Culture Of Jharkhand
The Indian state of Jharkhand came into existence on November 15th 2000. It was carved out of the southern part of Bihar. This land is dominated by tribal population and is inhabited from time immemorial. The cave paintings found in this region are evidences of early human inhabitation. Though recently formed, Jharkhand is noted for its vibrant culture which has been shaped and polished by generations of tribal communities inhabited here. There are about thirty-two tribal groups in this area and these groups along with the influences of Jainism and Buddhism, Mughal rule and the rule of Hindu emperors of Bihar have left their impression on the culture of the region. And with them, were the cross-cultural influences of local non-tribal communities and successive waves of Buddhism and Jainism, Mughal rule and the reign of the Hindu emperors of Bengal. Read on and learn about the culture and lifestyle of the people in Jharkhand.
Arts and Crafts
Being a tribal dominated region, Jharkhand has a rich culture of folk songs, folk dances and crafts.
Jharkhand Tribal Music
There are several tribes in Jharkhand and they have an arena of tribal folk songs. Some of the major tribal songs from Jharkhand are Janani Jhumar, Dohari Domkach, Pratkali, Jhumta , Mardana, Daidhara Dohari Domkach and Janani. An important aspect of Jharkhand music is that they are not sung for pure entertainment purpose. They are, at times, attributed with some ritualistic and social significance. Sometimes they commemorate some significant tribal incidence and while some other times provide social commentary. In fact, many of these songs have often thrown as the voice of protest against oppression and have acted as important political tools. Some of the songs have religious importance as well. Most of the musical performances among the Jharkhand tribes are group performances; solo performances are virtually unknown within the tribal musical aesthetics.
Jharkhand has several traditional dance forms which are used as a medium to express feelings, legends, story or some important event. Most of these folk dances are performed by the local tribes. These dance forms put light not only on their dancing skills, but also their culture, traditions and beliefs. These dances are usually performed during important festivals and other important occasions. Kunjban tribe is the main dancers in Jharkhand and their dance is popular across the state, nation and the world. These dancers have performed in many parts of India and toured overseas to many places like Europe, United States, Asian countries etc. to perform their traditional dance forms. Indian government has taken an initiative to promote the folk dances in other regions of the country as well as world. Government has formed a council called Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCI). Some of the very famous dance forms of Jharkhand are as follows Bheja Dance, Janani Jhumar Dance, Phagua Dance, Mardana Jhumar Dance, Damkach Dance and Sarhul Dance.
Jharkhand craft is famous for its perfection and craftsmanship and has received many national and international acclaim. There are baboo crafts, wood crafts, Paitkar Paintings, metal works, traditional jewelry, stone carvings and toys. Most of these crafts are originated from the tribes.
Bamboo crafts include different types of baskets and fishing as well as hunting tools. The Paitkar paintings, which are also called scroll paintings, revolve around the theme of life after death. Ornaments include the conventional tribal wrists, earrings and neck pieces. Major metal crafts include hunting implements, weapons, agricultural equipments and ornaments. The stone carvings of Jharkhand are in the wedge of extinction and need to be preserved. Traditional toys include colorful, movable, wooden toys.
As mentioned earlier, Jharkhand is a tribal oriented state. There are about thirty different tribes in this region. Major tribal groups are Asur, Birhor, Birajia and Mal Paharia. Some other ancient tribes of Jharkhand are Sauriya Paharia, Hill Kharia or Sabar, Parahiya and Korba.
The rural Jharkhand is divided into villages known as tolas. There are tribal huts made of mud which do not have windows. The tribes often adorn the exterior of their mud hut with paintings. According to the famous anthropologist LP Vidyarthi, the tribes in Jharkhand can be classified according to their means of livelihood. Some tribes like Lohra, Karmali, Mahli and Shick Baraik are artisans whereas other tribes like Birhor, Korwa and Hill Kharia are hunters and gatherers. Some other groups like Munda, Ho.Oraon, Bhumji and Santhal earn living through settled agriculture whereas tribes like Sauha Paharia are engaged in shifting agriculture.
The people of Jharkhand speak many languages; most of them are tribal languages. These languages can be classified under three categories.
The Munda Languages: Languages like Korku, Mundari, Kurmali, Santhali, Bhumij, Ho and Kharia belong to this group.
The Dravidian Languages: Languages like Oraon, Korwa and the Paharia (Malto) belong to this group.
The Indo-Aryan Languages: Languages like the Nagpuri, Angika, Sadri, Bhojpuri, Khortha, Hindi, Oriya, Bengali and Urdu belongs to this group.
Fairs and festivals
People of Jharkhand celebrate festivals with great zeal and enthusiasm. They have their own festivals but also celebrate other festival like Durga Puja and Kali Puja because of the influence of the neighboring state West Bengal. Fairs are interesting with wrestling bouts, where the wrestlers display their powerful physique, brute strength and amazing maneuver, acrobatic acts etc. Cattle fairs are also very important. These fairs revolve around monetary exchange of cattle. Kunda Mela, Chatra Mela, Sangharo Mela, Lawalong Mela and Tutilawa Mela are some of the famous cattle fairs.
The major and most celebrated festivals at Jharkhand include Holi which is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and vigor. Dussehra and Ramanavami are also celebrated with great importance.
Rice is the staple food of this region. The traditional Jharkhand cuisine is light and easy to digest. Litti and Chokha are other important preparations. Some tribes depend on hunted meat for their food. Rotis, Pittha,Dudhauri, kera-dudhauri, Dhuska etc. are also popular among the people. Many of them consume mushroom as well. Fresh mushrooms are collected during rainy season whereas dried ones are stored for future use.
Handiya is a local alcoholic drink which is culturally associated with tribes and is this drink is consumed by both men and women on important occasions like marriage, festivals etc. Mehu is liquor made from fruit/flowers of the “Mahua” tree (Madhukam Indicum).
Being a tribal dominated state, Jharkhand maintains a different culture amongst other Indian state. The people live in harmony with nature, depending on natural resources to make a livelihood. Their life, art, cuisine, language – everything has an identity of its own, contributing to the ‘unity in diversity’ concept of Indian culture.