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April 2005 Newsletter

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 From the Editor

 Dr. Bipin Jojo, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai


The tribals have been governed by their traditional institution, which is known as Parha having its structure from village to community (regional/national level) for social, cultural, religious, political and economic purposes. It regulates all the spheres of individual, family and community life. There are different officials to perform these responsibilities as Munda/Majhi, Pahan and Mahto among different tribes in Chotanagpur area. With the formation of State / Nation the new political institutions did not recognize these institutions. Despite this the Parha continued to exist with the challenges of various modern forces.  The Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act of 1996 for Vth Schedule areas, which is known as PESA 1996, recognizes for the first time that governance of the tribal area has to be as per the traditional systems. Therefore, many tribal areas of the country have started to reorganize the village communities under the Parha.

I had an opportunity to attend first day of Raji Parha Addi Sarna Dharam Mahadhibeshan at Bharno, Gumla district, Jharkhand held from 22nd to 24th April 2005. There were about five thousand people mostly belonging to Oraon tribe on the inaugural day. The mango orchard of Bharno was vibrating with the dance supported by mandars singing..... Hey Dharmesh Maa Baba tuar karbe, Samaj tuar na karbe… The people from Jharkhand, Chattisgargh WestBangal, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Orissa were supposed to gather in this mahdhibeshan.

In the three days sessions, the discussions were to be held about the importance of Parha and Saran, significance of PESA 1996 for self governance, encroachment on the religious places by outsiders, religious literature, social systems of Parha, participation of women in religious activities. The mahdhibeshan was full of joy and happiness with singing and dancing.  There were cultural competitions to encourage the young generation to know and learn about the community and its folklores and folk songs. It was the testimony of the tribals in Bharno about their assertion and interest to reorganize and strengthen the community life to prevent the dispossession of the socio- cultural, religious, political and economic life due to so called development processes.

Dr. Bipin Jojo (


Letters to the Editor

WRITE TO THE EDITOR Tribalzone, 704, Sachidanand, Wing A, Raheja Complex, Malad East, Mumbai - 400097 or via the internet to Include name and address. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.

“...indigenous people have the right to own, develop, control and use the land and territories, including the total environment of THE land, air, water, coastal sea, sea ice, flora and fauna and other resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used. …” 

"...Why are names and titles important? It is not only individual names and titles, as it was ones when one would not say if they are Tiru, Kerketta, Tudu, Lakra or Soren but introduce themselves with their given name and then say Manjhi, Munda and Uraon etc. Because as I understand the clan name was an internal affair. It had not only to do with clan linage but to address oneself to be a part of a larger group which had their territorial claims and their chieftain. Today, what we are called also determines what we can claim or entitled for..."

"...We have, the Bocaro Steel City, Dhanbad, Ranchi, Chaibasa, Tatanagar or Jamshedpur- which does not even have Adivasi name any more, Raurkela and others, name will matter when we have our presence there, presence that can reflect our features..." READ MORE... 

.....Bineet Mundu


WRITE TO FORUM Tribalzone, 704, Sachidanand, Wing A, Raheja Complex, Malad East, Mumbai - 400097 or via the internet to Include name and address. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.


Dr. Dhuni Soren represents the interest of all adibasis of jharkhand and neighbouring states of India, particularly santals in the World Adibasi Council at the United Nations working group on indigenous populations. He speaks for their rights on International Forums. He spoke of the Adibasi Diasporas and collective memory at the University of Sussex on the occasion of 150th anniversary of the Santal Hul.

Excerpts from his speech:
.The increasing mobility and globalization and changing social outlooks is likely to lead to mixed marriages which will make it harder to preserve the language and culture in the original form..."

Read more.....

:: Dr. Dhuni Soren ::

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