Jharkhand Forum hot discussions on interfering in to the lives of Tribals (Adivasi) of India

Respected Jharkhand Group members,

 There was a long discussion / argument on this topic. Good! And now I also thought to give my FUNDA here. First of all I should clear that there are different types of Adivasis / Tribes in India. They basically reside in remote areas / away from town or cities. Their civilization has grown up in the forests / hills / jungles since very early days. They have their own traditions / customs / language and even different religion. May be some of their traditions / social rules are interruptions in modern type development, but they are the pure worshipers of nature.I don’t know much about the religion followed by the tribes of other parts of India but I know that most of Adivasis of Jharkhand, Orrisa, West Bengal and Chattishgarh i.e. Munda, Oraon, Ho, Santhal, Kharia etc. originally follow a religion called SARNA. Before I proceed I should clear that personally I respect all the religions, whether it is Hindu or Christians or Shikhism or Muslim or Budhism. And, I expect that all the others should respect the religion SARNA. I strongly hate the people who deceive the others in the name of religion or God. Unfortunately, Sarna people have NO written “Dharmik Grantha” like the Bible / the Geeta etc. In SARNA, the definition of GOD almighty is something like this: “BHAGWAN wo hai jiska na janam leta hai aur naa hi marta hai. jo nirakar hai, par prakruti ki har rachna mei vyapt hai.” According to Sarna Lord RAMA or KRISHNA or JESUS can not be Bhagwan, but they will be considered and respected as Ideal person or “Adarsh Purush”. Because, all these were born and died. In Sarna, the almighty God, a supernatural power which controls the world is known as SINGHBONGA. They worship Singhbonga through his Creations. Also, there is no concept of SWARG and NARAK in Sarna. They believe that after a person dies, he / she remain in house itself as HARAM HORO (PITRIDEVTA) . This is a simple consept.  I am a Munda tribe. I have grown up in my village which is around 80 kms away from Ranchi and 40 kms from Chakradharpur. My village is situated in the hills and forests of PORAHAT in West Singhbhum district. Nearest bus stand is 7 kms away. I have grown up in village itself up to primary schools. But I am an IIT Graduate Mechanical Engineer. And I know the problems and the cause of problems of Adivasis. I have also seen how Missionaries have exploited the Religion SARNA. One thing that is clear in my mind is that the Christians are very smart. Smart in the sence that they have successfully used the nice philosophical words of “Bible” for luring the Adivasis and taken the advantage of backwardsness / simplicity / innocency of tribes by presenting themselves as the well wishers of Adivasis. They say that Sarna Adivasis can not develop unless and until they convert to Christians. They say that Christianity is the best religion in world. They also claim that God of Sarna (SINGHBONGA) is same as JESUS. But I personally disagree when they say that Adivasis can not develop without converting their Religion. I believe that Development has nothing to do with religious faith. In Europian contries most of the people are NASTIKs, and the world knows that they are financially or technical advanced. I believe that Adivasis can develop while maintaining their unique culture. And, I also think that NO ONE SHOULD ATTACK / EXPLOIT THE SARNA.  This is also true that, literacy rate in Christian (converted) adivasis is higher as compared to SARNA adivasis. Converted adivasis are financially better than SARNA counterparts. But now the Adivasi people have realized that they can develop without converting the religion. That is why now the conversion rate is almost ZERO. Here I would like to share some of my personal experiences.  If I am not wrong, Pahle (when missionaries entered in tribal region) ye missionary PRACHARAK / FATHER / BROTHER / SISTER / MOTHER etc khule SAAND ki tarha gaon gaon, ghar ghar ghum ghum kar, parche bantkar DHARM PRACHAR karte the, SARNA adiwasiyon ko LAALACH, bahla fusla kar unhe CONVERT karwa lete the. Khud mere ghar kitne pracharak aaye!! But now .. this activity has come down .. kyunki kuch aise father / brother etc ka MURDER / PITAI bhi huyi hai.  They say that they can follow and spread out the religion which they like, because this is their Fundamental Right. Yaar AAPKA FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT hai, Constitution ne RIGHT de rakhi hai .. ki “AAP APNE DHARM KA PRACHAR KAR SAKTE HAIN” .. iska matlab ye to nahin hota ki kisi ke  ghar jakar uske dharm ki burai karo .. aur convert hone ko kahte firte raho, uksate raho!! When I was a school student, at that time people tried at least ten times to CONVERT me. This is my personal experience. In 1997, during my summer vacation I was spending my HOLIDAYS at my village. During that period I had to go for watching the Rice Crops (Garma Dhan) in the nights along with other villagers. Because during the nights wild animals like PIGS, Elephant come and destroy the crops. One day, a person from missionary community came to meet my father. Raat ko wo bhi humare sath hi sone aaya. Wahan wo apni aukat pe aa gaya . He started eulogizing Christian religion. “Christian dharm sansar ka sabse achcha dharm hai. Babu, kabhi Ranchi ke maha girjaghar jakar dekhna, kitna achcha girja hota hai. Father ki prarthna ko jesus sunte hain .. babut chamatkari hota hai, rogon (ILLNESS) se mukti milti hai.” Etc etc. Aur hum log sunte rahe chupchap. Bahut achchi baat thi ki wo apne religion ki tareef kar raha tha. Ok .. jab wo tareef karte karte taq gaya to .. he started CRITICIZING SARNA religion. Usne khoob burai ki .. ji bhar kar. Ki kya tum log nadi kinare SAAL ped ke niche POOJA karte ho!! Ped (tree) Patthar (Stone) ki puja karte ho!! Etc. This was not OK, lekin ye bhi sun liya. There were 4 other villagers but he was mainly targeting me. His “PRAVACHAN” was beyond the limits to be tolerated. Mun to kar raha tha ki usko LATH maarkar usko raton rat ghar ka rasta dikha hun. Lekin, Adivasiyon ka SARNA dharm itna bhi UNCIVILIZED nahin hai ki ghar k eek guest se aisa salook kiya haye.  Uske baad usne last mei ek sentence kaha jo mujhe andar taq jhakjor gaya tha aur aaj taq mere deemag mei gunjta hai. Wo mujhe straight forward ye challenge kar gaya “Babu .. yadi tum aage badna chahte ho jeevan mei, to CHRISTIAN ban jao, warna kuch nahin kar pahoge. JAB TAK TUM CHRISTIAN NAHIN BANOGE TUM AADMI NAHIN BAN SAKOGE.” Koi dusra ladka hota to dusre din hi convert ho jata. Lekin maine wahin, usi raat munn mei thaan liya  ki  “BETA TUM AISA BOLTE HO, MAI TUMHE BINA CHRISTIAN BANE HI AAGE BADKE DIKHAHUNGA.” Aur sach kahun to wo raat meri zindagi ka ek TURNING POINT tha. Us raat taq mera koi irada nahin tha Engineering karne ka. I was interested to go for defence. Ab .. ye batao yaro .. ki BIBLE mei kahin likha hua hai kya ki logon ko is tarha .. wo bhi ek bachhe ko bahla fusla kar CHRISTIAN banao. Ya FUNDAMETAL RIGHT ke kisi ARTICLE mei ye kaha gaya hai!!!When I was in MIDDLE SCHOOL, I remember .. school mei ek BROTHER hua karta tha, wo humhe ENGLISH padaya karta tha. I remember his name also … brother VINAY BECK. Text book mei ek chapter National Unity / “Unity in Diversity” pe tha. In that book only four religions were refered, HINDU/MUSLIM/ SIKH/ISAI. Tab wo bolta hai .. hanske .. “AREY ISME TUM LOGON KA MURGI POOJAWALA DHARM ka naam kidhar hai? Tum SARNA log kya bekar dharm mante ho!!” Ab ye batao mere ELITE friends, as a teacher kya wo sahi karta tha?? Meri apni mausi ko bhi uski teachers ne bahla fusla kar CONVERT kara diya, SISTER banwa diya, when she was studying in 8th standard!! Uske dimag pe Christian Dharma ka bhoot is kadar gusa diya tha ki she did not listen to her family members. I know.. I have seen her mother (my NANI) crying for her. Meri nani ki sirf betiyan hain, uske jane ke baad wo kitna royi. Uske illiterate mother father ko yeh kaha gaya ki unki beti ko “NAUKRI” mil raha hai. Aaj bhi jab mujhse milti hai to roti hai. Ab batao dosto, kya BIBLE mei likha hua hai ki kisi ki maa ko rulakar uski beti ko SISTER bana lo!! SARNA dharm mei BEEF / FORK nahi khate hain. JETH apni bahu (apne chhote bhai ki bibi) ko chhuta nahi hai. Iska bhi Christian majak udate hain. Mujhe kai baar logon ne FORCE kiya ki “Mahesh tumhe BEEF / FORK khana chahiye, bahut achcha lagta hai, SEHAT badta hai.”  SARNA mei pooja karte hain, uske liye kai Christians ne majak udaya. Up to my 9th standard I used to attend the invitations in Christian Marriage Parties. But once I had intentially been given BEEF telling that this is KASSI (MUTTON). That was purposely done by the educated christians. Since then I have stopped attending any Christian parties. I know nothing will happen to my body by eating BEEF, but what is the need to eat BEEF!! My ancestors were farmers and we know the role and importance of OX and Cow in our life.  After joining my JOB people have also proposed me to marry 2-3 Christian GIRL and get Converted. When I rejected their offer, I was asked, “kya tum bhi religion ki poonch pakadte ke baithe ho? Christian ladkiyan bahut sundar hoti hain.” Yaar ab to Sarna Adivasi mei bhi well educated, beautiful girls mil jati hain, then what is the need of conveting religion for a girl.” Aap kahte ho .. kuch SARNA wale educated hone ke baad convert ho jate hain. Arey yaar .. unhe baar bar bol ke convert karwa hi liya jata jai. Ye sirf meri kahani nahin hai .. ye bahut se SARNA adiwasiyon ki kahani hai. Aur ye kahna galat nahin hai ki har SARNA adiwasi ko life mei kam se kam ek baar to is tarha bahlaya, fuslaya jata hai, convert hone ko kaha jata hai. Missionaries target those boys and girls, who are studying in high schools.  Kabhi kabhi sochta hun … ki ye Christian missionaries .. sirf TRIBAL areas mei hi kaam kyun kiye. Kisi HINDU ya MUSLIM ya SIKH logon ke beech kyun nahin gaye. Sidhi si baat hai .. because unke beech jakar unke religion ke burai karma, aur apne Christian religion ki badai karna to bahut muskil kaam hota na!! Shayad JAAN taq gawane ki naubat aa jati.  Most of the TRIBALS are uneducated, illiterate. jisne jo kaha maan liye.. logon ne kaha tumhara dharm BAKWAS hai, Christian dharm sabse achcha hai .. MAAN liye. Kisi ne khana khila diya .. humne uska dharma apna liya. Ek HUMAN psychology hi hai ki kisi ne aapko kuchh de diya, to hum uski AHSANMAND ho jate hain, uski bat ko NAA nahin karte hain.  Chalo maan lete hain .. ki ye missionaries sirf ADIWASIYON ka udhar karne, develop karne aaye the, religion ka prachar karne nahin… to kyun nahin wo AFRICA/south AMERICA mei jate… wahan bhi to log underdeveloped hain!!  kyunki wahan to bhai CONVERTION complete hai… wahan jakar log kya karenge! Mother Teresa had done excellent job for welfare of society. Lekin sawal hai … wo INDIA hi kyun aayi? Chaliye maan liya DEVELOPMENT karne. Par wo AFRICA/South America kyun nahin gayi … wahan bhi to log UNDERDEVELOPED hain. Par kyun jati .. WAHAN TO CONVERTION COMPLETE HO CHUKA THA. Hum adiwasi logon ka area hi aisa hai ki humhe EXPOSURE nahin milta hai, develop kya karenge. Aur sach kahun to iske liye SARNA dharma jimmedar nahin hai. Wo kahte hain … ki SARNA wale BHAGWAN / SIGHBONGA ke naam par MURGA/BAKRA ki bali chadate hain. Bahut kharchila hai. Bhai sahab, pooja karke fenkte to nahin hai, kha hi jate hain na. Bhai sahib, ye SARNA wale Church/Temple/ mosque banane mei rupya to nahin kharch karte hain. Phir .. jahan SARNA hota hai ..wahan koi TREE katte bhi nahin, and hence they are preserving the ENVIRONMENT. Can u give them ISO 14001 certification for protecting environment?  I don’t deny that missionaries have done great job for community development. The standard/quality of education in missionary school/college is much better than Govt school/college.  I also agree that following a religion is ones OWN will. But … I OBJECT my friends ki aap kisi ki majboori, innocency ka fayeda utha kar… kisi ko bahla fusla kar CONVERT kara lijiye. If you see… ORAON community, you will find CONVERTION is more than 60%. You will also find that Oraon are in better conditions than MUNDAS, HO, SANTHAL, Kharia. Reason is that Oraons live  near to town/cities like ranchi. If you see MUNDA and SANTHAL, conversion is low .. may be 20%. And they are not as much developed as ORAONs, because munda/santhal live in REMOTE villages. Adivasis are lagging behind because that they live in remote villages. My ultimate request to Missionary Communities is that Please don’t attack or exploit the original Religion or faith of Adivasis. Let the Adivasis develope with their own religion, let them preserve their good traditions.  

 Sincerely Yours,

M.Maheshwar from Jharkhand Forum

A Global Network of Jharkhand 

Email: forum@jharkhand.org.in


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2 Responses to Jharkhand Forum hot discussions on interfering in to the lives of Tribals (Adivasi) of India

  1. Ujjwal Oraon says:

    Nowadays conversions business has been slowed down. However, it is still taking place in the interior places where father and Sisters are working in the name of tribal welfare, but, their main target are the Sarna Adivasi who are still professing the Animistic forms of religion.. This is very wrong and sinful on the part of fathers or sisters who insist for converting one illiterate to the other religion. Can missionary sisters or fathers will allow preaching other religion in their primary and high schools. They generally condemn other religions and lure the innocents to their religion. They never tell about the demerits of Christianity. Which rules Christian like a tyranny ruler? If you are raising any discomfort question about their rules, they simply will not issue you the church letters on the occasion of marriage and death. Once upon a time there was no division in the Adivasi community, when everyone used to follow Sarna religion. However, foreigner came and divided our society. Which is still being carried out by the Adivasi brothers and Sisters. Now, Christians and Church in particular, are talking about unity in the society when they get physical or other threats from the hinduvadi elements, which have come in the Adivasi society on the line of missionary. . However, at heart, they never feel brotherhoodness for the Sarna Adivasi. If missionary would have done only welfare to the Adivasi, the Adivasi society would worship them by installing their statue. However, they imposed their philosophy unto the Adivasi society and tried at their best to destroy the Adivasi ethos. They shepherd the Adivasi into the four brick wall of church in the name of their so-called welfare. Where only their philosophy of division is working against Adivasi society they don’t want to mix with Sarna. Usually, they don’t like to invite Sarna Adivasi in their social events nor want to attend the Sarna family in theirs. They wed their girls with non-tribals with full social consent, and also bring girls from non tribals in the name of Christianity. However, if any Christian boy or girl falls in love with Sarna girl or boy they insist to convert into their religion first. They want to make one feel that unless and until one is not converted into Christianity, one cannot progress. For this purpose, they usually target those Sarna boys and girls who are somehow getting education. So that less educated could be convinced with these arguments.

  2. Dr. Vincent Barla says:

    I received the message of Shri Ujjwal Oranon but I would not like to comment in favour of what he has said because it may be based on his personal experience. However, I would like to share my experience. I was born and brought up in Andamans because in 1960 we were made to settle down in those Islands. We were 11 families in our village and out of 11 only four families were not christian. We use to celebrate every of our festivals as per our tribals culture and traditions and Catholic church never acted as a impediment in following our culture and traditions. These four families are still non-christian. No priest or nun ever visited these four families asking them to convert even though the catholic church was hardly 2 k.m. away from our village. I studied in a Government school but the catholic priest use to take a class of moral education of half an hour prior to start of our classes but he never said any thing bad about other religions. The priest never use to tell us about bible alone but he will tell us many examples of good and bad by telling us stories etc. Thereafter for my matriculation i stayed in a church hostel and studied for two year in a Catholic school but no point of time the priests or nun spoke bad about other religions and neither I found them trying to convert people in Andamans. Now my own brother and a cousin is a catholic priest. They will often tell me that they don’t get enough finances to even manage their ordinary affairs. I knew what Sarna religion is from my childhood and as such I consider it to be a root for deeping our faith in one Almighty God. Therefore, as an Adivasi, I must say:
    1. We tribals must be united
    2. If some missionaries are terming other religions bad, that is wrong as per the teaching of catholic church and that is bad
    3. If some one tries to convert somebody to christianity by alurement, that is not as per the teaching of catholic church and is bad

    I believe that No one should hurt the religious sentiments of others.

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