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Tribes of Mayurbhanj, Tribal Languages, Festival & Culture

The tribes constitute 57.67% of the total population of this district. Though the population of Mayurbhanj is only 6% of the State's total population, the tribal population shares a 15.42% of the state's total S.T population. The tribals are popularly known as Adivasis. Chief  among them being "BHUMIJA" and "KOLHAS". They live scattered  through out the district. Their concentration is more in Khunta, Bijatala, Jamda, Tiring and Thakurmunda blocks which varies from 70% to 80% of the total population of the respective blocks. There are different tribal groups found in the district and they differ in their skill, aptitudes, habits, culture and custom. So the socio-economic panorama of the tribals of the district is extremely complex. Though they are socially, educationally and economically backward they have their   own distinctiveness.  They are almost dependent on settled cultivation bearing a segment of tribals who draw their sustenance from hunting, collecting minor forest produce and others being landless are engaged as labourers in mines and small industries etc.

The Khadia, Mankadia and Lodha are primitive tribals of special mention in the district. The Khadia & Mankadia  are nomadic food  gatherers  and  hunters, found in the hilly areas of similipal hill ranges in Panchpir sub-division particularly in Jashipur block areas. On the otherhand, the Lodha is a criminal tribe needing special attention for their socio-economic rehabilitation.  They are  found in Suliapada & Morada blocks of  Baripada sub-division. The SANTALS, another tribe are mostly marginal farmers and agricultural labourers.

 ( Scheduled Tribes Data As per 2001 Census)

ST NAME

TOTAL / RURAL / URBAN

PERSONS

MALES

FEMALES

All Scheduled Tribes

Total

1258459

631149

627310

All Scheduled Tribes

Rural

1230583

616673

613910

All Scheduled Tribes

Urban

27876

14476

13400

Bagata

Total

1743

851

892

Bagata

Rural

1724

841

883

Bagata

Urban

19

10

9

Baiga

Total

29

15

14

Baiga

Rural

29

15

14

Baiga

Urban

0

0

0

Bathudi

Total

107129

53441

53688

Bathudi

Rural

103729

51738

51991

Bathudi

Urban

3400

1703

1697

Bhottada etc.

Total

48

22

26

Bhottada etc.

Rural

48

22

26

Bhottada etc.

Urban

0

0

0

Bhuiya etc.

Total

57328

28944

28384

Bhuiya etc.

Rural

55951

28240

27711

Bhuiya etc.

Urban

1377

704

673

Bhumia

Total

34

17

17

Bhumia

Rural

34

17

17

Bhumia

Urban

0

0

0

Bhumij

Total

153308

77154

76154

Bhumij

Rural

147327

74045

73282

Bhumij

Urban

5981

3109

2872

Bhunjia

Total

3224

1599

1625

Bhunjia

Rural

3217

1595

1622

Bhunjia

Urban

7

4

3

Birhor

Total

1

1

0

Birhor

Rural

1

1

0

Birhor

Urban

0

0

0

Desua Bhumij

Total

66

32

34

Desua Bhumij

Rural

59

31

28

Desua Bhumij

Urban

7

1

6

Dharua

Total

151

74

77

Dharua

Rural

151

74

77

Dharua

Urban

0

0

0

Gond etc.

Total

24616

12025

12591

Gond etc.

Rural

24217

11799

12418

Gond etc.

Urban

399

226

173

Ho

Total

12971

6428

6543

Ho

Rural

12864

6354

6510

Ho

Urban

107

74

33

Juang

Total

32

18

14

Juang

Rural

31

17

14

Juang

Urban

1

1

0

Kandha Gauda

Total

1682

828

854

Kandha Gauda

Rural

1622

797

825

Kandha Gauda

Urban

60

31

29

Kawar

Total

8

2

6

Kawar

Rural

8

2

6

Kawar

Urban

0

0

0

Kharia etc.

Total

16342

8094

8248

Kharia etc.

Rural

16267

8054

8213

Kharia etc.

Urban

75

40

35

Kharwar

Total

78

36

42

Kharwar

Rural

75

34

41

Kharwar

Urban

3

2

1

Khond etc.

Total

162

85

77

Khond etc.

Rural

153

80

73

Khond etc.

Urban

9

5

4

Kisan

Total

23

19

4

Kisan

Rural

12

11

1

Kisan

Urban

11

8

3

Kol

Total

3033

1505

1528

Kol

Rural

2987

1486

1501

Kol

Urban

46

19

27

Kolah Loharas etc.

Total

2204

1099

1105

Kolah Loharas etc.

Rural

2145

1075

1070

Kolah Loharas etc.

Urban

59

24

35

Kolha

Total

218886

109052

109834

Kolha

Rural

217245

108229

109016

Kolha

Urban

1641

823

818

Koli etc.

Total

2

1

1

Koli etc.

Rural

2

1

1

Koli etc.

Urban

0

0

0

Kondadora

Total

20

14

6

Kondadora

Rural

5

4

1

Kondadora

Urban

15

10

5

Kora

Total

205

107

98

Kora

Rural

205

107

98

Kora

Urban

0

0

0

Korua

Total

234

121

113

Korua

Rural

212

109

103

Korua

Urban

22

12

10

Koya

Total

56

28

28

Koya

Rural

55

27

28

Koya

Urban

1

1

0

Kulis

Total

5

5

0

Kulis

Rural

1

1

0

Kulis

Urban

4

4

0

Lodha

Total

4250

2170

2080

Lodha

Rural

4247

2167

2080

Lodha

Urban

3

3

0

Madia

Total

297

138

159

Madia

Rural

284

131

153

Madia

Urban

13

7

6

Mahali

Total

8040

3956

4084

Mahali

Rural

7935

3904

4031

Mahali

Urban

105

52

53

Mankidi

Total

79

45

34

Mankidi

Rural

79

45

34

Mankidi

Urban

0

0

0

Mankirdia

Total

682

346

336

Mankirdia

Rural

677

343

334

Mankirdia

Urban

5

3

2

Matya

Total

249

137

112

Matya

Rural

243

132

111

Matya

Urban

6

5

1

Munda etc.

Total

23945

12022

11923

Munda etc.

Rural

23316

11706

11610

Munda etc.

Urban

629

316

313

Mundari

Total

5762

2801

2961

Mundari

Rural

5613

2730

2883

Mundari

Urban

149

71

78

Omanatya

Total

194

105

89

Omanatya

Rural

182

99

83

Omanatya

Urban

12

6

6

Oraon

Total

4568

2328

2240

Oraon

Rural

4537

2310

2227

Oraon

Urban

31

18

13

Paroja

Total

11

7

4

Paroja

Rural

11

7

4

Paroja

Urban

0

0

0

Pentia

Total

67

39

28

Pentia

Rural

65

37

28

Pentia

Urban

2

2

0

Rajuar

Total

2482

1234

1248

Rajuar

Rural

2466

1228

1238

Rajuar

Urban

16

6

10

Santal

Total

565268

284661

280607

Santal

Rural

554210

278782

275428

Santal

Urban

11058

5879

5179

Saora etc.

Total

4208

2142

2066

Saora etc.

Rural

3586

1829

1757

Saora etc.

Urban

622

313

309

Shabar

Total

9862

4908

4954

Shabar

Rural

8160

4073

4087

Shabar

Urban

1702

835

867

Sounti

Total

24437

12259

12178

Sounti

Rural

24224

12151

12073

Sounti

Urban

213

108

105

Tharua

Total

4

0

4

Tharua

Rural

4

0

4

Tharua

Urban

0

0

0

Generic Tribes etc.

Total

434

234

200

Generic Tribes etc.

Rural

368

193

175

Generic Tribes etc.

Urban

66

41

25

 

 

Major Tribes and their Languages:

Mayurbhanj is a tribal dominated district. Out of 62 types of tribals in Orissa, Mayurbhanj alone houses 53. The major tribes found in Mayurbhanj are: the Santals, Kolha, Bhuyan, Bathudi Bhuyan, Gond etc. and their distribution is given below:

1. Santali - Bijatala
2. Kolha - Jashipur
3. Bhuyan/Bathudi - Karanjia
4. Bhumija - Shamakhunta
5. Gond - Sukruli
6. Munda - Rairangpur
7. Khadia/Lodha - Shuliapada/Morada

Language:

Their languages can be broadly classified as:

1. Aryan
2. Dravidian and
3. Munda or Austric

The Bathudi, Bhuyan, Saurti and Lodha belong to Aryan language-speaking community. The Sub-Castes of this community do not have their own language, so they generally speak sub-language Oriya and it is named as northern sub-language.

No evidence of written literature of these tribes has been retrieved so far. Still perennial stream of literature survives in the tribal culture that finds its existence in folk songs and folk tubs.

The Kissam Koya and Oraon belonging to Dravidian-language-speaking clan are few in numbers in this district. Their language and literature is less influencing. The Santals, Kolha and the Munda tribes belong to Austric family and are the prime tribes and they do have own mother tongue.

The Tribal Script:

The tribal language is generally oral. But invention of four tribal languages made the development of tribal literature easy. Those languages are

1. The Script of Santali language - Alchiki 
2. The Script of Sauru language - Soradam Sompeom
3. Hoo
4. The Script of Kondh language - Kuilipi 

Pt. Raghunath Murmu:

Pt. Raghunath Murmu, a resident of 'Dandabas' near Rairangpur of this district is said to be the father of 'Alchiki' Script. In 1925 by inventing this script he brought about a renaissance in Santali literature. From phonetic point of view this 'Alchiki' is suitable for Austric language and it is scientific.

The Santali literature, Pt. Raghunath Murmu has enriched the Santali literature with unfailing creations like Drama, Child literature, Poem, Arithmetic and Grammar using that 'Alchiki' language. The book 'Alchemed' like Madhu Barnabodha is very useful. Besides, 'Parsipaha' a book meant for the children is considered very very worth reading.

Biduchandan, Dalegodhan and Kherawal Veera studded with tribal song and dance are said to be three jewels of Santali literature 'Hital', 'Lakachar Serenja' based on tribal cultural renaissance are the valuable creations of that Pt. Raghunath Murmu.

The book 'Bakhera' written by him is the reflection of tribal religion. This book abounds in tribal hymns and verses. Apart from these, 'Ranala' the tribal grammar and 'Elakha Patan', the arithmetic books have earned him fame.

In 1939, Pt. Raghunath Murmu exhibited his hand made 'Alchiki' press in an exhibition at Baripada and he could impress the then Maharaja Pratap Chandra Bhanja Deo and in return he committed its implementation. Santali language, literature and script are widely acclaimed in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Assam. Pt. Murmu's dream has come true.

Tribal Religion & Culture:

Tribes do believe in many Gods and Goddesses like their non-tribal counterparts. According to them the Sun is omnipotent. He is the creator and father. The earth is believed to be their mother. She brings up all. Mother earth is the female and the Sun God is the male and all other are their offsprings.

Different tribal clans worship the Sun God with different names. The Santalese name Him as 'Thakur Jew'. Mankadia and Oraon worship as 'Bhagaban'. Ho Munda and above all some Santalese worship all powerful Sun God as 'Singabonga' and Kolha as 'Maranburu'.

As the tribes worship the Sun God in different names. Similarly they used to worship the mother earth as 'Dharitree Maa', 'Basumata', 'Bhumidevata', 'Basuri Thakurani', 'Basuti Mata' etc.

The tribes believe in incorporeal being like Ghost & Witch. Like other Adivasis, the Lodha not only do worship 'Bhagaban' Sheetala but they believe in witchery and sorcery to protect themselves from the scourge of Ghost, Witch and other incorporeal beings.

Bhuyan, Bathudi and Bhumija having belief on the Hindu Gods do worship 'Kali', 'Kichakeshwari' and other Hindu Gods.

The Adivasis here consider the trip to Damodar and the above immersion in the river Ganga, the holiest rituals. They celebrate different festivals, which are based on agriculture, social and religious life and are interlinked with belief & customs too. Some of them are celebrated in group and some individually bent the pivot of all celebrations in dance, song, playing the various musical instruments and more over taking of country liquor 'Handia' and merry making.

Some Tribal Festivals:

Ersim (Paddy sowing festival)

The Santals, Mahali, Bhumija and Lodha celebrate this festival on the day of 'Akshitrutiya' to worship mother earth with religions fervour and enthusiasm. The Dehuri is the priest. The black cock is offered as sacrifice with non-boiled rice, flower, Vermillion and incense sticks to propitiate mother earth for bumper harvest, prosperity peaceful and disease free life. Dance amidst traditional tribal songs and beating of drums rent the air, which makes the festival quite enjoyable.

Harialism:

It is an agriculture based festival like Ersim, which is celebrated with pomp and grandeur when the land looks green swaying paddy saplings, the cultivators joy knows no bounds.

Being moved with deep emotion expecting bumper harvest in the future the farmer class worship mother earth with deep devotion and gratitude songs sung to invite mother earth with the offerings of sacrifice, non-boiled rice, flower and Vermillion but women do not enjoy facility to participate in it.

Jamtala Bonga (Jantal Festival):

This festival is celebrated when the ear of paddy hangs downward exclusively in the year when crop is destroyed due to scanty rainfall. The fill treated as God is offered male goat as sacrifice with a belief that propitiation of hill God will bring about bumper crops. The male goat so killed is distributed among the villagers.

In some packets this festival is celebrated as 'Ashadhi' or 'Bihuda' Parva where the Bhuyans invite Rain God with religious Sanctity for good shower so also the Lodhas for bumper production of 'Tusaro'.

Karama Parva:

This festival is celebrated in the month of 'Ashwina' or 'Kartika' and the auspicious day in fixed by 'Dehuri', their priest. A 'Karam Bough' is planted on the altar in the middle of village. The village maids offer molasses non-boiled rice, flower and vermillion then story of 'Karamdharan', the God of fate is recited and it continues amidst dance, song and beating of drums till morning and then immersion of 'Karam Bough' is solemnised with the blessings of God of fate the life becomes enriched with health and this is their sincere belief.

Makar Parva:

The prime festival of Mayurbhanj is celebrated with pomp and grandeur by Adivasis and Non-Adivasis alike in the Oriya month of 'Pausha' and English month 'January' when the paddy reaping is half done and the mind is free from all lures and anxieties. Irrespective of caste, colour and crew and age all partake in religious gaiety and fervour.

This festival lasts for three days and celebration primarily starts two days before 'Makar Sankranti'. First day is known as 'Chauladhua' or 'Soaking of Rice', Second day is 'Bahundi' and the last day is 'Makar Sankranti' on the day of Makar all irrespective of ages go for hath early in the dawn and the children set fire near water reservoir. It is told as 'Kumbha'. On this day all put on new attire. In every household 'Makar Chaula' and delicious cakes are prepared. The deity is worshipped. This festival is most enjoyed amidst multon curry, palatable cakes, country liquor 'Handia' and boisterous music, dance and drums.

The Makar fair sits at Shantibriksha in the Sub-Division of Kaptipada, Ranibandha of Bamanghaty, Kesharikund of Panchpir, Ramtirtha of Jashipur and Domuhani near Khiching, which pull a huge crowd.

For the occasion of Makar a special 'Monkey Dance' named as 'Galienage' is performed. The tribal folks adorning their bodies in many forms roam door to door asking for paddy, rice and cakes, which becomes quite enjoyable.

Tusubhashani or immersion of Tusu idols in the holy pond is another attraction of Makar Festival, which is one of the folk cultures of Mohanta Community. The spinsters of this community worshipping the Tusu deity immerse it in the holy pond singing the 'Tusu Song' in unison and present in the fair and a competition among them continues.

History of Deity Ambika and Ambika Temple:

Mother Ambika is the famous presiding female deity of Mayurbhanj. History is silent about this 'Sanktipitha' due to non-availability of historical evidence, copper plaque or inscriptions nevertheless traditions or legend throws light on its history.

The legend says the backside of the Ambika Temple was a high land, which was known as 'Baga Samal Fort', which was ruled by Bhuyan king, and 'Baga Samal Fort' was their fort. The presiding goddess of that Bhuyan Clan was mother Ambika. When the temple was built, the place was said to be populous and flourished one. According to legend, this place might have importance as a stork pounced upon a hawk and thinking so the Bhuyan King got the fort built here and the similar story, hints this Baga Samal Fort was built during the reign of Jagannath Bhanja.


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