Key Facts about Santhal Tribal Community

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The Prime Minister recently paid tribute to the sacrifices and bravery of the Santhal tribal community.

About Santhal Tribal Community:

  • Santhals are the third largest scheduled tribe community in India after Gonds and Bhils.
  • Their greatest concentration is in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Orissa, in the eastern part of the country. 
  • Language:
    • Their language is Santhali, a dialect of Kherwari, a Munda (Austroasiatic) language.
    • Santhali, written in OI-Chiki script, is recognised as one of the scheduled languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.
  • The Santhals were a nomadic stockbefore they chose to settle on the Chotanagpur plateau.
  • By the end of the 18th century, they had concentrated in the Santhal Parganas ofJharkhand (earlier Bihar). From there, they migrated to Odisha and West Bengal.
  • Religion: They are nature worshippers and could be seen paying obeisance at Jaher (sacred groves) in their villages.
  • Their traditional dress includes dhoti and gamuchha for men and a short-check saree, usually blue and green, for women, who generally put on tattoos.
  • Various forms of marriage are accepted in Santhal society, including elopement, widow remarriage, levirate, forced (rare), and the one in which a man is made to marry the woman he has impregnated.
  • Divorce is not a taboo in Santhal society. Either of the couple could divorce the other.
  • Occupation:
    • Most Santhals are agriculturists, depending on their farmlands or forests.
    • Seasonal forest collection is one of the important sources of their subsidiary income.
  • Dance (enej) and music (sereng) are integral parts of the Santal life.
  • Their homes, called Olah, have a particular three-colour patternon the outer walls. The bottom portion is painted with black soil, the middle with white, and the upper with red.
  • Santhal Rebellion (1855-56):
    • The Santhal uprising, one of the most noted events of revolt against the British Raj, took place in 1855 and 1857.
    • This was India’s first major peasant uprising fueled by the implementation of the Permanent Land Settlement in 1793.
    • It was led by Sido and Kanhu and covered the regions of Bihar..

Q1: Who are Gonds?

The Gonds are the largest Adivasi Community in India and can be traced to the pre-Aryan era. The word Gond comes from Kond, which means green mountains. They are a heterogeneous group spreading over large areas from the Godavari gorges in the south to the Vindhya Mountains in the north. They live in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, and Odisha. The majority speak various mutually unintelligible dialects of Gondi.

Source: PM Modi pays tribute to Santhal freedom fighters