There is a belief
among the Santal society about creation of world. They believe that primitive world was filled with only water and God had
the problem in creating the land, where man can live. The land is normally considered opposite to water. He created all amphibian
animals that can operate both land and water; therefore, he created seven animals -crab, crocodile, alligator, eel, Pawn,
earthworm and tortoise. For creating land, God invited the kings of all these animals to solve help him out. Every one was
coming one by one; they all had not got any success. Lastly, earthworm came and succeeded to create land. It is said that
the King of earthworm after seven days and seven nights ate the bottom of water and excreted in on the back of tortoise who
is swimming at the top. The tortoise anchored himself on the both side firmly and brought up the earth and thus earth was
shaped. That is why there is a belief among Santals that earthquakes are result of movement of tortoise. In other words,
when tortoise moves or shakes, earthquakes occur in earth. Santal myth about the creation of world is substantially different
from myth associated with creation of world among the other indigenous peoples of India and in many sense it is unique that
it ascribe the creation of earth with the help of amphibian animals, specially the earthworm and tortoise. This is all about
the story of creation of earth.
There is another interesting myth about creation
of human beings. Again here, this myth is substantially different from the many similar myths that are prevalent among the
other peoples. Unlike others, Santal myth is more associated with natures, animals. Although, Santal do not strictly believe
that they have descended from Animals, however, they assume that there is some connection between animal and human being.
It reflects many other Santal beliefs and myth. According to the myth, God created two heavenly birds - Has and Hasil-out
of his hair. Then these two birds started flying in the sky. These bird could survive early state of earth, where all earth
was covered with water, as they could mediate the opposite elements heaven and earth. It is believed that they flew below
the sun and above the earth thus making the contact between the both worlds. After flying several days, they built the nest
on the earth and laid the eggs. They are cosmic eggs, out of which two creatures; human male and human female are born - Pilchu
Haram and pilchu Burhi. Both these myths creation of world and mankind refer the birds and animal as ancestors. Thus Santal
concept of life begins with animals. Therefore, clans' names are after the name of animals.
of earth, Pilchu Haram and Pilchu Burhi gave birth to seven sons and seven daughters. In
later stage they married among themselves thus forming a seven exogamous clans. With the passage of time, five more groups
were formed. A total 12 clans is found among the Santals. They are Hansdak', Murmu, Hembrom, Soren, Kisku, Tudu, Marndi,
Baske, Besra, Chonre, Puria and Bedea. A affiliation or sacred contact is believed to link these clans and their
respective totems. Therefore, each of the names of clans are derived from either from the plants or animals species.
There is a belief that is prevalent among the Santals that totems have some connection with the deeds or birth of ancestors
of the clans. Hansdak' clan members claim to be of the highest status as they have derived from the name of their
clan from first ancestors. The term Has designates wild goose while dak' in Santali means water. This clan
is, therefore, linked to the original state of world and first ancestors. It is the most senior among the all clans of the
Santals since it is related to myth of creation. Moreover, swan or goose is not just animal. It builds nest on earth, walks
on earth and flies on sky.
Next in order are the Murmus who are
represented by the Nilgai or the antelope. According to the myth of genesis of this clans, it is said that ancestors
of this clan hunted the first the antelope as animal and in other words, it is this animal which was first sacrificed by Santals.
Since this time, Santals started hunting and eating of animals and subsequently become fond of hunting and eating of flesh.
The antelope being purely a land animal is responsible for the destruction of Santals among the Santals as opposed to swan
who combines the four elements and stands for humanity and creation of human beings. The Hansdak' and the Murmu
are the two superior clans of the Santals. As the story goes, Hansdak' are given the status of advisors and the Murmus
are the priest.
The Kiskus have kingfishers bird as their
totem and come third in the hierarchy. They are regarded as kings and are given the Royal status. Hembrom are fourth
in order and have betel nut as their totem. It is believed that the ancestor of the Hembrom clan was born with a
betel nut string around his waist. There are also those who believe that their ancestor was actually born under a betel nut
tree, which is totally hard and solid.
Marndis are linked with grass or type
of weed and are traders. The Sorens are soldiers or warriors and are linked to the constellation of stars. The Tudus
are musicians and have accepted owl as their totem. Baskes are cooks and associated stale rice. They have believed
to offered stale rice to the Gods and are thus prohibited from eating it. Bedeas have sheep as their totem and believed
to have no personal own much like the animal they revere. They are not found in now days and believed to mixed with other
clans. Lastly are the Paurias and Chonres who have pigeons and lizard respectively as their totems.
It is found that in most of the cases that the only animals the clan members could hunt were made heir totem, which perhaps
restricted them endangering the species.
So strong are their feelings towards these totemic
species that they respect them as their won clan members. If any of the clan members sees a dead totem, he observes the death
rituals. Eating or hunting the totem is prohibited. According to stories of about the restriction of marriages among the different
clans. The reason lies in the nature of the totems and the elements they are connected with. In first place the
marriage is forbidden between the water and land i.e. swan(Hansdak') and antelope(Murmu). It is restricted
between "lower heaven" and "lower earth" i.e. Kingfisher and weed (Kisku and Marndi), also "upper heaven"(Hembrom)
and "upper earth"(Soren). Secondly, marriage is prohibited between three heavenly birds (Owl, hawk and pigeon ).
The totem also defined some relationship between consumed and consumer. The pigeon that is the prey of the hawk along with
the lizard eats Rice and the owl also hunts this lizard. Therefore, initially the Chonres did not marry with Besras
and Tudus. But presently this restriction is no longer followed and the marriages take place between all
these clans is further divided into several sub clans; Each one upholds a distinctive myth and set of customs that differentiates
it from the others, including kinds of food taken, ornaments, worn and worship of the spirits or Gods (Bongas). Even
the sacrifices vary during the rituals vary from one sub-clan to another. The names of the sub-clan are derived from plants
and animals. Out of the 16 sub-clans that were available in the area, nine trace their origins to certain animals. For examples,
Chilbinda hansdak' derived its name from the ancestor who killed an eagle, "Jihu hansdak" from Jihu
or babbler bird. Sole-Hemborm do not eat eels as it is believed its ancestor had been saved by it while ferrying
flooded river. The kahu-Besras are prohibited to kill crows. The totem exercises powerful influence on the
habit of the Santals.
cultural analysis of the Santal village administration would pave the way for a clear understanding of the economic and political
stratification and their history and evolution in ancient India. This indeed, will give an idea about the contribution of
Santals towards modern social system. The Santal society is characterized by democratic equality. Wealth matters little in
the day-to-day life. The clans are regarded as equal to another clans and there is no class distinction either in status or
occupation. The village is generally multi clans and each clan has sub number. The Santal villages are social and political
entities with great cohesion and continuity. Each village has well established political organization with a secular headman
called Majhi who is a man of great prestige. The village council controls the entire social system of the Santals. The village
council or Atu Mone Hor is consisted of Majhi (village headman), Jog
Majhi (Deputy village Headman), Paranik (Assistant to village Headman), Goddet
(secretary to village Headman), Jog Paranik(deputy Paranik), Naeke
(head village priest) and Kudam Naeke (Assitant to village priest). All the villagers
are member of the village council. Village council is the institution that settles all the disputes of the villages. Santal
community as a whole maintains certain uniform customs and laws with relation to marriage, divorce, birth etc. Majhi
presides over the village council meetings when they are held to discuss the matters related to village. In
event of disputes arises with different village, he acts as representative of village. Paranik is the principal assistant
to Majhi and representative of Majhi. If Majhi dies without any male issues or brothers, then paranik
will get the office. and Goddet. No public sacrifice, no festival, no ceremony such as marriage can be done
without Majhi taking initiative. Jog Majhi serves as the supernatant of the youth of the village and he
is one the link between younger generation to older generation and he generally passing all the secrets to younger ones. In
the absent of Jog Majhi, the Jog Paranik officiates. Equally important is the religious headman called Naeke
and his assistant Kudam Naeke.
the original habitants of India
This is a some points
whcih exculsively proved our traditonal thinking that Santal and as whole tribals are the original habitants of India.
An international study led by Michale J. Bamshad of the Eccles Institute of Human Genetics of the University of Utah of caste
origins has found (the findings have been reported in a recent issue of the journal Genome Research) that members of the upper
castes are genetically more similar to Europeans, Western Eurasians to be specific, whereas the lower castes are more similar
to Asians. This finding is in tune with the expectations based on historical reasoning and the prevalent views of many social
historians. In exercising their superiority over native proto-Asian populations, the Aryans would have appointed themselves
to higher rank castes. The 18-member research team includes scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom, India and
Estonia. The collaborating Indian scientists were anthropologists Bhaskar
Rao, J. Mastan Naidu and B. V. Ravi Prasad from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, and P. Govinda Reddy from the University
of Madras. Here is some articles
This web site contains all data related to regional language of
India. You can have look at it.
The Adivasi (indigenous peoples) constitute the oldest
and, often, the original inhabitants of this land. They constitute many different peoples with different languages. In the
northern part of Bangladesh the Adivasis numbered 2.2 million in the late sixties but now have declined to 0.8 million. This
decrease in their population is symptomatic of the continuing encroachment into their lands and their livelihood by the dominant
A REPORT FOR THE LAND TENURE SERVICE OF THE FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANISATION,DECEMBER 2001 by Marcus Colchester
How did gender relations change, leading at some point
to the establishment of patriarchy? Engels noted that the first class oppression coincides with that of the female sex by
On the deciphering of the Indus
valley script and the solution of the brahui problem by Anans M Sharan . This is one the much needed support
to find the missing link of Indus script and Santhal.
Santals has wonderful socio-cultural mosaic, which often we round of it in the present caste rifted Indian society. the following are the main socio-religious characteristics of the Santals:
have separate religion and it is called "Sarna". Even Indian Constitution does treat Santals religion as
worship is made within the pictorial boundary known as khond as a mark of the mundane relationship of the supernatural power.
Image or idol
worship is absent and there is no as such traditional temple that exists in Santal society.
and cremation are practiced. A chicken is dedicated to the dead body.
is devoid of caste hierarchy and therefore, the Santal's is a casteless society. By birth no person, family, clan group is
superior or inferior. Santal women enjoys much more freedom than their counterparts in Indian Society.
is prevalent in the community. Earlier practice of cow sacrifice is now restricted.
is not appropriated by a particular clan group or a sect but is owned by the family members of the first settlers of the village.
Occasionally selection of a successor of the old priest is held if he leaves no issue (male child). Mainly a divinated person
makes such a selection and it is undisputed.
Santal's Social Life
Santal's Social life:
social organization has very interesting characteristics. It contains flexibility in rigidity. Marriage is one of the important
components in the dynamics of Santal society. It, indeed, have wonderful and interesting feature. Therefore, more details
description is given here for Santal marriage to have understanding of Santal life, and their feeling and sentiments. It,
to some extend, depicts the Santal way of life.
The Santali name for marriage is called /Bapla/. In Santal society,
marriage is one of sacred event of life and marriage adds up considerable respect in society. However, there are some traditions
and customs need to be strictly followed in doing so. It is strictly forbidden for any Santal to marry within his or her own
sept (Parish). He can marry into any other septs or sub-septs to which his/her mother belonged. There are some septs,
which never intermarry with another in consequence of some ancient feuds between them. For example, A Hansdak' male or a female
never marries a Murmu female or male respectively. Similarly, a Tudu male never marries a Besra female and vice versa. These
customs are no longer in effective prevalent in day-to-day life of Santals. However, myths and tales associated with feud
are still told among the Santals.
Girls are married as adults mostly to men of their own choice. In Santal marriage, there is no restriction
of age. The bride may be younger, older or of equal age with bridegroom. There are two types of marriage practiced by Santals-
the marriage arranged by Raibar (match maker) is the regular form of marriage. Couple themselves arranges the other forms
This form of marriage is most commonly practiced in Santal society, where
parents of both side select the bride and groom. Once they liked each other, then Raibar (match maker ) is appointed to negotiate
between them. Generally, bride's father asks for bride price, which is generally divided among the bride's father, bride's
mother, Mother's mother and father's mother. The brother of bride will get bull from groom. It is customs that not fix the
marriage date in the month of birth.
In this form of marriage the divorced women or widow is married with a widower.
Here, bridegroom and bride settle the negotiation and mostly male takes the initiatives. In this marriage, bride price is
very nominal. The binding ceremony of the Santal marriage is the Sindurdan; Which is here done by not applying the Sidur directly
on the parting of the hair of bride by bridegroom, but instead he smears a dimbu flower with vermilion and fix it in the bride's
If a girl becomes pregnant, the young man by whom she becomes so is bound
to marry her. Generally young man informs the Jog Majhi (Assistant to head man) of his offence and the girl confesses it to
wife of Jog Majhi. Then they inform to parents of bride and bridegroom. As usual, bridegroom pays bride price and bull.
Bridegroom at the time of applying vermilion stands facing west and bride facing east.
If the couple belongs to the same sept, the headman calls for councils
of village, and the decision would be always negative. Here boy's father has to bear the expenses of the marriage of the girl
to another man. Then headman arranges the marriage for girl far away from village and name of boy is always secret.
When a man has minor sons and grown up daughter, he procures Ghardi-Jawae
to get in his agricultural work. All expenses of marriage is borne by bride's father. At ordinary situation marriage the bridegroom
's friends are called Bariat; but in this it is the friends of bride that are called so. In this kind of marriage the bridegroom
pays nothing for his bride but lives with father in-laws and work for him without wages for five years. When man procure a
Ghardi Jawae to get help his agricultural works, in such cases, the girl's father sets aside a bit of land for this Ghardi
Jawae and help him to get additional land Once five years of service is over, the Ghardi jawae is free to depart.
Tunki Dipil Bapla:
Poor men perform this type of marriage. As they have not sufficient
money to bear the expenses of the regular marriage (Raibar Bapla), they resort this type of marriage. The bride is brought
to the house of the bridegroom with small basket on her head; a few friends and relatives accompany her to her house. The
bridegroom in the presence of these persons applies vermilion on her head and couple then lives as husband and wife.
Forward young men who are not quite sure whether the girl fancy will accept
them and take this means of compelling her to marry adopt this. This type of marriage is looked down up and rarely occurs.
Generally double bride price is paid and the marriage is still legal. But if girl declines to live, then she must take divorced
in full moon and cannot marry as spinster.
This form of marriage can said to be female variety of 'Itut" Bapla.
A girl who cannot get a man whom she likes in the regular way, takes pot of rice beer and enters his house and insist upon
staying there. They do not adopt any physical force to expel her from house. It is said to quite fair and usually effective
to throw red peper on the fire, as by inhaling smoke she will be compelled to run away. If she passes this endurance test
without leaving house, she is held to have own her husband and family is bound to recognize her as husband. This type
of marriage also rarely occurs in Santal society.
Divorce is a common sequel to Santal marriage and is granted at the wish
of either husband or wife. The following are the grounds for which the Santal men and women demand the divorce. The husband
can demand the divorce if his wife is proved to a witch, or is sexually immortal ad she does not obey him or she lives always
in her father's house. The wife can claim divorce, if husband cannot supply sufficient foods, clothing, ornaments etc. Sterility
is another ground for divorce. In case husband seeks the divorce, he cannot claim the bride price and he has to pay certain
amount of money as fine. If wife demands the divorce then her father has to refund the bride price. The divorce is effected
in the presence of the assembled villagers in the following way; The husband is made to stand facing the sun on one leg. He
has a cloth rounded his neck each end which is held in the hand along with three Sal leaves. Then taking the name of Sin -Bonga
he tears the Sal leaves in the token separation and upset a brass pot full of water. Wife repeats this too. There is belief
that if the Sal leaves are not fully torn or the lotta (Brass pot) are not wholly emptied then the couple must again come
Birth and naming ceremony:
When Santal women get pregnant, she and her husband observe
certain taboos. The husband during his wife's pregnancy never kills any animal nor participates in any funeral ceremony and
does not come in contact with any dead body. The pregnant woman during the evening very rarely comes out of the house. She
does not weep when the death occurs of her relative. On the day of moon eclipse, she will not come out of room. She should
not sit on courtyard with her hair or cloth hanging downward. After the birth of a child, the house is considered polluted.
So the Santals performs the Janam Chatiar ceremony. Until it is done, no other activities can be undertaken like hinting etc.
The usual day for the ceremony is fifth day for male and third day for female child. After ceremony, the men and women and
children of the village who have assembled at the house each a leaf cup full of rice water with the leaves of Neem (Neem dak'
Mandi). Generally it tastes sour. On the fifth day, the children are given the name. Should it happen to be son and then he
takes the name of grandfather. Should it be second son born, he takes the name of maternal grandfather and thus third from
paternal grandfather's brother and fourth from maternal grandfather's brother and so on. The same procedure is followed for
girls the female relations being in the same order.
It is very important ceremony of the Santals that enables the individual
to take his place in Santal society and participate in its rights, rules and ceremonies. Without this no Santal can be married
It means outcasting Santal from society. This outcast takes place by the order
of assembly of villagers. It is resorted when a Santal women indulges in any physical relationships with either Diku (non-Santals)
or with a person of name sept. It is worth noting that relatively free sex is prevalent among the Santal society. If it is
proved, then the assembly gives the order of outcast and they proceed to carry out the day after annual hunting. A man in
the market who carries a branch of sal tree with leaves announces the date of Bitlaha. The person in the market on seeing
him understands the matter and counts the leaves that indicate the no of days.
The day of Bitlaha, all female members of village kept themselves away from village. In the early morning
bachelors and other male members of the neighboring villages with flutes and drums, bows and arrows meet at the end of Village
Street where culprit lives. Drumming is kept terribly high so that it can be heard from long distance. When crowd reaches
the house of the offender they tie a short charred bit of firewood, worn out broom ad some used leaf plates on the pole of
bamboo and fixed at the entrance of courtyard. Bachelors in undress do desecrate the rooms. The person who outcasted are not
allowed to take food with others, and they cannot give their children marriage within the Santal community.
By performing this ceremony, an outcasted Santal can be taken back in the
society. The outcasted man and women go to the village street with twisted cloth rounded their necks and water in a lota.
Before the headman and his assistance, the offenders acknowledge the offence and agreed to pay the fine for it. After taking
water from lota and wash their mouth and pass it to all leading man who will repeat the same. After this they entered the
village and the courtyard of the outcast who personally wash the feet of the leader of he people.