, Chritianity, Buddhism or Islam , is not a big factor.The question is how you preserve your identity as a Santal.This identity can be preserved only when you follow your tradition comprising rites and rituals and the others. When you forgo all these things I do not think you remain a Santal. Therefore I would like to conclude by saying that whatever may be your religion, if you want to remain a Santal you should not forget your roots and your rich traditional background and enrich it by observing all ceremonies in your traditional way.
With regards,
Jyotsna Saren

Thu Nov 8, 2001  12:23 pm
Dear friends
here i want say few points.
 1)Tudu babu said that there is ongoing campaign against  chrsitian .that's right.but that does not mean we are carried away by that type issue.ofcourse i feel bad when  some hindu activist dicriminately attack poor adivasi christian.why not rich christian.ofcourse,personally i am  against this attack.everybody has right about his religion.but again one can't say one am both "hindu and christian" or "muslim and sarna"or "christian and sarna"
 2)once again repeat i respect all religion.at sametime  i expect same treatment from other.i can go any religion place if they allow me.and ofcourse i have been to Mandir  and Church.that does not mean i am hindu or christian.  nobody can hijack my religion ,that's in my heart.
3)i said earlier that, chistian missionary comes to poor santhal village and tell them that they want to give free education.at initially phase they don't say  anything about christianity.when they tought them fewthing about education,they start their own mission.they start teaching about JESUS and their belief.that mean i think their hidden agenda is to convert poor Santhal to christian in the name of LITERACY  CAMPAIGN.this is real opportunitism.this type of incident  happened in my own village.but when we came to know their REAL INTEREST behind it, we got them out.
3) As it is known some people fear to say their surname.yeah this is right but i think this is because we don't have recognition, for which we are struggling.we don't want to pronouce our surname by chirstian support.if you take their support,in turn they take something from you. which is happended already.
4)yeah there is economical problem among many santhals,  that we will try to do some project by our different santhal association to eradicate it.but we will not sell  our religion for that.  at last i say, i don't have any intension to hurt any people.but fact is fact.
bye.
b.kisku

Wed Nov 7, 2001  10:53 am
hi hembram babu
 thanks for making me connected to wesanthals's ebate over the issue,  ANTAL INDENTITY.At first i would like to request you to approach on my behalf to egroup cordinator to make me the member and please forward this message to egroup family.Though i am not the member of this family till now ,i would like to put my views on this type of important issue.ofcourse i tried earlier to be a member of egroup. Yeah i am santal,and i mean
 1)my belief
 2) my culture
 3) my tradition
 4)my language
 i can term the first three as my religion THE ARNA.And i can say my religion and my language is very much different from any other religion (or beliefs) of this world.Ofcourse SARNA is not recognised in india or world. So as i feel myself as a responsinble santhal person i try my best to preserve our tradition, our religion.And i request you all responsible santhal and egroup family to try level best to preserve our santhal heritage. Otherwise we will be nowhere.ofcourse i don't want to comment on other religion-what is their good thing or bad thing.but i also expect other religion should not blame my belief.This identity issue made me unrest till last few year.but i couldn't express because of no proper environment.Thanks a lot EGROUP.Yes, christians who forgot santal tradition,how can they claim to be santhal.You know when tell about your surname kisku.murmu,tudu........other person ask you "are you a christian ".yes this is because crhistiantiy has exploited our belief.my request is,be firm and bold to resist this exploitation.yes christianity helped santhal in oneway,but looted us in other way.You know christian missionary tried to spread their belief in the name of "LITERACY CAMPAIGN".These things really i cann't allow.And thanks my GODFATHER u resisted somehow and saved us, though you are poor.And there is other thing i want to put, our urname is distorted like anything.Can you acccept  t? No we should not.i feel very angry and disappointed if somebody make   ckery of our surname.such as  mrmu.......murmur,marndi..ar.andi,
soren......sareen,  kisku........khisku.something like that.OFcourse this may be happening because of our indentity problem.so let us try to stop it. again, there are also other issues which are to be addressed.so at first we should be united,strong enough to face this type of challenge.
 HERE IS MY IMPORTANT SUGGESTION
 --------------------------------------
 1.Let us make a proper and optimum utilisation of this advanced information age.i mean make optimum use of EGROUP site  to prosper our society.
 2.Don't be passive to this type of important issue. Everybody should speak his mind and share his views.
 3.Let's activate ourself to contribute something to our society-SANTHAL SOCIETY.
 Hoping for making me the member of this energatic family.As well i expect numerous views and suggetions.
bye.
Barisa Kisku
 
Wed Nov 7, 2001  7:29 pm
Dear friends,
JOHAR !
It was only a concern expressed by one of our new member about the prevailing mentality and difference of opinion between people of different faiths among the santhals in Jamshedpur.However this needs a serious discussion and I have tried to form a general opinion in this topic.To aware us that too much of intellectualisation of this issue would confuse us more on our cultural identity.In fact what is seen so far is most of the members are getting carried away by the ongoing campaign against christianity. I am a SANTHAL.I mean it.I am a christian by faith - for a simple reason that I was born and brought up in a christian family.Now according to many of the members I am not a santhal.To be more specific the
point raised by Mr.Kisku does'nt bother or rather does'nt restrict me from being called a santhal .I need not require to claim for my own identity,this should be very well understood. To me many of you are christians by deed.We need to know the meaning of christianity and have broad view of the word "christian".Now why there is a different view of the santhals who have adopted christanity and what about those santhals who go to MANDIR to perform
pujas and get themselves identified along with the HINDUS ?? Is that any form of SARNA??What would you call a santhal ATHIEST ??
I dont see any reason for discrimination among santhals.The form of 'caste certificate' issued by the government also also does'nt state your religion.Is it really necessary to discriminate?? And who does? We - the "ntellectual lot"of our marginalized community.Santhals in Santhal Pargana still live in egalitarian society inspite of many of the converted families.A strong campaign is going on by the political parties to disturb the unity of the Santhals of this region and I'm afraid they are yielding positve results.And if one thinks that a santhal of other faith no longer remains a santhal ,then we wouldbe called a bunch a intellectual fools deciding
the future of over one crore santhals ,majority of whom do not even know our topic of discussion.I know some santhals who do not pronounce their surname in public,never taught santhali to their children so they do not speak the language.Some feel shy to do 'DOBOH
JOHAR'in public.Is this not disgusting!! Identity and Faith are two different aspects and
cannot be the sides of the same coin for everyone.A santhal will always be a santhal whether he worships in Jaherthan,Mandir,Church,Mosque or be an Atheist.
We should be able to discern the times and re-think our respective ideologies which would help us grow a better SANTHAL day by day.
Thanking you,
Joy Raj Tudu.

Fri Nov 9, 2001  12:48 am
Johar,
Thanks for your instant reply.What worries me most is the complex which we have seem to develop in this series of discussion, why do we think that there has to be a criteria for a being a Santhal.And secondly on what basis are you making a criteria to be fulfilled by each existing Santhal.One should not forget that we can be of immense help to the downtrodden lot of our community be it in whatever capacity and position.Further the point made by Mr.Kisku of carrying out dual religion is simply ridiculous!!!!!!!!!I am a Santhal better than anyone in this cosmos,I can speak the very best of Santhali language and carry out our Santhal tradition much better than most of us .Why is it so difficult to embrace a Santhal who follows a different religion?????
I should not be asking this for the second time but you should be specific in stating your opinion clearly rather than running around the bush. There are a lot of other issues which need to be discussed as regards the recent declaration of reservation of quota to the tribals in the state of Jharkhand.Are you all aware of this ..... I also would like to hear from rest of the members ,please feel free to comment on the ongoing topic of Santhal Identity.
Much Regards,
Joy Raj Tudu.

Fri Nov 9, 2001  10:55 am
dear friends
i hope for the views from other members.otherwise it seems one-sided discussion. and i do hope there is solution to every problem.in my perception we do have following problem
1)we don't have recognition
2)we have economical problem
3)our literacy rate very low.
4)few social drawbacks
Mr.Tudu babu is focussing only economical and literacy problem.but he is ignoring the first one which is also equally important.  now, few people may be economical very strong,but they lost their original identity.so i think all these are to addressed paralelly.  when we think about our recognition,CRITERIA OF SANTHAL comes into picture, the point which is well described by Mr. Devendra babu.when recognition issue is  concerned we shouldn't mixup it with any borrowed ideologies.we should strengthen our ideologies and eradicate any social drawbacks, rather than completely  forgetting our original ideologies.
please take active participation in this discussion,otherwise it will remain like daydream.
bye.
b.kisku

Fri Nov 9, 2001  6:21 pm
Hi all,
Again returned back to the discussion by highlighting few of the good points presented by diff members, which have made the discussion pretty well. At the same time, it seems some people's anger of years got busted and may lead personal conflict. I wish let's compromise with the issue from all sides.
Barisa Kisku said>> Yes, christians who forgot santal  tradition, how can they claim to be santhal. Jay Tudu said>> Now why there is a different view of the santhals who have adopted christanity and what about those santhals who go to MANDIR to perform pujas and get themselves identified along with the HINDUS ??
Exactly both's arguments are worth pondering. We need to introspect ourselves, our way of life before blaming someone. People from both the sides have washed away few of the criteria noted by Devendra Murmu. That never means, we, such people are not be called as santals. I think one's claim to called himself on the basis of speaking santal frequently, is not sufficient. I have seen some gentleman from "muchi" community at rourkela(I forgot the name) have contributed enough in santal literature, and many times has been invited as a speaker in santal gathering. That never means that he is a santal. In such cloudy situation, I think the sole criteria to be called as santal is to have "Belief in Jaher Culture". Who ever u may be hindu/christian none stops u to do so, unless urself hesitate doing so. I have seen the saddest part of so called christian santal is that they hesitate to do "johar in jaher".
Devendra Murmu said>>The religion is not only how and where people perform puja, it pretty much lays down the guidelines for running the life. In other words, it is the religion that dictates most of the day to day practices, and the same practices, later, become traditions.
This is how our tradition came. So when someone claims that I fully obey the tradition of santal, then it's implied that he has belief in SARNA. In the contrary, if someone doesn't have belief in SARNA, then how he can claim that he obeys traditional of santal.
If we see our past, as hindu, we got a place as untouched lower class hindu. On the same time christian came and looted our identity on the name of service and literacy. We have been betrayed from both these religions. Don't u think it's our time to find out our root (ref: Naresh's mail on 31/10/2001).
Jay Tudu said>>>santhal will always be a santhal whether he worships in Jaherthan,Mandir, Church,Mosque or be an Atheist.
Does it mean that someone born with surnames majhi, marndi, hembram, tudu ... is a santal? Or does it mean someone who just talks in santali is a santal? I guessed people would have changed their surnames if they would haven't got the reservation facility and at the same time would have been treated as Adivasi. I doubt people would have forgotten santali long years ago if they would have spoken santali just bcoz they know santali. We still talk in santali, where we have more fluency in other languages. Analysing all these, I conclude that neither speaking santali nor getting birth with santal surnames shouldn't suffice to give us santal identity. On the other hand, in this democratic government, none can debar u from ur santal identity. This is where we, ourselves, should preserve our santal identity. If we hesitate to introduce ourselves as santal rather than hindu/ christian, then none can save our identity. On the same time as PC Hembram told, we should feel proud to be known as a Santal without a prefix or suffix. If we want to enrich our languages, want to show our uniqueness as
santal to the world, we have to struggle combinely to many problems of this community. And among them one of the great weapon for us is to preserve our santal
culture and tradition.
So finally I want to say, doesn't matter where u warship apart from Jaherthan. We shouldn't divide ourselves as hindu/christian rather we should love to see us all as the santal community with SARNA belief as all our traditions are based on that. We should forget what have made us such wall between us. We should combinedly work to make a big fight against the other problem in our society. On the same time, I request those christian-brothers/sisters, who have ignored the santal tradition, to adore it back. I request the those hindu brothers/sisters, who used to hide their origin in the way to expose theirhighness, plz try to identify urself as santal and feel proud of it. In this context as jyotsna told the question is how you preserve your identity as a Santal. This identity can be preserved only when we follow our tradition comprising rites and rituals. So friends, let us obey our santal culture and tradition and enrich it. Unless we, the intellectual mass will do it, we can't expect same from the people left at villages.
regards
Raj
 
Sat Nov 10, 2001  2:15 am
JOHAR,
Nice to have this disscussion at a god momentum,thanks to Raj for giving us space for further introspection within ourselves. The subject of this posting is what I mean. Without ignoring the past I am also trying to focus on this subject in todays context,in my view I have stated very sraightforwardly my opinion on the situation of a Santhal today.Now stating my knowledge about the Santhali language and tradition was mistaken as my claiming of bieng a Santhal,and as I have stated earlier that I need not require to claim for my own identity.To let you know in Santhal Parganas almost all the shopkeepers can speak Santhali with much confidence... they are'nt Santhals. What I have noted that there is a general opinion formed for those Santhals who have been converted,Let me share that today I was with a training programme for the youth organised by the 'National council of Churches in India'in Nagpur.And after my paper presentation regarding the ongoing war against Afghanistan,there was a resource person who asked me about my background,and he was happy to hear that me being a santhal and we contribute to a crore in todays population,and also have an ethnic background much different from others.Intererstingly he was an anthropologist and believe me he knew of Santhals better that anyone of us.People may call you in names but we should call ourselves santhals. It is true that we should preserve our Santhal identity by following our traditions,But does that mean preserving santhal identity by outcasting santhals following other religions??? And if it is such I have no terminology for this sort of opinions.
It is true that the "GAP BETWEEN" is because we have build 'WALLS' instead of 'BRIDGES'.I'm also afraid this 'difference' is leading us nowhere.

Joy Raj Tudu
Nagpur.

Sat Nov 10, 2001  7:52 pm
Hello,
The whole discussion is revolving around the Santhal identity some where comes to a standstill around the Culture and tradition . Culture and tradition is the basis of ethnic identity . And most fortunate part is that Santhal loves more to preserve and propagate the tradition as compared to other tribal like, Ho, Oraon , Munda etc. Denvendra mentioned in his mail that some of the criteria's, which is one kind of quantification of qualitative aspects of culture. Although number of criteria can be debatable, but as whole it gives some kind of measure towards the definition of Santhal identity. Here I want to let others know some of the paradox of Santhal identity. It is fact that it is Christianity which gave the Santhal (in broad sense the tribal ) identity to Santhal people and it is the Christian missionaries who rediscovered the most of the cultural and traditions of Santhal. Who actually did the research on tribal people unlike other Indian researchers coming into the cores of the society and living with tribal people and tried to find out the independent identity of tribal society and place Santhal society into the world map in respectable format. So we should be thankful to them at least for this reason. But problem starts here, after finding the powerful cultural roots and vignettes ,which we are now proud of , Santhal or tribal (Christian) starts finding unusual dilemma in one hand Christianity and on the other hand deep rooted cultural and traditional heritage. The articles by Bishop Dr. Nirmal Minz (Tribal identity), Dr. Chritopher Lakra (Christianity and Tribal identity) clearly reflects this views.("Souvenir 97" Jharkhand  Cultural Association, Bangalore ). It is more like Christianity taught the to stand up but to the same time it has taken away the ground to stand. This kind of discussion further is here is more a repetition of same problem and has no foreseeable solutions. Here I think we should try to find out the reasons and or focus more on the issues which creates the gap between the Santhals and Christians. As Joy Tudu  suggested to find the bridges or if necessary construct the bridges to reduce the in between gaps. Let us focus more why there exists the gap ? What are the responsible factors which contributes for the creating the gaps. I think that will lead us some kind of solutions . I feel that will be more fruitful discussion in pursuit of tribal identity. Here I invite members to list out or put forward reasons what they feel towards the gaps and give some  constructive suggestions to minimize it. Perhaps that will lead us to more prosperous and strong Santhal society wrapped with marvelous cultural and traditional mosaic.
With regards,
Naresh
Wed Nov 21, 2001  10:52 am
hi friends
it's nice we are discussing about an important issue  - santhal identity.but still i see there is limited interaction,just like some are giving lecture and other are simply listening to it.so i feel it's not proper discussion.let's make more effective by participating  by maximum members.  here i would like to know specifically from christian friends, if they like to share about their impression about SARNAISM.
1)when some christian friends say, they born and brought up in Christian family and can speak santhal,  so they are christian santhal.but i guess their  grand father or great grand father were born in sarna family.so by applying same logic, then why there is  discontiunty in SARNAISM.is their any specific reason?  i can say,they can rewind this discontiniuty, if they wish.mind you this your FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS,so it's up to you.
2)when christian friend say,they love to speak santhal  then, why don't they love SARNAISM, when sarna and santhal are inseparable.is their any specific reason?
hoping for cooperation from christian friends.please  share your views.
bye.
b.kisku
Newdelhi.

Thu Nov 22, 2001  9:13 am
Johar,
Well, it looks like very few members are showing interest in the discussion. Anyway, I remember one of the postings of Purna Chandra, which had put this question - to look for the definition of Santhal. When I mentioned a few criteria, to be Santhal, my intention was to trigger a thought process, which eventually would lead us to the correct, or very close to the correct, definition of Santhal. I was expecting responses like - these are neither necessary nor sufficient; along with some suggestions.
The fact about Christians' role in Santhals' lives may be well documented; and the Christians may have contributed in a big way in educating, training and helping tribals; and in the shaping of tribal life in general. Thank you Naresh for the information. So, what do we learn from this ? That if any worthwhile effect that would also strengthen our identity, has to come from within our community and not from outside; whatever has been done or are being done by others - Christians or Hindus - will, ultimately, always serve their interests more than ours.
People are talking about the gaps, walls and bridges.  I am trying to understand these in the present context. It goes without saying that we cannot address the issues unless we know them well. In fact, I had already asked about the differences, apart from the very obvious - Jaher Bonga and praying in Church. Can someone knowledgeable elaborate on the differences that has developed and continuing to develop among us. Also, instead of still talking about the gaps in this specific two religions, can we help ourselves in trying to understand as to what are some of the things that are diluting our Identity and what possible curesdo we have ?
Regards,
Devendra

Hi
friends,i do regret 4 not 2 contact u in time and it was because i was out of touch with mail 4 few days.It is nice 2 get adiscussion regarding the topic u mentoined in my mail as it is the matter of identity crisis.Many people, u might have come acrossed,feel depressed saying themselves as santals.It happens as they do not feel their existence have strong anchor in
this society. Let's say about turning or converting in 2 chritianity.I say it happens only b'cause of not having knowledge what SANTAL means or what SARNA implies. So it is our job 2 bring abuot the awarness in them and make them feel great as being and born as SANTAL.I will keep in touch with u all people.bye.
dillip.
 
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