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July 2005 Newsletter

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 From the Editor

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

Exploring Chotanagpur …………

In the months of May and June I was travelling around different parts of Jharkhand especially Kolebira, Torpa and Borio constituencies falling under the legislative assemblies as part of a research study. This was my first visit to Torpa and Kolebira area, which has been referred to as Mundas and their Country by S.C Roy in one of his books.  It was a great feeling visiting the land of Sutia Maharaja, ………………….Manishai Maharaja about whom I had heard from my own Grandfather. This visit that happened with my colleagues (Daniel and Ezechiel) led me to a number of villages, which I had only heard of but never seen. In the village Sarna (sacred grove) of Gorda village (Hatinghode p.o, Rania Block, Ranchi Dist.) an image of Paudi Devi (stepmother of Manishai Maharaja) was worshiped. Beside the stone carved Paudi Devi, a huge stone was posted with the names of the Munda Maharajas starting from Sutia to Manishai in commemoration and remembrance of these Maharajas. I passed by the Mountain near Rajabasa (near Bano) where Manishai Maharaja had constructed a secret subway to escape from his enemies. 

Hatinghode is another important place I visited. The Adivasis here are known for the traditional herbal medicines. An adivasi Christian missionary, who is a doctor in traditional herbal medicine, has a full fledge clinic where he produces and processes his own medicines.  He treats patients coming from local areas as well as from abroad, and provisions for stay for outstation patients is available in a beautiful palatial building surrounded by nature. 

After visiting many villages I reached Baad Kutungia (Pahan toli) about 10 kms away from Lachdagarh (Simdega dist.). It is a small village without proper communication, electricity or a school. After having a meeting with the villagers (men and women) we were taken to a family for lunch. One of the elders of the village informed us saying that this was the house of Masira Surin, women hockey player who plays for India and has brought glories to the nation with other tribal girls from this region.  The wall of the veranda was decorated with the photographs of the glorious moments of Masira. Masira’s mother and sister served us delicious lunch with rice and dal with koenar saag. It was a great feeling meeting Masira’s family. One does not see any play ground as such, except patches of barren land which are often used as play grounds by the village children and youth, even then it is surprising to know that this remote tiny village has produced such a person. 

During this visit we received very warm hospitality from the people in different Adivasi villages in Jharkhand. We used to reach many villages without prior information. One could see the poverty of our people who have been victims of neglected systems and procedures. But one could also experience their warmth and richness of their hearts.  We never left a village without cold water or bail sarbat in the scorching heat. 

On the other hand one is disturbed to observe that in almost all the villages I chanced to visit, I could see only the elderly and small children. There were very few young boys and girls in the village.  One will be very surprised to know that in every village I visited there were many young boys and girls who had left the village for cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bardhwan etc. in search of livelihood. During this time a number of newspapers reported regularly about abuse/exploitation and allegations against our adivasi sisters working in Delhi as domestic help. 

I experienced a very mixed feeling in these visits, some times nostalgic as I heard about our Heroes/Heroines where Sutia and his descendants ruled the Munda country and some times sorrow at the news of exploitation of our sisters and brothers. What is happening to this rich country?   Where is it headed?

Dr. Bipin Jojo (editor@tribalzone.net)

 

Letters to the Editor

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

It is nice to see such editorials. In fact now I feel more proud to be an adivasi than ever before. OK some organizations call us Girijans and Vanvasi because they want to reclassify the Manuvad (Indian caste system). Probably, now they want to add GIRJAN and make fifth one just below BAHUJAN and that will be probably untouchable caste to the untouchables presently......Bhuneshwar baxla, Chennai


Forum


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

Johar to all the family members of 'Tribal Zone'. Here, I am very thankful to those people who are trying to do something better for the tribals of Jharkhand on our cultural and social identity issues. I recently, came to know that Dr. Dhuni Soren presented his speech in the university of SESSEX on the issue of 'uprising of Santhals' and 'their migration in the present globalisation context' on the occassion of 150th anniversary of Santhal HUL. I am, now very happy that you people have taken stand at any point, It does not matter 'from where does it come'. The importance of this issue is that now we have reached the situation where we can write our history by our own and we don't need others' suggestion on our cultural and social history. I hope you people will make few more organisations to provide better opportunity to carry the struggle in this country so that wesanthals can move towards betterment of our next generation, when I use organisation it's very important because, this is one which provides the power where as education gives the way to freedom. Therefore, this forum is very important as it provides us to share our values and ethics on the issue of different socio-cultural aspects of the tribals, specially of Santhals. With this, I would like to end my letter. With best wishes yours regular reader Francis Hembrom, Santhal Pargana, Jharkhand.

Johar / Jai Yesu / Eesu sai !!!!
Hats off to you, for making such a wonderful site on the Chhota Nagpur Tribes. The site was a delight to surf through. Information was inextricably mixed with lots of learning & fun. From where did you get all those ideas from??
In spite of belonging to a Tribal community – Uraons, I was unaware of so many “Should - Know” things. The details given by you about the culture, language and geography acquainted me with many of those essential things one should know about the community she belongs to.
It was very nice to know about our people who have attained laurels in various fields. The list of IAS, IES officers will definitely inspire our young Civil Service aspirants. If our past ISA / IPS officers can devote their valuable time & resources in communicating & guiding our young aspirants, it would be great and Tribalzone could play a consequential part in the same. A similar model can be followed to enable guidance & knowledge sharing from our Adivaasi Doctors, Engineers, NRIs etc, who are capable and willing to help and support the upcoming genre.
Story on Jaipal Singh Munda was well done with lots of facts & figures. Kudos and Applause to the writer. 
Applause to all those people, who have contributed to the making of tribalzone.net. I wish you all the best and hope that the continuous updating of the site keeps happening. I will definitely be a regular visitor to the site from now on and make my contributions whenever I can. Savita Kispotta, Chennai

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