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Vol. 60 No.


Epidemiology of Handigodu Syndrome among the Adi Karnataka Community of KarnatakaKattoju Ravi Economic Status of the Tribal Communities and Government ResponseAmitabha Sarkar Impact of sustainable development : A study in Sundarban Biosphere ReserveAmitava Dinda Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri Kakali Chakraborty, Krishna Mandal, K. M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu The Mishing of Assam: An IntroductionR. R. Gowloog, G. Baruah Methodology of Studying Indigenous Knowledge Samira Dasgupta, Amitabha Sarkar Traditional Health Practices : A study among the Lepchas of Sikkim Sumitabha Chakraborty The Role of Family in Mental Health and Illness : An Anthropological ViewpointShyamal Kumar Nandy Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj: A Case Study of Tribal Development Programmes and Life Situation of the Tribes in Kanksa Block of Burdwan District of West BengalMd. Ayub Mallick Brief Communications Pokhran Potters of ShilpagramPritish Chaudhuri International Border Situation in North East India and the Distant CommunitiesBibhash Dhar, Ganesh Ch. Ojah A Short Note on HybridizationInter-Ethnic Matings among the Tai Khamti of Arunachal PradeshSaumitra Barua, Mithun Sikdar Research output in from of publications Special exhibits during the period Photographs from Archive 147 151 158 163 I V

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Jr. Anth. Survey of India, 60 : 1-18 (2011)

Epidemiology of Handigodu Syndrome among the Adi Karnataka Community of Karnataka

Kattoju Ravi*
Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of diseases and injuries in human population. It is concerned with the extent and type of illness and injuries in groups of people and with factors which influence their distribution (Judith and Anita : 1974). Handigodu syndrome is one such health disorder reported to have been first identified in January 1975 among four illiterate agricultural labourers of Handigodu village which is about eight kilometers from the Sagar town in Karnataka state. The main symptom of the syndrome reportedly, was pain in the lower part of the body, incomprehensible and developing. It was often described as a sudden catching pain in one of the joints of the lower limbs or in the back, which developed without respite until it immobilized the hip or the knee joints. Almost all the subjects affected with Handigodu syndrome in Chikmagalur taluk and who belong to the Adi Karnataka community were taken for the study. Under the Chikmagalur taluk of Chikmagalur district, there are two Primary Health Centres (PHCs): those are Aldur PHC area and Srivase PHC area. Both the PHC areas were covered. In all, there are as many as 144 patients of Handigodu syndrome spread over 13 villages in Aldur PHC area and five villages in Sirvase PHC area. About 83 genealogies were taken from 109 families to cover 144 subjects affected with Handigodu syndrome to identify consanguineal relations, cause of death, age at the time of death, premature deaths, still borns etc.

According to Judith S. Mansner and Anita K. Bahn (1974) Epidemiology may be defined as the study of the distribution and determinants of diseases and injuries in human populations. It is concerned with the extent and type of illnesses and injuries in groups of people and with the factors which influence their distribution. Judith and Anita (ibid) further mentioned that disease not randomly distributed throughout a population, but rather that sub groups differ in frequency of different diseases. Raj Pramukh (2007) mentioned that Epidemiology is the name given to the kind of research which is a product of the modern medical tradition that uses scientific method to understand patterns of disease.


Secondary source of information on Handigodu syndrome published on 2 nd October, 1977 reveal that in January 1975 some local leaders and four illiterate agricultural labourers of Handigodu were brought to the Government hospital at Sagar, which is 8 kms away from the town. They complained of loss of movement and untolerable pain in the limbs. Within a week, there were about 30 such cases in the hospital. The main symptom reported was pain in the lower part of the body,
*Superintending Anthropologist (Cultural), Anthropological Survey of India, Central Regional Centre, Seminary Hills, Nagpur-440 006

Epidemiology of Handigodu Syndrome among the Adi Karnataka Community of Karnataka

incomprehensible and developing. It was often described as a sudden catching pain in one of the joints of the lower limbs or in the back, which developed without respite until it immobilized the hip or the knee joints. Every victim reported of acute pain in the knees at some stage. The limbs could be seen weakening and some of the subjects could neither walk nor stand. The subjects came from both sexes and their ages ranged from four to much over forty years. When the Sagar hospital was filled with patients from the villages afflicted, only then the state health authorities began to act. They then sought the services of a renowned neurologist of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences and of a noted orthopaedic surgeon at Bangalore to study the Mystery disease. The initial studies ruled out a neurological disorder. The doctors from Karnataka reported some of the case histories of the patients to medical institutions at Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. The whole question approached the stage of minimum comprehension only after the Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research assigned the investigation to Dr. Krishnamachari and Dr. Ramesh Bhat, Scientists for working at the National Institute of Nutrition at Hyderabad. The scientists from National Institute of Nutrition during their field investigation identified two essential factors connected with the diseases: (a) All the affected persons had eaten crabs living in the paddy fields intensively sprayed with pesticides for a considerable period of time. (b) They tended to be related to each other. Dr. Krishnamachari mentions that the possible hazard on account of pesticide residues entering the human food chain has not so far been studied in depth, however, there is evidence to suggest a role for chemical toxins in causing the bone disease in man. It is likely that people who consume crabs exposed to such chemicals are exposed to the risk of imbibing pesticide residues through this specific food chain. But the impact of such changes on the health of poor communities needs further study. The two NIN scientists have postulated a genetic factor in the occurrence of the disease, although this is disputed by at least one other specialist. A striking feature in the field investigation was the presence of about 30 dwarfs in the villages affected by the Handigodu syndrome. According to Dr. Ramesh Bhat, achondroplasic dwarfism is rare, with one case reported per lakh of population; but the presence of so many dwarfs in two talukas is exceptional. The scientific investigation of the Handigodu syndrome is one part of the tragic story. At the Sagar Government Hospital, the patients were given analgesics to relieve from pain, multivitamins and also physiotherapy. Operations were performed in a few cases and some of the afflicted remained in hospital for periods upto one year. The doctors reported that the cases listed as having severe disability were selected for surgical correction. But the general results have not at all been convincing and satisfactory.

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Indian Council of Medical Research has conducted a study on this syndrome. According to the study of ICMR, Handigodu disease is a peculiar orthopedic problem of the Chanangi and Chalwadi communities in Shimoga and Chikmagalur districts of Karnataka. Shri Chandrasekhar Bhat, a prominent social worker of the area, brought the first case of the disease to medical attention from Handigodu village of Sagar taluk of Shimoga district in January 1975, hence the name of the disease. Despite several studies that were conducted, the condition continues to be a major medical problem of these socially deprived people. In the year 1975, the Government of Karnataka sent a medical team consisting of Dr. K. S. Mani and Dr. H. K. Srinivas Murthy from Bangalore to study the problem. They conducted clinico-radiological study on 45 patients and 13 cases were controlled and identified to be an osteo articular disease predominantly involving hip joints. Blood samples were sent to National Institute of Virology and other pathological investigations were done at Bangalore. These tests did not reveal any cause for the disease. Then at the request of Government of Karnataka, ICMR sent a team comprising Dr. Krishnamachari and Dr. Ramesh Bhat from NIN to investigate the problem. They surveyed the entire area and identified the disease in 34 villages. A detailed study in 18 villages led to identification of 223 cases in 73 families according to Indian Journal of Medical Research (1977). Based on the clinico-epidemiological study, the disease was identified as individual Endemic arthritis of Malnad. It was attributed to toxic exposure to newly introduced synthetic pesticides in a genetically susceptible population. However, with the passage of time, new cases continued to occur. In 1982 some patients were reported from the Hallundur village of Sringeri taluk of Chikmagalur district. For further investigations, the Government of Karnataka sent a new team from Bangalore Medical College under the leadership of Dr. Nuruddin. They arrived at a conclusion that patients from Hallundur village were similar to those reported from Sagar taluk. Further, on the basis of strong family history and clinical picture of defective echondral ossification, they recommended conducting genetic studies. At this juncture, Prof. Ramalingaswamy the then Director General of ICMR visited the area in 1985 and instituted a second enquiry under the aegis of ICMR. For this study a multidisciplinary Task Force team from four centres was constituted to conduct detailed epidemiological, environmental, metabolic and genetic studies and the report was submitted in 1989. The team came to a conclusion that Handigodu syndrome is an inherited developmental defect of bones and identified it as spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia of late onset, Handigodu type with autosomal dominant inheritances. The findings were published in Skeletal Radiology (23:611-19, 1994) on the basis of which the Handigodu disease has been included in the International Classification of Skeletal Dysplasias as SED of unclassified type. According to some of the key informants information during our recent field work in late 2006, the individuals in Chikmagalur taluk were first affected in the year 1969-70. It first affected the people especially the persons from Adi Karnataka, Chalvadi, Uppara, Vokkaliga and Hasalaru communities. However, the majority of the persons affected with Handigodu syndrome were from Scheduled Castes namely the

Epidemiology of Handigodu Syndrome among the Adi Karnataka Community of Karnataka

Adi Karnataka and Chalvadi and a Scheduled Tribethe Hasalaru. The constitutional status of the Hasalaru is not clear as they are found in both the lists of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. At the initial stage, the people were affected without any indications or symptoms. All of a sudden the persons affected with this syndrome reported of severe knee and joint pains with swellings in the year 196970 when the syndrome first appeared among the people in Chikmagalur district. With the passage of time the persons affected with this syndrome could not stand properly with erect posture, the legs were crippled and the subjects were compelled to walk and crawl with their forehands and legs. Some of the subjects were taken to Chikmagalur district hospital and were referred to orthopaedicians. The orthopaedic surgeons conducted operations for a few patients and tried to make bone setting/ corrections. However, it was reported that such bone setting/corrections through surgeries did not give them relief from pain and physical disability. After a decade or so from the year of eruption of this syndrome, the patients could attain erect posture to some extent, but they could not come out of their total physical disability. Judith S. Mansner and Anita K. Bahn (ibid) mention that epidemiologic studies fall into two broad categories: Study of the concentration of disease within a population by person, place, and time (called descriptive epidemiology) and more focussed study of the determinants of disease or reasons for relatively high or low frequency in specific groups (called analytic epidemiology). To describe the occurrence of a disease fully, three broad questions should be posed and answered. Who is affected? Where and when do the cases occur? In other words, it is necessary to specify person, place and time. Although people may be characterized with respect to an almost infinite number of variables, in practice the number should be limited according to the purposes and resources of the specific study. In epidemiologic study it is almost routined to specify three characteristics of persons age, sex, and ethnic group or race. We may also study other parameters such as occupation, marital status, other family variables like family size; we may also consider the possible environmental factors which may further be classified as biological, social and physical. In the following paragraphs, an attempt will be made to bring into relief, descriptive epidemiology basing on the empirical data collected in Chikmagalur taluk of Chikmagalur district, Karnataka on Adi Karnataka community.

An intensive survey was conducted in the year 2004 by the Department of Communicable Diseases attached to District Health Office, Chikmagalur to identify the number of subjects/patients affected with Handigodu syndrome in Chikmagalur district. They have identified as many as 398 cases in Chikmagalur district distributed in about 70 villages in the taluks of Chikmagalur: Koppa, Sringeri and Narasimharajapura. Majority of the cases accounting for 227 belong to Scheduled Caste communities followed by 93 cases among Scheduled Tribes and the remaining 78 cases from other caste communities. By and large the patients from Scheduled Caste communities reportedly belong to Adi Karnataka community.

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Almost all the subjects affected with Handigodu syndrome in Chikmagalur taluk and who belong to Adi Karnataka community were taken for the study. Under the Chikmagalur taluk, of Chikmagalur district there are two Primary Health Centers: They are Aldur PHC area and Sirvase PHC area. Both the PHC areas were covered. In all, there are as many as 144 patients of Handigodu syndrome spread over 13 villages in Aldur PHC area and five villages in Sirvase PHC area. About 83 genealogies were taken from 109 families to cover 144 subjects affected with Handigodu syndrome to identify consanguineal relations, affinal relations, cause of death, age at the time of death of person, premature deaths, still borns etc. Structured schedules were administered in order to get information on family size, consanguinity, formal education, living conditions, occupations, food habits, health and hygiene, environment etc. In this study, other traditional anthropological techniques like observation, key informant interview, case studies were administered to get qualitative information from the local people. Secondary data from hospitals, dispensaries, District Health Office was collected to identify the cases of Handigodu syndrome in the affected areas.


Basing on the information available from the Department of Communicable Disease in District Health Office, Chikmagalur, the Handigodu syndrome in Chikmagalur taluk is distributed in two primary Health Centres area they are: Aldur Primary Health Centre area and Sirvase Primary Health Centre area. In Aldur PHC area the syndrome/disease is distributed in thirteen villages. Of the thirteen villages as many as nine villages namely, Harambi/Harambipura, Volagodu, Mallamakki, Meghalamalmakki, Sangameswarapete, Byranamakki, Bilukuppa, Halekadabagere and Honnekoppu come under Devadana Gram Panchayat; Kanathy and Devarahalli come under Biagooru Gram Panchayat while the remaining two villages namely, Basapura and Kadavanthi come under Kadavanthi Gram Panchayat. In Sirvase PHC area the disease/syndrome is distributed in five villages. Of the five villages, four villages namely, Kerehara, Suntikumbre, Kalavase and Hosambala come under Sirvase Gram Panchayat while Ujjaini alone come under Bidire Gram Panchayat. From the above mentioned informations we understand that this Handigodu syndrome is concentrated in villages of five Gram Panchayats namely, Devadana, Baigooru, Kadavanthi, Sirvase and Bidire of Chikmagalur taluk. From Table No.1: Villagewise, sexwise distribution of persons affected with Handigodu syndrome among the Adi Karnataka in Chikmagalur Taluk of Chikmagalur district, it is observed that there are as many as 102 cases of this syndrome in Aldur PHC area. Of the 102 cases 49 are males and 53 are females. In Sirvase PHC area there are about 42 cases of which 23 are males and 19 are females. The total number of Handigodu syndrome cases in Chikmagalur taluk among the Adi Karnataka are 144, of which, 72 are males and 72 are females. The villagewise distribution of the persons affected with this syndrome reveal that Ujjaini village of Sirvase PHC area has more number of subjectsas many as twenty followed by Harambi/Harambipura with 18 cases, Halekadabegere with 17 cases, Basapura with 15, Mallamakki with 11 cases, while Volagodu and Kadavanthi have nine cases each. In the remaining villages of Chikmagalur taluk they are less in number.

Epidemiology of Handigodu Syndrome among the Adi Karnataka Community of Karnataka

Kattoju Ravi

Epidemiology of Handigodu Syndrome among the Adi Karnataka Community of Karnataka

Table No.1: Villagewise, Sexwise distribution of persons affected with Handigodu syndrome among the Adi Karnataka in Chikmagalur taluk, Chikmagalur district, Karnataka Sl. No. Name of the village Persons affected with Handigodu syndrome Male Female Total % to the total persons affected with Handigodu syndrome


01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10. 11. 12. 13. Harambi/Harambipura Volagodu Kanathy Mallamakki Sangameswarapete Meghalamallamakki Byranamakki Bilukuppa Halekadabagere Honnekoppa Basapura Kadavanthi Devarahalli Sub total 9 3 2 6 1 4 1 9 1 8 4 1 49 9 6 2 5 3 3 1 8 1 7 5 3 53 18 9 4 11 1 3 7 2 17 2 15 9 4 102 12.50 6.25 2.78 7.64 0.69 2.08 4.86 1.39 11.81 1.39 10.42 6.25 2.78 70.83


14. 15. 16. 17. 18. Kerehara Suntikumbre Kalavase Hosamabala Ujjaini Sub total GRAND TOTAL 2 2 5 14 23 72 1 7 4 1 6 19 72 50.00% 3 9 9 1 20 42 144 50.00% 2.08 6.25 6.25 0.69 13.89 29.17 100.00 100.00%

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The extent of physical movement and physical disability varies from person to person. The persons affected with Handigodu syndrome at the primary stage do not show much physical disability. Hence he/she goes in search of coffee plantation labour work (thota kelsa) and try to be an earning member. The persons in advanced stage with this syndrome get totally incapacitated with physical disability and will be restricted to their dwellings. The researcher has seen several subjects in advanced stage with this syndrome. For instance a patient in advanced stage with this syndrome in Harambi village, it is observed that his legs from the hip joint are totally affected. His pelvic girdle seems to have been degenerated by becoming narrow, his knee joints are totally affected, not in a position to make them straight with flexibility voluntarily or involuntarily. Hence he is walking with two supporting sticks. Another observation is that the subject is deaf by birth. In some villages such as Harambi, Volagodu, Malmakki, Halekadabageru, Basapara, Kadavanthi, Devaharahalli etc., the persons affected with Handigodu syndrome also show features of dwarfism. They are far below normal height showing significant stunted growth with short forearms and legs. It is informed by one subject that the ball and the socket joint of her pelvic girdle got totally damaged. The ball from her femur bone came out of the socket and had experienced excruciating pain. Hence she was taken to Chikmagalur hospital and was operated twice for bone correction/setting. Unfortunately the operations/surgeries which were conducted on her, did not give much benefit of comfort to her though she experienced mental tension, agony and excruciating pain after surgeries conducted on her. The Handigodu syndrome is affected to persons of the Adi Karnataka community of various age groups (see Table No. 2). From Table No.2 on sex wise, age group wise the persons affected with Handigodu syndrome, it is observed that as many as 31 persons (20.67 per cent) are from the age group of 36-40 years, of which 18 are males and 13 are females. About 23 persons (15.33 per cent) are from the age group of 31-35 years, of which 12 are males and 11 are females. Twenty persons constituting 13.33 per cent each are affected with this syndrome from the age groups of 41-45 years and 46-50 years. Some thirteen individuals (8.67 per cent) are affected in the age group of 51 to 55 years. Persons affected with this syndrome in other age groups are less in number. So the prevalence of this syndrome seems to be significant from the age groups of 31-35 years; 36-40 years; 41-45 years 46-50 years and 51 to 55 years of age.


Epidemiology of Handigodu Syndrome among the Adi Karnataka Community of Karnataka

Table No. 2 : Sexwise, age-groupwise the persons affected with Handigodu syndrome among the Adi Karnataka in Chikmagalur taluk, Chikmagalur district, Karnataka Sl. No. Age-group (in years) Persons affected with Handigodu syndrome Male 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 - 20 21 - 25 26 - 30 31 - 35 36 to 40 41 to 45 46 to 50 51 to 55 56 to 60 61 to 65 66 to 70 71 to 75 76 to 80 81 to 85 86 to 90 Total 2 2 4 12 18 10 14 3 5 2 2 2 2 78 Female 2 4 11 13 10 6 10 5 4 2 2 3 72 Total 2 4 8 23 31 20 20 13 10 6 4 4 5 150* 1.33 2.67 5.33 15.33 20.67 13.33 13.33 8.67 6.67 4.6 2.67 2.67 3.33 100 % to the total No. of persons affected with HS

NB: Inclusive of six patients who expired The onset of the Handigodu syndrome varied from one person to another person and it is evident from Table No. 3 on sexwise, age-groupwise at the onset of Handigodu syndrome among the Adi Karnataka in Chikmagalur taluk. From Table No.3, it is observed that most of the subjects: 36 (25.71 per cent) reported to have been affected with Handigodu syndrome in the age group of 11-15 years; this is followed by prevalence of this syndrome among 27 subjects (19.29 per cent) in the age group of 6-10 years. About 16 individuals accounting for 11.43 per cent reported to have been affected in the age group of 21-25 years. Ten individuals (7.14 per cent) each from age groups of 0-5 years and 25 to 30 years reported to have been affected. From the remaining age groups the onset of the disease is observed to be less than in the age groups mentioned above. Hence it may be mentioned that the onset of

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the disease among the Adi Karnataka in Chikmagalur taluk seems to be prominent in the age groups of 0-5 years; 6-10 years; 11-15 years; 16-20 years; 21-25 years and 26-30 years. An attempt is made to bring into relief the occurrence of this Handigodu syndrome, sexwise and yearwise among the Adi Karnataka community in Chikmagalur taluk. From Table No. 4, it is observed that maximum number of persons - as many as 39 persons (28.47 percent20 males and 19 females) were affected in the year 1975-76. A good number of persons-24 (17.52 per cent) (12 males and 12 females) were affected in the year 1985-86. In the year 1980-81 about 20 persons (14.60 per cent10 male and 10 females) were affected with this syndrome. In the year 197071 about 18 persons (13.14 per cent7 males and 11 females) were affected. In the remaining years, the onset of this disease/syndrome among the persons from this community is found to be less in number comparatively. The onset of the disease/syndrome is conspicuous in the years 1970-71; 1975-76; 1980-81 and 1985-86. Table No. 3: Sexwise, age-groupwise at the onset of Handigodu syndrome among the Adi Karnataka in Chikmagalur taluk, Chikmagalur district, Karnataka Sl. No. Age-group (in years) Persons affected with Handigodu syndrome Male 01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10. 11. 12. 0-5 6 - 10 11 - 15 16 - 20 21 - 25 26 - 30 31 - 35 36 - 40 41 - 45 46 - 50 51 - 55 56 - 60 6 17 17 11 7 3 2 2 4 1 70 Female 4 10 19 9 9 7 3 4 2 1 1 1 70 Total 10 27 36 20 16 10 5 6 6 1 2 1 140 % to the total No. of persons affected with HS 7.14 19.29 25.71 14.29 11.43 7.14 3.57 4.29 4.29 0.71 1.43 0.71 100


Epidemiology of Handigodu Syndrome among the Adi Karnataka Community of Karnataka

Table No.4: Sexwise and yearwise the onset of Handigodu syndrome among the Adi Karnataka in Chimagalur taluk, Chikmagalur district, Karnataka Sl. No. Year of onest of the syndrome Persons affected with Handigodu syndrome Male 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 1965 1966 1966 1967 1970 1971 1972 1973 1973 1974 1975 1976 1976 1977 1977 1978 1978 1979 1979 1980 1980 1981 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1988 1989 1989 1990 1990 1991 1995 1996 1998 1999 2000 2001 2004 2005 1 7 1 20 1 2 1 1 10 4 12 1 1 2 2 66 Female 2 11 1 1 19 1 1 10 1 12 1 1 1 1 4 2 1 1 71 Total 1 2 18 2 1 39 1 2 2 2 20 5 24 1 2 2 3 6 2 1 1 137 % to the total No. of persons affected with HS 0.73 1.46 13.14 1.46 0.73 28.47 0.73 1.46 1.46 1.46 14.6 3.65 17.52 0.73 1.46 1.46 2.19 4.38 1.46 0.73 0.73 100

NB: Some subjects could not furnish the information

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The symptoms of Handigodu syndrome varied from one person to another person among Adi Karnataka people in Chikmagalur taluk, where the study was made. The percentages, of various symptoms reported will not tally as subjects from each family informed more than one symptom (see Table No. 5). Most of the families i.e., 106 families constituting 97.25 per cent informed of joint pains as symptom of the disease/syndrome. As many as 40 families (36.70 per cent) informed low back pain as one of the symptoms of the disease. About 24 families (22.02%) reported of swelling in knee joints as one of the symptoms, followed by 15 families (13.76 per cent) who reported of hip joint pains; 13 families (11.93 per cent) reported of joint pains; three families reported of physical disability, two families reported of severe pain in legs and one family reported of degeneration of hip joint. On enquiry the gravity of Handigodu syndrome is found in 87 families (79.82 per cent) who informed that this syndrome cannot be controlled, while 12 families (11.01 per cent) replied that it can be controlled. About 10 families (9.17 per cent) informed that they do not know the way in which 1980-81 it can be controlled. Some communities may have a belief that certain diseases affect people due to wrath of certain deities at the local, regional level or deities of wider pantheon order. Table No. 6 shows certain myths related to Handigodu syndrome among the Adi Karnataka families taken for the study in Chikmagalur taluk. Most of the families i.e., as many as 103 families accounting for 94.50 per cent informed that no myths are related to Handigodu syndrome. Only six families (5.50 per cent) perceive that they believe in myths which are associated with Handigodu syndrome. About five families believe that this syndrome/disease is caused by the wrath of local deities such as Chandidevi, Kankulamma, Choudamma, Veerabhadra, and Bhootaswamy. Only one family described that this problem is caused by the wrath of Lord Eshwara. During field investigation the researcher obtained the opinion of the families for the study whether Handigodu syndrome is curable or not curable (see Table No. 7). From Table No. 7, it is observed that as many as 103 families (94.58%) believe that Handigodu syndrome is not curable. Only six families (5.50 per cent) informed that this disease/syndrome may be cured if proper medicines are administered regularly. Empirical data was collected to know about the causes of deaths in the families (taken for the study) in the last five years. As many as 69 families (63.30 per cent) reported to have no deaths in the last five years. However, about 40 families reported to have deaths due to various ailments/diseases. The causes of deaths are reportedly due to old age, paralysis, heart attack, Handigodu syndrome, tuberculosis, uterus cancer, kidney problem, body swelling, mental illness, diarrhoea, fever and vomiting, asthma, hypertension, gastric problem, accident, still born. On careful scrutiny of the 83 genealogies collected, it is observed that about 72 subjects have inherited this syndrome from either of the parents though consanguineal marriages with cross cousins are very less in number.


Table No. 5: Villagewise information regarding symptoms of Handigodu syndrome among the Adi Karnataka in Chikmagalur taluk, Chikmagalur district, Karnataka
No. of f am il ie s studie d Whether HS can be controlled or not Ye s No Dont know/ cantt say J o int pa in s Deg e ratio n Hip of bones J o int pa in s Body pa in s Lo w Phys ic al Se rv ic e S we ll i n g bac k disability p ai n in knee pa in s in jo ints legs 10 8 3 4 2 1 2 4 1 1 36 3 1 4 40 (2.75) 1 3 2 (1.83) 1 1 1 4 1 6 13 24 (22.02) 1 (0.92) 1 1 1 6 9 15 1 1 2 12 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 2 1 2 2 1 11 1 1 2 2 1 1 6 1 1 1 2 2 1 2 10 11 2 3 5 1 1 4 1 11 2 9 8 4 62 3 7 4 1 10 25 87 (13.76) (11.01) (79.82) 2 5 1 1 9 1 1 10 (9.17) Symtoms of Handigodu syndrome as informed by the families affected with it

Sl . Name of the village No.

Epidemiology of Handigodu Syndrome among the Adi Karnataka Community of Karnataka

ALDUR PHC AREA 01 . Harambi/Harambipura 02 . Volagodu 03 . Ka na thy 04 . Mallamakki 05 . Meghalamalmakki 06 . Sangameswarapete 07 . Byranamakki 08 . Bilukuppa 09 . Halekadabagere 10 . Honnek oppa 11 . Basapura 12 . Kadavanthi 13 . Devarahalli Sub Total SIRVASE PHC AREA 14 . Kerehara 15 . Suntikumbre 16 . Kalavase 17 . Hosamabala 18 . Ujjaini 14 8 4 8 3 1 5 1 12 2 11 8 4 81 3 7 6 1 11 28 10 9 (100.00) (97.25) (11.93) (36.40) 27 10 6 1 13 2 7 6 1 11 1 14 8 4 8 2 1 4 1 12 2 11 8 4 79 5 1 2 3 1 12

Sub Total Grand Total


Figures in parenthesis are percentages to the total number of families taken for the study

No. of f am il ie s studie d Ye s No Loc al De i ty Re g i o nal Die ty Deity of wider pant he o n order Details of myths related to Handigodu syndrome (if any) Any myths related to HS No. of families who believe that HS is caused by the wrath of

Table No. 6 : Villagewise information on myths related to Handigodu Syndrome among the Adi Karnataka families taken for the sutdy in Chikmagalur taluk, Chikmagalur district, Karnataka

Sl . Name of the village No.

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ALDUR PHC AREA 01 . Harambi/Harambipura 02 . Volagodu 03 . Ka na thy 04 . Mallamakki 05 . Meghalamallmakki 06 . Samgameswarapete 07 . Byranamakki 08 . Bilukuppa 09 . Halekadabagere 10 . Honnek oppa 11 . Basapura 12 . Kadavanthi 13 . Devarahalli Sub Total SIRVASE PHE AREA 14 . Kerehara 15 . Suntikumbre 16 . Kalavase 14 8 4 8 3 1 5 1 12 2 11 8 4 81 3 7 6 1 11 28 10 9 (100.00) 3 6 (5.50) 1 11 25 10 3 (94.50) 3 5 (4.59) 3 3 (0.92) 1 3 3 7 3 3 1 1 1 3 13 8 4 8 2 1 5 1 11 2 11 8 4 78 1 1 2 - - - - - 1 1

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Wrath is caused by Lord Eshwara - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - By the wrath of Chandidevi - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

17 . Hosambala 18 . Ujjaini Sub Total Grand Total Percentages

- - - - - - - - - - By the warth of Kankulamm, Veerabhadra, Choudamma and Raubotha - - - - - - - - -


Figures in parenthesis are percentages to the total number of families taken for the study


Table No. 7 : Villagewise opinion of the families taken for the study in Chikmagalur taluk, Chikmagalur district, Karnataka whether Handigodu syndrome is curable or not.
Opinion of the families whether Handigodu syndrome is curable or not curable No. of f am il ie s It yes, how it is curable Not If not, why it cannot be cured studie d Cur a ble opinion of no. of families c ur able opinion of No. of families 14 8 4 8 3 1 5 1 12 2 11 8 4 81 1 4 8 3 77 1 if proper medicines are provided 1 1 11 2 11 1 if proper medicines are provided 2 14 8 4 6 3 1 5 2 if proper medicines are taken -

Sl . Name of the village No.

ALDUR PHC AREA 01 . Harambi/Harambipura 02 . Volagodu 03 . Ka na thy 04 . Mallamakki 05 . Meghalamalmakki 06 . Sangameswarapeta 07 . Byranamakki

08 . 09 . 10 . 11 .

Bilukuppa Helekadabagere Honnek oppa Basapura

14 cant say 8 cant say 4 cant say 6 dont know 3 cant say 1 cant say 1 since it is affected at the age of 8 years the patient is able to walk with difficulty - 4 cant say. 1 cant say 11 dont know/cant say 2 dont know 2 no idea; 8 cant say/dont know 1 Good food is not taken 1 no idea; 7 dont know/cant say 1 no idea; 2 cant say

Epidemiology of Handigodu Syndrome among the Adi Karnataka Community of Karnataka

no idea; 1 cant say cant say/dont know cant say no idea; 9 cant say/dont know

12 . Kadavanthi 13 . Devarahalli Sub Total SIRVASE PHC AREA 14 . Kerehara 15 . Suntikumbre 16 . Kalavase 17 . Hosambala 1 8 Ujjaini Sub Total Grand Total Percentages

3 3 2 7 7 7 6 1 1 if proper medicines are provided 1 1 1 11 1 10 1 if proper medicines are taken regularly 1 28 2 26 10 9 6 10 3 (100.00) (5.50) (94.50) Figures in parenthesis are percentages to the total number of families

taken for the study

Table No. 8 : Villagewise Childrens immunization status, preference to indigenous and modern medical care, deaths in the last five years and causes of deaths in the families affected with Handigodu syndrome in Chikmagalur taluk, Chikmagalur district, Karnataka
Are there Preference to indigenous and deaths in modern medical care families in the last five years Cause of deaths and number of deceased Indigenous Yes
Old age 1. Paralysis Heart attack Handigodu Paralysis 3. Tuberculosis 1. Old age

Name of the village

No. of Whether children are families benefited through immunization programmes or not Yes No No NA Modern Both


Kattoju Ravi
Uterus Cancer Kidney problem 1. Body swelling 1. Mental illness. Old age 1. Diarrhoea Fever and Vomiting Asthma, 1. Kidney Failure 1. Hypertension Asthma, 1 Uterus Cancer 1. Unable to take food Hypertension 1. Asthma, 1. Paralysis

Harambi/Harambipura Valgodu Kanathy Mallamakki Meghalamalmakki Sangameswarapete Byranamakki Bilukuppa Halekadababgere Honnekoppa Basapura Kadavanthi Devarahalli Sub Total SIRVASE PHC AREA Kerehara Suntikumbre 3 7 6 1 11 28 109 3 1 8 22 88 2 2 4 1 3 4 17 6 1 11 28 108 1 3 7 3 7 2 3 3 1 4 13 40 1 4 3 7 15 69 1. 2. 1. 1. 1. 1.

14 8 4 8 3 1 5 1 12 2 11 8 4 81

12 7 4 6 2 3 1 9 2 10 6 4 66

1 1 2

2 2 1 1 2 3 1 1 13

14 8 4 8 3 1 5 1 11 2 11 8 4 80

1 1

2 1 1 7 1 2 3 1 3 3 3 27

12 7 3 1 3 3 1 9 1 8 5 1 54

1. 1. 1. 4. 1. 1. 2. 1. 1. 1. 1. 2

Kalavase Hosambala Ujjaini Sub Total Grand Total

Old age. 1. Tuberculosis 1. Asthma 1. Stomach problem Asthma 2. Paralysis 1. Heart attack Handigodu syndrome Handigodu syndrome and Asthma 1. Asthma 1. Old age Gastric problem Still born 1. Accident 1. Heart attack 1. Old age.


Figures in parenthesis are percentages to the total number of families taken for the study


Epidemiology of Handigodu Syndrome among the Adi Karnataka Community of Karnataka

The Hindu 19 77 Symptoms, field observation and Scientific Investigation, in The Hindu daily Newspaper, Bangalore Edition, dated 02.10.1977.

ICMR Task Force Project Report

20 02

Handigodu Disease: A continued Challenge, ICMR Brainstorming Session on Management of Handigodu Disease, held from 27 th to 30 th November 2002, organized by the ICMR Task Force Project, Handigodu Disease Phase II at Sharavathi Valley Project, Jog Falls. Epidemiology: An Introductory Text, Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company. Medical Anthropology, Ambala Cant.: The Associated Publishers.

Judith S. Mansner & Anita K. Bahn Raj Pramukh, K.E.

19 74

20 07

Jr. Anth. Survey of India, 60 : 19-23 (2011)

Economic Status of the Tribal Community and Government Response

Amitabha Sarkar*
Indian constitution has offered a number of protective and developmental measures for the Scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes in view of their upliftment and development of quality of life and also tried to ensure protection from social exploitation. The present paper highlights the articles and amendments in which such constitutional facilities are offered to SCs and STs and with the help of such, some important measures are taken like MADA (Modified Area Development Approach), National Tribal Policy, PMS (Post Matric Scholarship}, VTGS (Development of Vulnerable Tribal Groups), grant-in-aid to voluntary organization etc.

Indian Constitution has offered a number of protective measures for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. These measures are intended to uplift the quality of life of the SCs and STs and to watch that they are not exploited. Certain articles are there to coordinate tribal/scheduled caste welfare activities between the center and the states. There are Standing Parliamentary Committees also for these purposes. Out of twelve schedules (of the constitution), two schedules are specifically meant for the administration of the scheduled tribal area. Various articles are concerned with various aspects of life of this economically backward people. The details are as follows: Schedule 5 (under Article 244(1) provides administration of the Scheduled tribal areas Schedule 6 (under Article 214 and 275) provides administration of the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram. This can be amended by simple majority in the Parliament. These articles have recommended the creation of autonomous councils and regional councils. Article 14 and 15 : Prohibit discrimination on the basis of caste or race or ethnic or states, but the state has the right to take any special measure for the Scheduled Tribes. Article 16 : The constitution provides equal opportunities to all the citizens but the state reserves the right to provide reservations for the Scheduled Tribes and others The constitution offers the right to move freely in any part of the country but the state has the right restrict movement in the interest of the tribal people.

Article 19 :

Article 23 & 24 : The constitution deligates power to the state to stop exploitation of the Scheduled Tribes.
*Suptd. Anthropologist (Cultural), Anthropological Survey of India, Kolkata


Economic Status of the Tribals and Government Response

Articles 38, 39, 39A, 41, 43, 46, 47, 48, 48A : These articles have authorized the state to protect the interest of the Scheduled Tribes. Article 46 : Provides that the state shall promote with special care the interest of the weaker section of the population in particular, the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes and shall protect them from social injustice and all kinds of exploitation. Article 164(A) : Provides the active involvment of Union Minister for Tribal Welfare in the state of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. Article 244, 244(A) : Provide friendly administration on tribal areas. These articles restrict transfer of land from tribal people to non-tribal people and ban money lending in tribal areas. Article 275 : Provides adequate budget provision of the center to the states for undertaking welfare measures for the Scheduled Tribes. Article 371 (A,B,C) : Uphold customary law, justice and socio-religious practices in Nagaland, Manipur and parts of Assam. Article 330, 332, 334, 335, 338, 339 and 342 : Provide reservations in legislatures, educational institution and various service sectors. These articles also provide the appointment of special officers and commissions. Besides these, a number of time to time constitutional amendments have been provided for the welfare of the Schedule Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Amendment no. 8 (1960) : Extended special provision relating to reservation of seats for STs and representatives of the Anglo Indian community in the House of People and in the State Legislative Assembly for a further period of 10 years from January, 26, 1960. Amendment no. 13 (1963) : Grant of statehood to Nagaland. Amendment no. 22 (1969) : Grant of statehood to Meghalaya. Amendment no. 23 (1969) : Extension of reservation of seats in the House of People and in the State Legislatures for the Scheduled Tribes and the representatives of the Anglo Indian community for a further period of 10 years from January 1970. Amendment no. 45 (1979) : Extension of reservation of seats in the House of People and in the State Legislatures for the Scheduled Tribes and the representatives of Anglo Indian community for a further period of 10 years with effect from January 1980. Amendment no. 49 (1980) : This amendment gives constitutional security to the autonomous district council functioning in Tripura. Amendment no. 51 (1984) : Replaces the section dealing with Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe except the tribal areas of Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram with the word The Scheduled Tribe except the STs in the autonomy district of Assam in Article 330 and 332. Amendment no. 53 (1987) Granting statehood to Mizoram. Amendment no. 55 (1987) : Granting statehood to Arunachal Pradesh

Amitabha Sarkar


Amendment no. 57 (1987) : Amended Article no. 332 providing special arrangement with regard to reservation of seats for the STs in the north eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, until readjustment of seats on the basis of first Census after 2000 AD. Amendment no. 62 (1989) : Extension of reservation of seats in the House of People and the State legislatures for Scheduled Tribes and members of Anglo Indian community for a further period of 10 years from January 1990. Amendment no. 65 (1990) : Recommendation for setting up a National Commission for the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes. Amendment no. 72 (1992) : To add a new part to ensure direct election to all seats in Panchayats for the reservation of seats for the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes; as well as to ensure reservation of not less than 1/3rd of the seats for women (This later became 73rd amendment act) Amendment no. 74 (1992) : To provide 20 seats reserved for STs in the assembly of Tripura Amendment no. 79 (1999) : Extension of reservation of seats in the House of People and State legislature for Scheduled Tribes and members of Anglo Indian community for a further period of 10 years from January 2000 AD. Amendment no. 81 (2000) : By this amendment the unfilled vacancies of a year that were reserved for Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes for being filled up (under provisions of Article 16) shall be considered as a separate class of vacancies. Amendment no. 82 (2000) : The amendment provides that nothing in 335 shall prevent the state from making any provision in favour of Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes for relaxation of qualifying marks in matters of promotion to any class or classes of services or posts in connection with the affairs of the state or of the Union. Amendment no. 83 (2000) : The act amended Article 243 (M) of the constitution to provide that no reservation in Panchayat need be made in favour of the Scheduled Castes of Arunachal Pradesh which is wholly inhabited by the tribal people. Amendment no. 84 (2001) : The act amended the provision of Articles 82 and 170(3) of the Constitution to readjust and rationalize the territorial constituency of the states without altering the number of seats allotted to each state in the House of People and State Legislative Assemblies including the Scheduled Tribes and Schedule Casts constituencies on the basis of population ascertained in the Census of 1991 so that uneven growth of population/electorate guided imbalance can be removed. Amendment no. 85 (2001) : This act amended Article 16 (4A) to provide consequential seniority in the case of promotion by virtue of reservation of posts for Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes.


Economic Status of the Tribals and Government Response

Amendment no.89(2003) : Two separate National Commissionsone for the Scheduled Castes and the other for the Scheduled Tribes to be set up. Amendment no.90 (2003) : Provided that for elections in the State of Assam (Legislative Assembly), the representation of the Scheduled Castes and non-scheduled tribes in the constituencies included in the Bodoland Territorial Areas District, so notified and existing prior to the constitution of Bodoland Territorial Areas District, shall be maintained. Amendment no 92 (2003) : Renumbering of entries in the eighth schedule as followed Bodo from 3 renumbered as 5, Santhali for 18 renumbered as 22. Amendment no. 105 (2006) Seeks to make Bihar free for having any Tribal Welfare Minister (as only 0.9% Tribal population is now found after the formation of Jharkhand). In turn the provision of 164 (1) has been extended to Jharkhand and Chattisgarh.

During the IInd five year plan, Multipurpose Tribal Development Blocks were identified and these were named to TD Blocks during the IIIrd plan period. L.P. Vidyarthi and S. C. Dube Committee submitted report on TD Block. During the 5th Five year Plan, the Tirbal sub plan system was introduced to improve the quality of life of tribal people and revenue disparity in tribal developmentabout 194 ITDP areas were identified. During the 7th & 8th plan period Modifed Area Development Approach (MADA) was taken to develop the tribal population economically and educationally. Some other important measures taken are i) The Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 which is being administered by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, seeking to recognize and vest the forest right and occupation of forest land to forest dwelling Schedulded Tribe and other traditional forest dwellers who have been residing in such forest for generation while their rights yet not recorded, has been notified for operation w.e.f. 31.12.07. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has formulated a draft during 2006, National Tribal Policy covering all important issues that concern tribals. The policy derives strength from the principles enshrined in the constitution and the provisions of the Panchayats (extension to scheduled areas) Act, 1996. At the same time the draft policy also identifies the strength of tribal traditions and cultures. The main thrust in the policy are (a) (b) (c) (d) Alienation of tribal land, Tribal forest interface Displacement, resettlement and rehabilitation Enhencement of human development index


Amitabha Sarkar


(e) Creation of critical infrastructure (f) Violent manifestations (g) Conservation and development of vulnerable Tribal groups (PTGS) in particularly. (h) Adoption of Tribal sub-Plan (TSP) strategy (i) Empowerment (j) Gender equality (k) Enlisting support of non-governmental organization (l) Tribal culture and traditional knowledge (m) Administration of tribal areas etc. iii) In order to provide focussed attention particularly to the development of vulnerable Tribal groups (PTGS), the Ministry has ensured the formulation of Conservation cum Development (CCD) Plans for the 11th Plan period. The states have formulated the CCD plans by adopting habitat development approach based on data collected through baseline surveys. iv) To unveil various facets of tribal life, the Ministry in collaboration with the photo-division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting organized photographic exhibition cum competition on Tribal: Forest Dwellers. v) Educational development is a stepping-stone to economic and social development, and the most effective instrument for empowering the tribals. Hence, the Post Matric Scholarship (PMS) continues to be an important centrally sponsored scheme to promote higher education among the Scheduled Tribes. The scheme of Ashram School is yet another interesting theme which aims at extending educational facilities and providing an environment conducive to the education of Scheduled Tribe boys and girls through dedicated residential schools. During 2008-09, it is also reported that as a special drive, the Ministry has funded about 40 crore to some NGO, autonomous societies of state governments for strengthening education among Scheduled Tribe girls in Low literacy districts. Under the scheme of Grant-in-aid to voluntary organizations during 2008-09, the Govt. of India funded 354 projects covering residential and non-residential schools, hostels, libraries, mobile dispensaries, ten or more bedded hospitals, computer training centers, rural night schools, agricultural training and for which about 43.11 crore rupees were spent involving about 6.05 lakh Scheduled Tribe people. Under the scheme of Research and Mass Education, Tribal Festival and others, the Ministry takes up various activities including inter-alia, research and evaluation of studies by reputed institutes/universities, seminars, workshops and publications, tribal sports, exchange of visits by tribals and national tribal awards etc.
The author is indebted to Dr. Biman Kumar Dasgupta, retired Deputy Director of Anthropological Survey of India for his suggestions while the paper was under preparation.

Jr. Anth. Survey of India, 60 : 24-37 (2011)

Impact of Sustainable Development: A Study in Sundarban Biosphere Reserve

Amitava Dinda*
Development creates both winners and losers, but it is the poor of society which invariably ends up as losers, not the rich non-tribal groups who are its winners all the time. It prompted planners and academicians alike to suggest a model of develThis form of development opment which is socially acceptable and ecologically sound.

is known as sustainable development. Sustainable development is the slogan of 21 s t century. Sustainable tourism is a section of sustainable development. The Sundarban is the largest single geographical unit in the world which houses tidal halophytic mangrove species. The Sundarban Biosphere Reserve nurtures many rare and endangered species of flora and fauna. This biosphere reserve is also declared as World Heritage Site. Previously Sunderbans was a no mans land and now Hindus, Muslims, Scheduled Caste and Tribals inhabit the area. They depend on forest and forest based resources because agriculture does not fulfil their need due to salinity in water. During agricultural lean season, people resort to fishing and collection of prawn seeds even at the risk of their lives from man-eating tigers and crocodiles. The biosphere reserve is the major source for providing ecotourism which sometimes aggravates its fragile nature. Due to introduction of eco-tours, the new job opportunities are opened for the local people in different tourism sectors such as hotels and lodges, restaurants and tea stalls, shops, tour operators and travel agents, tourist guides, transport and communication etc. For sustainability of the local people, Rashtriya Rural Employment Guarantee Yojona, Jawahar Rojgar Yojona, Rashtriya Gramin Sadak Yojona and many development schemes are being implemented in this region. Besides these, different eco-development schemes are also being implemented in the adjoining areas of Sundarban Tiger Reserve. The impact of different development schemes on scheduled caste, tribals and other communities are both positive and negative in the adjoining areas of Sundarban Tiger Reserve. The present study attempts to discuss the impact of different development schemes, besides tourism, on the people residing in the adjoining areas of Sundarban Tiger Reserve of Gosaba block in 24 Parganas (South) district of West Bengal. In addition, the study also tries to find out suitable strategies for sustainable development keeping in view the cultural integrity of the region, fragility of ecosystem, preservation of biological diversity and maintenance of life support system for providing maximum satisfaction to people and tourists.

*Anthropological Survey of India, Eastern Regional Centre, Kolkata 700091.

EN -79, Sector V , Salt Lake,

Amitava Dinda


Development creates both winners and losers, but it is the poor of society which invariably end up as losers, not the rich non-tribal groups who are winners all the time. It prompted planners and academicians alike to suggest a model of development which is socially acceptable and ecologically sound. This form of development is known as sustainable development. Sustainable development is the slogan of 21st century. Sustainable tourism is a section of sustainable development. Word, sustainable tourism is synonym of eco-tourism. Eco-tourism means management of tourism and conservation of nature in a way as to maintain or find balance between the requirements of tourism and ecology on one hand and the needs of the local communities for jobs, new skills, income generating employment and a better status for women on the other hand. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) has defined eco-tourism as Tourism that involves travelling to relatively undisturbed natural areas with the specified object of studying, admiring and enjoying nature and its wild plants and animals as well as exciting cultural aspects found in these areas. The definition focuses on three significant aspects nature, tourism and local communities. Tourism is such an industry where a large number of people are involved in different sectors through which they sustain their livelihood. There are several sectors namely, transport and communication, hotels and restaurants, travel agents/ tour operators, shops, tourist guides etc. All these wings or sectors are considered mainly as infrastructure of tourism. Without infrastructural facilities tourism industry cannot sustain. Tourism infrastructure should be designed and tourism activities to be programmed in such a way as to protect the natural heritage composed of ecosystems and biodiversity and to preserve endangered wild specis. Ecotourism is distinguished from mass tourism or resort tourism by having a lower impact on the environment and by requiring less infrastructure development. The World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF cited in Lesley France ed.) defines ecotourism as tourism to protected natural areas, as a means of economic gain through natural resource preservation. A merger of recreation and responsibility (quoted in Kallen 1990, 37; cited in Lesley France ed.), Mowforth (1993, cited in Lesley France ed.) suggests, there is no single perspective on ecotourism. Instead each of the various actors involved has its own distinctive definition and they fail to provide a consensus. The aims of ecotourism include ecological and socio-cultural integrity, responsibility and sustainability (Cater1994, 3 cited in Lesley France ed.). Its emergence in specific destination areas depends on a number of factors, such as: the political stability of the area; the commitment of host governments and communities to ecotourism; the degree of promotion by governments and tour operators; controversy associated with the area; the range of accommodation, infrastructure and other available and continued demand for this increasingly popular and politically correct form of tourism (Kallen1990,Moore and Carter1993,Smeding1993; cited in Lesley France ed.). Analysis of definition such as these indicate that three dimensions can represent the main essence of the concept. According to this interpretation, ecotourism is nature based, environmentally educative, and sustainably managed.


Impact of sustainable development: A study in Sundarban Biosphere Reserve

Ecotourism means management of tourism and conservation of nature in a way as to maintain a balance between the requirements of tourism and ecology on the one hand and the needs of the local communities for jobs, new skills, income generating employment for sustainable development and a better status of women on the other hand.

Approaches to sustainable tourism

Fig. 1 Ecological maintenance

1 Tourist satisfaction

4 3

2 Local community

Source: Lesley France, 1997 In order to make tourism sustainable, four possible strategic approaches have been discussed which are as follows: Situation (1) could be demonstrated by small number of tourists who visit a relatively remote area, thereby gaining a high level of satisfaction from their visit and leaving their destination relatively unchanged. If such a visit is organized and operated by an external company, perhaps a multinational, benefits are unlikely to filter down to the local community and therefore will not improve the quality of life of those in most need. Specialized package holidays, like small scale safaris typically satisfy these criteria. A small-scale local guest house could illustrate situation (2). It would provide accommodation within a physical and social environment that has been modified relatively little. The standard of comfort provided for tourists is likely to be low. Nevertheless, the original environment is preserved and any economic benefit that do accrue will go directly to the local community. Situation (3) can occur when a large tourism enterprise employs many local people. Not all members of the local community will obtain jobs and a large enterprise such as this may well satisfy certain types of tourists but the process may irrepairably damage the environment. Situation (4) small-scales, locally managed tourism enterprises that may spread benefits more widely through the community are the best example. Typical are the Casamance scheme in Senegal and ecotourism developments in Belize, where a measure of satisfaction of a variety of sustainable aims have been achieved, according to participants. For sustainability of the local people Rashtriya Rural Employment Guarantee Yojona, Jawahar Rojgar Yojona, Rashtriya Gramin Sadak Yojona and many develop-

Amitava Dinda


ment schemes are being implemented in this region. Besides these, different ecodevelopment schemes are also being implemented in the adjoining areas of Sundarban Tiger Reserve. The impact of different development schemes on scheduled caste, tribals and other communities are both positive and negative in the adjoining areas of Sundarban Tiger Reserve. The present study attempts to discuss the impact of different development schemes, besides tourism, on the people residing in the adjoining areas of Sundarban Tiger Reserve of Gosaba block in 24 Parganas (South) district of West Bengal. In addition, the study also tries to find out suitable strategies for sustainable development keeping in view the cultural integrity of the region, fragility of ecosystem, preservation of biological diversity and maintenance of life support system for providing maximum satisfaction to people and tourists. The present study has been carried out in the Dayapur, Pakhirala, and other adjoining villages of Gosaba block which fringe Sunderban Tiger Reserve (STR) in 24 Parganas (South) district of West Bengal. Gosaba block attracts good number of both domestic and foreign tourists of which the numbers of the nature lover tourists are comparatively more. The study focuses on inter-play among three significant aspects of ecotourism i.e., nature, tourism and local communities against the backdrop of hotels and restaurants, shops, travel agents, tourist guides, etc. Since tourism has provided alternative means of livelihood, the dependency on STR has come down to some extent. Besides the awareness of tourists about restrictions inside STR has further helped in minimizing the adverse impact.

Locale and population

Sundarban is the largest delta and also the largest mangrove forest in the world. The mangrove ecosystems are unique. This ecosystem is the inter-phase between sea and land, which protects the coastlines from natural calamities like soil erosion, cyclonic storms, and strong tidal water current. The Sundarbans covering an area of 10, 000, 00 ha of land and water are part of one of the worlds greatest deltas formed by sediments deposited by three great-rivers the Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna. Almost 62 per cent of the Sundarban is situated in Bangladesh, while the remaining 38 per cent of the region lies in India. These two portions together comprise the largest continuous block of mangrove in the world. Indian Sundarbans are located between 2132 - 22 40 north latitude and between 8885 - 89 east longitude. The Sundarban Biosphere Reserve (SBR) extends over an area of 9,630 sq. kms. in the state of West Bengal and presents a unique situation of biodiversity. The Sunderban Biosphere Reserve has three zones for coordination of its main function Core Zone (1330 sq. kms.), Buffer Zone (1255 sq.kms.) and reserve forest of south forest division (1678 sq. kms.) which totals 4263 sq. kms. The area of Transition Zone / Non-forest area / Settlement area is 5367 sq.kms. Core zone is included in Sundarban Tiger Project as well as in the Sundarban National Park (1330 sq. kms.). Out of this 2585 sq. kms. have been reconstituted as Sunderban Tiger Project from the year 1973, [Land area 1680 sq. kms. and water area 905 sq. kms.].Core zone is included in Sundarban Tiger Project and includes the Sundarban National Park (1330 sq. kms.). The National Park area of Sundarban Tiger Reserve (STR) has also been inscribed as World Heritage Site in 1987. Buffer Zone of


Impact of sustainable development: A study in Sundarban Biosphere Reserve

mangrove forest is the area where restoration of mangrove vegetation, research and monitoring are carried out. The Transition area along the northern boundary of reserve is the reclaimed Sundarban where agriculture and coastal aquaculture is extensively practised. It is a dynamic zone of cooperation with local communities. This part is used for agriculture, fishing, settlements and sustainable use of local ecosystem resources (Raha, 2004). The biosphere reserve nurtures many globally important rare and endangered species of flora and fauna. The region is the home of 1100 species of Angiosperm, 150 species of Algae, 15 species of prawns, 67 species of crabs, 23 species of mollusc, 163 species of birds, 40 species of mammals, 56 species of reptiles, 165 species of fishes. Globally important rare mangrove plant species e.g. Acanthus volubilis, Amoora cucullata, Bruguiera parviflora, Heritiera fomes, Nypa fruiticans, Rhizophora apiculata, etc. are available in the Sunderban . This only mangrove tiger land of the planet harbours rare and endangered mammals such as Panthera tigris, Prionalius bengalensis, Platanista gangetica, etc. The rare birds are Ardaea golioath, Sea Eagle, Osprey, Fishing Eagle, Hawk eagle, Bramhiny kite. The reptiles Batagur baska, Crocodylus porosus, Chitra indica, Kachuga tecta, etc. are endangered (Debnath, 2002). Sundarban is the only tropical semi evergreen mangrove reserve in the world inhabited by Royal Bengal Tiger. It was constituted by the Government of India in March, 1989 to protect the natural ecosystem and it received the recognition of UNESCO in Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB) in November, 2001(Raha, 2004). The ethnographic atlas of the area shows an agglomeration of ethnic groups many of whom represent the tribal world. The major tribal groups of the area are the Munda, Bhumij, Oraon and the Santal. The economic pursuits of these tribal groups are based on forest economy and also food producing economy and supplementary pursuits like agriculture and agricultural labour. Even there is continuous overlapping of two or more economic activities, which have a direct bearing to their ecological conditioning and economic need. The non tribals mainly represent communities namely the Poundra Kshatriya, Bagdi, Bedia, Chamar, Jele Kaibarta, Malo, Namasudra, Rajbanshi, Brahman, Bauri, Gowala, Tanti, Kayastha, Mahishya, Napit and so on. There are people also who belong to the faiths of Islam and Christianity, all of whom subsist on agriculture or agriculture related labour, business and other professions. There are communities who depend on forest and river for the collection of honey, wood and fish because agriculture does not fulfil their need due to saline water. The area is mono-crop in nature. The forest products such as timbers, fuel, woods, thatching leaves, honey and wax are the main source of commerce to local people. Besides other professions they work as a cheap labourer for additional source of income. During agricultural lean season, people resort to fishing by spreading net in the rivers and collection of prawn seeds even risking their lives from man-eating tigers and crocodiles. During April-May some people enter the Reserve Forests with permits, for collection of honey. They also collect prawn seeds from inter dial areas. These activities cause damage to the mangrove forest and also to the ecosystem as a whole through rapid depletion of resources. Sometimes the local people kill the

Amitava Dinda


tiger and sell its skin and other body parts to businessmen in exchange of huge amount of money. The near total dependence of the people on the natural resources of the ecosystem is due to many factors. One of the reasons is uncontrolled population growth with low income level. A steep rise of population 176 per cent between 1947 and 1991 census has led to loss of forest cover in 54 of the 102 islands of Sundarbans (Debnath, 2002). The islands of the Sundarbans are inaccessible even to the inhabitants and the facilities of communication like road and water transport is very poor. Out of common fear from nature and ferocious animals the Hindus and Muslims of the Sundarbans have been used to worship of Bonobibi, Dakshin Rai, Panchanan Pir, Kalu Rai, Manasa, Sitala, and such other deities irrespective of their religious belief. These gods and goddesses are worshipped by common people generally under trees or by the riverside in open place. Bonobibi deity is worshipped by the local people on different occasions. Such idols were perhaps created by the people by their own imagination to help them out of people troubles. Tusu dance (dance performed by tribal of Chhotonagpur area) is common in local villages among tribes. Dukhe Yatra i.e., open theater is also performed in the local villages.

Ecotourism spots of Sundarban Tiger Reserve

The eco-tour spots of Sundarban Tiger Reserve are Sajnekhali, Sudhanyakhali, Dobanki, Netidhopani and Burirdabri. The other tourists interest spots of Gosaba are Hamilton Bunglow, Bunglow used by Rabindra Nath Tagore, Gasifire (i.e. electricity from wood and diesel), Tagore Society for Rural Development, Rangabelia etc.

The work was undertaken in order to have some basic and preliminary informations about the impact of different development schemes, besides tourism, on the people residing in the adjoining areas of Sundarban Tiger Reserve of Gosaba block in 24 Parganas (South) district of West Bengal. For first hand information on different aspects, various structural schedules meant for tourists, hotels and lodges, tour operators and travel agents, restaurant and tea stall owners, shop owners, tourist guides, workers involved in different sectors of tourism, and the people of different walks of life viewed on impact of different development schemes on the people were canvassed. The schedules were randomly canvassed in different locales Sajnekhali, Sudhanyakhali, Dobanki, Burirdabri, Netidhopani, Pakhirala, Dayapur, Gosaba, Sonakhali, Basanti, Canning and other areas. Altogether 392 samples [tourists -180 (domestic -140 and foreign - 40), hotels - 23, restaurants - 24, tour operators 26, tourist guides - 17, shops -19, people involved in different tourism sectors - 44, and local peoples views on tourism - 59] were collected on different aspects of tourism besides other information. The sampling made in the present study does not bear proper statistical senses. However, the same was done purposively without considering proper statistical mode because of feasibility, coverage areas, manpower, time and nature and type of subjects, etc. Case studies are also applied in collecting


Impact of sustainable development: A study in Sundarban Biosphere Reserve

data on impact of development in studied villages. Besides structural schedules, case studies and other standard anthropological methods are also applied for yielding field data. Eco-tourism is practised in the Sundarban Tiger Reserve (STR), Gosaba and its adjoining region. Sajnekhali, Sudhanyakhali, Dobanki, Netidhopani and Burirdabri of Sundarban Tiger Reserve; Dayapur and Jamespur villages of Satjelia anchal; Pakhirala, Rangabelia and Jatirampur of Rangabelia anchal; Sonagaon, Arampur, Dulki, and Gosaba Bazar of Gosaba anchal, Gosaba block; Dakghat, Basanti and Sonakhali of Basanti block; and Canning station area are considered as study area. The period of field work for the collection of the present data was January and February for the years 2005 and 2006.

Aspects of tourism
Tourist Flow: Since the inception of Tiger Reserve, the flow of tourists has gradually increased in Sundarban which is shown in following diagram Fig. 1

Frequency distribution showing tourist flow in STR

No. of Tourists

80,000 60,000 40,000 20,000 0 19992000 20002001 20012002 Period 2002-03 2003-04 28,943 22,175 29,035 55,281 59,861 Total

Source: Jana, 2004 & Annual Report, 2003-2004, Sundarban Tiger Reserve and modified it in frequency distribution by the author.

Only 0.6 per cent of total tourists of West Bengal visit the Sundarbans. Only 0.2 per cent of total foreigners visiting West Bengal visit the Sundarbans. The flow of tourists is gradually increasing in Sundarban Tiger Reserve. In 2000-2001 the tourists flow decreased in STR. After that it is gradually increasing in STR. Most of the tourists demand their entry permission from Sajnekhali followed by Canning range, Sonakhali and Basirhat range. The flow of foreigners has increased over the years. The tourist flow has increased about 106 per cent in 2003-2004 compared to

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the period 1999-2000. The flow of tourists increased from the period 2002-2003 to 2003-04 (Fig.1). In peak tourist season i.e., November to January, about 20-25 launches from Canning gather in Sajnekhali. Each launch carries about 40-45 tourists. About 800 to 1100 tourists generally arrive in Sajnekhali everyday by launch from Canning. Reflection on Empirical Observation About 140 domestic tourists and 40 foreign tourists were interviewed during present field work. Tourists from all over the continents visit, Sundarbans for enjoying thrill of vision of the mangrovetiger land. Among 180 tourists 80.00 per cent tourists were from Asia, followed by Europe (17.23 per cent), North America (1.67 per cent), Australia (0.55 per cent) and Africa (0.55 per cent) were interviewed (Feb, 2005). Out of 140 domestic tourists 78.57 per cent and 21.43 per cent are males and females respectively. Among 140 domestic tourists 89.29 per cent, 2.86 per cent, 2.15 per cent, 1.44 per cent are respectively from West Bengal, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa. Each 0.71 per cent domestic tourists are from Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Punjab and Uttaranchal. The frequency of tourists from other states is less mainly due to improper publicity and marketing policies. Out of 40 foreign tourists 77.50 per cent, 10.00 per cent, 7.50 per cent, 2.50 per cent, and 2.50 per cent foreign tourists are from Europe, Asia (except India), North America, Australia and Africa respectively. In total 57.50 per cent and 42.50 per cent foreign tourists are males and females respectively. Foreign tourists are from Russia (5 per cent), South Korea (2.50 per cent), Siberia (2.50 per cent), Germany (27.50 per cent), United Kingdom (20 per cent), France (7.50 per cent), Czechoslovakia (7.50 per cent), Switzerland (5 per cent), Ireland (5 per cent), Spain (2.50 per cent), Norway (2.50 per cent), U.S. A. (7.50 per cent), Australia (2.50 per cent), and Nigeria (2.50 per cent). Measures of Sustainability Meeting tourism demands requires investment on infrastructure that may also meet community needs. Due to introduction of ecotourism, the new job opportunities are open for the local people in different tourism sectors such as hotels and lodges, restaurants and tea stalls, shops, tour operators and travel agents, tourist guides, transport and communication, etc. Sustainable development of local people occurs in this way. Of all infrastructures, accommodation is the most vital aspect of tourism sector. In the initial phase of tourism in Gosaba region, availability of hotels and lodges was very scanty. But due to increasing flow of tourist traffic over the years, its necessity was badly felt. During 1990s five hotels came up in Gosaba and its adjoining areas. The total number of hotels and lodges found in Gosaba and its adjoining area is 23. Out of 23 hotels and lodges, 8 private hotels and one Zillah Parishad Guest House (39.13 per cent of total accommodation) in Pakhirala village, 3 private hotels and one non-government organization acting as accommodation sector in tourist seasons (17.39 per cent) in Dayapur village, Sajnekhali Government Tourist Lodge (4.35 per 3


Impact of sustainable development: A study in Sundarban Biosphere Reserve

cent) in Sajnekhali, 6 private hotels (26.09 per cent) in Gosaba Bazar and 3 private hotels (13.04 per cent) in Sonakhali and Basanti area of total accommodation sector run their business. Sundarban Tiger Camp hotel of Dayapur village collects both domestic and foreign tourists. They have their own mechanized boat. Of total 16 permanent employees, 12 employees are from adjacent villages and four are outsiders. Sundarban Tiger View Point hotel of Dayapur village having three permanent outside employees and six temporary local employees do their business. Sundarban Tiger Camp hotel and Sundarban Tiger View Point hotel of Dayapur village act as a large tourism enterprise and is following Lesley Frances situation number (3) in Indian scenario. WBTDC Ltd.s tour is also following Frances situations number (1). But Hotel Madhuban, Hotel Krishna Kunja, Hotel Aram, Hotel Purbasha, Promila Tourist lodge, and Amari Lodge of Pakhirala village: Sundarban Green House of Dayapur village, and Lodge Suryatapa, Hotel Samrat, Hotel Kamala Kamini, Jay Maa Tara Hotel, Lakshminarayan Hotel, and Annyapurna Hotel of Gosaba Bazar are following Lesley Frances situation number (4). Affluent tourists generally avail themselves of the facilities of Sundarban Tiger Camp and Sundarban Tiger View Point hotels of Dayapur village and also avail the tour conducted by WBTDC Ltd.s by M.V. Madhukar, M.V. Chhitrarekha and M.V. Sarbajaya along with the facility of Sajnekhali Tourist Lodge. Budget travellers generally stay in Hotel Madhuban, Hotel Aram, Purbasha Lodge, Promila Tourist Lodge, Hotel Mangrove, Hotel Krishna Kunja, Swastik Lodge of Pakhirala village and Sundarban Green House of Dayapur village and all the hotels of Gosaba Bazar area. Out of 23 hotels and lodges, six hotel owners are from Kolkata. Due to introduction of new hotels, the land price of Pakhirala and Dayapur villages is increasing day by day. The growth of hotels and lodges in Gosaba and its adjoining area is given below in frequency distribution. Fig.2

Frequency distribution show ing growth of hotel in Gosaba and its adjoining areas
12 10 8 6 4 2 0
No. of Hotels

10 5 3 Up to 1990 1991 1995 1996 2000 2001 - Feb. 2005 Period 5 Series 1

About 13.04 per cent hotels came up till 1990. About 21.74 per cent hotels came up in period between 1991-1995 and 1996-2000. But from 2001 to February, 2005 the

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percentage growth of hotels and lodges has been doubled (43.48 per cent) compared to previous period. About 21.74 per cent hotels and lodges came up only in the month of December, 2004 and it is very significant in the growth of hotels and lodges in Pakhirala and Dayapur villages of Gosaba Block which is found from the field data (Fig.2) In ecotourism spots, the home stay facility should be more encouraged for it is economically beneficial to local community, promotes local culture and environmentally friendly for sustainable development. Hotel and lodge owner and employees of hotels and lodges are the important tourist managers. About 23 hotel owner families, 80 families of employees are directly dependent on tourism business. Indirectly the supplier of goods i.e., local villagers are also benefited through tourism. Most of the hotel employees are from villages of Pakhirala, Dayapur, Jamespur, Dulki, Sonagaon, Rangabelia, Arampur, Kachukhali, Bijoynagar, Manmathanagar and Kumirmarhi of Gosaba block. Very few employees are from outside of Gosaba block in hotel sector. Out of 24 establishments, 13 establishments are tea stalls and 11 are restaurants. In such an interior destination 24 restaurant and tea stall owner families are directly benefited through eco-tourism. Decadal growth of tea stalls and restaurants are given below in frequency distribution. Fig.3

Frequency distribution showing growth of restaurants and tea stalls in Gosaba

10 8 6 4 2 0 9 9 No 1 1940s 1 1960s 2 1970s 2 1980s 1990s 2000+


0 1950s

Pe riod (in year)

It is important to note that the first tea stall (4.17 per cent) were opened in the year 1949. The growth of tea stalls and restaurants was higher (37.50 per cent) in 1990s and also since 2000 to till Feb, 2005 (37.50 per cent) [Fig. 3]. Tour operating sector is the most important sector of tourism. The success of tourism at particular spot depends on the works of tour operators. In total, 26 tour operators were surveyed during the field work. There are about 50 tour operators at


Impact of sustainable development: A study in Sundarban Biosphere Reserve

Canning whereas there are about twenty tour operators in Gosaba (having an average of one or two employees). Tour operators business requires three to ten persons. Each tour operator is having on an average 7 employees to manage his business. Tour operators provide daily food to tourists. Most of the tourists of mechanized launch stay in hotels during night. Employees of tour operators are from Pakhirala, Dayapur, Gosaba Bazar, Masjidbati, Canning, Basanti, Diamond Harbour, and Sonarpur of 24 Parganas (South) district; Hasnabad, Hingalgunj and Basirhat of 24 Parganas (North) district; and Geokhali of Purba Medinipur district. Without tourist guide, tourism cannot sustain. Biodiversity of the Sundarbans cannot be understood without tourist guide facility. Forest department provides tourist guide in each boat or streamer. Forest department has recruited 23 tourist guides from Eco Development Committees (EDC) of Pakhirala, Dayapur, and Jamespur villages of Gosaba block. Out of 23 tourist guides only 17 tourist guides are performing their job at present (Feb, 2006). Shops are necessary for tourism. In total 19 shops are studied during field work. Petty gift shop, telephone booth, petty book shop etc. are found in Sajnekhali, Pakhirala and Dayapur village, Gosaba Bazar and Sonakhali. The items sold in the shops are honey; tender coconut; mineral water; replica of tiger, deer, crocodile, shark, crab and image of Bonobibi deity; etc. Some of the shop owners also sell Sundari and Kakra tree, Kath Badam, bee hives, etc. People of different age groups, castes are involved in different tourism sectors. People involved in different tourism sectors are from different villages of Gosaba block, Basanti block, Canning, and Diamond Harbour of 24 Parganas (South) district; Hingalgunj, Hasnabad, and Basirhat of 24 Parganas (North) district; Kantai and Geokhali of Purba Medinipur district. Among different workers, only 44 workers are interviewed. Out of nine ladies, seven work as hotel workers and two as restaurant workers in Gosaba. Among 44 workers, Poundra Kshatriya (65.92 per cent), Mahishya (20.45 per cent), Dhopa (4.54 per cent), Tantubai (4.54 per cent), Jele Kaibarta (2.28 per cent), and Muslim (2.27 per cent) work as hotel workers, restaurant workers, travel agent workers, van rickshaw pullers etc. The outcome of economy flourishing on account of tourism are not percolating down to the villagers of Pakhirala, Dayapur, Jamespur, Gosaba market area and its adjoining areas as is evident from their economic condition due to their lesser role in tourism. Besides this, the other contributing factors like ignorance, inaccessibility, poor economy etc. are responsible for their lesser role in tourism. A good number of people are involved in managing tourism in Canning station area. They are involved in supplying vegetables, fish, meat, drinking water, grocery items, egg, generator, etc. to the travel agents. A good number of people are involved in marketing and advertisement of eco-tourism of the Sundarbans in Canning station and also in Kolkata. The number of persons involved in different tourism sectors within Gosaba block and outside Gosaba block is given in tabular form :

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Table: Persons involved in different tourism sectors in STR Category Hotel owners Restaurant owners Tour operators Tourist guides Shops Craftsman Workers involved in different tourism sectors Total No. of persons (Local No. of persons (Outsiders i.e., within Gosaba block) i.e., outside of Gosaba block) 15 19 20* 17 23 1 90* 6 5 450* 0 0 1 8*



Number of persons sometimes varies as per situation demand. In such interior destination, tourism play a vital role in sustainable development. Besides positive aspect of sustainable tourism, some of the negative impacts of tourism in Sunderban are given below: Frequent movements of launches and bhatbhati (locally made boat) break the solitude of Sundarban Tiger Reserve which hampers the normal life of wild animals and plants besides oil spillage in the rivers. Local villagers opine that tourists drunkenness, dress, free mixing (drishya dushan termed by local people), etc. are not healthy for villagers.

Impact of Development Programmes in Dayapur village

Repairing of river banks with mud and maintenance of village path under Jawahar Rojgar Yojana (JRY) were going on in Dayapur village. Programme like IRDP has no such good impact among the tribals of Dayapur village. There is no electrification, proper village path, transport both in river and land, proper health facility nearby, drinking water and so on. Netai Sardar of Dayapur village once was successful member of IRDP scheme. Rabindra Sardar, a political leader informs that though large number of schemes were taken on different occasions the tribals are in the same condition as before due to illiteracy and ignorance and also for poor far-sight of the government authorities. For him, now-a-days getting benefit from any government scheme require active political participation. He also informed that government authorities rarely visit Dayapur village due to its remoteness (water transport by engine boat, van rickshaw for road and also walking and crossing rivers). No fruitful result under different schemes have yet been ripen for the tribals of Dayapur village due to its interior location, island like situation, also for ignorance of local government authorities etc.


Impact of sustainable development: A study in Sundarban Biosphere Reserve

Formation of Eco-development Programmes (EDP) to eradicate poverty by the Project Tiger, Forest Department and its impact
Besides schemes mentioned above Project Tiger of Forest Department has already initiated a large number of schemes in Dayapur village to reduce forest dependence through some schemes in IRDP and others. In 2006, 544 households, (two members from one household i.e., husband and wife) became members of the eco-development programme in fringe villages of Tiger Reserve. The eco-development programmes are an attempt to reduce forest dependence. The renovation of smaller Topor khal for irrigation as earlier it was in shape of pond (for drinking water) of P.C. Sen High School, construction of brick path and jetty as community programme were done by the Forest Department. Formation of Self Help Group was confined to individual family level. The trainings were imparted under self-help group in poultry farming, duckery, goatery, piggery, paddy husking, puped rice for Adivasis of Majer para, Baghedhara para (the hamlet where large number of tiger attacked victim cases are available), Malsabhanga, Renuka nagar, Dakhin para hamlets of Dayapur village by the Forest department for both the tribal and non tribal people. Goatery and paddy husking are the most successful programmes. Absence of proper market is the cause of failure of poultry scheme. Supply of non local variety of duck (as they do not like the particular variety) is the major cause for failure of the scheme. The distribution of smokeless chullah was also an important programme which helped in the lower consumption of fuel wood. The activities of the EDC are not very transparent to the common man. The decisive power remains confined among the Joint Convenor, Beat Officer and one or two members of the EDC. The political intervention is another factor on which the decisions are made and many a time the executive member belonging to a different party is unaware of the development programmes. The common members most of the time remain unaware of the development activities (Dhar, 2007).

Eco-tourists degree of satisfaction depends on several factors. Some of the important factors are availability of proper infrastructural facility, involvement of local community in ecotourism activity, proper tourism management, maintenance of ecotour spots and fragile ecosystem. Government

Tourist Satisfaction

Local Community

Small Scale Private Entrepreneurs

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Strategic approach to sustainable tourism for Sundarban Tiger Reserve

In the management process of tourism, the interplay of three indicators viz. local community, small scale private entrepreneurs and government determine the nature and degree of management in terms of availability of infrastructure, conservation of ecology, benefit to local community and satisfaction to tourists. In case of Sundarban Tiger Reserve, which has a fragile ecosystem, a greater participation of local community along with decisive government intervention the in management of tourism is suggested to safeguard the interest of the local community and protect the ecology. It, in turn, will ensure maximum satisfaction to tourists. So far as private entrepreneurship is concerned, the small scale private entrepreneurships involvement should be encouraged (Dinda, 2006). Physical environment of any place play vital role in the society which is governed by the implementation of government schemes. Hence, it is urgently realised that planning for implementing any government scheme must be area specific as well as community specific. It has also been observed from the above study that economic backwardness, low literacy level and non participation in politics causing poverty have a direct effect on interrelationship among communities in this micro level. Hence, sustainable tourism in Sundarban acts as an agent of sustainable development for the people.
Chawla, R.ed. Debnath, H.S. Dhar, Ratna 20 03 20 02 20 07 Global Tourism . Sonali Publications, New Delhi. Sundarban Biosphere Reserve. Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata. Human Element in Conservation Process: A Rethinking in the Context of Biosphere Reserve Man in Biosphere A Case Study of Sundarban Biosphere Reserve edited by Dr. D. B. Mandal, Gyan Publishing House, New Delhi. Sundarban Tiger Reserve: Perspectives in Sustainable Tourism. The Oriental Anthropologists , Vol.6, No.1, pp.139-150. Evaluation of Eco-Tourism Activity: A Case Study of Sundarban Tiger Reserve Man in Biosphere A Case Study of Sundarban Biosphere Reserve edited by Dr. D. B. Mandal, Gyan Publishing House, New Delhi. Sree Khanda Sundarban . Deep Prakasan, Kolkata. Sunderban Tiger Reserve . 2004. Annual Report, 2003-2004 on Sunderban Tiger Reserve . Canning. The Earthscan Reader in Sustainable Tourism. Earthscan Publications, U.K. Indian Sundarban An Overview, Forest and Wild Life Wing, Forest Department; Kolkata.

Dinda, Amitava

20 06

20 07

Jana, Debaprasad. Field Director, Sunderban Tiger Reserve. France, Lesley ed Raha, A. K.ed

20 04 20 04

19 97 20 04

Jr. Anth. Survey of India, 60 : 38-72 (2011)

Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

Kakali Chakrabarty* Krishna Mandal* K.M. Sinha Roy* Krishna Basu*
This paper attempts to discuss the importance of food related to worship of the gods and goddesses with particular reference to the famous Jagannath temple of Puri, Orissa. The place, regarded as the Bhojan kshetra or anna kshetra i.e. the place of dining, is one of the four sacred centres of the Vaishnava tradition of Hindu pantheon. Being the place of dining of the god, offering of food occupies the central position in the act of worship. In Indian Hindu tradition the food ethos of the people is greatly influenced by the Aryan beliefs and practices in which food is a part of cosmic moral cycle. The essence is that from food all creatures produced, by food all do they grow. Some foods are considered innately pure while some are not. Cow-milk is considered pure and so its by-products like ghee (clarified butter), dahi (curd), while buffalo milk is not. Coconut and sesame seeds are also considered innately pure. The food items that stimulate senses such as garlic and onions are impure for ritual use. Foods offered to the deity and get sanctified through rituals are called Prasda. Prasda reflects the regional food pattern and the cultural values attached to the food items. Prasda of Jagannath temple is called Mahaprasda . The paper discusses the elaborate system of daily service or sev to the gods. The Jagannath temple of Puri housed three prime deities, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, the brother of Lord Krishna and Subhadra, their sister. Foods are offered to all of them and there is an elaborate food list for the gods and goddess. The importance of food in Hindu philosophy is reflected through the beliefs and practices of the Jagannath temple of Puri. In Hindu religion, god is often personified and is offered with all material needs that a human being needs to live. The concept of Jagannath is no exception of this. So he requires food and water suitable for different seasons, enjoys favourite items like chadheineda , pura pith , marich lru, pakhal etc. He is offered with marich-pni , good for stomach, and pachan bhoga and chakota bhoga during ailment ( anabasar ) and so on. The food tradition of the Jagannath temple has not yet accepted any addition or alteration since its inception under kingly ruling till date. Mahprasda , the holy food of the gods, has an immense significance in the life and culture of the people of India as a whole. For the devotees Mahprasda of the lord Jagannath earns them enormous virtues ( punya ) and washes out all their sins ( ppa ) in their earthly life. Eating Mahprasda brings them the final emancipation of soul. With all such beliefs, rituals and practices the Jagannath temple of Puri stands in the centre of Hindu Indian tradition over centuries. *Anthropological Survey of India, Eastern Regional Centre, Kolkata 700091. EN -79, Sector V , Salt Lake,

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.


In India, the worship of almost all the gods and goddesses are associated with offering of some kind of food. The items and recipes vary from region to region, depending on the food ethos of the people and the regional crop tradition. Food ethos of the people, in Indian Hindu tradition emerges out of a concept of purity and pollution that evolved in the society over centuries. Some foods are innately pure such as cow-milk, while some are not. Achaya (1998:61) observes that most of this food ethos has been influenced by Aryan beliefs and practices and in Aryan belief, food is not simply a means of bodily sustenance but a part of a cosmic moral cycle. He explained his observation with the passage from Taittiriya Upanishad and from Bhagavad Git, two important old scriptures of Vedic philosophy. The Taittiriya Upanishad states, From earth sprang herbs, from herbs food, from food seed, and from seed man. Man thus consists of the essence of food. From food all creatures are produced, by food all do they grow. The self consists of food, of breath, of mind, of understanding, of bliss. The Bhagavad Gita says: From food do all creatures come into being. With these, Achaya (ibid) brings out the embedded philosophy that in the great Aryan cosmic cycle, the eater, the food he eats and the universe must all be in harmony. All food on being, was believed to give rise to three products. The densest of these is faeces which get extracted; the product of intermediate density is transmuted into flesh, and the third product, the finest and rarest, is manas, which is thought or mind. Prasad, which is the left-over of food that has been offered to the gods, is thought to be pure rasa or essence that leaves no residue and maintains mans spirituality. Built on such philosophy, food earns immense importance in the cultural tradition of India covering a wide range of ritual and religious practices.

Religious importance of the Jagannath temple

The Jagannath temple of the coastal town of Puri in the state of Orissa, earns its importance as bhojan-kshetra (the dining place; bhojan =act of eating, kshetra=place) of Mahaprabhu, the almighty god, here Lord Jagannath, a form of Vishnu or Krishna of Hindu pantheon. The prime item of food offered to Lord Jagannath is anna, the cooked rice and so the place is also known as anna-kshetra. It is believed that Puri, variously known as Srikshetra, Sankhakshetra, Purusottamkshetra, Nilachal, and Niladri is one of the four major dhm (sacred centre) of Vaishnava tradition in India, where Lord Vishnu or Krishna is worshipped. The four dhm are located in four directions, Puri in the eastern part of India, Badrinath in the north, Dwark in the west, and Rameswaram in the south. These four dhm are meant for four precise functions of Lord Vishnu; Badrinath is his tapa-kshetra, the place of meditation and austerities, Dwark is meant for Rjbesa, the place for kingly adornment, Rameswaram is his sayan-kshetra, the place for taking rest, and Puri is the place for dining. With this embedded philosophy, food is the prime concern of worship in the Jagannath temple of Puri. All the religious activities in the Puri temple revolve around food. Here any kind of worship or service to the god involves the offering of food. Hence, there is an elaborate system of offering food to the deity.

Ritual services (sev) and the servitors (Sevaka)

There is an elaborate system of daily service to the gods. The service to the gods is called sev. The Gang kings introduced daily ritual services or sevpuj to the deities and assigned the tasks to his people who became known as Sevaka. Each


Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

and every kind of service to the god is a sev and for each sev there is a Sevaka. Initially there were 9 Sevaka namely, Caru Hot, Patra Hot, Brahma, Achrya, Pratihri, Puspalaka, Dayita, the washerman and the barber which were later extended to 36 categories of Sevakas by the successive kings and the system was known as Chhattisa Nijoga/Niyoga (chhattisa=36, Nijoga/Niyoga=group of servitors/ their association). According to the temple chronicles ( Mandalapanji) Ananga Bhima Dev had established 36 Nijogas. Chhattisa Niyoga involved a number of Niyogas like Pratihri Nijoga, Mahsur Nijoga, Bhitarchha Nijoga, Puja Panda Nijoga and so on. They looked after the temple functionaries. The head of the Nijogas was called Nyaka. Above all, there was Patjoshi who ensured proper functioning of the temple. The sev categories might have further extended over time. The temple record of Rights, 1950, recorded 119 categories of Sevakas but at present all there are not functional. The Sevakas enjoy hereditary right for sevpuj. The right to sev follows the male line only i.e., from father to the son and normally the eldest son succeeds the right. It is strictly mens domain. There are innumerable number of ritual services or sev around the deities and each Sevaka was traditionally assigned with a particular ritual service to the deity. The responsibility of each category of Sevaka is fixed and can never be changed. Nobody was found encroaching others functional jurisdiction. The king of Puri, honourably referred to as Gajapati Mahrj, is the first Sevaka (dya Seveka) by virtue of his political status. The services of the Sevakas are controlled by the system of Pli which is a social control over the right to sev. Pli fixes the schedule of duty for each Sevaka. It is a system which ensures each family of Sevaka to get a term for offering sev to the gods and thereby earns its entitlement in cash and kind from the temple. Each of the Sevaka family offers its services to the deities on day or days as fixed by the Nijoga. The Sevakas on duty (Pli) are called Pli. Pli is a well organized and well disciplined system and there is no overlapping in between two Pli. The name of each Pli is enrolled in the temple office and they are called for their respective services accordingly. The Sevakas traditionally assigned the sev of cooking for the Gods is called Supakar or Sur. Cooking is a sev to the gods and the right to cook is hereditary like all other kinds of sev. A group of Supakar is called Mahsur. It is believed that their forefathers were awarded with the title of Mahsur by the then king. They enjoy a superior status than that of Sur. The Mahsur are those who carry the cheka (food arranged for offerings) to the Panti i.e., the specified space in the inner sanctuary for offering food. The Mahsurs duty is to see the kitchen to be cleaned. After being satisfied with the cleanliness he gives permission for Homa (sacrificial fire) in the kitchen. They are the supervisors in the kitchen, always watching on the sanctity and purity of the kitchen. After the food is presented to Lord Jagannatha they offer Jagannatha Thali (food plates) to goddess Bimal. It is the Mahsur who enjoys the privilege to offer the first food offerings namely, Gopl ballava bhoga to the deities, first to Balabhadra, then to Lord Jagannath, thereafter to goddess Subhadra and lastly to goddess Lakhsmi. He also offers knti and jhilli (varieties of pith, a traditional delicacy of sweet) bhoga to the deities in the same order during morning meal. Bhoga means the food sanctified by being offered to the god. There is finer classification in work allotment related to cooking and each of the Sevaka is well versed with the norms and procedures of sev assigned to him. Pli system among the Mahsurs is controlled by the Supakar Nijoga. The Surs do not have

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.


Pali system but they distribute the responsibility among their family and lineage members so that each family can have priviledge to offer sev. There are three prime duties in the Jaganath temple of Puri eg., the Jagannath temple of Puri houses three prime deities, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, the elder brother of Lord Krishna and Subhadra, their sister. Besides, there is Devi Bimala, the consort of Lord Siva and goddess Lakhsmi, consort of Lord Vishnu or Jagannath. Another worshipped figure is Sudarshana. Food is offered to all of them and there is an elaborate food list for the gods and goddesses.

Food: concept of pure (suddha) and impure (asuddha)

Foods made holy by ritual presentation to the deity are called Prasda in general. Achaya (1998 rep. 2003:195) discussed that In the Hindu belief, such prasad is pure essence or rasa, which when consumed is converted totally into mind or manas, the finest form and leaves no residues (to be eliminated as faeces) or residues of medium density (that are transmitted into flesh). The Prasda of Jagannath is called Mahprasda . There are different opinions regarding the very term Mahprasda. One opinion says that Prasda of Mahaprabhu (mah=great, Prabhu= lord/god, Mahaprabhu= the great god or supreme lord) Jagannath is Mahprasda. According to another view, the food offered to Lord Jagannath passes through Devi (goddess) Bimal and then only it becomes Mahprasda. The myth says that Nirkar Brahma (the incorporeal Supreme Being) created three supreme powers: Brahma, the creator of the universe, Vishnu, the protector and Siva, the destructor. They used to serve the incorporeal Supreme Being and receive Prasda from him. One day, after having Prasda from Nirkar Brahma, Lord Siva expressed his satisfaction before his wife goddess Prvati. Feeling being deprived the goddess approached the incorporeal Supreme Being and urged him to have his Prasda. The Supreme Being assured her for the same everyday. Moreover, he assigned her the responsibility of supervising the kitchen and also made a rule that his Prasda would reach the people only after passing through her. Goddess Bimal of Jagannath temple is no one but goddess Prvati, the consort of Lord Siva. Yet, another story has been recorded by Gopal Chandra Tripathy (1989). The story says before Lord Jagannath was installed in the temple, Goddess Bimala had occupied the temple. Lord Jagannath prayed Goddess Bimala, the Goddess of the universe for permission to get into the temple and Goddess Bimala accorded permission on the condition that the food offering to Lord Jagannath is to be offered to Bimala first and then it will be regarded as Mahaprasad. The condition was fulfilled and as per the practice today the Prasad of Jagannath turns into Mahaprasad once it is offered to goddess Bimala. The temple of Goddess Bimal is considered as one of the important Sakti Pitha (the seat or place of worship of Sati, one incarnation of goddess Durga, the consort of Lord Siva) in India and the devotees who make a pilgrimage to Jagannath temple compulsorily make a darshana (the holy sight of the deity) of her. It may be mentioned here that the food practice of Jagannath temple is strictly vegetarian in Vaishnava tradition and therefore the way of worship in Bimal temple also follows the same norm throughout the year except during the fortnight of the worship of goddess Durga in the month of Aswina when the goddess is worshipped in Sakta tradition (worshipping of Sakti) with the offering of fish and sacrifice of goat from Maha Saptami (seventh day) to Maha Navami (ninth day) days. According to Nanda (2001) during 16th century, Vardhan Rajguru introduced offering of fish and


Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

sacrifice of goat during Maha Saptami to Maha Navami days in Vimala temple. It is also stated that Ratha Samanta Brahmans of Bira Narasinghpur worship goddess Bimala during these sixteen days (ibid). Prasda reflects the regional food pattern and the cultural values attached to the food items. The concept of pure and impure in relation to food practice is very prominent. An item may be included in the dietary practice of the general people but may not be considered suddha or pure for offering to the deity. This concept of purity evolves through various socio-historical processes. For instance migration of or introduction through alien people may not be assimilated in the local tradition and therefore, treated as impure (asuddha). This is true for religion, people or a food item. In case of Puri temple, potato, a later introduction by the Portuguese in India and by the British in Orissa is not pure and cannot be offered to the deity though people accepted it in their diet. There are many other vegetables or food items that are not considered pure for offering to the gods. Of them, the food items that stimulate senses, such as garlic and onions are not recommended for one seeking spiritual gain. Cow-milk and its byproducts like ghee (clarified butter) and dahi (curds) are considered pure while buffalo-milk is not. Coconut and sesame seeds (til) are also considered pure. Sesame oil (til tel) is used for lighting the earthen lamps (dipak) for the ritual use in the temple. For cooking food for the gods only ghee (clarified butter) is used. Mustard seeds though included into the list of spices but its oil ( tel) is not used. Only those crops, vegetables, fruits and any other food items are considered suitable for Mahprasda that are original to the land. According to the Temple Office sources (a government of Orissa Administration) the menu remains unchanged since the inception of the temple and no item of later origin is entertained. There are a total of 56 items in the menu list which is popularly called chhappana (fiftysix) bhoga. Types of rice used in bhoga 1) Bakui (Gobindo bhoga), 2) Champa (Gobindo bhoga), 3) Masiya Pholo, 4) Kakur manji, 5) Mouro Gotha, mainly used during Ratha Yatra, 6) Bhutisha/bhutisara, 7) Khajur Chahal, 8) Kaniya, used during Lakshmi puja, 9) Dhara kartika, essential for bhoga during the month of Margashira (equivalent to English calendar months of November-December), also offered to goddess Lakshmi. Vegetables used 1) Khmbalu, type of tuber, big in size, original to the land, 2) Sankha sru (a variety of arum), original to the land, 3) Kakharu, pumpkin type of vegetable, 4) Kando-mulo or ll lu, a type of tuber, original to the land,

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.


5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12) 13)

Munda sru, a variety of arum, original to the land, Potola, a kind of kitchen vegetables, Kakon, cucumber type of vegetables, Kanchkala (green banana), Sem (kidney bean), Bantolakoduli , Khara shga, a variety of edible leaves, Kosala shga, a variety of edible leaves, Agasti shga, a variety of edible leaves, offered in the month of Krtika (October-November).

Pulses (dl) used Harhar, Mugo, Biri only. Vegetables not used/forbidden 1) Potato (gol lu), brought to India by the Europeans, 2) Tomato, (Biliti baigana), migrated from other country, 3) Drumstick ( Sajanachhui), not original to the land, 4) Bittergourd (Kalor), a longish fruit of bitter taste, 5) Green chilli (Konch lank), 6) Gourd (lu), 7) Bottlegourd, 8) Snakegourd (Chachindra), 9) Lemon (Limbu), 10) Ladys finger (Bhendi), 11) Papaya (Amruta Bhnda), 12) Poi (a leafy vegetable), 13) Cabbage (Bndha Kobi), 14) Carrot (Gjar), 15) Bit, 16) French Bean, 17) Capsicum, 18) Janhi, a sort of cucumber, 19) Piriya, 20) Garlic (Rasuna), 21) Onion (Piyanja). Spices 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) used Mustard (sarisa), Cinnamon (druchini), Pepper (golmarich), Ginger (da), Black variety of Cumin seeds (klajir), Poppy seeds (posto),


Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

7) Cardamom of big size (elchi), 8) Cloves (labanga), 9) Groundnut, 10) Nutmeg (jaiphal), 11) Cumin seeds (jir), 12) Coconut (nriya). Salt (luno/nuno): Crude type of salt called deshi nuno is in use since ancient times. Fine salt processed by modern technology is not used. Small size cardamom called Gujarati elchi is not used. Cooking medium is compulsorily ghee (clarified butter). The chronicles of Jagannatha temple (Mandalapanji) includes a detailed list of articles, cereals and vegetables that are allowed in the preparation of bhoga. The list is followed strictly. Madalapanji is maintained by Tadu Karana, a category of Sevaka, who is assigned with this particular kind of sev. They have the surname as Pattyanayaka.

Food for the gods

The food for the gods is Bhoga. Bhoga after ritually presented to gods becomes Prasda. Bhoga in Jagannath temple has a very elaborate list of food items. It includes varieties of rice, pulses, vegetables, sweet dishes. The foods prepared in the temple can be classified into two categories: Kotha bhoga and Bhoga-mandapa bhoga or Bhanda bhoga. Kotha bhoga is the scheduled offerings made from temple funds and kings house while Bhoga-mandapa bhoga is one that is cooked for public and is sold to the devotees, to various Matha (Hindu monastery) and to the people associated with the temple. For Kotha bhoga the entire expenditure of food materials, fuel, earthen pots, utensils and other related raw materials are borne by the Temple Office Committee. Kotha bhoga is cooked in the temple kitchen by the Surs on duty and presented in the inner sanctuary. For Bhoga-mandapa bhoga the investment is made by the Surs (cook) and the expenses are reimbursed by selling the bhoga to public as well as to the devotees, Mathas and the like. This Bhogamandapa bhoga is not presented in the inner sanctuary; it is placed at the Bhogamandapa, the pavilion sanctified for offering of bhoga. This mandapa is said to be built by Purusottam Deva in 15th century A.D (Tripathy, 1989:14). Kotha bhoga after presenting to Jagannath and thereafter to goddess Bimal is shared among the Plis. This share in Mahprasda is called khei. Each of the Sevakas has prescribed khei and accordingly they would receive the same. Kings khei is called tt. The amount of khei received by a Pli is more than enough for his consumption and he can sell the excess amount to the public. For selling of Mahprasda there is a market inside the temple called Anandabazar. Everyday Anadabazar receives innumerable devotees who look for Mahprasda, the holy food of the gods; for them Mahprasda gets them eternal bliss and relief from all earthly sorrows and anxieties. Kotha bhoga is cooked and offered five times a day while Bhoga-mandapa bhoga is prepared once in a day. On exceptional cases like the excessive rush of devotees due to religious festivals of the temple or of various Mathas the Bhogamandapa bhoga can be cooked more than once but restricted to maximum three

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.


times a day. The quantity of Kotha bhoga is fixed but for Bhoga-mandapa bhoga there is no fixed quantity and it is always enormous to cater the needs of the public. Traditionally both the systems of bhoga are running parallelly.

Kotha bhoga
Kotha bhoga, offered five times is named differently. Early morning bhoga is called Gopal Ballava bhoga or Balbhoga, offered in the morning between 8.30 a.m. and 9.00 a.m. followed by Sakl dhupa i.e., morning meal (sakl=morning, dhupa= offering of rice-meal) to be offered at around 11 Oclock morning, Madhyanha dhupa or Dwiprahara dhupa i.e., mid-day meal (madhyanha/dwiprahara= mid-day/noon) offered at around 2 p.m., Sandhy dhupa (sandhy= evening) or the evening meal, offered after the evening worship around 6 p.m.and Bada Sinhri bhoga, the last offering of a calendar day, offered at around 11 Oclock in the night. Each of the bhoga excepting the Ballava bhoga has an elaborate menu covering cereals, pulses, vegetables and sweet dishes. Depending on the number of associated ritual items the bhoga may be of two categories: panchapochr i.e., with five upachr or articles of worship (in practice it is comparatively less elaborate method of worshipping) and sorosopochr i.e., with sixteen articles of worship, in practice it includes elaborate rituals of worship. The former includes Ballava-bhoga, Bada Sinhri bhoga and Bhoga-mandapa bhoga while the latter includes Sakl dhupa, Madhyanha dhupa and Sandhy dhupa. Categorically bhoga are of two types: samkhudi and nisamkhudi. Samkhudi bhoga includes food prepared of rice, biri (a variety of pulses) and vegetables, while the food prepared of maid and t (flour), ghee, sugar and molasses is called nisamkhudi. Again the cooked items (pka) can be broadly classified into four types: 1) Bhima pka: it includes the items prepared of biri. 2) Nala pka: includes stuffed and spiced vegetables. 3) Sauri pka: includes milk items, fried items. 4) Gauri pka: includes preparation of pulses and edible leaves. Anna or the cooked rice can be categorized as follows: 1) 2) 3) 4) Sari anna: includes kanika, ghee rice, tava rice etcetera, Kshir anna: rice cooked in milk with added ingredients, Dadhi anna: rice added with curds, Sital anna: rice soaked in water, popularly called pakhal. There are varieties of pakhal e.g., sital pakhal, subash pakhal, tava pakhal.

In all three major meals i.e., in mid-day meal, evening meal and in Bada Sinhri bhoga, the god is served with pakhal, a favourite item of Lord Jagannatha. The pakhal served in day meal compulsorily have jasmine seeds in it; the pakhal offered during evening meal is added with curds (doi) and ginger and the pakhal of bado sinhri bhoga is served with ginger, jir (cumin seeds), ghee (clarified butter) and khand (sugar candy). Another item common to all the bhoga is pith (traditional item of cake). There are different types of pith prepared for the deities. Bhoga is cooked following the tradition strictly and there is no provision of change either in menu or in ingredients. There are 56 items (chhappana bhoga) in the menu chart which


Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

is unchanged over centuries. It is said that during the days of Kings rule all the 56 items were cooked and offered to the gods every time. Nowadays all the items are not prepared everyday but the menu is to be selected compulsorily from the list of 56 items that is fixed since the olden days of kings reign. However, the offering is commonly referred to as chhappana bhoga. Kotha bhoga is prepared in fixed quantity. In case it is found excess the extra amount is destroyed in fire. Again, during cooking or even after cooking if the Sevakas find the temple premise has got polluted by any unforeseen act by anybody then the entire cooked items will be destroyed and after necessary purification the food will be prepared afresh. But the god should be offered food in the stipulated period and there is no question of skipping any meal. Another important event in relation to food practices in the temple is the placing of flags at the temple-mount. Until the flag is fixed bhoga cannot be cooked. It was once during a festive day accidentally the flag of the temple-peak down and it was a shock for the whole society of Sevaka as well as for the common people that cooking for the gods had to be stopped till the flag was mounted again. The responsibility of placing the flag at its place goes to the Chuneras (appendix VII). For Kotha bhoga, earthen, brass, silver and iron utensils are only used. The Puj Pand (the priest on duty) draws rectangles on the floor with rice powder and camphor mix before each of the idols for keeping the plates of bhoga. Such drawings are called murch. The rectangles are of 6 feet x 3 feet in size. Food plates are placed on the murch in rows for offering and this arraying is called Pangti bhoga. The kitchen or rasa-sal (commonly called rasa) is a sacred place where entry is restricted for the general public. It is a huge area consisting of a number of kitchen rooms and courtyards enclosed by high walls. Nobody other than Supakars (the cooks), Taluchha Mahptra, Puj Pand, Bitarachha Mahptra and other Sevakas associated with its precise activities are allowed inside the kitchen. Rasa is further classified and named according to its precise function. They are: 1) 2) Kotha bhoga rasa, used for Kotha bhoga, Satapuri rasa, for preparation of sweetmeat like gaj, khaj and pith. On every Makar-sankrnti day (a religious occasion on the last day of Pausa i.e., December-January of the English calendar) and on the day of Satapuri amvashy (amvashy=no moon day) some special dishes are added to Kotha bhoga which are cooked in this rasa. Special items are sata puri pith and pura pith, a favourite item of Lord Jagannath, Bala bada rasa, this kitchen is the biggest in size, named after Lord Balabhadra, one of the presiding deities, Matha rasa, also called Emr rasa cooks the Emr Matha (Matha= Hindu monastery) according to their prescription. Gote Bhitarachchha rasa, is owned by Bhitarachchha Mahapatra, the third Sevaka associated with the Kotha bhoga. He rented it out to other Supakars who cook for sale. Food items include rice, pulses and vegetables, Bada Oriya rasa, supplies anna bhoga (comprises rice, pulses, vegetables) to the Oriya Matha, Uttar Parsa rasa, is devoted for the purpose of the Matha so named. According to the food requirement of this Matha this rasa supplies anna bhoga (rice, pulses, vegetable), pith and mohanbhoga,

3) 4) 5)

6) 7)

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.


8) 9)

Raghab Das rasa, provides food to the Matha so named. The items prepared in this rasa are anna bhoga (rice, pulses, vegetables) and pith, Pith Bada rasa, prepare pith and anna bhoga.

All the kitchens function everyday. It is believed that the owners of rasa-sal are goddess Lakhsmi and Saraswati. The Surs and all the people associated with kitchen apply holy vermilion of goddess Dakshina Kli on their forehead so that she will protect the cooking pots and thus, pots will remain unbroken while cooking. A Homa or havan (fire sacrifice) is compulsorily performed everyday in the rasa before the sev of cooking starts. The fire (Agni) of this Homa is called baishnabagni. With this fire the hearths (chula) are lit. Fire is preserved in the kitchen and no modern technology like safety matches etcetera is used. Rasa Pik lights the Homa. He is the incharge of the fire of the kitchen. The priestly job for Homa is performed by the Puj Pand (priest Sevaka). He is assisted by Rasa Pik all through during Homa. Besides Puj Pand and Rasa Pik the presence of Amin Mahsur (the principal Mahsur), and Lenka Pik is also compulsory. The hearth of the kitchen is called nabangka yantra. It has nine holes (nabangka) and looks like a yantra (machine) and therefore so named. There are said to be 752 chula or hearth in the kitchen though there is difference of opinion about it. In one opinion number of chula is far less (about 250) than the said number. But Sevakas are adamant about the number as 752. According to one source there are 10 hearths for Kotha bhoga rasa and 300 hearths in different other rasa. Hearths are maintained by the Supakar people and repairing, if necessary, is done with earth, sand, molasses and water. The hearths in the kitchen are also identified differently according to the precise purpose of use. The hearth used for cooking pulses and vegetables is called hiya, that used for rice is chuli. The source of fuel is wood. For Kotha bhoga firewood is supplied by the forest department. For Bhoga-mandapa bhoga fuel wood is purchased by the Surs from government or from private agencies. Apart from the hearth for Kotha bhoga there are hearths owned by the Surs and Mahsurs. For Bhoga-mandapa bhoga the Sur who own a hearth can cook and sell the bhoga. An owner of a hearth may let it out to another Sur. Letting and subletting is well accepted practice; but it is restricted among the Surs only. The Surs who work in the kitchen should follow certain norms. They are to cover their nose and mouth with a piece of cloth called bghamukha and also to cover their head. They should be cleanly shaved and nails should be properly pared. They should not wear any ring or wrist ornaments but should have a wreath of holy basil (tulsi). All these are to be done to avoid any kind of pollution of the food. The cooked food should also be covered while transporting to the inner sanctuary for presenting to gods. For cooking food for the gods earthen vessels are mostly used. The earthen vessels are supplied afresh everyday. The potters and venders bring their products early in the morning everyday at the southern gate and the Surs collect their required items. For Kotha bhoga the expenditure of the pots is borne by the Temple office, while for Bhoga-mandapa bhoga the related Surs pay their own. No earthen vessel can be reused, either for Kotha bhoga or for Bhoga-mandapa bhoga. For Kotha bhoga apart from the earthen one the vessels made of brass, silver and of iron are also used nowadays, while for Bhoga-mandapa bhoga only earthen vessels are used. The earthen pots used for cooking are of different size and of different 4


Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

name. The earthen cooking pot is called tik. The big tik in which food for about 60 people can be cooked is called baihandi and that for 30 people is called dasia handi. The pot in which about two and a half kilogram of rice, one and a half kilogram of pulses can be prepared is known as badomatho kuri. Sano kuri is enough for one kilogram of pulses and one and a half kilogram of rice. Angase is small containers sufficient for cooking pulses and vegetables for two persons, chke for one person, kuriye for four persons, bado-bhato for two persons, sno-bhato for one person and so on. Purity and sanctity of kitchen is maintained strictly.

Types of sev (service) associated with Kotha bhoga

The Supakar or Sur associated with cooking of Kotha bhoga are called Badu Sur. There are eight types of sev associated with cooking of Kotha bhoga and the Sevakas are named according to the kind of precise seva they offer to the deity. They are: 1) Pith Sur associated with the preparation of pith (cake) with biri (a variety of pulses). Pith are of various kinds like knti, puri, nari etc., 2) Chana Pua Sur, who prepares pith with pounded rice (chaol chuna) like ris, kakera, lru, gaj etc., 3) Thali Sur, assigned with the duty of preparing varieties of rice namely sad anna, khichuri, oriya etc., 4) Tuna Sur, prepares sweet rice (kanika), vegetables, 5) Bindua Sur, pounds biri or rice, makes it ready for preparing pith and supplies to Pith Sur, 6) Pagua Sur prepares lru, bundia and other sweetmeats like enduri, manda, gaitha etc., 7) Tola-Baru, counts pith prepared by Sur and arranges them on the plates to be offered to the deity, carries those plates to the deity, 8) Amblu Sur, who cooks amblu (a kind of food item prepared of pounded rice, molasses and ghee i.e., clarified butter). Besides, there are various other kinds of sev associated with the rasa (kitchen) for Kotha bhoga. The Sevakas associated with these services are: 1) Rasa Pik, who looks after the cleanliness and purity of hearths ( chuli); he informs Puj Pand about the proper arrangement of the kitchen and then only Puj Pand performs the Homa. Rasa Pik receives the cooking materials from the store and hand it over to the Sur for cooking. He also acts as watchman of the kitchen till the Bada Sinhari dhupa is over and does not allow any unwanted person in the kitchen. 2) Angarua cleans ashes from hearths and then sprinkle water mixed with cowdung paste over the hearth. 3) Amina Mahsur, certifies the quality of the raw food materials, check the vegetables and other food items before offering to the deities. If he finds the raw vegetables and other items are not up to the mark he immediately reports it to Deul Karana.

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.


Amunia Paricha supervises the work of the kitchen. He is responsible for arranging all the necessary appliances of the kitchen. 5) Taluchha Mahptra looks after the rules and regulations in the kitchen, checks the raw materials used for cooking. Rasa Pik compulsorily accompanies him. 6) Bhitarachchha Mahptra, checks the food items to be properly served. He is also responsible to meet up any problem arising during the preparation of bhoga. 7) Paiya Mahsur, not involved in cooking but takes the bhoga to Mahaprabhu, the Lord Jagannath. 8) Gandhara Nekapa, he distributes the essential rations to the Surs time to time, 9) Kotha Bhoga Jogania, supplies earthen pots, fuel wood etc. to the Gandharo Nikapa. 10) Nikapa Sevaka, dresses vegetables for cooking. 11) Kotha bhoga Pniya or Pniya Sevaka, supplies water for cooking from the holy wells (namely Gang and Jamun) located inside the kitchen enclosure, but he is not allowed to enter inside the kitchen. 12) Pangti-Baru, serves bhoga on the plates before Lord Balabhadra 13) Behera Pangti-Baru, serves bhoga on the plates before Lord Jagannath 14) Bidua Sevaka serves bhoga on the plates before goddess Subhadra and Sudarsana, also caries ghee (clarified butter) from kitchen and pours it on all the four plates of offering with the permission of Puj Pand. 15) Behera Seba, checks whether ghee is properly served on food. 16) Dopakhal cleans and sweeps the kitchen before havan. As has already been discussed each of these sev or service is a hereditary right for the particular Sevaka and each person on duty has a share (khei) in Kotha bhoga. Kotha bhoga, after offering to Lord Jagannath is brought by Pangtibaru to Bimala temple. After being offered to goddess Bimal the Mahprasda is handed over to Pangtibaru again who distributes its khei to the Pli. A Pli can sell his khei at Anandabazar. Kotha bhoga Offered to Lord Jagannath (becomes Prasda) Pangti-Baru (Sevaka) Bimala temple Sevaka Offered to goddess Bimala (becomes Mahprasda) Pangti Baru (Sevaka) Khei to Pli



Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

The Supakars associated with the Kotha bhoga compulsorily follow certain restrictions. On the preceding day of duty, they would restrict themselves to habisyanna, the pure vegetarian food i.e., boiled rice with ghee, offer naibidya (oblation) to Lord Jagannath and their families would cook on fire wood only. On the very day of duty they would enter the temple wearing wet gmochh (towel) or dry matkdhuti (matk=coarse kind of silk, dhuti= traditional mens wearing), first have a darshana (the holy sight of the god), then come to the rasa r (the enclosure of kitchen), wash hands and feet with the water from the holy wells located within the enclosure and then only enter into the kitchen. While cooking they recite Jagannath Visnu Sahasra Nama (thousand names of Lord Jagannath ), a way of prayer.

Gopal Ballava bhoga or Pratham (first) bhoga

This is the first offering of a day. This bhoga is devoid of rice and vegetables. The offering includes the followings food items: 1) Khairo, prepared of khoi (fried grain), black pepper, karpur (camphor), ghee (clarified butter) and khand (sugar candy) 2) Kora, a sweetmeat item, made of nariya (coconut), khand, black pepper and ghee 3) Khoya manda, a sweet item, made of milk cream and khand 4) Doi (curd) 5) Nariapati, coconut slices 6) Banana.

Sevaka associated with Ballava bhoga

A number of sev are associated with the offering of ballava bhoga. Each and every activity is important and precise. Sevakas are referred according to the kind of sev they perform. They are: 1) Suddu Sur, who cleans Pkhania, the defined space in inner sanctuary where the bhoga and the associated articles would be presented to the god, 2) Ballava-Jagonia, carries the food articles to the specified area over head, 3) Sur-Baru, keeps the plates before the deities and then food is served, 4) Patri-Baru, who keeps the ghanta (bell), sankha (conch shell) and flowers ready for offering, 5) Gora-Baru, keeps the holy water, jaifal (nutmeg), karpur (camphor), chandan (sandal) paste ready for necessary ritual performance but he is not allowed to place them before the deities, 6) Pli-Mahsur, places the items kept ready by the Gora-Baru before the gods, 7) Pratihari, keeps watching whether the activities are on the right track,

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.


8) Pradhania Sevaka, formally invites Puj Pand for the ritual offering of bhoga to the deities 9) Puj Pand performs the priestly job. There are three Puj Pand to offer to three presiding deities and the Puj Pand who offers to Lord Jagannath also offers bhoga to Sudarshana.

Sakl dhupa (morning meal)

In the morning meal the offering includes the following items: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Kanika, sweet rice, offered three pots (handi) full Tto khichuri, three pots full, prepared of rice, pulses of muga added with salt to taste (tato signifies kings share) Nukhura khichuri, prepared of rice and pulses of muga with salt to taste Menda-mundiya, a preparation of rice, offered one pot full Bado Knti, a variety of biri-pith (cake made of biri pulses), ingredients are biri (a variety of pulses), coconut, hing (asafetida) and ginger, offered five pots full Mtho puli, a kind of pith, offered six pots full Hansapuli, a kind of pith, offered two pots full Pithpuli, a kind of pith, offered four pots full Chandapuli, a kind of pitha, offered nine pots full, this has three khei (share) for three Puj Pand Jhilli, a kind of pith made of biri and rice, fried with ghee and drenched into molasses syrup, offered four pots full Enduri, a kind of pith offered six pots full Adpachri, syrup made of ginger juice, black pepper, salt and hing (asafetida) fried with ghee, offered three pots full Sga, preparation of edible leaves, offered five pots full Bhj, fried items, fried banana, khmblu (a variety of tuber), sru (tuber) added with pounded rice, salt and turmeric, offered one sar (a measure) full Hansakeli, balls made of pounded biri and rice and added with salt to taste Bundi, a type of sweet dish made of biri soaked into molasses syrup and scented water

6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12) 13) 14)

15) 16)

Of these items, khichuri, shga, bhj and enduri are favourite items of Lord Jagannath.

The Sevakas associated with Sakl dhupa

1) Pratihari, before the bhoga is served to the gods he covers the door with a piece of cloth. The act is called kn bndh (kn= cloth, bndh=


Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

tying up). It is believed that if anybody other than specified Sevakas look into the food it will lose its purity. He also leads the bhoga bearers from kitchen to the inner sanctuary. He keeps the door closed during offering of food. 2) Sur-Baru, after cleaning the space he keeps plates before Lord Jagannath. 3) Patri-Baru keeps the puj articles like the bell, conch shell, sandal paste, utensils for sarosopochr on the throne (singhsan). 4) Gora-Baru keeps the holy water ready for puj and for offering. 5) Pradhani, after the food is served on the plates before the deities, he formally invites Puj Pand to perform the priests job. 6) Puj Pand, priest Sevaka. 7) Paiya Mahsur and Pangti-Baru, bring food from kitchen and serve on plates. As soon as the puj is over they take the Prasda to goddess Bimal, and after receiving back as Mahprasda distribute the khei among the Pli. 8) Harapa-Nayak, offer pn (betel leaves) to the gods as soon as the food offering is over.

Madhyanha dhupa (mid-day meal)

The sev for mid-day meal are the same as morning meal and Sevakas perform the same duties as of the sakl dhupa. The menu differs from the earlier one. It includes following items: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) Arisa, round flat cakes are made out of a mixture of pounded rice and molasses and then fried in ghee, Dhaula, small balls are made of a mix of pounded rice and molasses with little water and fried in ghee, Mtho-puli, made of biri added with ginger, hing (asafetida) and salt to taste, Bada, balls made of biri stuffed with scraped coconut- kernel, Tripuri, made of a mixture of pounded biri and rice fried with ghee, Amblu, prepared of t (coarse flour), chhena (curdled milk), ghee (clarified butter) and molasses, Manohar lru, small balls prepared with mixture of pounded rice, coarse flour (t), and molasses and fried in ghee, Kharchulo lru, same ingredients as Manohar lru but the balls are bigger in size, Biri lru, small balls made of biri stuffed with coconut and molasses paste and fried in ghee, Khaj, made of maid (fine flour), ghee and khand (sugar candy),

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.


11) 12) 13) 14) 15) 16) 17) 18) 19) 20) 21) 22)

Marich lru, ingredients are t (coarse flour), ghee and sugar candy, Jagannath ballav, ingredients are maid (fine flour) and kharucha nuno (crude type of salt), Nariyal keli, ingredients are nariya (coconut), t (coarse flour) and sugar candy, square or round in shape, Parijta, small round flat cake made out of flour dough, fried in ghee and drenched in sugar syrup, Pakhal or bhija bht, water soaked rice added with curds and fried jira (cumin seeds), Suji payasa, ingredients are suji (semolina), sugar candy and ghee, Ghee-bht, rice with ghee, Mith dli, sweet dish of harhar (harhar= a variety of pulses), Malo-Dl, a preparation of pulses added with coconut, ginger, dhani (coriander seeds), jir (cumin seeds), klimarich (black pepper), Patolras, ingredients are patol (a vegetable), coconut paste, poppy seed paste, cooking medium is ghee, Besro, vegetables prepared with mustard paste, cooking medium is ghee, Mahuro, an item of mixed vegetables prepared in ghee and added with black pepper and cumin seeds. Vegetables include kakharu (pumpkin- white and yellow variety), sankha sru (a type of arum), kandamul (a type of tuber), khamblu etc., Doi-bada, balls of black biri (a variety of pulses) soaked in curds (doi), Doi-baigun, brinjal prepared with curds, Oriya, anna (cooked rice) added with ghee, Marich-pni, boiling baigun (brinjal), kadali (banana), black pepper (in large quantity) in water with nuno (salt) to taste. It is good for stomach, Muga, a preparation of mung dl (a variety of pulses) added with ginger and salt (nuno). No ghee is added, Subas pakhal, water soaked bht (cooked rice) added with sliced ginger and fried cumin seeds, Karamba, pounded rice boiled in cream-milk and water mix added with molasses. After preparation cardamom powder is added, Nari, made of coarse pounded rice added with nuno to taste, Suji-khiri, suji (semolina) prepared with molasses, cardamom and camphor, Chadheineda, made of pounded rice with large quantity of ghee, molasses, cardamom powder and camphor, Pura pith or Suaro pith, ingredients are pounded rice and biri mixed with molasses and ghee, fried in ghee, a favourite item of Lord Jagannath,

23) 24) 25) 26) 27) 28) 29) 30) 31) 32) 33)

54 34) 35)

Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

Mlpua, a sweetmeat preparation, Subasita jal, water treated with camphor and jaifal,

Of these pura pith, chadheineda and marich lru are the most favourite items of Lord Jagannath.

Sandhy dhupa (evening meal)

After arati (waving of lights before the idols by way of worship) in the evening this meal is offered to the deities. The Sinhri Sevaka adorns the deities with flowers and performs the ritual of arati. The items of evening meal are as follows: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12) 13) 14) 15) 16) Sad bht, plain rice, Misti bht, sweet rice, added ingredients are unbroken groundnut, currant (kismis), walnut (akhrot), cloves, cardamom, sugar candy and ghee, Sad dli, cooked harhar dl (pulses of harhar), Biri dli, simple cooked biri (a variety of pulses), Chadheineda, pounded rice with large quantity of ghee, molasses, cardamom powder and camphor, Pura pith or Suaro pith, ingredients are pounded rice and biri mixed with molasses and ghee, fried in ghee, offered to Lord Jagannath, Mlpua, a sweetmeat preparation, Arisha, round flat pith made out of a paste of pounded rice and molasses and fried in ghee, Kakira, ingredients include coarse flour, molasses, sugar candy and ghee, Matha puli, made of biri added with ginger, hing (asafetida) and salt to taste, Biri pith, pith made out of biri, Nari, spiral shaped pitha made with the biri paste, white in colour, Mandua, flat pieces made of a mix of coarse flour and curdled milk and fried in ghee, Kanalapuri, made of biri only, soft and large in size, Prijata, small round flat cake made out of flour dough, fried in ghee and drenched in sugar syrup,

Doi pakhal, cooked rice soaked in water, added with salt, curds, finely sliced ginger and cumin seeds fried in ghee Of the above items Mathapuli, Kaanalapuri are favourites of Lord Jagannath.

Bada Sinhari Dhupa

This bhoga is offered after the lord is adorned with Bada sinhri besha (a particular set of dress, besha= dress) in the late evening. It is the last offering of the day. It is offered at around 11.15 p.m. This meal includes the following items:

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.


1) Doi pakhal, cooked rice soaked in water added with curds, sweets, scented flower, fried cumin seeds and ginger 2) Ghee 3) Kadali bada, small fried balls prepared of banana, other ingredients include pepper, ginger and coconut 4) Chhoto knti, a kind of pith made of biri paste 5) Subasita jal, scented water, water added with jaifal (nutmeg) and camphor offered in earthen pot.

Bhoga-mandapa bhoga or Bhand bhoga

This bhoga is also called Chhatra bhoga. It is believed that Bhoga-mandapa bhoga was introduced by Sankaracharya, the great philosopher and theologian of Hindu religion and exponent of Advaita Vedanta School of philosophy, for the large mass of devotees. This food is not taken into the inner sanctum but is placed in the bhoga-mandapa. This bhoga is done in panchopochr (not much elaborate). Earthen utensils are compulsorily used for cooking. There is no Pli system associated with this bhoga. The Surs who own a hearth can cook and sell the bhoga. Hearth may be sold or let out on rent. Unlike Kotha bhoga, the bhoga-mandapa bhoga is unlimited; the quantity depends on demand. The Sevakas associated with this bhoga are as follows: 1) Pratihari, the guards, two persons, one would guard the eastern gate and other the southern gate. The eastern gate is the main entrance to bhogamandapa and therefore is kept open for devotees only during the time of offering bhoga there. The bhoga is carried to the mandapa through southern gate. The other two gates on the west and the northern direction are usually kept closed. Patri-Baru, one person, performs the duty same as that of Kotha bhoga. Sur-Baru, having sacred thread (jani). Sacred thread is compulsory for the Suar who cooks food with salt Gora-Baru, one person, perform duty same as of Kotha bhoga. Pradhani, one person whose duty is of the same as that of Kotha bhoga. Puj Pand, three persons, performs priestly function.

2) 3) 4) 5) 6)

Items of food included

1) 2) 3) 4) Sd anna, plain rice, Khichuri, a mixture of rice and pulses added with ginger, ghee, hing, cumin seeds and nuno (salt), Ghee anna, rice added with salt, ghee and the juice of green oranges, Sweet polo, sweet rice, ingredients added is khand (sugar candy), daruchini (cinnamon), cardamom (baro elachi), cloves, nutmeg and ghee,

56 1) 2) 3)

Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

Sd dli, an item of pulse (harhar), added ingredients are salt, ghee, ginger, hing Mith dli, a sweet dish of pulse (harhar), added ingredients are ghee, ginger, hing and khand (sugar candy), Dalma, a preparation of pulse and vegetable mix, added ingredients are coconut, ginger, cumin seeds, black pepper, clove crust, cooking medium ghee, Besro, a preparation of mixed vegetables; vegetables used are khamblu, kasaru, sru, kandmul, kakan and coconut; spice used is mustard paste, salt added to taste, Mahuro, an item of mixed vegetables, spices used are black pepper and cumin seeds, cooked in ghee, Shga, preparation of edible leaves, Patolrasa, ingredients are patola (a vegetable), coconut paste, poppy seed paste, cooking medium is ghee, Gota baigano, a preparation of brinjal (baigano), each piece of brinjal is sliced into four pieces longitudinally and fried in ghee, then cooked with black pepper, cumin seeds and pounded coconut, Kbli chhol (gram), same spices as of gota baigano, but instead of pounded coconut here scraped coconut-kernel is used, Phalo chhola dli, a preparation of gram, added ingredients are coconut, ginger, salt, asafoetida, cinnamon, sweetening article, Kanika, also called polo, sweet rice preparation, ingredients are rice, ghee, and crushed cloves, cinnamon and cardamom, Mistnna, sweet rice, rice fried in ghee and added with unbroken cloves cardamom, cinnamon etc., Borirasa, the item may be of two types depending on the type of bori (small balls made of pounded pulses or other ingredients) used in curry. Bori can be of two types: chhena bori and biri bori, as the name implies, the former is made of curdled milk and the later of pulses of biri. The method of cooking is same as of patolarasa and the spices added are black pepper, cinnamon, asafoetida (little quantity), cumin seeds, added salt to taste; cooking medium is ghee, Shga, edible leaves, cooked in two methods; one is frying (bhj) in ghee with the spices like cumin seeds and hing, added with salt to taste; another method is cooking with vegetables, coconut and gram (little quantity) added with the spices like cumin seeds, black pepper with salt to taste, Simo (kidney-bean), fried in ghee added with coconut (nariya), cumin seeds, black pepper, asafoetida and salt to taste, Jani rai (a kind of cucumber like vegetable), prepared with coconut, cumin seeds, black pepper, asafoetida and salt to taste,


5) 6) 7) 8)

9) 10) 11) 12) 13)


15) 16)

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.



Tila-kshiri, ingredients used are pounded rice, kshir (thickened milk), tila (tila or rasi=sesame), sugar candy, cardamom (the large variety); the quantity of rice and sesame should be equal, Suji-kshiri, ingredients are suji, kshir, cloves and sugar candy, Chhena-daria, flattened small pieces made of a paste of curdled milk (chhena) and banana fried in ghee and thereafter small pieces of sugar candy are sprinkled on them, Biri-bada, balls made out of the mixture of pounded biri-dal (a kind of pulse) and rice, added with ginger, asafoetida and salt to taste.

18) 19)


Apart from the above mentioned bhoga, there are some special foods offered to the gods on various tithi (a lunar day) in the inner sanctuary. A. Nabnna: this tithi comes in the month of Margasira (eighth month of local calendar year, equivalent to November-December of English calendar). Special foods offered are: 1) 2) 3) 4) Bado nari, spiral sweets made of biri-dl, fried in ghee and soaked in molasses syrup, offered four pots full, Sano nari, offered four pots full, same kind of sweets as above, smaller in size, Tripuri, spiral shaped fried item, prepared of leafy juice and pounded rice mix, fried in ghee, offered four pots full, Bado-pith, offered four pots full (four murti), flattened round cakes prepared of pounded biri-dl and rice mix added with scraped coconut kernel, ginger juice and salt to taste; after frying in ghee sprinkled over with small pieces of khand, Sano-pith, same as bado-pith, smaller in size; offered four pots full, Bado kakra, offered eight pots full, made from dough of t (coarse flour) and molasses and fried in ghee, Sano kakra, same as bado kakra but smaller in size, offered 16 pots full, Bado knti, round flattened cake made of a paste of pounded biri-dl, pounded rice (chal-chuna) and t (coarse flour) added with ginger and salt to taste and fried in ghee, Sano knti, same as bado knti, smaller in size, offered 20 pots full, Dalim (lru), offered four pots full, small pomegranate shaped balls prepared out of a paste of pounded rice, sugar candy and molasses mix, Gaj, prepared of flour added with ghee and salt to taste, no sugar is added, quantity- five pots full, Arisha, offered eight pots full, round flat cakes made out of dough of pounded rice and molasses mix and then fried in ghee, Amblu, on this occasion amblu is prepared of pounded rice, molasses and ghee (clarified butter),

5) 6) 7) 8)

9) 10) 11) 12) 13)

58 14)

Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

Khiri, sweet dish of thickened milk and pounded rice, added with cardamom powder and khand, offered four handi (pot/ vessel) full i.e. four murti (a measure), Kanika, sweet rice, quantity- 18 pots full, Oriya, plain rice, 10 murti (10 handi full), Muga dl, a preparation of pulses ( muga= a variety of pulses), Pana, it is a drink prepared of milk, curdled milk (chhena), milk cream (sar), chhachi (scrapings of milk after it has been boiled) added with camphor and cardamom, Tto khichuri, 22 murti in 22 handi, prepared of rice, pulses of muga added with salt to taste; it goes to king as his khei, Dhaula, offered four sar (a measure), Khairo chulo, prepared of pounded rice and molasses, offered two measures (murti) in two sar,

15) 16) 17) 18)

19) 20) 21)

The word murti denotes a unit of a given quantity. It may be of any measure, may be a handi (a typical vessel for boiling food), a Sar (a concave type of earthen vessel) or a piece of item. For instance, one handi full of rice means one murti of rice, similarly 4 Sara of vegetables means 4 murti of the item or 6 numbers of an item is counted as 6 murti of that item. In this connection it may be mentioned here that bhoga cannot get weighed, it is measured in terms of the number of containers in which it is kept and offered. B. Aruna Adhibso: It is observed on the sixth day of the Margosira month. On this day Lord Jagannath is adorned in a special dress and offered following food items: 1) Sano pith, 10 sara, 2) Oriya, one murti served in handi, 3) Muga, 4 handi, 4) Khiri, 4 handi, 5) Sano knti, 16 murti 6) Sano kakra, 16 murti, 7) Baro and Sano arisha, 16 murti each C. Pahili bhoga: This bhoga is offered everyday at 3.00 a.m. in the month of Pausha (December- January) and the ceremony continues for one month from Dhana sankranti, the last day of Margasira to the Makar sankranti, the last day of Pausha. It is believed that goddess Mahalakhsmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu (here the incarnation is Lord Jagannatha) visits her natal place during these days and hence there is a tradition in the society for the married women to make a visit to the natal house. Pahili bhoga consists of the following food items: 1) Khichuri, 2) Misti polo,

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.


Ghee anna, Arisha, Fried flattened rice, Amblu, Varieties of vegetables, Varieties of pulses, Bado Jhilli, 42 murti, Daro sua bari, 60 murti, Daro sua jhilli, 50 murti, Bado bada, prepared of biri dal, 30 murti, Kakra, 100 murti, Sano amblu, 34 murti, Nari, 12 murti, Enduri, 2 murti, Muga, 14 handi, Chadheineda, 4 sar, Chhattu, 24 murti served in sar, Chura-pu, 5 murti, Bari, made of biri dl, 1000 murti served, Kantei, tiny sweets, 300 murti offered, Tto nari, 4 murti, Gaj, 4 murti, Khairo churo, 4 murti, Gaintha, 200 murti, Manda, 400 murti, Tt smn (implies kings share) is offered to the deity with the following items arranged in separate tray: i) Bada bada, 20 murti, ii) Arisha, 14 murti, iii) Bado jhilli, 24 murti, iv) Chhattu, 3 murti, v) Kakra, 40 murti, vi) Chadheineda, 3 murti, vii) Badi of biri dl, 60 murti, After offering tt smn would go to the king directly. D. Pusabhiseko: On the auspicious day of Pusa-Purnima, the full moon day (purnim) in the month of Pausa (December-January), abhisheko (coronation cer-

3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12) 13) 14) 15) 16) 17) 18) 19) 20) 21) 22) 23) 24) 25) 26) 27) 28)


Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

emony) of Lord Jagannatha is observed. The ritual is associated with the offering of special food items to the deity. The menu includes the following items: i) Ghinari, 8 murti, ii) Dhaula, 16 murti, iii) Khairo-chura, 8 murti, iv) Sano arisha, 18 murti, v) Adha taria, 2 murti, first paneer (milk product, like cheese) is prepared using the juice of green oranges, then a mix of paneer, pounded rice and ghee is made, the mixture is fried in ghee, thereafter khand are sprinkled over it, vi) Khiri, 2 murti (2 handi), vii) Chanda-mathoguli, 24 murti, these would go to Puja Panda as their khei. E. Makar Sankranti, observed on the last day of the month of Pausa (December-January). Following special food items are offered to the deity on this occasion: i) Matho puli, 20 murti, ii) Chadheineda, 26 murti, iii) Antariksha- manda, 32 murti, iv) Lahuni manda, 32 murti, v) Baro bada, 20 murti, vi) Saro kampa, 4 sar, vii) viii) ix) x) xi) xii) xiii) xiv) xv) xvi) xvii) xviii) xix) xx) xxi) xxii) xxiii) Kholo bada, 4 sar, Kheuri, 20 murti, Moria, 40 murti, Dhanyi sarini, 4 murti, Taria bada, 8 murti, Bado dalim, 40 murti, Pansua, 8 murti, Pheni, 8 murti, Mandua, 8 murti, Saru chakuli, 25 murti, Chhena keri, 8 murti, Parijata, 80 murti, Chhena laru, 8 murti, Sudhuyo, 8 murti, Goti kakra, 40 murti, Oriya, 10 handi, Chatti bhato, plain rice, 38 handi,

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.


xxiv) xxv) xxvi) xxvii) xxviii) xxix) xxx) xxxi) xxxii) xxxiii) xxxiv) xxxv) xxxvi) xxxvii) xxxviii) xxxix) `xl) xli) xlii) xliii) xliv) xlv) xlvi) xlvii)

Bado pith, 4 murti, Sarpuli, 25 murti, Kanika, 10 murti, Karomba, 14 murti, Sebikiya, rice, 100 handi, Dahi pakhalo, 20 handi, Tava, 20 handi, Khiri, 8 handi, Muga, 8 handi, Pan, 12 handi, Sakra, 12 handi, Khirisa, 12 handi, Bari mahuro, prepared of bari (small balls made of biri dal) and Mahuro, added with black pepper and cumin seeds paste, 8 handi, Manjakarai, 20 handi, Aru-kadali rasa, preparation of khambalu (a kind of vegetables) 30 murti, Ad pachori, 4 handi, Phena sika, 6 sar, Navi sacra, 8 sar, Badokada, 32 sar, Chana kada, 18 sar, Chanda nari, 1 sar, Khirisua bundia, 8 sar, Saro siri papuri, 6 murti. Pura pith, prepared of coconut, black gram and black pepper

F. Basanta Panchami : On the fifth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Magha (January-february). Special food items are offered to the deity, the items include the following : i) Ghee nari, 1 murti, ii) Khairo chura, 2 murti, iii) Sano kanti, 16 murti, iv) Bado Arisha, 16 murti, v) Manohara, 2 murti G. Satapuri Amabasya: Special food items served on this occasion are: i) Tto kakra, 10 changra (tray), one changra contains 10 pieces of the item ii) Tto mudataro, 7 murti,

62 iii) iv) v) vi) vii)

Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

Same item a s above 14 murti, Adha taro, 16 murti, Choutha taro, 2 murti, Nariapura and Kakra, 3080 pieces, Sat puri pith, prepared from flour and molasses,

Only this bhoga has Sevaka- khei for all the Sevaka, for any other bhoga the share or khei goes to related Pli i.e. the Pli on duty for that days sev. Tto kakra and Tto mudataro go as king?s khei. Kings share is offered in a separate tray. There are some specific items that go to particular category of Sevaka like Chandramathopuli compulsorily goes to the khei of Puj Pand; Chadheineda goes to the share of Sur Baru. H. Badu Ekadasi: observed on the eleventh day of dark fortnight in the month of Chaitra (March-April). Special menu includes the following: i) Khichudi, ii) Polo, iii) Ghee bht, rice with ghee, iv) Tak bht, rice with sour ingredients, v) Varieties of pulses, vi) Varieties of vegetables, vii) Varieties of pith, viii) Varieties of payas prepared of suji, rice, bundia. I. Rathayatr, the Car-festival: observed in the month of Asada, commenced on the second day after no moon day (amavashy) i.e., sukla dwitiya tithi. During this festival following dry foods are offered to the deity four times a day on the Ratha (the car) only. i) Murki (sweetened parched paddy) added with ghee, ii) Nru (small balls) made of green mung (variety of pulses) mixed with khand and scraped coconut-kernel, iii) Flattened rice fried in ghee, iv) Scraped coconut-kernel with khand, Besides, fruits (banana, mango, cucumber, guava, pineapple) are offered by the Puj Pand to the deities. There are three Puj Pand for three Cars, one each for Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and goddess Subhadra. Taking the gods out of the temple towards Ratha is called pahandi. J. Anabasar: The sev for a period of 15 days from Deba Snn purnim (full moon day in the month of Asada i.e., July-Aug) to Asada ambasy (no moon day in the same month) is called Anabasar or gupta sev (secret service). During this period darshana (the holy sight) of god is forbidden for devotees and for all the Pands excepting Dayitas, a group of Sevaka claimed to be of Sabara (a tribe of Orissa) origin. During this period the Dayitas enjoy the sole authority to offer sev

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.


to the deities. Common belief says that during this period the Lord Jagannath suffers from ailment. Bhoga is offered only twice a day, once in the morning at around 8.00 a.m. and another in late evening at around 10.00 p.m. Each time the bhoga includes the following two items: i) Pachan bhoga: also called Pona bhoga. It is a mixture of milk, milk cream, khand and water. It is prepared by Poti Mahptra, a category of Sevaka, associated with Dayitas.They are assigned to this particular sev. ii) Chakota bhoga: ingredients are milk, milk cream, rabri (a sweet dish prepared of milk cream), chhena (curdled milk), and barfi (sweetmeat prepared of thickened milk). K. Ghosh Yatr: the occasion is marked with the mounting of the gods on the Ratha (the Car) on the second day (dwitiya tithi) of the bright fortnight (suklapaksha) in the month of Asada. The foods offered include dry food and fruits, per (sweetmeat), milk cream, scraped coconut-kernel etc. L. Jhulanyatr: observed in the month of Sravana (August-September). Compulsory items of food offered are amblu, kshiri. M. Jeuto bhoga: offered on the preceding days of Ram-navami and Janmastami. This bhoga is cooked by the Tanu Suar and he only carries it to the deity. The vegetables like kadu, patola, baigon are boiled along with the paste of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black pepper, coconut, ginger and salt to taste. N. Jata bhoga: this bhoga is offered during chandan ytr, a prolonged period (42 days) of ritual observances from akshay tritiya (the third day after the no moon day in the month of Baisakha i.e., April-May) to the preceding day of Snn Purnima (in the month of Asada i.e., July-August). On the 21st day of celebration before setting out (yatr) for Narendra Puskarini (water body so named) Jata bhoga is offered to Lord Jagannath. This particular offering does not include any rice item. The menu chart includes the followings: i) ii) iii) iv) v) vi) Pona, a mixture of milk, khand and ripe banana, Dahi pakhal, added with cumin seeds, salt and ginger to taste, Shga (edible leaves), neutiya, khosla, An item of ginger, Dl (pulses), Pith of 56 varieties.

This bhoga is offered by the Mahsur, Pangti-Baru and Tola-Baru. It may be noted that besides the above, there are a number of occasions when additional items are offered to the gods along with the usual food chart. Those are mostly sweet dishes picked up from the elaborate list of pith or flour made sweet items. 5


Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

Followings restrictions are observed by the Sevakas : 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Earthen pots used in cooking should not be black in colour; only red coloured pots are used. A bachelor is not allowed to offer sev to the Lord; he cannot be a Sevaka as well. Women are prohibited to offer sev; it is exclusively mens domain. A Sevaka should be cleanly shaved of mustache and beard. Each Sur compulsorily have a dhwaja (a ritual identity with personal flag) which they inherit through generation (bansaparampara). Those without having dhwaja are not allowed to cook bhoga. The Surs compulsorily use bghamukha and cover their head. Bghamukha helps to protect the food from any kind of exudes out of their mouth. They also avoid conversation during cooking. Mahprasda cannot be weighed. Mahprasda cannot be served on tables. One can have it sitting on the bare ground only. Mahprasda is to be received by the Bhakta (devotee) on his palm only, or is served on leaf-plates. Mahprasda cannot be given into ones mouth by the other as it is done for the dying person. Bela patra, the leaves of wood apple is not used in worshipping Lord Jagannath. The Sevakas should not eat anything while entering into the temple for sev; they can have their food only after performing their duties. This rule is exempted only in case of Surs, the cooks, who should come on duty only after having food so that while cooking bhoga they should not feel hungry and hence can restrain themselves from feeling tempted towards the bhoga.


7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12)

From the data presented in the preceding paragraphs it is clearly observed that food acts as pivotal to the whole activities of the Jagannath temple of Puri. It is highly organized and disciplined institutional behaviour where food occupies the centre of all religious activities. Anna in Hindu philosophy is believed to be the prime source of life on the earth. Therefore, food has an immense importance in the life and culture of the Hindu tradition, thus is reflected through the beliefs and practices in the Jagannath temple of Puri. In Hindu religion god is often personified and is offered with all material needs that a human being needs to live. Jagannath is no exception of this. So he requires food and water suitable for different seasons, enjoys

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.


favourite items like chadheineda, pura pith, marich lru, pakhal etc. He is offered with marich-pni, good for stomach, and pachan bhoga and chakota bhoga during ailment (anabasar) and so on. The food tradition of the Jagannath temple allowed no addition or alteration over time since its inception under kings rule till date. In olden days the temple and its activities were fully under the control of the ruling families and the king declared himself as a servitor to the Lord Jagannath. With the abolition of kingship after independence the administrative power was shifted to government body keeping in confidence the service of the Sevakas and the king, by virtue of his position, acts as the first Sevaka to the deity. He has precised duties to perform will beget share (khei) in the Mahprasda. The food practices of the temple involve traditional knowledge of health and hygiene. The restrictions imposed on the Sevakas work in the kitchen express such sense of hygiene. Bghamukha i.e., the practice of covering ones nose and mouth, covering up of ones head, avoiding ornaments especially that of finger and wrist, clean shaving of beard and mustache, regular trimming off the nails, all imply this strong sense of community hygiene. Wearing of the wreath of holy basil by the Sevakas attached with the job of cooking, use of camphor and basil leaves in water offered to the gods, use of camphor mixed pounded rice for drawing murch, a defined space for keeping food before the deity, reflect the traditional knowledge of medicinal plants and preservative articles. Both camphor and basil work as preservative and pest control mechanism. The food practices also reflect the concept of purity and pollution of a particular society. A particular food item may not be avoided in the general way of life but is not considered pure in ritual terms and therefore cannot be offered to the deity. Those were mainly imported to the land through alien people during historical period and were not assimilated into the dominant cultural stream of the society. Being established and developed by the Hindu kings the Jagannath temple of Puri showed strong resistance towards any foreign cultural aggression. Thus, potato, an imported item by the Europeans is not accepted as ritually pure and therefore, cannot be offered to the gods. Likewise cabbage was introduced into India by the colonialists initially for their own use, tomato, originated in Mexico migrated to India by the Europeans, Drumstick, native to Sub-Himalayan region, ladys finger, originateing in Africa, a later entrants into India, carrot, probably of Afghanistan origin, moved to westward around tenth century AD, transformed into new shape by breeding and afterwards grown in Shimla (carrots globular in shape and greenish in colour, known as desi gajar is a very old vegetable in India, but not the one that is cultivated today), cabbage, introduced in India by the colonial rulers, capsicum, came to India from Mexico (Achaya, 1998) are some of the vegetables that are not considered ritually pure.The produces including vegetables and cereals that are natural to this land and were cultivated since the time of early Princely rule were used for ritual use and are considered pure. The temple of Puri did not allow any change in the food practices that had been fixed by the kings centuries ago and traditionally the practices are maintained till date.


Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

Mahprasda, the holy food of the gods, has an immense significance in the life and culture of the Sevakas as well as the people of India as a whole. The devotees come to the Jagannath dhm with two precise intentions: one is darshana and another is Mahprasda. For a devotee Mahprasda of the Jagannath temple is the most holy food that one must have in ones lifetime as it gets them away enormous virtues (punya) and washes out all their sins (ppa) in their earthly life. Eating Mahprasda is an act that brings them the final emancipation of soul. Everyday innumerable number of people come to Anandabazar for Mahprasda and eat sitting on bare ground. For the Sevakas and the people living in this holy city Mahprasda is an obvious part of every social occasion and ceremony of their life. In the life cycle rituals i.e., in birth, marriage and death rituals, before the feast guests are served with Mahprasda to get them eternal bliss. Thereafter only, they are served to have actual feast from the host family. It is stongly believed that if Mahprasda is not served prior to feast it will bring harm to the host family. It is also a common practice to offer at least a drop of Mahprasda into the mouth of a dying person so that he or she can earn immense virtues before leaving this mortal world and attain the final salvation of life. It is believed that with the virtues earned by taking Mahprasda one can avoid rebirth. With all these beliefs, rituals and practices the Jagannath temple of Puri stand in the centre of Hindu Indian tradition over centuries. In the Jagannath temple of Puri, there are sixteen kinds of offering for sarosopachanr worship, five items of offering for Panchopachar worship, six sweet dishes, sixteen food items made of flour that are offered to the Lord, six sweet items made of curdled milk that are very common and popular and are accepted as sacred. We have also recorded the roles allocated to twentyfive Nijogas (Appendix-I) and the honourarium received by the sevaks (Appendix-II) for performing their duties. The myth related to the concept of Saktipitha has also been placed (Appendix-III). Apart from these rituals and traditional mythical aspects that have perpetuated through decades, the very structural and functional arrangement in the Jagannath temple is very interesting and exciting. The sacred official and allocation of roles and perfect division of labour speaks of the persistence of bureaucracy in religious institution. The amazing perfection, punctuality and precision with which different officials perform their roles keep such religious institutions properly functioning. Lord Jagannath temple is a sacred centre where pilgrims from different parts of country congregate and fulfil their sacred commitment. In the temple management it is seen that from procurement of fuelwood, dressing and cooking of vegetables, guarding the entire space, bringing the flags down every evening, selling of mahaprasad etc. everything is done with outmost devotion and co-ordination. These jobs are done according to the taste and demand of the deities of the celestial world. This depicts an intimate relationship and a kind of continuity between the human beings and the devine benigs. The kind of bureaucratic mechanism exists in all religious institutions. The study of the structural organsation of the Jagannath temple of Puri only remind us of Max Weber who developed his concept of bureaucracy from a study of Chinese monasteries.

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.


Achaya, K.T. Achaya, K.T. Nanda, Purnendu Kumar Tripathy, Gopal Chandra 19 98 19 98 20 01 19 89 A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food, Oxford University Press, New Delhi Indian Food, A Historical Companion, Oxford University Press, Delhi Neeladri, English Special issue Sri Jagannath Temple, At A Glance, Manorama Prakasani, Puri, Orissa.

We express our sincere thanks to Jawhar Sircar, Secretary, Department of Culture, for his idea and encouragement for this study. We also express our thankfulness to Prof. K.K.Misra, Director, Anthropological Survey of India, for his constant encouragement for anthropological researches. We are deeply indebted to the Temple committee of the Jagannath temple, Puri for their cooperation in every respect. Our special thanks to Sri Sudip Chatterjee of temple administration for his untiring cooperation and guidance. Sri Laxmidhar Puja Panda, being an insider, enlightened us with his vast knowledge and insight. Sri Satyanarayan Guru of Harihar Guru Estate provided us an insight about the philosophical importance of the temple and extended his cooperation in every respect. We express our sincere gratitude to all the Sevakas of different categories of the Puri temple, whose cooperation and knowledge made this study successful. For the title of the article we owe to K.T. Achayas book Indian Food.

Appendix I
According to the temple record of rites, the following are the main Nijogas and their seva (assigned services to the god). 1. Mudirasta: Mudirasta represents the king. A young Brahman boy below eighteen years is selected for the purpose, whom the king appoints as his representative. He performs the seva of the kings part in his absence. 2. Chhatisha Nijoga Mahapatra: He is the overall incharge of the temple. He approves the Sri Bndh ceremony, an initiation rite compulsory for a Sevaka before getting into the right to seva to the deity. He supervises over the activities of the Sevakas. He is responsible to execute the orders of temple authorities. He belongs to the Puspalak family. 3. Puja Panda: They are the priest and their responsibility is to perform Puja. 4. Bitarachha Mahapatra: He is the head of the temple for daily rituals. He supervises opening of the doors in the morning and checks the seals. He also looks after the cleanliness of the foods offered to the gods. He may enter into the kitchen which is a protected place and nobody other than Supakars (the cooks), Taluchha Mahapatra, Puja Panda and Bitarachha Mahapatra are allowed.


Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

5. Taluchha Mahapatra: He seals the temple doors at night and also checks the cleanliness of the kitchen. 6. Pradhani: At the time of bringing food, he goes to the kitchen to invite goddess Lakshmi and the Surs to come with Bhog; he then leads them to the inner sanctuary of the temple, makes a continuous sound with two pieces of canes to alert the people to keep the path clear. 7. Deulakarana: Traditionally they were the temple accountants. Now they handle some money matters, especially the donation money and distribute prasada to the devotees. 8. Tadukarana: He assists Deulakarana in account matters. He keeps accounts of the Bhandar, the store, affixes temple seals and posts dates of all special rituals or niti. 9. Dayita: They claim to be of Sabara (a tribe of Orissa) origin, the descendants of tribal chief Bishwabasu, who, according to the popular myth, worshipped Jagannath as Neela Madhava in the forest and from whom the deity was adopted by the King Indradumna. Except puja (offer worship) and cooking, they do all the sev to Lord Jagannath for one month from Snana Purnima to Rath Yatra. They are one of the major Nijogas of the temple. They believe Jagannath to be their own kith and kin. 10. Khuntia Nijoga: They are the body guards of the deities. 11. Puja Panda Nijoga: They are the priest Sevaka. This is one of the most difficult services of the temple, because the Puj Pand must be thoroughly conversant with the norms and methods of worship. Formerly the knowledge used to transmit from father to sons but now the Nijoga conduct a course. It takes one to two years to train the young properly and then only a young Puj Pand can join the temple. 12. Mekapa Nijoga: They are in-charge of store. They are of four categories, namely, Bhandara Mekapa, Khata seja Mekapa, Cangada Mekapa and Akhanda Mekapa, each having specific service to perform. 13. Bhandara Makapa: They are in-charge of the Bhndr (store) containing all the gold ornaments, jewellery, diamonds precious stones for the deities. 14. Pratihari Nijoga: They guard the temple and enforce discipline among the visitors. Nowadays there are policemen who help them in this task. During the time of offering bhoga to the gods it is the duty of the Pratiharis to go to the kitchen and ask to bring bhoga to the main temple. From the olden days Pratiharis used to maintain records of the visiting pilgrims. 15. Gochikars: They help the Pratiharis in their tasks and guard the kitchen doors. 16. Ghanta Nijoga: They play cymbals called ghanta during the time of offering bhoga and during pahandi.

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.


17. Singhari Nijoga: They are members of the Puspalak community who adorn the deities with dresses and flowers. 18. Godabadu Nijoga: They bring water from the temple well for puj and other purposes. 19. Sudha Sur: They preserve all puja items in their proper containers, for example, chandana (sandal paste) in the chandana pot and flowers on the flower trays and so on. 20. Mudali: They count and verify the number of puja utensils once puja is over. All utensils are supplied by Mekapas. 21. Hadapanayaka Nijoga: They offer pn (betal leaf) to the Lord after every meal. 22. Pania Apat: They bring water and wash the floor where bhoga will be placed before the deities for the offering. 23. Bimanbadu Nijoga: They carry palanquins (bimana) of Lord Jagannath during the festival of Chandan Ytr, observed on the third day of bright fortnight in the month of Baisakha (April-May) and continues for 42 days. The festival is observed in two stages, one the Bahara Chandana, and the other is Bhitara Chandana, each observed for 21 days. The former one is celebrated in a water body called Narendra Puskarini commonly called Narendra Tank and the later one is observed inside the temple. On the occasion of Bahara Chandana Madanmohona, the moving idol of Lord Jagannath is escorted in procession to Narendra Tank where the idol is placed on a boat and taken round the tank with dancing and music. 24. Suar: They are the cook of the temple kitchen. They are known differently according to the types of bhoga they cook. They are the biggest Nijoga of the temple. 25. Chunera Nijoga: The name Chunera is derived from chuna or lime. In olden days they used to apply whitewash to the temple. Now this job is done by labourers from outside. The present-day duties of this Nijoga are as follows: a) To wave the flags daily from the temple-peak. The flags are to be tied with the chakra (the wheel) on the top of the temple. Until the new flags are waved, no bhoga can be offered. For carrying the flags to the chakra which is more than 215 feet high from the ground, one must climb more than 300 uneven stone steps through the outer temple wall. Today only one family is associated with this seva. They are in charge of worshipping Garuda stambha (the piller of Garuda, stambha= piller) in front of the main altar. Garuda is the bahana (the carrier) of Lord Vishnu. On the top of the piller Garuda is seated with folded hands. Devotees embrace the piller and offer pranma (bow).


70 c)

Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri



The members of this Nijoga carry a big lamp, known as mahdipa, on each ekdasi (eleventh day after the full moon day) to the templepeak and place there. During Deepvali (the Festival of Lights) in the month of Krtika (October-November) members of this Nijoga decorate the temple with lights. On Deva Deepvali, the festival of Light meant for Gods (Deva) the temple crest is decorated with small dipa (earthen lamps) by them. They are in charge of decorating Aruna Stambha, the Sun pillar (Aruna=Sun, stambha=piller) outside the main entrance through eastern gate called Simha dwar i.e., the lions gate (Simha=Lion, dwar=gate) of the temple. The piller is of stone, 34 feet in height and erected on a platform. Aruna is seated on the top of the pillar. The pillar was said to be constructed in 18th century A.D. All the devotees who visit the temple compulsorily make a pranm (bow down) to this pillar.

Appendix II
Sevakas involved in the daily worship Category of Sevaka Raj Guru Deulo Mandir Purahit Puja Panda Pasu Palak Poti Mudirastha Bhitarachu Mahapatra Amin Mahasuar Palia Mahasuar Puran Panda Bhandar Makap Changada Makap Patri Badu Khuntia Pratihari Ritwik jyotish Suar Bada Pitha Suar No. of Sevaka One One Three Three One One One One One One One One One One One One One Four Extra Six Six One One One One One One One One Four Honourarium per month 300/300/300/- + 50/300/300/300/300/300/250/250/250/250/250/250/250/250/250/200/-

Kakali Chakrabarty, Krishna Mandal, K.M. Sinha Roy, Krishna Basu.


Anya (others)(Extra Suar) Two Pania Suar Suna Goswami Chandan Khatari Luga dhwa Pani Kunda Pania Pata Mahuria, Kaharia, Bajanti Binakar, Ghantua Dhopa Khalia Bahara Deuli Suara Mahajan Chunora Khandaka Dayita Sudhu Suar Parba Yatra Jogania Biman Badu Chhatra Datta Mahapatra Usthan Pratihari Darji Kotho Suansia Bori Patara Bania Bhoi Dayana Mali Maha Sethi Makap Khuntia Pratihari Godabadu Lenka Mandari One One One One One one each Three Two Three One One Ten One One Four One Three One One Eight One One One One One Two Two Two One One One One

Two One One One One one each Three One



Foods for the gods : A study in Jagannath Temple of Puri

Appendix III
Sakti Pitha
The myth related to the concept of Sakti Pitha is as follows: Sati, the daughter of king Daksha was given in marriage to Lord Siva though he was not to the liking of the king. But Sati was fully dedicated to her husband. Once the king Daksha conducted a yagna (sacred fire oblation) where he did not invite Siva. Sati, in spite of being not invited, went to attend the yagna. Daksha started abusing Siva in presence of Sati. Sati with agony and disgust gave up her life. Lord Siva rushed to the spot. His followers destroyed the entire site of yagna. Siva took out the body of Sati on his shoulder and started a frantic dance ( tandava nritya; tandava =frantic, nritya =dance). With the dance the universe started dwindling. To save the universe from destruction Lord Vishnu pierced the body of Sati into pieces by his discus (Sudarshan chakra). The pieces of Satis body fell down in different places which came to be recognized as the sacred center of Sakti Pitha. It is believed that in the holy town of Puri the feet of Sati fell down and therefore it is also known as Pada Pitha (Pada= feet).

Jr. Anth. Survey of India, 60 : 73-75 (2011)

The Mishing of Assam: An Introduction

R.R.Gowloog* G. Baruah*
The Mishings are a major tribe of Assamthe homeland of a large number of tribes and communities from varied backgrounds . The paper projects the overall life and culture of the Mishings. The most important source of cultural and religious change among the Mishings was their contact with the Vaishnavite Hinduism.

The Mishing tribe is one of the largest tribes of Assam. It is believed that they were originally hill dwellers and lived along with the Adi and the Nyishis of Arunachal Pradesh. Historical data and their legends show that they migrated to the plains of Assam during the 13th century although their migration continued till early 19 th century during the Ahom rule (Mipun 1987:1). They mostly settled along the river Bhramaputra concentrating more on the north bank of the river. They belong to the Tibeto-Burman family. After their migration to the plains considerable changes have taken place in their language, rituals, dress, food habits, house-types, settlement patterns etc. The Mishing language belongs to the northern branch of the IndoTibeto-Burman languages. The term Miri was given to them by the plains people of Assam, but they prefer the name Mishing as they feel Miri is ambiguous, sounds derogatory and has no proper meaning. The term Mishing is derived from a combination of the words Mi (man) and Asi (water). By nature the Mishings are simple and peace loving, easy going, and fond of festivals. To the people of Assam, Miris are a docile tribal population living somewhere in the Subansari tract who once produced a kind of cotton-rug called miri-Jim. E.A. Gait, the noted historian of Assam, interpreted the term Miri as go-between for marital negotiations. Their population, according to the census of 2001, is 517,170. They are mostly concentrated in the riverine areas of Sibsagar, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, Jorhat and Darrang districts of Assam.

A Mising Chang ghar (traditional house) in the new re-located village called Borbeel Mising gaon, situated near the Kaziranga National Park. Photo: Emilie Crmin, February 2007. *Anthropological Survey of India, North Eastern Regional Centre, Shillong.


The Mishing of Assam: An Introduction

House type: The traditional Mishing houses stand on stilts about 4 to 5 feet above the ground. The stilts are made of wood or bamboo. A ladder ( Kobang in Mishing language) made of single log of wood is used to climb on to the main house. It is believed that any guest or bride who comes through the ladder is accepted in the house and considered lucky. The normal house is a large hall with a common hearth in the middle. Thick bamboo splits, cane, wood and palm leaves are used for the construction of their houses. These days iron sheets are also used for their roof. Just above the hearth they hang two bamboo trays called perap and rapte against the ceiling, which are used for drying various items. The lower portion of their house is used as storage for firewood, baskets, etc. or for keeping animals and fowls. They build huge granary on raised platforms for storing their paddy. This is done to protect their paddy from wild animals, rodents, water, etc. Social organization: Kinship terms used by the Mishings are generally classificatory, as those are applicable to a class of relatives. They trace their clan names from the names of their ancestors or from the names of their deities. Clan exogamy and tribal endogamy are practised by them. They believe in a supreme being who created the living beings of the earth and therefore they trace their clan from the name of the creator. Among them the patriarchal joint family exists. However, nuclear families are becoming popular these days. It is headed by the father or the eldest son or the mother if the sons are minors. The properties are managed by the father or the eldest son in the absence of his father as long as they remain in the joint family. Married daughters and sisters have no claim to the landed property of their father. They have to be in content with whatever they receive as parental gift ( jituk) during their marriage. The Mishing women are very sturdy and hard working. Dancing and weaving are their common skills. A popular Mishing saying goes like this: A home is worth living only with a wife. The women are treated with love and respect. Marriage: The Mishings are strictly exogamous as regards clan. Marriage within a clan is never sanctioned socially. However, cross-cousin marriage is allowed. Marrying fathers sisters daughter is admissible but not as common as marrying mothers brothers son. As a rule, they are monogamous but polygyny is not treated as a breach of law provided the husband can afford to support a big family. Two types of marriages are common. These are midang (arranged) and dugla-lanam (elopement). Bride-price was high earlier but today it is negotiable. Divorce is not common. Widow remarriage is allowed. A widow can marry the younger brother of her deceased husband but not his elder brother, who is regarded as a father figure. Political organization: The socio-political structure of Mishings is democratic. They are governed by the village councils (Kebang) consisting of fifteen village elders. The officials are selected and not elected. The kebang is supreme within the village and controls the social and political life of the villagers. He has the power to deliver judgments and punish the offenders. Punishment depends on the nature of offence. The Gam or gaonburah acts as the chairperson of the village council. Besides kebang the member-yame (organization of young women and men) is another important institution of the Mishings. The head of member-yame is known as Bora

R.R.Gowloog, G. Baruah


and is responsible for maintenance of the organization. Besides these two bodies the Mishings have several other institutions responsible for maintaining their customary laws and to check violation of norm. Religion: The present religion of Mishings is a synthesis of animism, Vaisnavite Hinduism and tantrism (Bhakatiya cult). The outcome of the synthesis is known as Kewalia, Kalsanghati or Nisamalia and their priests are known as Bhakats and Hattulas (Mipun 1993). The Mishings still practise their traditional religion, i.e., reciting the names of the Sun and Moon (Donyi-Polo) in every ritual and festival. Mibu is their traditional priest. Festivals: Amongst many festivals, the important ones are Ali-ai-ligang (harvest festival) and Porag (festival of prayer and feast). Ali means root/seed, Ai means fruit, and Ligang means to sow. The name itself denotes the ceremonial sowing of seeds on this day (first Wednesday in the month of Falgun, i.e., February-March). This festival continues for five days. Rice beer, pork and dry fish are essential for the feast. The Porag festival is celebrated for three days after an interval of 2 to 5 years and the member-yame takes active part in it. They also perform the three Bihus of Assam (Magh Bihu, Bohag Bihu and Kati Bihu). Staple diet: To them food generally means rice and their staple food consists of a variety of rice, leafy vegetables, edible roots and fish. Their greatest delicacy is pork, which is either smoked or boiled. They are fond of the drink called apong prepared from fermented rice and epop, which is specially prepared for this purpose from more than one hundred locally available herbs.

The most important source of cultural and religious change among the Mishings was their contact with the Vaishnavite Hinduism. It is seen that their traditional religious practices have been changed to a great extent. Changes in their dress, food habits, style of life and language are also significant. The traditional dress is only worn during festivals and ceremonies. The process of acculturation and growing communication facilities have given them further opportunity to join the regional Assamese culture but today the educated youths are showing concern for the preservation of their culture, language and their distinct identity. A section of them have also demanded the use of the Roman script instead of the Assamese script for their language. The new educational facilities, reservation of jobs and politics have created a new and culturally conscious elite section among them. References
Bhandari, J.S. 1974. Land and Social Structure: An Economic Study of a Mishing Village. In K.S. Mathur and B.C. Agrawal (eds), Tribe, Caste and Peasantry . Ethnographic and Folk Culture Society, Lucknow. Doley, D. 1973. The Socio-Economic life of the Miri Tribe. North-Eastern Research Bulletin , Vol.1V. Mipun, J. 1993. The Mishings (Miris) of Assam: Development of a new Life Style . Gian Publishing House, New Delhi. Pegu, N.C. 1956. The Miris or the Mishings of the Bhramaputra Valley . Sri Dasiram Pegu,M Dhemaji.

Jr. Anth. Survey of India, 60 : 76-82 (2011)

Methodology of Studying Indigenous Knowledge

Samira Dasgupta* Amitabha Sarkar*
India harbours a vast diversity of plants and animals and an impressive variety of habitats and ecosystems. Indigenous knowledge refers to the unique, traditional, local knowledge existing within and developed around the specific condition of the human being indigenous to a particular geographical niche . This knowledge is chiefly oral tradition which is transmitted over generation. In order to understand indigenous knowledge properly one has to depend on oral tradition and to know oral tradition one has also to rely on folklore of a community and that too through emic approach. Under this backdrop the present paper highlights some empirical observations from Abujh Mariaa vulnerable tribal group of Bastar, Chattishgarh on their health care practices .

To our mind, Indigenous knowledge is the product of interaction between a community and its surrounding environment, and this environment is both physical and social in which they live and maintain their livelihood in a sustainable way. Usually indigenous knowledge (IK) refers to the unique traditional, local knowledge that has developed and is acquired by a group of people in a particular niche. The indigenous knowledge is the product of the traditional wisdom of a community, which is transmitted from one generation to another generation primarily through oral tradition. To understand such oral tradition, one has to depend chiefly on folk tradition. The commitment of a global community to diversity and pluralism is most rigorously tested when it comes to its response to cultures that exist outside the global economy and its willingness to permit them to remain there. (Seabrook, 2003). India is a country of cultural diversities that help us to understand the unique quality of its cultural mosaic. The people living in this vast area have different ethnic boundaries with different levels of cultural development. Each ethnic group possesses an identity through some of its cultural attributes, which usually differs from the other. Truly speaking, the oral tradition can be understood, to a large extent from the Indian folk communities, primarily from rural and tribal communities. In fact, they are source of great oral cultural heritage. The term folk includes all those persons residing in a village or within a given geographical area. They are conscious of a common cultural heritage and have some common trends. Their knowledge is based on oral tradition, and not on written scriptures and lastly their way of life is more traditional, simple, natural, less systematic and less specialized in comparison to the so called urban elite people. Often we use the term tradition. Tradition can be defined as the mode of behaviour by which social cohesion intensifies group consciousness and solidarity is maintained from generation to generation. Structurally tradition is cumulative social heritage in the form of habits, customs attitude and way of life, which is transmitted from generation to generation through oral tradition.
*Anthropological Survey of India, 27, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Kolkata 700016

Samira Dasgupta, Amitabha Sarkar


Therefore, to study indigenous knowledge, primarily one has to depend on oral tradition. And to know the oral tradition, one has to rely on folklore of a community and that too through emic approach. Because this is the only repository of indigenous knowledge of a community that governs their life and action in a particular geographical area. Folklore in its broadest sense includes all knowledge that is passed on by word of mouth and all crafts that are learnt by imitation. It, therefore, comprehends folk art, crafts, games, music, dance and those verbal forms of expression, which are commonly, described as folk-literatures. Considering the nature and field of folklore, the arena of folklore may broadly be categorized as: TABLE 1 Classification of Folklore

1. Prose narration

2. Aphorisms

3. (a) Poetry (b) Verbal formulae Charms




Folk song



(eg. Supernatural (eg. Historical deities, stories stories) of creation of universe and Man etc.)

(a very popular story when converted into long poetry form)



Trickster tale


Adventure of man and animal



Maxims and similar terse (depends upon expression)

Sententious says


Methodology of Studying Indigenous Knowledge

The knowledge system in the form of heritage and tradition as well as value system of a culture are usually expressed through the folklore of a community which is not only time tested but it is also an essence of a culture. It is also believed that indigenous knowledge is a pivotal factor for empowering the communities. Each aspect of life and culture of a community living in rural, hilly forest clad area or in a riverside possesses a body of knowledge as a means of their survival strategy which is linked with their sustenance pattern of living. In the light of modernization and diversity and cultural pluralism in Indian culture the rich indigenous knowledge is now being given importance to comprehend the cultural pattern. Under the backdrop of this theoretical framework some empirical observations are now made. From time immemorial, the people of India irrespective of their cultural and technological achievement, have been depending upon their immediate geographical environment not only for livelihood, but also for various aspects of development of their daily life (Sarkar and Dasgupta, 2000). The knowledge to utilize the local environmental resources is mainly dependent on their age-old interaction with the local environment for sustenance over generations and often this essence of knowledge is highly confined to particular person/s. It is also widely accepted that most of the ethnic groups are ignorantly exploiting their environment, through hunting, collection, gathering for consumption, sale or exchange of forest produce within the same geographical niche or outside (Haimendorf, 1943; Bhowmick, 1989). Apart from these, they also exploit such resources during their ailment. It has also been observed that due to prolonged association with forest environment the tribal people make use of some medicinal herbs, plants, roots and tubers to cure their ailment. But to detect and diagnose the actual disease they are dependent on some specialists. In Bastar, the medicine-men are known as sirha or leske who have the expertise in detecting diseases by counting the pulse beat. In case of the Abujh Maria or Hill Maria a primitive tribal group of Bastar, Chhattisgarh, it has been keenly observed that situation has compelled them to find out the way through which they may recover or survive from any illness. As a result they often use their local resources to cure their ailment(Dasgupta and Sarkar, 2005). The study of indigenous beliefs and practices regarding health and disease in different cultures is of great significance in understanding human behaviour. An in depth study of folk medicine from an emic point of view will help in understanding the cultural symbols and meanings and their integration with the culture (Tribhuwan, 1998). Anthropological data on ethno-medicine is instrumental in understanding the health related beliefs of the Abujh Maria tribal people as well as mechanism adopted by them to preserve and conserve the surrounding bio-diversity of their habitat. They utilize the resources of a particular territory for their ailment over generations and also protect the resource base to sustain their future generation. This knowledge also ensures the means adopted by them to enable the members of the future generation to be benefited by the natural resources. Thus, ethno-medicine is the belief and practices relating to health and disease, which are the products of indigenous cultural developments and not derived from the knowledge taught by the modern medicine manufacturing technology (Dasgupta and Sarkar, 2005).

Samira Dasgupta, Amitabha Sarkar


The abode of the Abujh Maria, a little known primitive tribal group, is luxuriant with vast tract of forest resources. The Abujh Maria depend on their specialists leske (medicine man) and sirha (sorcerer) who possess a thorough knowledge of plants, herbs and roots of their territory. The leske or sirha through his magical performances try to identify the actual cause of the sickness. If the leske or sirha gets some hints through their magical power that someone has performed somewhat detrimental activity through magic or sorcery to do harm to a person who ultimately becomes ill, the leske or sirha prescribes remedies. If they fail to identify the witch or the evil spirit responsible for their disease he takes the help of log god or pen (clan) deity, who, by his/her divine power identifies the witch or the wicked person responsible for the mischief. He then prescribes heal system in their dreams which frequently may include some forest leaf or root with some magical quality. But in almost all cases a ritual offering to the deities become obligatory. The present treatise is confined on the Abujh Maria tribe of Bastar who destroy their immediate natural resources for their ailment ignorence. In the following lines a list of locally available herbs, plants and seeds with their curing power are presented. Table No. 2 : Indigenous Knowledge on Health Care Practice* Sl. No. 1

Use of local herbs/plants/ seeds 2

Name of the disease 3

Method of use

Boil the fruit in water and consume the fruit or fry the fruit and consume Grind it in water then keep it soaked in water for at least 2 hours; then drink the water. It is taken 2 to 3 times in empty stomach. The seed is slightly broken and heated. The oil of the seed comes out and is applied on the forehead/ wound. The wound will be healed. Grinded and soaked in water overnight, taken in the morning. It is grinded and soaked in water overnight. It is drunk early in the morning. Grinded and taken

Turguma fruit, katta Headache and or Kota fruit Stomachache Hara (Terminalia Cold, cough and\ chebula) fever (Local name : Muta pasinta) Kohka or velva seed Headache and wound (Semi carpus (Local name : Tala anacardium) naunta) Blood dysentery (Local name : (Neturpota)




Beng podia tuber


The root of duli Diarrhoea (Local name: Tatti/pet darna) tree Pendra root Body pain (Local name : Mendur nainta)




Methodology of Studying Indigenous Knowledge

Pittereka fruit (green small sized)

Eye trouble (Local name : Kondang putingta) Cold, cough and cracks in the skin Skin disease Malaria, blood purifier Barrenness (Local name : Banj) Wormicide

The fruit which is available in forest is taken as a medicine. At first the oil is heated then the warm oil is massaged all over the body Extracted oil is applied on the affected parts of the body Grinded and soaked in water overnight and the water is taken. It is taken after grinding Root of the plant is grinded and taken Collect the mud and it is heated and then anointed at the place of sprain. Bark of neem tree is grinded and soaked in water for few hours and then the water is drunk. Bark is soaked in water overnight and water is taken. The seeds are pounded with water and the paste is applied. The whole plant is grinded and consumed.


Tora seed oil (Mahua seed) Karanj seed (Pongamia glabra) Chiratia (Swertia chirata) Sannhemp seed (Crotrolaria junea) Balbairang or Babreng (Embrelia ribes) Mud of ant hill

9. 10.






Bark of neem tree (Azadirachia indica) Arjun bark (Terminalia arjuna) Gunchee (Abrus precatorius L.) Iswarmul (Aristo lochia indica)

Irregular menstruation


Chest pain


Skin disease Snake and rat bite


*Source : Reflection of Ethno-Sciences : Study on the Abujh Maria, 2005

The above data on indigenous health practices as observed by the Abujh Maria clearly reflect that their own concept of diseases and their way of treatment are directly influenced by local herbs, plants etc. of their abode. The sirha or leske who actually knows the medicinal plants always try to conserve it in their ecological niche by imposing certain norms and values. Since these medicines are the products of the forest, there is no degenerating effect. Moreover, it is also revealed that use of herbal medicine is curative rather than preventive. Therefore, this kind of vast indigenous knowledge should be properly documented in the interest of future generation. Apart from the health care practices the Abujh Maria socio-economic life is also guided by indigenous knowledge where myth plays a key role. The Abujh Maria are traditionally penda (slash and burn) cultivators. Ownership of land here is decided

Samira Dasgupta, Amitabha Sarkar


firstly on the village basis and then on the clan deity basis. It is learnt that sometimes the village site is abandoned for various superstitious reasons such as death, disease or any calamity. After cultivating a land for two to four years, they shift to another plot of land leaving the previous land fallow for its regeneration and thus allowing the plot of land to regain its lost fertility. They move from one hill to another hill, when all the plots of land of that particular hill are cultivated and exhausted, they shift to another hill, which is also under the control of same clan deity. In this way they shift from one hill to the other for cultivation and again come back within 15-20 years to the old site, that is, first penda plot. As they have to move from one patch of land to another in an interval of four years, they have a requirement of a vast land but there is a sharp territorial demarcation of each and every pens (clan deity) area. Again each pens territory is divided among the Abujh Maria according to their kattas (clan). Each pen consists of number of kattas who are considered as dadabhai or bhaiband group and marriage within the same dadabhai group is strictly prohibited. Under this backdrop, the katta members are bound to cultivate within their own territory that ultimately results in a land limitation and it indirectly has an impact on their family size. The empirical data from studied villages of the Abujh Maria (mainly uni-ethnic villages) suggests that average family size of the the Abujh Maria is 4.92 members. From the aforesaid discussion it is reflected how myth guides the economic life which in turn affect the family size of the Abujh Maria. Practice of penda cultivation and movement from one patch of land to other in an interval of four years clearly suggests that in their indigenous knowledge they are highly aware that the fallow land will be rejuvenated with nitrogenous balance during this period. The Abujh Maria of Abujhmarh hills of Bastar, who live in association with hills and forest, have their own world. They know that outside their own world there is a greater world about which they are least bothered. Everything happening around them is thought, understood and explained in their own way through certain myth, stories, songs and legends etc. They count their months and days according to the position of the moon. The full moon day is regarded as the fifteenth day of the month. Moon changes its shape everyday, which helps in counting days. They have twelve months that are divided into three seasons. When the mahua and palash flowers bloom, the mango tree start flowering, they get the indication that the summer season is coming. During summer season new chhind (date palm) leaves grow. When they see that new leaves begin to grow in the mahua tree, there is no flower in the tree, they understand that monsoon is approaching. When sulphi or sago palm tree is ready to give sweet juice, paddy is ready for harvest, they can realize that winter is close to them. From the above discussion it can obviously be concluded that the life and culture of the Abujh Maria tribe are deeply enmeshed in forest environment. Their indigenous knowledge helps them to preserve their immediate bio-diversity with the help of taboos, beliefs and practices. This again ultimately helps them to lead a sustainable living condition.


Methodology of Studying Indigenous Knowledge

References Bhowmick, P.K. 1989 The Chenchus of the Forests and Plateaus : A HuntingGathering Tribe in Transition, Calcutta : Institute of Social Research and Applied Anthropology. Reflection of Ethno Science : Study on the Abujh Maria, New Delhi : Mittal Publication. The Chenchus : Jungle Folk of the Deccan , London : Macmillan & Co Ltd. Ethno-Ecology of Indian Tribes: Diversity in Cultural Adaptation, Jaipur : Rawat Publications. Diversity and Pluralism, in the Sunday Statesman, 22nd June, 2003. Medical world of the Tribals, New Delhi : Discovery Pub. House

Dasgupta, Samira and Amitabha Sarkar


Furer Haimandorf, C.V.


Sarkar Amitabha and Samira Dasgupta


Seabrook, Jeremy


Tribhuwan, Robin, D


Jr. Anth. Survey of India, 60 : 83-101 (2011)

Traditional Health Practices :

A Study among the Lepchas of Sikkim

Sumitabha Chakraborty*
Lepcha is the oldest tribe in Sikkim, as it is reported in many of the secondary sources; majority of its population inhabiting in the isolated homeland, Dzongu valley; an officially demarcated reserve for Lepcha community, bordering Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, in the north district of Sikkim. Lepchas of Dzongu are known for their retention of rich cultural heritage. In view of the ongoing cultural and economic changes brought in by the process of globalization, the immediate need was felt to document in details the under-explored ethno-medicinal practices of Lepchas of Dzongu valley. This paper reports the two spectrums of traditional health practices (i) the belief therapy and (ii) the uses of ethno-biotic material for ethno-medicinal utility by the Lepchas for curing different types of physical ailments. As per use pattern, maximum of species are to cure stomach related disorders/ ailments, followed by curing cut, wounds, inflammation, sprains and joint pains. Administration of medicine orally is recorded in many cases. The changing scenario over time both at socio-cultural front and passing traditional knowledge interests from older to younger generation and rich ethno-medicinal wealth of the oldest tribe of Sikkim are discussed in the light of conservation strategies and techniques to adopt.

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity as propounded by World Health Organization (WHO, 1946/1948, p.100). Life of an individual is always concerned with health. The idea of ill-health disturbs the rhythm of life and the performances of the individual being. All human groups, no matter how small or technologically primitive, have always been devising ways and means for taking care of the health. There are many definitions represent health and illness, which have conceptualized health as modes of relationship equilibrium and disequilibrium between man and his environment; involving human factors, ecological aspect and social structure (Lehriche, 1973, p. 54). Health and illness have an integral association with the individual as well as society, where the health is a property and illness is a state. In one of his interpretation, Valabrega mentioned two notions of health and illness first, the concept of endogenous (illness is caused by the magical theft of the individual soul) and exogenous (illness is caused by the real or symbolic intrusion of some objects into the patients body); secondly, illness may be caused by the action of another man or sorcerer or religious origin, produced by a god or a spirit (1962). Saunders (1959) suggested in his writing that every person has cultural guides, which enable him/her to know when he/she may be regarded as sick. It is also mentioned that culture plays a broad role in shaping peoples ideas about health and illness and their subsequent treatment activities. Health and illness have close linkages with the therapeutic and preventive practices, which have shown variations throughout the ages. These therapeutic and preventive practices led by the human being is termed as ethno-medicine, which
*Anthropological Survey of India, Eastern Regional Centre, Kolkata


Traditional Health Practices : A study among the Lepchas of Sikkim

is referred to beliefs and practices relating to disease which are the products of indigenous cultural development (Hughes, 1968, p. 88). All societies have an identical way of health practices, which are not explicitly derived from the conceptual framework of modern medicine. History reveals that since the dawn of civilization, everywhere man searched out both naturalistic and super-naturalistic means to prevail over the ill-health. In this matter, man only depends on their surrounding biome and developed an attachment with biotic and abiotic creature for coping up various health disorders and illness. Thus, the traditional way of nature cured with herbal medicine got tremendous popularity during the historical period. The first recorded treatise on the collection of 800 plants and plant products was mentioned in Charak Samhita (1000 800 BC) followed by Sushruta Samhita (800-700 BC). In the path of development of ethno-medicine, there were two types of healing prevalent during the Vedic period one was relied on magico-religious system while the other combined with medicinal herbs and medicines. In India, the concept of utilizing the natural plant products to cure the ailments had appeared in the remote past, dating back to 4500-1600 BC during the period of the Rig Veda. In course of time, a number of attempts have been made to improvise the knowledge of ethno-medicine. In the early part of twentieth century, numerous anthropological studies on ethno-medicine had been carried out by the famous scholars like, Evans-Pitchard (on Azande); Kluckhon and Spencer (on Nabaho); Redfield, Gillion and Adams (on Maya). In the Indian context ethno-medicine has been studied in the later part of twentieth century by famous scholars like, P.C. Joshi; Balgir Singh; K.H. Bist; S.N.H. Rizvi and so on. The present study was undertaken to understand the status of health, illness and the role of ethno-medicine among the Lepcha of Sikkim. The Himalayas in and around Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve (KBR). The entire state of Sikkim is in rich repository of many such endemic medicinal species, which are used by the local people over the centuries. The present article has highlighted how the herbal medicine are effectively used by the Lepcha people for their ill-health. The Lepcha of Khangchendzonga Himalayas have their age-old traditional system of therapeutics, which they have acquired from their forefathers and practise when they feel to be effective. But due to modernization and with the advent of various modern treatment facilities, are they changing their age-old practice of natural healing and the ethno-medicine? How far their health related beliefs and practices are really changed by the implementation of modern health care systems and programmes implemented from outside? Is there any stiff resistance prevailing against the implementation of such health care programmes? All these impeaching queries have appeared again and again. Because, due to the implementation of forest protection rule extraction and exploitation of forest resources from deep inside the jungles are restricted at large.

Area and the people

Living on the western flank of the eastern Himalaya, Sikkim, one of the smallest states in India is flavoured with floral bounty and land-locked terrain. It is located between 2705' - 2809' N latitude and 8757' - 8856' E longitude, having an area of around 7096 sq.kms., and is known as the paradise of nature lover. The state is bounded by Nepal in the west, Bhutan in the east, Tibet in the north and north-east and West Bengal in the south. The Chola range separated the state from Tibet and Bhutan, while Singalila range separated it from Nepal (Gazetteer, 1931). Historical information shows that before 1641 the area was ruled by the Lepcha kings and between 1641 and prior to 1975 Sikkim was ruled by the Bhutia king. In 1975 Sikkim became an independent sovereign state (Sharma, 1983; p.18). A number of mountain

Sumitabha Chakraborty


passes, like, Nather La (4392 m.), Gelep La (4388 m.), Donkia La (5520 m.), Kongra La (4809 m.) along the ranges have sustained a two way traffic of traders, pilgrims and adventurers from Tibet and central Asia. About 36.3 per cent (2656 sq. kms.) of the total area of the state is under forest coverage. The topography of Sikkim is quite varied. The elevation ranges from 1250 meter to 8558 meter, with almost no flat piece of land anywhere. The snow-clad mountains, the lower hills covered with dense evergreen forests, many rivers and rivulets cascading down from the rocky heights and rippling through the green expanse of the valleys constitute a magnificent and eye inspiring panorama. Mount Khangchendzonga (8598 meter), the worlds third highest mountain is treated as sacred mountain to the Sikkimese as their guardian deity and considered as the holiest of the holy.

The study area

The area under the study lies in the west and north districts of Sikkim. In the west district, the studied hamlets are lying in the revenue villages, like (a) Yuksam (under YuksamDubdi Gram Panchayat), (b) Tsozo (under Tsozo Gram Panchayat) and (c) Khecheopalri (under Khecheopalri Gram Panchayat). A total number of 636 households with a total population of 3385 (Census of India, 2001) souls are inhabited in west districts, of which about 75 percent are tribal. They are mostly residing in the remote hamlets (bustees), adjacent to the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve.

Table-1: Concentration of the Lepcha population in the study area (West Sikkim)
Revenue village (West Sikkim) YUKSAM (Ramgyathang bustee) TSOZO (Lethang bustee) KHECHEOPALRI (Monastry bustee) Household Total Lepcha 364 16 16 89 33 33 114 16 15 Population Total Lepcha 1951 87 87 476 194 194 556 83 76

Source: Gram Panchayat record compiled with field data

Table-1 shows the concentration of the Lepcha population in various revenue villages. It is noticed that each revenue village has a number of hamlets popularly known as bustee. In Yuksam, there are many hamlets (bustees) like, Topsing, Gerethang, Mangsabong, Yuksam Bazar, Nubgang, Guffa-dera, Dosthang, Tintin, Ramgyathang etc. of which the Lepcha inhabit three hamlets (bustee). The Ramgyathang bustee is totally inhabited by the Lepcha. On the other hand the Tsozo revenue village has different hamlets, like Lethang, Tsozo, Seling, Lingay, Putung etc. The Lepcha inhabit Lethang, Lingay and Tsozo hamlets with hundred percent concentrations, while the other two hamlets Seling and Putung are inhabited by the Bhutias. It is interesting to notice during the fieldwork that due to shyness and a preference to live in isolation on the lap of nature, most of the Lepcha bustees are found in a remote corner amidst in the forest and away from the locality. In the monastery bustee under Khecheopalri revenue village the Lepcha houses are built within an area centering a very old Buddhist monastery.


Traditional Health Practices : A study among the Lepchas of Sikkim

In north districts of Sikkim, the Lepcha only inhabit the village of Dzongu, an isolated place separated from the district headquarter Mangan by the river Teesta. Dzongu is a Tibetan word and combination of two syllables i.e., Dzon, means hillock and gu means nine. Most of the houses and cultivated land are between 1200 meter and 2500 meter above sea level, a relatively narrow band above the two rivers, though occasionally fields are made at even higher altitudes. Above the cultivated land is the forest in which wild produce is gathered, where hunting is done, and where the cattle are sent for grazing in the winter months. Above the forest level comes first the rhododendron forest, and then the snow coverage, rarely visited by people except by the hunters searching either or ibex, musk-deer or wild aconite from which forms the basis of their arrow poison is made (Gorer, 2005; p.56). The area, Dzongu is separated in two areas (a) the lower Dzongu and (b) upper Dzongu. In lower Dzongu, there are altogether two GPU (Gram Panchayat Unit) (i) Gor-Sangtok and (ii) Hee Gyathang. The upper Dzongu has five gram-panchayat units (GPU) namely (i) Lingthem Lingdem, (ii) Sakyong Pentong, (iii) Shipgyard Salim Pakhel, (iv) Tingbong Linzya and (v) Lingdong - Berfok. The total Dzongu area is not under the KBR (Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve), rather a portion of the upper Dzongu consisting of Sakyong, Pentong, Bay Linzya, Tingbong, Lik, Shipgyar, Salim Pakhel hamlets are under the KBR. Table-2, depicts the areawise concentration of the Lepcha in the hamlets of lower and upper Dzongu. In lower Dzongu Hee-Gyathang is the largest revenue village consisting of many hamlets (bustees). On the other hand, except Lingthem Lingdem revenue village, others have small Lepcha population. It has been found that most of the hamlets in upper Dzongu revenue villages are situated in a very inaccessible terrain. The people have to cross the river Teesta with their traditional bamboo made suspension bridge and have to travel a longer distance on foot through the forest land and inaccessible terrain.

Table-2: Concentration of the Lepcha population in the study area (North Sikkim)
Revenue village (North Sikkim) HEE-GYATHANG (Lower Dzongu) (Samdong bustee) TINGBONG-LINZYA(upper Dzongu) (Lower Linzya bustee) SAKYONG-PENTONG(Upper Dzongu) (Bay bustee) Household Lepcha Population Lepcha 268 039 075 017 069 011 1380 228 385 99 414 69

Source: Gram-Panchayat record compiled with field collected data

Sumitabha Chakraborty


The People
Once the ruling race, the Lepcha are the earliest settlers of Sikkim profoundly proclaimed as Rong (the son of the snowy peak) motanchi (term for intra-community identity) nowadays concentrated on the lap of Kangchendzonga (mayel lyang the land of hidden delightful paradise). The derogatory word Lepcha is derived from the Nepalese term Lepchey, which means scurrilous speakers. Originally, the term Lepchey was anglicized by the British people who coined the present term Lepcha. History of the state states that the Lepcha are the oldest inhabitant of Sikkim. They had kings and kingdom. They had their own script (rongring). It is believed that at one time the Lepcha dominantly ruled over the whole of north-eastern states including Sikkim. During the reign of Gaeboo Achok, the area of his kingdom extended to the highest unit. But the reign of whole Lepcha kingdom was ruined within a very short period and the condition of the Lepcha gradually became impoverished. The Lepcha were living mostly through hunting and gathering from the forests and since later phase of last century they took the initiative in terrace farming and subsequently adopted the system of cash crop plantation, like cardamom and ginger. The Lepcha raise maize, paddy, buckwheat, barley and millet in their terrace agricultural field. The maize is the most important staple food and millet is commonly used for making local beer Chi. Fish is taken occasionally but meat both fresh and dried are taken regularly. They do not have any inhibition in consuming beef, pork, rabbit, porcupine, monkey, deer etc. The Lepcha certainly developed a strong cultural base. Their folklores, myths and legends, dance, songs are cherished and transmitted to the younger generation. The Lepcha have their own ancient religion, named as Boongthing-ism and Mun-ism. They believe in the existence of God called Rum and to Him they offer their prayers. They also have strong belief in evil spirits, who cause illness and misfortune. Boongthing and Mun prescribe all the rituals and religious ceremonies of the Lepchas. Many of the earlier scholars mentioned that the Lepcha did not have any religion rather they believed in atheism. But in reality, for the God fearing Lepchas; prayers, supplication and worship through the medium of Boongthing and Mun are no superstition. They believe prayers and chanting spring out from the core of their hearts. They also believe that prayer is an unfailing means to achieve the purity of heart. The Boongthing and the Mun play the role of mediator between God and the people. In recent times, the majority of the Lepcha are converted into Buddhism and some of them are converted into Christianity. People have accepted the ritual, the validating mythology, and the organization of Lamaism. Lamaism is individualistic; it holds that a persons chief concern should be with his own spiritual welfare. Thus, the key-concept of Lamaism, is an attitude to disapprove social acts. Lamaism believes that the society bears the brunt of wicked acts (Gorer, 2005; p.135). Lepcha language is dubbed by many scholars as a mystery language, because it is not related to any other language, prevalent in this region. Some have a belief


Traditional Health Practices : A study among the Lepchas of Sikkim

that the language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman family, while others have found its root in the Austro-Asiatic family. Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee has mentioned that the Lepcha language belongs to the Himalayan group of the Tibeto-Burman sub-family (Thakur, 1988). Being a man of the forests and having a perfect harmony with nature, the Lepcha developes an intimate relationship with the surrounding environment. They have extremely rich knowledge for variety of plants, beasts, insects and flowers and some of them who, even today, live in the mountainous forest patches. Some plants grown in the forest are beneficial to them. During the present field work, many of the medicinal herbs were collected with the help of them. It is observed that for the course of daily activity the people follow the nature. Their song, dance and music are speaking out the beauties of nature.

Social structure
The Lepcha are kin based community and sub-divided into a number of patrilineal clans, which are locally known as ptso. Each ptso is considered to have a common supernatural or legendary ancestor. The chief function of ptso is the regulation of marriage alliance and the prevention of incest. The Lepcha do not have any centralized authority. In older times, during the reign of kings, two division or social classes existed; i.e., (i) Rongboo (patricians), (ii) Mangboo (plebeians). According to them, the Rongboo Lepcha belonged to the nobility class (Roy Burman, 2003; p.35), who were appointed by the king as priests; while the Mangboo class of Lepcha consists of farmers, potters, carpenters, blacksmiths, weavers etc. At the time of marriage alliance, if it is arranged marriage, the Lepcha enquire about the caste or clan of the bride and the groom, because they strictly follow the rule of ptso (clan) exogamey. It is observed that the settlement pattern of the Lepcha is also usually clan centered. That is why, the clanSandyanmoo, Lutsomoo and Hee-moo are prevalent in Lethang, Ramgyathang and Khecheopalri bustee. It is in their belief that these clans are conferred from the 108 main snowy peaks of Sikkim Himalayas. In his writings, K.P. Tamsang (1983; P.40) has mentioned that a kind of social order is embodied where both the father and the mother are the head of the family at a time and therefore, the male children or sons belong to the fathers clan and the female children or daughters belong to the mothers clan. The girls or daughters inherit her mothers clan from generation to generation; and as such daughters have no right whatsoever over her fathers moveable or immoveable properties. In Lepcha society, the extended family is an operative group, which renders possible identification with the community. It is their opinion that the extended family imparts positive training to the child and teaches a strong control over behaviour. While describing the society, the Lepcha men often start that they have no class, creed and ranking among themselves. No one is big, no one is small, and there is no stratification as such. A delicate balance between man and nature set limits for efficient and intensive exploitation of resources. Exchange of labour system between kin members, neighbours and barter economy plays a significant role in the system of reciprocity. The extensive

Sumitabha Chakraborty


gift giving practices between the kin members also ensure strong community bonds. The reciprocal ties among the Lepcha are fully legitimized through an institution called lobo (Roy Burman, 2003, p: 46). Reciprocity with a wider group Lyhangcho with whom obligations of token exchange is essential as a member of the community. In Lepcha society, the household member, especially the male member is also asked to participate in the Onlok collective work for community welfare, like bridge making, bridle path construction etc. Ochhom is the other system institutionalizing friendly ties between people of the same ptso or clan or outside within or outside the village. This relationship involves giving help, including material items and services as well as offering psychological support. It is evident that among the Lepcha of Dzongu, a system of self-rule is still functioning in the form of an informal council of the elders, which they termed as Lyang-ganbu. In spite of the existence of the Panchayat, it is very important to settle-up various disputes regarding marriage alliance, fixing up of bride-price, cultivation of crops, land holding disputes, crimes, disputes within the family members etc. are settled by this self-rule system. According to their belief, any kind of quarrel is the result of the evil action of three spirits or devils, i.e. Soo-moong (enmity of speech), Ge-moong (enmity of thought), and Jhor-moong (enmity of action). The devil Soo-ge-Thor is responsible for the evil trinity. The Lamaic exorcism is performed every year to destroy the evil action of Soo-Ge-Thor devil.

Traditional health practices

After the advent of Buddhism, the two guiding forces Mahayana Budhism and Tibetan Dynasty developed a kind of holistic medicinal practice in Sikkim, which later popularized as Tibetan Medicine. Samuel Weiser (1984) has opined that there is a very close relationship between Buddhism and medicine. He has also stated that Lord Buddha was the first, who said Man suffers from the inherent frustration of conditioned existence, and our suffering is caused by the fact of impermanence of all entities and by the endless craving that arises from the delusion, the Dharma (cited in Tibetan Buddhist Medicine & Psychiatry, New York; Samuel Weiser Inc.). In reality, illness is the reflection of mind to body and of the embodied psychoorganism at large. On a relative plane, illness is said to be caused by a lack of harmony within the microcosm and on an absolute plane, it is understood to be caused by the disharmony originating from the fundamental delusion of duality and egos self-existence (Weiser, 1984). In the arena of traditional medical practices in Sikkim, Veena Bhasin (1997) is of the opinion that in spite of the prevalence of Tibetan pharmacopoeia, the state has the abundance of flora and fauna which have tremendous value in ethno-medicinal purpose of the local people.

Health and Illness: Belief therapy

The concept of health and illness among the Lepcha is fully guided by the belief in supernatural. According to the belief of the people, the cause of illness can be classified into two categories(i) Diseases are caused by supernatural beings, their displeasure and actions, which are beyond mans control; and (ii) diseases are caused by the magical means like witchcraft and sorcery. According to them, the


Traditional Health Practices : A study among the Lepchas of Sikkim

system of cause, effect and cure is a circular and enclosed system of knowledge, which provides the manifestation of explanation and control in the face of disorders, chaos and inexplicable circumstances. It is their belief that if the cause of illness is a spirit, the effect is then spirit possession or the other way it can be the cause of controlled spirit possession. The ideas of health, illness and disease have own individual importance in Lepcha mind. As like others, they also believe that health is related with tension, mental stress and strain. When a man suffers with tension, mental stress and strain, illness automatically appears without any cause of disease. According to them, disease is of two categories (a) Curable and (b) non-curable. According to their perception illness has two aspects i.e. (i) Psycho-analytical (based on the existence of spirits, ghosts, evil doers), (ii) medicinal (based on the existence of some non-curable fatal diseases like, tuberculosis, cancer, cholera, diarrhoea etc.). The Psycho-analytical aspect of illness is cured only by means of propitiation of deities and appeasement of spirits, ghosts etc., while the medicinal aspect is cured by the application of traditional herbal medicine first and if not cured then they apply modern allopathic medicine. Faith in supernatural power-god - Rum and demon Moong is an age-old tradition that existed before the advent of Buddhism. Both Rum (God) and Moong (demon) can or do harm in the form of fatal injury, epidemics, mishaps, disease etc. and also can snatch ones life, if they are really dissatisfied. At that time, the Mun and Boongthing, the folk-healer are to be consulted. The mums and boongthings are considered to be the media for communication to the God (rum) and the devils or demons (moongs). It is believed that the boongthings are supposed to be able to communicate with all the devils/demons (Moongs) except the Dom moong, who causes leprosy. It is the opinion of the mun and boongthing that different types of illness are caused by the deeds of different moongs (devil/demon) which can be treated with worship and devotion of respective moongs accompanied by animal sacrifice. The folk-healer (mun & boongthing) stated that if those rum and moong (God and devil/demon) are ignored or any disrespect is shown to them by defiling or polluting by natures call etc. they may invite the suffering of the particular individual the people may suffer from serious sickness and sometimes even die. Mun and boongthing also agreed that if Rum (god) is angered it appears in malicious guise and then referred to as a demon, and may cause sickness and other misfortune. The sickness, disease may also cause by magical means, which is treated by exorcism. In this sphere the folk healer (mun and boongthing) takes initiative steps. By counting of the rosary beads and throwing off the dice, the folk-healer divines what is actually troubling the patient and then suggest whether sacrifice is actually necessary or not. In psycho-analytical aspect of illness, disease may be caused by the evil spirit and according to them, all evil spirits reside in the upper part and as well as in the lower part of the earth. To get rid of those evil spirits, in almost all Lepcha houses of both in Yuksam and Dzongu, a kind of structure is found, what they term as Namgo (for the evil spirit of upper part of the earth) and Sago (for the evil spirit of lower part of the earth). It is a common belief that this structure protects them from all kinds of malevolent spirits.

Sumitabha Chakraborty


Due to the harmful effect of demon, deities and spirits the people become sick with heart disease (alut-dak), stomach disorder (tubok-dak), rheumatism (aku-dak athung-dak), vision problem, nose bleeding (jukmar-vee) etc. which can be cured by the magico-religious performances.

Illness curing rituals

The rituals are performed for the benefit of individuals, households and the geographical area. Few important rituals are necessarily mentioned hereunder. The people have the belief that performances of these rituals are essential for curing the illness. In these ceremonies, Mun, Boongthing and Lama play an overwhelming role.

Cherim Ceremony : Cherim ceremony, is held twice yearly; to keep off epidemic diseases like malaria from the community. There are three separate rituals, two performed by Mun, and the third one by Lamas. Shokbu-Rum Ceremony : This ceremony is held during the onset of summer season for various seasonal diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, cough and cold etc. which may be caused by the ill effect of that Yomgebo deity ( rum) and the spirit residing in the nature. Boongthing plays an important role to propitiate the god and the spirit remaining in the state of fasting. Parnap festival : This ceremony is performed to appease a demon, known as Zengo, who is believed to protect their health from dreadful diseases. Boongthing or Mun presides over such rituals in their traditional way. Apang Moong/Sor moong : To get rid of genitorurinary disease or fatal diseases, a goat is tittered by a long rope which has three knots tied in its length. Mun will call on all the devils to be contended with the blood of the sacrifice. Num-een moong : The young children who die by the infantile diarrhoe is believed to be caused by a demon of a dead child named as Num-een moong. To drive away that demon (moong) the Lepcha sacrifice a goat or a sheep. The Mun is called for treatment.

Sipundi : If the Lepcha suffer from food poison and they believe it to be the job a malevolent spirit called sipundi. It is also believed that when the malevolent spirit sipundi makes a tremendous effect on the Lepcha, they die instantly. Lung-Zee : One of the most special spirits is Lung-zee, who if ignored, defiled or polluted can destroy the whole villagevillagers suffer from any infectious disease, or at least the culprit or culprits receive punishment from spirit. For that matter they restrict themselves from cutting or chopping the wood of a tree, where lung-zee is thought to reside.

Supernatural power and illness

According to their opinion, illness may occur due to the displeasure or dissatisfaction of the supernatural power to which they have no control.


Traditional Health Practices : A study among the Lepchas of Sikkim

Malevolent power by the God (rum)

Local name Langrum ver, Tongthing Lee-rum Position Village God Household deity Household deity Diseases caused Responsible for headache, fedrowsiness Eye infection Cause the disease like diarrhoea, dysentery, stomach disorder etc. Cause epidemic like malaria, jaundice Responsible for severe stomach pain, diarrhoea, dysentery. Responsible for various seasonal diseases like cough & cold, Pneumonia, diarrhoea, dysentery etc.

Tsandong rum Lung-no rum, Ajo Gyantho Shukbu-rum

Common deity Common deity Seasonal deity

Malevolent power by the demon/devil/ghost ( moong)

Local name Duet-Tshen moong Position Place of dense forest, rock and cave Places of flowing streams, rivers places of flowing streams, rivers Places inside the bustee Places of a village boundary Places of outcrops of a rock Places of roadside area Diseases caused Responsible for rheumatism (akn -dak/athmg dak), headache, Bodyache, joint and limb pain, high fiver Responsible for pain all over the body. Responsible for specific skin disease, wounds, fatal injury Responsible for severe headache, severe heat attack Responsible for miscarriage, frequent vomiting; loss of appetite of the female-folk. Skin disease, sore etc. is caused due to the ill effect of the moong Accident, suicide

Manoo moong (female ghost) Loo-moong (female demon) Gey-bo-moong Lyang shergynu (female ghost) Sabdok moong

Arof moong

Sumitabha Chakraborty


Malevolent power by the evil spirit

Local name

Reside in the nature as a whole

Diseases caused
Cause of different dreadful diseases like TB., Pneumonia, a lung disease. Cause of genitor-urinary disease and violent death. Cause of infantile diarrhoea Cause of food poison and jaundice Cause of limb pain, whole body pain Cause of various infectious disease. The whole village get affected. Cause of various common diseases like headache, bodyache, limb pain, nose bleeding (jukmar-vee), heart disease (alut-dak), stomach disorder (tubok-dak) Cause of vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhoea Cause of loose motion, piles, abnormal delivery etc.

Apang moong sor moong Num-een moong Amee Lung-zee Sandong

Reside in the tree trunk Reside in the dead childs soul Reside in the open barren field Reside in the fruits, vegetables and grains Reside in a large tree, a crag, a taru, a cave, a cluster of trees, a hillock Reside in the large stone situated at the entry point of the bustee


Maknyam Sor

Reside in the open air just outside the house Reside in the dense forest

From the above it can be assessed that the Lepcha world of belief is completely guided by beliefs. Even nowadays, this tradition gets importance. The Lepcha take the measure, to propitiate those supernatural evil power first by the boongthing and Mun, if it is not cured they opt for the better option of traditional herbal medicine by consulting the medicine-menmaondaok. If the health situation becomes aggravated only then they go to the Primary health centre and opt for modern medicine.

Health and Illness: Ethno-biotic medicinal therapy

The idea of health, illness and diseases have own individual importance in Lepcha mind. In their perception any kind of illness may not be called a disease, and thus cough and cold, headache, bodyache are not considered as disease. Ethno-biotic therapy means use of both herbal and animal parts for the treatment of ailment. In Sikkim, the Lepcha have the treasure of medicinal plants as well as the knowledge of effective utilization of animal body parts. Here, herbal and animal parts assembled together can be called ethno-biotic medicine. The Lepcha medicine man, Maondaok utilizes the medicinal plants for the treatment of diseases. Besides herbs and plants they use the minerals and animal parts as medicines for treatment of diseases. To them, medicineman uses flowers, roots, tubers, barks, leaves etc.; the body parts of the animals as an effective therapeutics.


Traditional Health Practices : A study among the Lepchas of Sikkim

Utilization of medicinal plant by the Lepcha of West Sikkim

Loc al Name CHULI T EIL Bo tanic al Name Abroma augusta Artemisia Nilagirica Begonia sp. Parts used Bark, by making bark juice, bark paste Leaf by making juice, paste and boiled in water Leaf and petiole by making the juice and boiling in water Leaf by making juice and boiling in water Rhizome by boiling and consumed as vegetable Green bract by making paste and consumed as juice Fruit consumed directly Nut consumed by boiling and fried Fruit consumed directly Root by making paste Fruit consumed directly and dried up sometimes make a paste and applied directly Leaf by making juice boiling in water and leaf-paste Inflorescence by boiling in mastered oil Root by boiling of root making a paste. Root, stem and seed by making juice and paste of root and stem by boilding the seed Leaves and gums by making paste of leaves. Gum mixed with oil of roses Dise ase / ailme nts Menstrual disorder Nasal bleeding, benemicidal and skin treatment Stomachache



Codonopsis Viridis Costus speciosus Engelhardtia spicata Hemiphragma heterophyllum Juglaus regia Lobelia angulata Rubia cordifolia Schima wallichii

Infant diarrhoea


Urinary disorder and food poisoning Stomach ailments and throat pa in Throat pain and tonsillitis Rheumatism Mother health care after child birth Astringents in cuts and wounds Dandruff


Siegesbeckia orientalis Spilanthes acmella Thysanolaena max ima Tr i c h o s a m t h e s tricuspidata



Tootha che Boils, sores and gastric problem Food-poisoning snake biting rheumatism


Abies wabbiana

Stomachache, Tonic astringent, internal haemorrhage Tuberculosis. Gum used internally for intoxication and externally for headache


Sumitabha Chakraborty RIKLOK Acorus calamus Root and Rhizome by making powder of root. Boiling the Rhizome Leaves & seeds by extracting oil from seeds Fruit by making ointment oil cakes by making juice of the bark

Expelling intestinal worm insect repellent diarrhoea Urinary disorder, diabetes, oil extracted from seeds used in sprain of muscles Asthma, rheumatism.


Actinodaphne Hookeri Aesandra butyraceae Diploknema buty raceac Maduca butyraceac Albizzia Lebbeck


Root, seed, leaves by extracting oil from the seed; by making powder from the root bark

Root disease of blood, lencoderma, itching, piles, skin disease inflamation, crysepelas, bronchitis. Flower- Asthma seedoil-leprosy root bark powder strengthens the gums Applied in ulcers, used in cancers. Cuts, scabies and other skin disease. Heart and Liver disorder, hypnotic apetiser Indigestion, vomiting, enlarged spleen, bulzyness of rectum, gonorrhea Spleen and liver disease, tumors abdominal complaints, rheumatism Asthma, itching, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Leaves ash healing ulcers, root useful in skin disease, asthma, diarrhoea Ripe fruit- Improve taste, Eye trouble, Appetite Plant- Spleen, bone fracture, tapeworm Control diarrhoea, animal bite. Diarrhoea, dysentery, stomach disorder Toothache, ulcers, skin diseases, diarrhoea, cough bleeding piles. Skin disease, diarrhoea, jaundice, eye infection root extraction is hypoglycaemic and anticancerous.


Albizia procera Albizia stipulate A mm o mu m sabulatun

Leaves Bark by making lotion Seeds by making seed oil and seed juice


Aphanamixis polystachaya Artimisia vulgaris Artocarpus heterophyllus Artocarpus lakoocha

Bark and seed by making bark juice and seed oil Whole plant by making the juice and sometimes paste. Fruits, latex, leaves, roots by making tonic from fruits. Fruit, plant





Bauhimia purpurea Bauhimia vahlie Bauhinia variegate Berberis aristata

Roots, Bark, flowers by making juice. Seeds, leaves by making leaves tonic Bark, leaves, flowers, buds & flowers by making astringent tonic Root, bark, Branchlets fruit by making paste and juice from root bark.



Traditional Health Practices : A study among the Lepchas of Sikkim

Utilization of medicinal plant by the Lepcha of North Sikkim (Dzongu)

Vernacular Name
Aetok koong

Botanical Name

Parts used




Kajyoo khyaamoong

Ka nyim

Ka zoo


Kashyum koong Kaong ki koong

R h o d o d e n d r o n Flowers & Petals by Fresh and dried flower petal arboretum making dried powder cures dysentery and diarrhoea clear the bones of fish stuck in the throat. Menthe arvensis Leaves & young shoots Remedy for headache and by making juice and cholera, used as stimulant paste and digestive Rosa clamascena Petals, buds & roots, by Petal paste is applied in cuts, making paste and juice stops bleeding. Buds & Root cure Tubercuof buds and roots losis. Datura fistulosa Roots, leaves and seeds Leaves- rheumatic swelling, by making paste, juice sciatic and inflamations complaints and dried powder Seeds powder smoke of seeds powder cure asthmatic fits. Amaranthus Roots, stalks and leaves Astringent in diarrhoea, dysentery and hemorrhage tricolor by making juice of the bowels. Juice is effective for excessive menstrual discharge Urtica parviflora Roots, leaves and flow- Roots- Fracture and ers by making juice, dislocation. powder Pounding roots- gonorrhea. Juice is taken as tonic for cleaning after child birth. Hibiscus Fruits- Gums and gelati- Cure gonorrhea, burning esculentus nous substance of the sensation while urine and fruits painful urination. Rubus ellipticus Roots, shoots Cure colic pains and kill the Prumus Pudum intestinal worms in children. Bark, branches by mak- Bark :- paste is applied for ing paste and soaking healing up fracture of bones, liquid Soaking liquid of small branches prevents abortion. Roots, barks and fruits Paste is applied to cure all by making paste kinds of skin diseases. Fruits by making juice, Cure Asthma, cough, rheupowder matism, gonorrhea, piles, spleen. Powdered fruits- applied with black pepper powder and milk good for development of breast. Seeds by making oil and Seed oil- very useful for paste leprosy, also used for eczema and other skin diseases and chronic rheumatism.

Kaong hi koong Kuntim paot

Semicarpus amacardium Piper longum

Took koong

Gynocardia odorata


Sumitabha Chakraborty Gey bookhanaok Dichroa febrifuge



Michelia champaca

Tuk chyer koong

Albizia julibrissin

Tuk nyil

Artimisia vulgaris


Paederia foetida

Tumbaar rik

Mussaenda frondosa Bombax malabaricum Red fungas

Tung loo koong Durbi hyur

Naong ryoopaot

Zanthoxyllum acanthopodium

Paong mook

Cynodon dactylon

Roots and leaves, by Decoction of root cures making paste and juice fever. Very useful for malaria and other type of fevers. Bark, flowers and fruits Bark reduce fever and by making juice as ejects phlegm from throat and lungs by coughing and tonic spitting. Flowers and Fruits- cures nausea and fever. Promoting urine in kidney diseases and in gonorrhea. Bark and seed by mak- Cures piles and diarrhoea. ing powder, juice and Root Bark powderstrengthens gums of teeth. paste Juice of young leaves- cures night blindness. Whole plant including Cures skin diseases and ulleaves by making paste cers, nose bleeding, clear the young shoot by boiling block in nostrils. Cures gout and rheumatism. in the water. Young shoot - increase and promotes appetite digestion Leaves, roots and fruits, Young leaves and shootsshoots by making cure convalescent rheumatism. powder juice Leaves juice- cures diarrhoea of children pounded fruitsprotects toothache. Flowers, roots, by Flowers cough, asthma Root juice- jaundice root making paste/juice paste- skin eruption ulcers. Cures dysentery. Young Gum or juice roots roots- cures gonorrhea Whole body of the Dried red fungus soaked in fungus by making pow- worm water to cure arching ear. der Seeds and bark by mak- Seed & Bark tonic- cure ing tonic, distilled fever, dyspepsia and cholera Distilled arrack of fruit arrack of fruit massaged to cure gout and rheumatism. Roots, whole plants by Decoction of roots- cures making decoction, juice dropsy and syphilis Fusion of roots- stops bleeding of piles Crushed roots- cures chronic gonorrhoea Juice of plantscures cuts and wounds, Leaves and plants by making ash and paste Inhaling of moulder leaves and plants cures nose blockage, headache, dyptheria, pneumonia and good chronic for sinus infection.

Pudin ayok mook

Drymaria cordata



Traditional Health Practices : A study among the Lepchas of Sikkim Alstonia scholaris Bark, root by making paste and juice Bark- cure skin disease, rheumatism. Root - juice taken with milk cures from leprosy.

Pur vok koong

Phago koong

Not collected

Bark, seeds by making paste and ashes powder

Bark paste- cure fresh cuts and wounds Bark ashes- cure chronic wounds. Powder of seed- cures throat, lung sores and typhoid.

Braong paot

Phyllanthus emblica

Barks, fruits by making juice, paste

Bark and fruits- cures diarrhoea and dysentery, helps digestion. Fresh juice- mixed with milk cure gonorrhoea mixed with honey cure white lencorrhoea relieves pain in urine trouble and burning sensation the vagina.

Booshi kaa

Not collected

Roots, bark leaves and flowers by making paste, juice

Remove phlegm, bile impurities of blood cures cough, asthma, fever, vomiting, leprosy, tuber-culosis. Leaves are valuable antiseptic.


Celastrus paniculata

Seeds by making juice and paste

Cure rheumatism, paralysis, leprosy, scabies.

Rung kyen

Swerita Hain

chirata Whole plant

Cures intermittent fevers, acidity, bilious dyspepsia cures lever function.

Vyum rik

Rubia cordifolia

Roots, fruits by making juice and paste

Cures skin disease act as a cleaning agent after delivery. Bark powder soaked in water cures Pneumonia.

Sangaa koong

Not collected

Bark by making powder

Sumitabha Chakraborty


Utilization of biotic component among the Lepcha of Sikkim

Name of the disease
Weakening of vision/eye sight Calf pain and turning over the calf muscles

Application of animal body parts

Apply the lukewarm blood of Leech Apply the burnt tail of peacock ( mung young tuk shyin ) by smearing over the calf muscle of human leg. Apply the burnt cocks quill ( hik tsaong kaop ) by smearing over the inflammatory or swelling portion. Apply the spiders web ( sung gryaong saong ) and bandaged properly Apply the pounded paste of round worm ( tarekbu ), which is available under banana plant. Prescribed to take the soup of cooked flesh of black toad. Prescribed to take the soup and flesh of cooked Green toad without patch. Prescribed to take the soup of palm and finger of monkey without mixing salt. Consume the liver and flesh of monkey ( su-hu ) Kastoori, navel of abar (musk-deer) is applied. Prescribed to consume the boilded flesh of bear Black frogs skin (luk pak taluk) used as band aid. Prescribed to take the gall bladder soup of black Bear ( san-ha ) Prescribed to take the gall bladder soup of monkey ( su-hu ) Prescribed to consume the roasted stomach of porcupine ( Sattin ) with the gelatinous juice of aloe vera (ghreta kumari). Prescribed to inhale the smell of the burning ash of porcupines barb. Prescribed to dip the navel of sabar (musk deer) in water for over night and then to be consumed. Prescribed to take the roasted skin and meat of deer ( Su-ku )

Inflamation or swelling of groin or armpit

Fresh cut and wounds

Pneumonia, Bronchitis, other lung sores and Typhoid High fever


Epilepsy and High fever

Tuberculosis Snake bite Gall bladder pain Cut, wounds, skin disease Malaria ( dangdulat ) and Food poison ( enng ) Asthma

Malarial fever

Vomiting of pregnant lady

Liver malfunction

Ill effect of poisonous mushroom


Traditional Health Practices : A study among the Lepchas of Sikkim

Discussion of the foregoing pages tries to delineate that irrespective of caste, class, creed, health is an important feature to all human groups. The ill-health disturbs the rhythm of life and performances of the individual being. On having a separate identity, health and illness always remain as both sides of a same coin. If health is a property, then illness is a liability. The failure of health causes illness, whose cure is very necessary. Being an inhabitant of the Khangchendzonga Biosphere (KBR) the Lepcha have dependency on ethno-medicine. While describing the illness and therapeutics, it has been found that illness of the Lepcha is either caused by the dissatisfaction of various natural being which is considered to be an animate object, the arrogance and dissatisfaction of spirits, demons and ghosts, believed to be residing in the nature; or by the displeasure of various deities related with nature. In accordance with the rules of prevention against the illness and diseases, the Lepcha primarily follow the path of appeasement of various deities by worshipping them; or propitiating the malevolent spirits, demons, ghost by employing the service of the traditional spirit healer and priest, called as mun and boongthing. The second option for that is to apply the herbal therapeutics in consultation with the traditional medicinemen (maondaok). According to them, the disease and illness will be cured by the herbal therapeutics; If it is not cured, then they are advised to go to Primary Health Centre or District hospital for modern treatment. In relation to the present topic, Yuksam and its adjoining areas of West Sikkim and Dzongu area of north Sikkim, were chosen for a comparative observation. In this regard, it has been observed that the Lepcha of Dzongu area of north Sikkim possess a better mythology of illness and its traditional pharmacopoeia compared to that of other than the Yuksam of west Sikkim. In all respect, the traditional wisdom of pharmacopoeia and therapeutics is much higher among the Lepcha of Dzongu than those of the Yuksam area. A common feature observed between the two set up is the much dependency on the traditional way of therapeutics. The interesting feature observed among the Lepcha of Dzongu is that the traditional system of therapeutics prevailing in the interior areas except the Lepchas of Lethang hamlet of west Sikkim who show their dependency on traditional practice of treatment. The reason behind it perhaps is the mental make-up of the people. To them the age-old tradition should be kept alive.

Literature Consulted
C. Hughes 19 68 19 87 19 31 19 82 Ethnomedicine in the Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences, Edited by David L. Sills, Vol. 9 & 10, P. 88. Lecpha, My Vanishing Tribe. New Delhi, Sterling Publishing Co. Gazetteer of Bengal and Sikkim A.E. Porter, Vol.V, part-I & II, Delhi: Usha Publication. Labels, systems and motives: Some Perspective for Future Research in D.S. Gochman and G.S. Parcel (Ed.) Children Health, beliefs and health behavior (Spl. Issue), Health Education Quarterly, vol. 9, pp. 167-174.

Fonning, A.R. Gazetteer Gochman, S. David

Sumitabha Chakraborty Gorer Geoffery 20 05


The Lepcha of Sikkim, New Delhi, Gyan Publishing House Population Atlas, Census Report, Sikkim Health & illness: A Social Psychological Analysis, London, Academic Press. Kanchanjunga Biosphere Reserve published in Floristic diversity and Conservation Strategies in India, Vol. V; N.P. Singh and K.P. Singh, Kolkata, Botanical Survey of India. Ecological Bases of Indian Traditions: Search for an Indigenous vision in The Eastern Anthropologist , Vol. 58, Nos. 3 & 4. Tectonic Evolution of Sikkim Himalayas, Contemp. Srivastava Geosci, Resin Himalaya , vol. Dehradun Tribal Medicine : Traditional Practices & changes in India, New Delhi, Mittal Publication. Man, Malady & Medicine: History of Indian Medicine, Calcutta, Das Gupta & Co. (P) Ltd. Images of Sikkim: The Land, People and Culture, Sikkim, Department of Tourism, Gangtok, Ringsum Publication. Civilization and Disease. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Man in Biosphere: Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, New Delhi, Anthropological Survey of India and Gyan Publishing House. Medicinal Plant in Floristic Diversity and Conservation Strategies in India, vol. IV, Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata. The Unknown and Untold Reality about the Lepchas, Kalimpong, Lyangsong Tamsang. Himalayan Lepchas, New Delhi; Archives Publisher and Distributors. La Relation Therapeutique, Malade et Medecin Cited in Social Tactors in relations to chronic Illness by Graham Smith (1963). Tibetan Buddhist Medicine & Psychiatry, New Delhi, Samuel Weiser Inc. Health and Illness, Bulletin, New York, W.H.O.

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World Health Organization 1946-48

Jr. Anth. Survey of India, 60 : 102-107 (2011)

The Role of Family in Mental Health and Illness : An Anthropological Viewpoint

Shyamal Kumar Nandy*
This review paper deals with the roles played by the family structures in mental health and illness. Mentally healthy people can see other people in proper perspectives and are able to have satisfying and lasting personal relationships . If there are some persons with aberrant behaviour in the family, some children may imitate them. Such type of problems may be looked in the backdrop of holistic biolog ical viewpoint.

The mental dimension of health is recognized to be as important as physical and social dimensions. The World Health Organization (1946) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity which is widely accepted. Gillis (1988) considers people mentally healthy when they can react adequately in all spheres of their lives. They feel comfortable about themselves; they experience emotions freely but are not bowled over by them - by fears, angers, love, jealousy, guilt and worries and they take life`s disappointments in their stride. They neither underestimate nor over-estimate themselves, they accept their shortcomings and have respect for themselves withal. They get satisfaction even from simple events, have a toleranence and easy-going attitude and can laugh on the acts of themselves. Mentally healthy people can see other people in proper perspectives and are able in satisfying and lasting personal relationships with others. The most sensitive indicator of psychiatric illness is the way that a person feels about and reacts to others. It is in a person`s relationships. There might be tension between friends, or a lack of interests about other people in general. Arguments may rise time to time in the family but the spirit of mutual respect between husband and wife may not be missing. The person may become unable to engage himself with others at any meaningful level, and so on. Much of the mental health of a person, his attitudes and behaviour towards others, takes shape in the family into which he or she is born and within which he or she grows up. Family is considered as the basic unit of human organization and social structure in anthropological literature. There are various types of families nuclear family; compound family; horizontally and vertically extended family; broken family and so on. The interaction and interrelationship between members of a family vary according to the family type. The nuclear family consists of father, mother and their unmarried offspring. In a compound family, different units of nuclear families are connected through a common bond. When a remarried widow or widower lives together with a new spouse as well as the offspring of the previous spouse, it is a form of compound family. The polyandrous family consists of a woman with her two or more husbands and their
*Anthropological Survey of India Eastern Regional Centre, Salt Lake City, Kolkata-700091, E-mail :

Shyamal Kumar Nandy


offspring. The polygynous family consists of a man with his two or more wives and their offspring. The remarriage of a widow or widower along with the children of their earlier marriages also form the compound family. The horizontally extended families consist of several brothers, their wives and children living together. The vertically extended families consist of the members of several generations, their wives and children are living together. These are the traditional forms of families which are commonly found in rural India. The parents with brothers and/or unmarried sisters of one of them and the children form intermediate families. The broken family consists of a widow or widower with their offspring. Families are functional units because it functions as a residential, economic and political unit and as a an institution ensuring common food supply, rearing of children, regulation of sex, accumulation and transmission of property. Perhaps the most important function of the family is to educate its members according to the norms and values of the society which is technically conceived as enculturation which includes socialization. Family is also responsible for other endowments such as attitudes, stress potentials, adaptive or coping mechanisms, and other previously untapped health resources (Mahler 1974; cited in May and Sprague 1976:266).

Available studies on families in India have emphasized their psycho-social aspects (Kapadia 1954; Rahman 1967; Pareek 1954; Thomas 1940; and others). Some of them have dealt mainly with the psychological problems of the adolescents and their relationships with other members of the family (Reddy 1967, 1968; Singh 1960). Studies on the roles of families in relation to mental illness are available elsewhere ( Caplan 1956; Bhatara and Dixit 1993; Farina and Dunham 1963; Gard and Sainsbury 1963; Ramachandran,Menon and Ramamurthy 1981 and others). The potential indicator was a statistically significant predictor of health status and preventive action. In both individual and group levels, excess of stress was associated with lack of preventive action and more illness; weighted severity score of current morbidity ( a generic health status indicator) and by the mental health status indicator ( May and Sprague, 1976). All these studies provide evidence from the fact that family plays an important role in the upbringing of children in terms of the norms and values of the society. But, the structure of the family varies from society to society. The interpersonal relationship governs the socialisation process within the family.

The cohesiveness of the family is gradually breaking down rapidly due to the impact of urbanization and industrialization processes. This is clearly observed in recent years. The joint family system is breaking down resulting in the formation of nuclear families. This means that those broader network of relationships among kinsmen is gradually shrinking to the limited relationships within a nuclear family. For this the family members depend on the friends and neighbours rather than relatives for the function of the families at the time of acute distress. The modern complex world offers severe social and economic stresses on individuals in every walk of life. It happens not only in urban areas but also in rural areas. Excessive stress and strain disturbs the harmonic interrelationships and peace of mind of the members of the family.


The Role of Family in Mental Health and Illness : An Anthropological Viewpoint

The traditional socio-economic structuring has also broken down resulting in the uncertainty of employment and economic support. Individuality and selfcentredness grow up at the cost of social causes of the family and its consequences are the development of severe stress and strain within the members of the family for their livelihood. These social factors are also responsible for various types of mental illnesses of the family members. The disturbance in mental equilibrium of the members of the family, the breakdown of the harmonious relationships between parts and the whole injure the social health of the family. The interpersonal relationships within a family are not stable through time due to social, economic and other changes. Differences arise in between father and son or between two brothers due to egocentricism or self-centredness. These differences lead to the breaking up of the interpersonal relationships due to differences of opinions or other reasons. If the family breaks down, its individual members mostly suffer. This situation activates abnormal behaviour which, in course of time, leads to mental and social illness. The impact of uneven development can be seen in the breakdown of the system of relationships conditioned or structured in a society for ages. This has apparently disturbed in the kinship roles and behaviour and generated severe strains on families and their traditional functions. Harmonious relationships amongst family members are being not maintained and young members are deriving benefit from the process of socialization inherent in that harmony. They have naturally become somewhat asocial and antisocial as the case may be. Anthropologists interested in group psychology with the cross-cultural perspective earlier reconsidered that family played a pivotal role in the society into which human beings are born and grow up. But some social scientists of the western super-urbanized societies in USA or Sweden have begun to talk about mother-child pairs as the ultimate unit of society, replacing the true form of families. These are even thought of as new types of families by some authors. Ideally, the members of a family play different roles and the work is divided between them so that the family functions as an organic whole. At the time of distress, disaster or illness within the family, not only its members but also other relatives and friends together play a meaningful role to overcome the situation. In case of illness, especially in mental illness the familys attitude towards the patients should be cordial and attentive. Besides, the attitude of the society through the interaction of the families must also be sympathetic. The interpersonal relationships of family members are based on the mutual help and cooperation, division of labour, rights and obligations. Certain principles govern the relationships which lead to the formation of uniform pattern of behaviour and obligations between the family members. However, the temperaments differ among the family members and heredity also plays a role in this variation of temperament. It also depends on the socio-economic situation. It is instrumental for breaking down the uniform patterns of relationship. The manifestation of interpersonal relationship mutual trust, affection, respect and cooperation is, therefore, a product of the interplay of the individual temperament and upbringing with the socio-economic and other environmental factors. The disruption of the socio-economic balance and the cultural framework would cause a damage if not a breakdown of the framework of the mutual relationship between

Shyamal Kumar Nandy


members of the family, in between them and others associated with them. In a disturbed condition of the family, the problem of personal adjustment and poise will remain unresolved.

In Indian society, familys role is to look after its members for their all-round development including that of mind in the socio-cultural context. Now-a-days, some of these roles are served by institutions like schools, clubs and so on. The development of individualism and self-centredness is the result of the impact of westernization and industrialization which have resulted in the disintegration of the family structure. Too much of individualism is causing a stress upon the function of family and of strain among its members. At the time of illness and other adverse conditions within the family, its members do not have enough time to look after each other. In this way, the social aspects of the interpersonal relationships in the family have been lost. The closeness and interaction between members of a family as was generally noticed in earlier times are not expected now. The incidence of divorce or separation is gradually increasing due to this increase of individualism and other factors. Majumdar and Madan observed in 1967 that many contemporary sociologists attribute most of the social and personal neuroses of western society to this fact of the disintegration of the family. The emotional basis of family, where love, sharing and solidarity are the main drives behind the adults role as the teacher and the preceptor, spares the learning child all unnecessary strains and anxieties, thereby laying solid foundations for fully integrated and secure personality structures. The secure, emotion-laden atmosphere of the home has no substitute whatever. The decline in the importance of the family has meant the growth of individualism and the decline of social responsibilities. Self-seeking is becoming dominant over social and collective interests. The studies on families within and between cultures would highlight basic similarities and differences in mental health and illness behaviour and these may bring out causative factors of mental illness generating within families. The results of such studies would throw light on universal human psychological laws, if any, behind mental illness. During social change due to industrial and urban impacts in particular, the functions of the family and kinship get disturbed. The balance is lost. Some children are neglected and develop their individual problems which are not collectively solved by busy parents and elder members who would have otherwise looked into them. The structure and completeness of the family has its influence on the personality development, for example, socio-biologists like Harpending (1980) suggest that This sets preferences for later development leading to practice of, an interest in abilities leading to reproductive success is the particular kind of social situation characterized by the household structure. Thus the interest in violence, competition, and hierarchies of males from father-absent households reflects developmental adaptation for participation in a social organization where access to females is regulated by interaction with other males. He says that males from fatherabsent households show greater verbal than quantitative ability on psychological cognitive tests which is characteristic of females. These males may not be feminized in any way but are simply more interested in people and interpersonal phenomena as an adaptation to competition and that this performance is reflected in greater


The Role of Family in Mental Health and Illness : An Anthropological Viewpoint

verbal competence. If the family performs its role well as a basic unit of social coherence and social efficiency, it can successfully develop the personalities conducive to social harmony. To the extent the family fails to perform the functions of enculturation of individuals tend to become culture-free and therefore cannot adjust to the society in the broad sense. They suffer from mental illness. It must be remembered that family is also the means and medium through which hereditary characters, diseases and their predispositions are inherited and nurtured in a particular way. The family can counter-balance and compensate for the deficiencies and disturbances of its individual members suffering from mental illness through sympathetic treatment and cooperation. It would be relevant to mention in this context, the structural family therapy advocated by Minuchin (1974). It deals with the process of feedback between circumstances and the person involved the changes imposed by a person on his circumstances and the way in which feedback to these changes affects his next move. A shift in the position of a person vis-a-vis his circumstances constitutes a shift of his experience. Family therapy uses techniques that alter the immediate context of people in such a way that their position changes. He cites an example, A twelve year old girl had asthma which was psychosomatically triggered. She was on a heavy medication, missed school often, and in the previous year had to be taken to the emergency room three times. She was referred to a child psychiatrist, who insisted on seeing the entire family two parents and the identified patients, and two older siblings. During the first interview, the therapist directed the family`s attention to the oldest girl`s obesity. The family`s concern then shifted to include worry about the newly identified patient. The asthmatic child`s symptoms then diminished to the point that her asthma was controllable on considerably less medication, and she stopped losing school time. Thus the family can provide an opportunity of the mind to be distributed to the problems of others the charity that begins at home. The participation in a family affair makes one feel less selfconcerned. This participation makes one socially and mentally and consequently physically healthy at least on some occasions. Some behavioural patterns develop in a person as he or she matures by imitating elders in the family. If there are some persons with aberrant behaviour in the family, some children may try to take those behaviour by imitating due to the genetic propensities and for individuals need for finding his distinctive individual niche. The coherence of family as a psychological, cultural, economic and wholesome social biological unit could often absorb these aberrations by successfully sublimating them. But in a disturbed situation of the family that is hardly possible.

Bhatara, K. And Dixit, A. 1993. A comparative study of family relationship of hypertensives and normotensives. Indian Journal of Psychology , 68(3&4), 73-80. Caplan, G. 1956. An approach to the study of family mental health. Public Health Reports , Vol.71, No.10. Washington, D.C. : U.S. Government Printing Office. Chopra, S.L. 1966. Family size and sibling position as related to Intelligence Test Scores and Academic Achievement. Journal of Social Psychology , 70(1):133-137. Farina, A. And Dunham, R.M. 1963. Measurement of family relationships and other effects. Journ. Psychiat ., 9: 64-73. Gard, J. And Sainsbury,P. 1963. Mental Illness and the family. New York: Wiley and Sons, Inc., pp.544 -547.

Shyamal Kumar Nandy Gillis, Lynn. 1988. Human behaviour in illness. London: Faber and Faber. P.166 & 168. Harpending, A. 1980. Perspectives on the theory of social evolution.


In Current Developments

in Anthropological Genetics, Vol. 1. Eds.Mielke and Grawford, M.H. New York: Plenum Press. Kapadia, K.M. 1954. Changing patterns of Hindu marriage and family. Sociological Bulletin , 3:131-157. Majumdar,D.N.and Madan,T.N.1967. An introduction to social anthropology. Bombay: Asia Publishing House, p.67. Minuchin, S. 1974. Families and family therapy. Tavistock Publications, p. 13. May, Jean T. And Sprague, H.A. 1976. Chronic stress as a predictor for family health action and health status. In Stress and Anxiety , vol. 3, eds. Sarason, T.G. and Spielberger,C D. Washington: Hemisphere Publishing Corporation, p.266. Mahler, H.T. 1974. Key note address at the International Health Conference on the health of the family. Sponsored by the National Council of International Health ,Reston, Va., October 15-18. Pareek, 1954. A psychological investigation into marital relationship. Educational Psychology

Journal , 1(2): 14-26. Rahman, M.M. 1967. Marital relations and emotional involvement . Department of Psychology , Osmania University, 3: 45-49. Research Bulletin of the

Reddy, N.Y. 1967. A study of the adjustment problems of adolescent boys from large, medium and small families. Research Bulletin of the Department of Psychology, Osmania University, 3: 45-49. Reddy, N.Y. 1968. A study of adjustment problems of adolescents in joint and single families. Research Bulletin of the Department of Psychology , 4:11-19. Ramachandran, V.,Menon, M.S.,Ramamurthy, B. 1981. Family structure and mental illness in old age. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 23(1):21-26. Straus, J.H. and Straus, M.A. 1968. Family roles and sex differences in creativity of children in Bombay and Minneapolis. Journal of Marriage and the Family , 30(1):46-53. Singh,R.P. 1960. Parents and adolescents behaviour problems. S hiksha , 13(2):141-145. Thomas, P.J.1940. Woman and marriage in India. New York:Norlon.p.224.

World Health Organization 1946. Constitution of the World health Organization . Geneva: The Organization( cited by Steven Polgar, Health, International Encyclopaedia of the social Sciences, Reprinted Edition, 1972. Vol.5 and 6 p. 330. I am thankful to Dr. Anindya Chatterjee for fecilitating me to present this paper in a seminar and helping me with stimulating suggestions. Professor D.P.Mukherjee has kindly gone through the manuscripts and Mr. Diptendra Bandyopadhyay has offered some valuable comments and his views during a discussion. These are thankfully acknowledged.

Jr. Anth. Survey of India, 60 : 108-146 (2011)

Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj: A Case Study of Tribal Development Programmes and Life Situation of the Tribes in Kanksa Block of Burdwan District of West Bengal
Md. Ayub Mallick*
In its transition to modernity the tradition at the transitory level has not been extinct, but has placed for itself a secure position in the cradle of modernity moving to and fro from pre-machine technologies of the tribes to machine technologies of development. The cradle of modernity has placed the tradition in motion, forward and backward, and kept them alive instead and in compromise with it. Initiation of measures intended to meet the immediate needs of the tribal population, to increase their level of income and add to their existing assets, to facilitate participatory process of development and thus improve their levels of living has not been fulfilled. They are victims of the new order and not its beneficiaries in reality. The tribal people have not actually empowered through the institutionalization of Panchayats, when the poorest of the poor are losing and the influential sections are gaining the ground by and through their control over the decision-making process. They are mobilized too much politically, rather socially and economically. Participation of the tribals in community development activities is lower, but this is not the case with political participation, where the tribal respondents rate of answering the questions asked is higher on the political participation continuum. Tribals participation includes voting, canvassing, discussing political matters, attending meetings, and contributing to election fund etc. Panchayati Raj seems to have developed a sense of popular participation and political education among the tribals. They are mobilized along class political lines by the left parties.

The work is an empirical one. The problem is Panchayati Raj and Tribal Development in West Bengal: A Study of Kanksa block in the district of Burdwan. It is a fact that political institutions play a very decisive role in society. The political system influences the community or communities of the political society concerned. The main objective of the present work is the study of development of tribal community under the impact of the new Panchayati Raj dispensation introduced in West Bengal since 1978how much the community has achieved and how the backward tribal community has been empowered after the introduction of Panchayati Raj. The objective of the study is to determine how the development and power structure of the tribal community are influenced by the socio-political changes and institutional innovations such as the extension of representative democracy at the grassroots level. Since independence modernizing elements have introduced changes
*Faculty, Department of Political Science, University of Kalyani, West Bengal.

Md. Ayub Mallick


in the social structure of the rural communities. Modern political and economic institutions have imposed certain new demands on the people. At this stage the attempt to study the process of empowerment of the tribal people and social justice awarded to them might be rewarding. I have chosen Kanksa block in the district of Burdwan for field study in view of the fact that (1) Kanksa block is the heart of the Jungle Mohal; (2) that in this block, the tribal people constitute at least the 10% of the total population; (3) that there are varieties of tribal communities in the area Santhal, Kora, Oraon, Mahali, Malpahari and others and (4) that section of the tribal population reside in the outskirts of the tribal area or around the periphery of the non-tribal areas. Therefore, tribal-non-tribal interaction in this area can clearly be understood and examined. Kanksa block had a long tradition of revolutionary political culture. In order to use this revolutionary spirit the Communist Party of India (Marxist) became more active. It was the Left Front, which for the first time in West Bengal declared panchayat election on party basis. Organization of revolutionary peasant movements through peasant associations affiliated to various leftist political parties, the CPI(M) in particular accompanied by red panchayats became a marked feature of rural politics in the whole of West Bengal, Kanksa being no exception, after 1977. I have examined the levels of politicization and mobilization of the tribal people, their actual participation in the panchayats, class-caste composition of Anchal and Gram Panchayats and Rural Power Structure of the block concerned. I also have examined how politics has crept into the tribal society with the introduction of representative democracy at the grassroots level. It has been necessary to turn to the anthropological literature and extensive field survey. The work is mainly based on qualitative analysis. In few cases qualitative method has been supplemented by quantitative method of observation, analysis. Every care has been taken to make the study objective and methodologically sound. At the same time, given the qualitative nature of study, purely quantitative techniques have been avoided to the extent possible. The attempt has been mainly to elicit information through what Galtung would characterize as dialogical method in the interview process. For empirical work, survey method has been adopted. The main respondents of this work were Panchayat members and the tribal beneficiaries. Questions asked were informal, unstructured and open-ended. Questions relating to the personal information about sex, age, education, occupation and landholdings of the respondents were asked. Apart from this, different records at Block and Panchayat levels have been used for getting necessary and relevant information. Records of District Land and Land Revenue Office and official publications of the Government of India and West Bengal have been used. I have collected data relating to development programmes from Gram Panchayat offices. Records were not properly maintained by the office-bearers. I faced difficulties. However, I have tried to point out the actual trend, facts and figures of various development programmes involving the tribes initiated in Gram Panchayat areas of


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

this block. I discussed with government officials. During field level data collection I faced difficulties. Maintenance of records is a problem for block and panchayat offices. I found this administrative lapse during the field survey. I also interviewed local people and the beneficiaries of the development programmes. Kanksa is the heart of the Jungle Mahal. In this block the tribal people constitute at least 10% of the total population. There are varieties of tribal communities in the area Santhal, Kora, Oraon, Mahali and Malpahari etc. and some of the tribal groups reside in the outskirts of the tribal area or around the periphery of the non-tribal areas. Besides others, Santhal tribal group forms the majority in this block area. The proportion and concentration of the tribal people in this block area can be understood from the following tables (Table Nos. 1 2). Table 1: Proportion of STs to Total Population in the Villages in Kanksa, 1991 % range of STs to total No. of villages in % of villages in each population each range range 05 578 34.51 6 15 507 30.27 16 25 293 17.49 26 35 141 8.42 36 50 83 4.95 51+ 73 4.36 Total 1675 100.00

SOURCE: District Census Handbook, Burdwan , 1991.

Table 2: Concentration of Scheduled Tribes according Gram Panchayats, 1991

GPS GN SC ST T TC RANK OF GPS IN % (> <) 4 1 2 5 7 3 6 -


6,843 (51.22%) 4,397 (32.70%) 8,830 (51.87%) 10,727 (47.10%) 13,255 (57.27%) 9,465 (51.39%) 15,449 (76.14%) 68,966 (53.68%)

5,367 (40.16%) 5,889 (43.79%) 5,392 (31.67%) 10,116 (44.40%) 9,111 (39.37%) 6,248 (33.92%) 4,126 (20.33%) 46,249 (36%)

1,152 (8.62%) 3,161 (23.51%) 2,801 (16.46%) 1,934 (8.50%) 777 (3.36%) 2,705 (14.69%) 715 (3.53%) 13,245 (10.32%)

13,362 13,447 17,023 22,777 23,143 18,418 20,290 1,28,460

SOURCE: Calculated and complied from Gram Panchayat records and Census, 1991 Note : GN means General Caste; SC means Scheduled Caste; ST means Scheduled Tribes; T means total and TC means Tribal Concentration

The traditional occupations of the tribe have changed to a great extent: tribal economy has become a part of the national or local economy, slash and burn cultivation has been replaced with settled agricultural practices, commercialization of the crop and monetization of the economy have replaced the barter system of the economy; hunting, fishing and collection of minor forest produce have been turned into a subsidiary status. They are mainly settled agriculturists, owner cultivators,

Md. Ayub Mallick


share-croppers and landless labourers at present. They are employed also in industries, collieries, educational institutions and tea gardens as daily workers, technical staff, teachers, office bearer and tea plantation labourers. Therefore, traditional occupations of the tribal people now-a-days play a subsidiary role in the subsistence economy, of the tribes as to the introduction of modern education, commercialization, monetization, industrialization and urbanization, development of transport, and communication and mass media. Therefore, in the tribal economy the secondary and tertiary sectors are very negligible in comparison with the primary, so that they have become less mobile as (i) economic turn-outs from agriculture are low, (ii) most of the owner cultivators own less than three acres of land, (iii) most of them are agricultural labourers, (iv) lands are fragmented, and (v) remunerative prices for the agricultural goods seldom exceed the costs etc. The tribal people experienced a lot of migration and entered into the local economy of plough agriculture as agricultural labourers and tenant cultivators. The possible causes for the dispersal of settlements may be the push factor: Land alienation and insufficient lands for cultivation, seasonal unemployment, need for money to maintain family life and daily family needs and agricultural requirements, very limited scope of progress and prosperity in villages and in agricultural activities; and pull factor: Preference for permanent service or occupations other than agriculture, search for status insecurity and economic prosperity, temptations of a new and modern life, money-economy, and the need for cash and developed modes of cultivation. Many of the agricultural tribes have entered into and adapted with an economic life of agricultural workers and non-agricultural labourers on daily wage basis. The occupational changes are also found among the Mahali. The change is obvious. They are working as unskilled labourers in agricultural and non-agricultural fields and even the landless labourers have accepted it as their main occupation. Along with occupational changes there are considerable changes in income and living standards of the tribal people, particularly in the modes of dress, food habits and recreational practices. Emergence of commercial attitude is directly related with this occupational change and this can fully be understood in the production and selling of potatoes and green vegetables by the tribal share-croppers and bargadars. This changed situation is the product of money economy. The communities of illiterates lack the access to formal economy, to the legal system of written documents and individual rights. They do not reach the administrators and bureaucrats who are in favour of the middlemen, the money-lenders, the merchants and overall the vested interests. The individual-based formal economy is the cause of their impoverishment. Inequitable distribution of resources, scarcity of resources, and competition for scarce resources among the tribal people themselves and the people tribal and nontribal population have deteriorated their conditions. Class formation within the tribal society has struck at the very roots of the society. Their community, customs, traditions, rituals and beliefs have broken down with the disappearance of informal forest economy. Their religion is centered round nature with an abundance of spirits, gods and ghosts who dwell in trees, plants, rocks, rivers, birds and animals, going to be slackened with the introduction of formal economy, but not totally eliminated. Seasonal festivals, birth and marriage ceremonies have taken a new dimensionthey 8


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

are much more than social ethics and religious way of life. The Christian missionaries having spreading the gospel of individual rights and commercial interests of people. With the greater interaction with Hinduism and its economy the tribals people have been socially and economically absorbed, but not totally into the religious beliefs and ceremonial practices of the non-tribals. The tribal political associations include individuals and elders, families, village or villages and clans. First, I have to explain this with reference to Santhals authority structure. The communal life of the Santhal is well-organized, in which the authority is shared, even joy and sorrow of one is the joy and sorrow of the whole community.(Biswas, 1956: 221). The Santhal society is patriarchal and encapsulated. With the more inclusive and incorporative process of cultural diffusion, the Santhal society has not totally changed, but has become partly independent and has been partly regulated by the surrounding cultural developments sanskritization and modernization. They are increasingly incorporated with the non-Santhal society and into the perils of prosperity. They are in the intermediate position between the primitives and peasants and disorganized. They are handicapped in the hands of the money-lenders and attracted to consumer culture. The landless Santhals were treated by the non-Santhals as out-castes, forced into a subordinate status; but they organized their hool or rebellion to maintain their cultural traditions, which continued to control the headmanship and the appointment of the headman in accordance with the rule of inheritance. The headman is partly independent and partly regulated by the non-Santhal tradition, but he plays his traditional role in the inner world of traditional society. The Santhals have a strong sense of tradition and ethnic identity, are carried out by the concepts of hor hopon, the true man in the society and hor disom, the Santhal community or country. To them the Santhals remain alike and are true men of the society. There is no discrimination and status distinction between the clans. Every head of the family has the right to speak and the family heads before the village council duly sanction headmanship though it is inherited in nature. The village council exerts effective authority in the village where every family head is free to exert through compromise and persuasion. Santhal society is complete or self-sufficient, the most important socio-economic and political unit, governed by the superintendence of the village council or the panchayat headed by the headman. The Parganait is the head of all the inhabitants of his own area. In all activities of the villages, panchayats have to consult with him, especially in marriage and justice activities. Ten to twelve communities constitute a larger political unit, the Pargana, whose head, is the Parganait dealing with the intervillage settlement of disputes assisted by desh manjhi. He is elected from the headmen of all constituent villages. The supreme authority resides in the Lo Bir or the Hunt Council, which is formed by the people of a number of villages throughout the entire district. Punishment for the breaches of laws and settlement of disputes are generally performed by the manjhi or village headman and in exceptional cases, especially in violation of clan exogamy and social excommunication Lo Bir and Parganait interfere with. However, the role of the traditional panchayat is on the decline. The tribal councils which used to be all powerful in directing the behaviour of its members are

Md. Ayub Mallick


now soon weakening, for the administration has abrogated the right of the tribal council to sit in judgement on criminal cases. The nyaya panchayats have taken over the judgement of the ordinary civil cases in its hands. This has reduced the dominance of tribal or clan councils. (Doshi, 1972: 469). The first crack in the Mandali or headman system occurred when more rent was demanded from the Mandals or the headmen. The headman, therefore, had to collect more rents from the tribals land owners, which was not proportionate to the extension of agriculture. Necessarily, the tribal people of the Jungle Mahals were indebted to the moneylenders, and had to burst into discontents and developed a fissiparous state of mind. The headman lost their traditional status. With the process of dispossession of the headmanship, communal ownership of lands was transformed into individual ownership. Therefore, the indigenous economic activities and social structure of the tribal community were shattered; identity of the tribes was distorted by the colonial rule. Traditionally, they were allotted a single plot of land by the headman, who was responsible for the collection of rents (Chatterjee) this provided them to maintain traditional heritage. A Santhals land not only provides economic security, but is a powerful link with his ancestors; and this applies to newly entered areas no less than the old, for he will not take possession till the spirits approve. The land is part of his spiritual as well as economic heritage. (Alpin, 1981). The collection of revenue, policy of isolation or leave them alone towards the tribes, establishment of central police and judicial systems all contributed to the decline of authority of the tribes. Above all, the pre-independent land revenue system, the emergence of moneylenders, stringent law and other arrangements coupled with repression, injustice and complexity, policy of extreme isolation of the then colonial rule for protection of administration, agrarian and tibal political movements introduction of new panchayat system and various community development programmes all provided inputs to the emergence of contemporary tribal political life. The tribes are being drawn into an integrated economic programme through the Panchayati Raj system, which claims equal distribution and wealth, an equal treatment and larger benefits. The old political authority and social structure are being moulded with the new demands. New local leaders have emerged with the introduction of competitive election, secret ballot, statutory panchayat with financial and personal resources. These panchayats are under the immediate supervision of Sub-divisional administration (Inamdar, 1970). There appears to be an unanimity of opinion that these village Panchayats should be, not merely the administrative unit, but also the medium for development activities. This is in accordance with Article 40 of the Constitution which says that: A few individuals with education, good economic background and landownership have tried their best to get the leadership position as a threat to the traditional village officials. Panchayats have now assumed the jural and legal rights to exercise control over social and economic matters and behaviour of the villagers, which were formerly exercised by the village councils. The majority representation principle, periodic election, uninhibited political competition, coalition formation are against the Santhal tradition of egalitarianism and homogeneous representation in village councils, hereditary representation of representatives and officials, and strong preference for consensus and adaptability in dealing with the concerns of political life. Introduction


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

of election based on adult franchise has led to the growth of factions and parties in the villages (Sachchidananda, 1968) and open competition has replaced the spirit of consensus (Danda, 1971). Traditionally, the headman acquired his ascribed role by inheritance governed by patrilineal primogeniture principle and consensual principle as opposed to the achieved status and coercion. To Linton, Ascribed statuses are those which are assigned to the individuals without reference to their innate differences or abilities. They can be predicted from the moment of birth. (Linton, 1936: 115). However, modern developments have influenced the villagers in demanding statutory Panchayats, when the statutory Panchayats function as parallel to the traditional village organizations. Though the statutory Panchayats have reduced the status and authority of the tribal Panchayats, the tribal authority has some hold over the daily life of the tribals in several matters, though the latter is sometimes directed by the former, the latter do not want to sacrifice their tradition and the former do not make unwanted encroachment into the tribal tradition. Side by side, tribal panchayats have also adopted certain changes to meet the challenges of modernization. In this process the educational facilities, community development programmes and cooperative societies as contributory factors have changed the mind of the tribals to adapt to the new environment. Therefore, tribal leaders have emerged to meet the diverse requirements, social, economic, cultural and developmental aspects of the tribal life. Some of the traditional tribal leaders have tried to swim with the new currents of development; make important links between the old the and new ideas and values, traditional and modern institutions; and have established a new rapport with tradition and modernity along the lines of their own genius. These leaders may be called transitional leaders. An alert and efficient leader or headman clearly makes the difference between the role and status of modern pradhan and his powers and functions as traditional manjhi, and tries to establish a close rapport between the two. He exercises his powers as pradhan or employs his unqualified power without manifesting latent reality of this power to the tribal people. Therefore, an efficient leader makes a synthesis or compromise between the consensual power of a manjhi and unqualified power of a pradhan at the transitory level. Further, this type of elected leaders make alliance with the non-elected village headmen to function smoothly without resistance from the tribal people. On the other, the non-elected village headmen take part in the alliance formation to act independently of administrative officers and pradhans without any opposition from the respective power holders. Through this alliance formation both the traditional and modern leaders can continue their leadership and authority. Therefore, the political life of the tribal is an admixture of people, traditional and modern elements. Political parties are creating favourable atmosphere for leaders, the tribal in articulating and aggregating their interests, socializing and recruiting the tribal, communicating the tribal interests with the wider world, and in co-operating the tribal leaders role, performance of collective duties and commitment to Santhal tradition, containing deviance of tribal rules and regulations. In the Panchayat bodies tribal members play, therefore, a positive role, but not to the desired extent. The newly born tribal elites and tribal members of the statutory Panchayat bodies still seek advice from the experienced traditional tribal leaders in the decision-making affairs. The tribal societies are at

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present intertwined with both the modern institutional developments and traditional institutional arrangements. The compromise and co-operation between tradition and modernity is the reality of the present day tribal societies. The British policy of leave them alone in order to maintain status quo and create a deprivation of the tribes of benefits has been turned down by democratic efforts made by our governments and by the institutionalization of Panchayats. The tribal people are now interested in self-government system. They have realized that their traditional system is not suitable in the present context in respect of economic development and educational advancement. In fact, this statutory Panchayat is the mechanism in developing power structure at the grass-roots level. Their traditional Panchayat is important in their cultural spheres, i.e., marriage, festival, funeral and religious ceremonies. Due to democratization and institutionalization of Panchayats, the spirit of democracy has been ingrained into the institution of Manjhi in their traditional Panchayat, which at present is not hereditary, but is democratic. The traditional morol is elected for the term of five years. It is not hereditary as before. The two systems traditional and modern morol run parallel with each other. But the modern party panchayat leader is more powerful than the traditional one (Besra, 2000). The Panchayats do not really represent the poor people properly. The Panchayat records show that on an average 12.03 per cent Brahmans, 13.28 per cent Sodegopes, 9.16 per cent Kayasthas, 5.18 per cent Gopes, 5.10 per cent Ugrakshatriyas, 3.10 per cent Telis and 4.01 per cent Mahishas totaling 51.88 per cent general caste are represented at the Gram Panchayat level. On the other, 39.59 per cent Scheduled Castes and 8.53 per cent Scheduled Tribes are represented in these bodies. At the Panchayat Samity level general caste represents 64.05 per cent on the average in total, out of which Brahmans contribute 20.13 per cent, Kayasthas 27.85 per cent, Sodegopes 11.15 per cent and Ugrakshatriyas 4.92 per cent on the one hand. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes represent only 31.37 per cent and 4.58 per cent on the other. Representatives are mostly from young age group and middle to lower middle class category, are basically cultivators and teachers. In terms of education primary and secondary levels form the majority. In 1978, elections presented a new political set-up marking a sharp break from the previous one, but also threw up a group of people who were with the movements and generally from lower peasantry or non-cultivating groups such as teachers and local traders into positions of power at the grass-roots level. The predominance of party sympathisers among small landowners and teachers accords with these criteria for selection. There is predominance of Brahman, Sodegope and Kayasthas and dominance of teachers instead of landless labourers and share-croppers due to lack of proper education and political knowledge. But this dominance is different from the previous one as all the leaders are from CPI (M), a well-organized party and have to follow party lines, rather being guided by caste affiliation. The lower middle class origins of the leaders are of consequence that the members do not oppose re-distributive programmes and do make politicization possible feeling oneness with the poor and low castes. The influential sections in the rural society are gaining the ground. It is a bad patch to


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

the empowerment of the lower classes and down-trodden. The similar trend in the district becomes crystal clear from the following figures, which represent that only 19.68 per cent SCs and 7.33 per cent STs, 34.62 per cent SC women and 8.10 per cent ST members out of 4460 total members and 1580 women members were represented in Gram Panchayats. The post-Independence India, with its agenda outlining secular, democratic goals, could not afford to adopt an overtly exploitative remit. It can ill afford to create the impression that its policies merely represented the class of interests of landlords and big industrialists. Thus, policies of integration were justified as representing progress and encouraging the inevitable development of the productive forces. In reality, however, these policies benefited only the large-scale private sector industry, and did not involve any radical restructuring of the relations of production into a more democratic or egalitarian system committed to improving the Adivasis position. Hence, the gap between the proclaimed postures of the exploiting class and its real interest of accumulation and monopolization of Adivasi resources is obvious. By legally obliging these interests, the state has clearly tilted towards the dominant class interests, whilst ignoring the Adivasis rightful claims. It is this process of instrumentality of the state in promoting the dominant exploiting classes interest in accumulation which makes the claims of the state to be socialist unrealistic and helps to explain its true bias. (Rao, 1998 : 424). All the development projects and planning processes are not in due concern to the historico-cultural and culturalecological complexities of the tribal stratus. Imposition of individualism, statist ideology and reductionism has wrecked the survival of the tribes. The present-day development practices are nothing but the outgrowth of capitalist and neo-colonialist development. The increasing economic destitution, state violence and institutionalized form of exploitation have made a positional decline of the tribals people. The governmental policies of understanding, accommodation and reconciliation have shown flexibility of approach in meeting legitimate ethnic aspirations. Deforestation, drought, mutilation of natural and environmental resources, alienation of lands and diversification of fertile lands into industries, tribals displacement all have forced the tribes to live in an unknown milieu, as development and planning processes are not conducive to the proportional developments in all spheres of economy, society and culture. This forced migration from forests and hills to the plains has led them into an unequal exploitative condition making them forcefully subjugated agricultural labourers subservient to the local landed gentry and trader-money-lenders and producing an army of cheap labour subservient to the needs of market-oriented entrepreneurs and urban-based trader-industrialists. The forest and irrigation policies, and industrialization have produced no good to the tribal, added only deforestation, diversification and submergence of tribal lands, displacement of the tribes without any compensation, over-exploitation of forest resources in the processes of plunder, unequal investmentprofit ratio and retarded eco-system ( Sharma, 1977, Sinha, 1976 and Bandyopadhyaya, 1987). Fernandes comments that the post-colonial Government was expected to take a pro-tribal policy, but has done the opposite. The first National Forest Policy of the post-colonial period in 1952 changed certain rights and privileges into certain rights and concessions. Because of industrial growth, the pace of deforestation got

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intensified. At the time of British rule, the country had 40 per cent tree cover, which came down to 22 per cent by 1952. In fact, 18 per cent of the tree cover vanished in a century or at the rate of 0.14 per cent per year. About 12 per cent of the tree cover further disappeared in the three decades at the rate of 0.4 per cent per year thanks to the industrial expansion. It is estimated that the country is suffering a loss of 1.5 million hectares of forest every year. (Fernandes, 1989: 43). In essence, the net result is that the tribes have been dislodged from their traditional sources of livelihood and places of habitation without any actual development. They accepted whatever cash compensation was given to them not conversant with the details of acquisition proceedings and became emigrants. With money in hand and many attractions in nearby industrial townships, their funds were rapidly depleted and they became without cash-in-hand and land-in-possession in course of time. Naturally, they have joined the ranks of the landless labourers without any training, equipment or aptitude for any skilled and semi-skilled jobs (Government of India, 1963). Apart from this, a new situation has emerged. Money has been poured for the upliftment of the tribes more rather than establishing schools, ashrams and providing medical and agricultural facilities in the pre-dominantly tribal-inhabited area. As a result, few tribes have become affluent taking greater benefits than the other. That is why Anna Hazare tried to establish a civil society, which would be responsible to itself and to its environment, and responsive to its all members by and through the three-stage functional formulation: generating self-awareness among its members, closing down all liquor brewing and alcohol and narcotics, and creating systems to improve the economy of the village based on self-reliance (Kashyap, 1998 and Rajivlochan, 1994). And with the introduction of adult franchise, power tends to concentrate into a few pockets among the tribal communities. There had with emergence of a dominant middle class from among the tribes in place of the old one based on caste. And under the exigencies of modern economic development, this comparatively recent and almost purely economic middle class is being shifted once more so that some sections might rise to the rank of the propertied rulers and others be merged with the proletariat. (Bose, 1977). The tribal people are now in an unequal national and global market instead of being free players in the market economy. The tribal resistance and struggle essentially centered round land, forest, resources, labour and wages, feudal cultural hegemony and control of the economy through a subtle means of surplus accumulation within the matrix of colonial and neo-colonial oppression. The resistance offered by the various revolutionary and other Adivasi forces made an impact on the state and the dominant classes. This has resulted in certain modifications of the position of the former. The transfer and conversion of accumulated property to safe arenas became the alternative for the exploiting class, while the state with all its repressive machinery was compelled to adopt transitory liberal strategies of falsification. (Rao, 1998: 437). The government has been trying to adopt development policies with a view that more resources if allocated, the faster production capacity would grow (Mellor, 1976). And with a faster growth in production, benefits will trickle down to the lowest level.


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

But growth remains too small to trickle down. The development practices have not yet made a sizeable solutions to the problems of eroding resource bases and displacement of the tribals united, disruption of socio-cultural life and environment created by and through development interventions, commercial interest and insensitive legalism and relief packages (Planning Commission, 1990). The tribal people, therefore, rose up to struggle against this marginalization and subjugation, delegitimization of forest use (Haial, 1990 and Kothari, 1993), and cultural domination of Hindi-Hindu culture (Vidyarthi, 1972). They are now evolving new structures and relationships of their own, demanding a resurgence of their identity, seeking a solidarity, expanding their socio-political spaces and control over resources ( Dhanagre, 1988; Roy Burman, 1979; Rao, 1979 and Sengupta, 1982 ). The HindiHindu culture is a positive suppression of human talent. It deplores individual and society of free choice (Pattanayak and Heredia, 1994: 2751). In the phase of ethno development, which means control of the ethnie over its lands, resources, social organization and culture, the tribal ethnies have the right to freely negotiate with the state the kind of relationship they individually wish to have. (Prabhu, 1998: 248), the state has to develop a well-defined development policy for the actual integration of the tribes in the national mainstream. Limiting the power of the state and a genuine decentralisation and dispersion of the state in favour of the basic socio-economic and ethnic collectivities on the principle of equity and efficiency is, of course, the historical imperative. (Pathy, 1998: 227). The tribal problem in India is characterized by the process of institutionalized exploitation and socio-political marginalization, produced by the twin historical processes of unequal incorporation and exclusion. The tribal problem results from a tendency of the economically and politically dominant sections of the population to impose their own codes of behaviour on the tribal people. The tribes have been transformed from tribe to a jati and from a jati to a class. Earlier, when the tribes came into contact with the Hindu culture, they had to assume the caste rank, willingly or unwillingly. At present the tribes are directly interacting with the market system and are influenced by commercial capitalist system without caste mediation. Now, they are stratified in terms of control over resources. Further, human resource development is the prime goal of Panchayati Raj institutions. The Panchayats have to play the role of imparting training through education and mobilization of the disadvantaged groups, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes about the ins and outs of Panchayati Raj institutions, actual development through its mechanisms and identification of their interests with the development processes. In fact, the educative processes include their (the disadvantaged groups, SCs and STs) awareness, identification of their interests with Panchayati Raj institutions, acquaintance with the roles and functions of the machineries and members of Panchayats, acquisition of skills of management of public institutions. Apart from various development programmes and human resource development under Annual Plan and Sub-plan, the Department of Panchayats and Community Development is also associated with the implementation of Homeopathic Dispensary Scheme in remote and backward rural areas. With regard to education,

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employment, housing, socio-cultural development, reservation in Panchayati Raj institutions, special credit facility: mid-term and short-term loans, poverty alleviation programmes and community development programmes, the role of panchayats in tribal life is immense and inseparable. Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-Plan and Special Component Plan for Scheduled Castes are additive dosages to the budgetary provisions, mainly used for the implementation of various Family Oriented Economic Schemes for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes by and through Panchayati Raj administration. A multi-pronged approach had been taken to fight against the poverty of the disadvantaged groups and their exploitation by the advantaged, especially through Family Oriented Beneficiary Schemes and Community Oriented Schemes ensuring supply of foodgrains and other consumer articles at subsidized rate, short-term and mid-term loans and development of socio-economic infrastructure for them. In his study of Makrampur Anchal-Gram-Panchayat of Midnapore district Debnath tries to find out a correlation between statutory Panchayat system, planning, upliftment of the down-trodden and backward classes, and development of power structure at the grassroots level. The Panchayats identify beneficiaries, suitable and economically viable projects; concentrate on small projects and wait with the preparations for their implementation till the funding. The district and block plans are duly prepared and approved by the Zilla Parishad. The plans for a variety of schemes are financed either by the State government or by the Central government, and finances are drawn up by the Zilla Parishad after soliciting the proposals of the Panchayat Samity, which finalizes its proposals on the basis of resource availability for the budget year and the draft budgets submitted by the Gram Panchayats. Zilla Parishad has to prepare a number of projects on the basis of proposals put forward by the Gram Panchayats through the Panchayat Samity. The proposals are integrated into a Block Plan; a plan which is in itself a novel departure in the sense that through the lowest democratically elected organs the requirements and needs for development will be formulated. The financial releases by the Centre at different points of requirement are conditional upon the utilization of resources available with the State. In the implementation of development schemes and works in general, the human ecology and cultural ethos are important factors as the availability of resources. In programmes of rural development in general and tribal development in particular, Panchayats act as catalysts of development and as a transmission belt between the financial institutions and the poorest families. The Panchayats, in consonance with the laws of development should collect the assets and resources to develop rural infrastructure, and to hire out the equipment and animals to the poorest beneficiaries on non-profit basis. In Tribal Sub-Plan the Gram Panchayats have to identify the families below poverty line and select the schemes like pumpsets, animal husbandry, fisheries and handlooms etc. filling up an application form for each beneficiary. The application forms are received at the block level, which are submitted to banks for loans. A particular bank is fixed for each Gram Panchayat. In Kanksa block there are five banks: Oriental Bank of India, United Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Bardhaman Gramin Bank and Burdwan Central Co-operative Bank operating within the block with their one, one, two, three and one branches respectively. Loans are disbursed on the viability of


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

projects and repayment of loan position. It is to be noted here that at first the projects or schemes are approved by the Zilla Parishad. After final selection of beneficiaries by the Gram Panchayats, a joint investigation of District Rural Development Agency, the Block Development Officer, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Inspector and the bank officials is made for giving the final sanction. The beneficiaries apply for loans to the District Manager, SCs and STs Development and Finance Corporation pointing out their name, age and address, name of the proposed project, total project cost, subsidy, amount of bank loan, individual investment if any, sources of income, family members and total family income etc. While applying for the release of total project cost the applicant needs certificate relating to his name, age and address, family members and total family income, sources of income, land and forms of land under his possession and pattern of land possession from President or Executive Officer of the Panchayat Samity or Pradhan of the Gram Panchayat. He also needs a certificate from the same authority saying that he has no loan liability to bank or any financial institution. Therefore, Panchayats and tribal development are essentially correlated. Apart from these the presently launched Swarna Joyanti Sawayojar Yojana (SJGSY) is a combination of IRDP, TRYSEM, SITRA and DWCRA. The implementation procedures point out the importance of Panchayats in tribal development or more clearly in rural development. Further, the bank-linked schemes like Prime Ministers Rojgar Yojana (PMRY), Khadi and Village Industry (KVI) and National Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation Linked Scheme (NSFDC) are directly and indirectly related with Panchayati Raj so far the implementation procedures are concerned. Besides, the non-bank schemes, which are important in rural development, may be cited as below and their implementation procedures do not need any further mention. Planning and rural development through Panchayats are essentially a twinapproach to bridge-building and harmonization between peoples initiative and resources on the one hand and Governments initiative and co-operation on the other. To ensure this objective first of all the needs are development of peoples awareness, creation of a strong desire for change in life situation in minds of the target groups concerned, improvement of their efficiency and initiative, proper guidance and help. Development works in rural areas can be divided into four categoriesfirst, development exclusively by and through organized efforts of the rural people; second, development through bank loans and loans from financial institutions; third, development by means of Panchayats own resources; and fourth, development works in various Government projects. It is to be noted that tribal development in particular and rural development in general need a co-ordination between village-based planning and Gram Panchayat planning, between Gram Panchayat planning and Panchayat Samity planning, between Panchayat Samity planning and District planning. The need is four-stage village-based District planning, i.e. village level, Gram Panchayat level, Block level and District level. The Block has been taken as the unit for palnning. It has been taken after 1980. For a variety of schemes the project plans are financed either by the State or the

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Central government. With the institutionalization of Panchayats in West Bengal the degree of leakage of non-target groups is lower than the other states in terms of castes and gender. More or less the tribes target groups get the benefits of various schemes. This can be attributed to the active participation of panchayat committee and gram sabha in the process of selection of beneficiaries. Officials of the state government and local party functionaries are keen enough to make the programme work for development a success , an attitude that is reflected in the enthusiasm of village-level workers. In the socio-economic development projects, the pioneering work is in the field of land reforms a radical change in the present land system and a new process of recording the names of bargadars, i.e. Operation Barga. In comparison with the District, Scheduled Tribe patta holders and bargadars are not negligible in this Block area. The following statistics from the District Land and Land Reforms Office, Burdwan upto December, 1998 give a clear picture to this end. Kanksa Patta Barga District Patta Barga Total 9,304 5,848 1,89,664 1,29,470 General 2,898 2,393 70,642 68,566 SC 4,294 2,033 79,282 43,949 ST 2,112 1,422 39,74 16,985

Share-croppers are one of the target groups of the below poverty line population and the other target group consists of the landless agricultural labourers. The problem of poverty of the Kanksa is a severe one. The major programme for creating additional employment is Food-for-Work or National Rural Employment Programme. Kanksa Panchayat Samity chalked out a programme which envisages distribution of house sites free of cost to the landless agricultural labourers, artisans and fishermen. The most important programme is IRDP, which is to provide the poor families with income generating assets to enable them to earn income to cross the poverty line. As per Memo No. PC/BC/ 11 2 (21)/ 85 dated Feb. 27, 1986 it is to be noted here that the poverty line used in the Seventh Plan during 1985-90 is annual household income of Rs. 6,400 in rural areas and Rs. 7,300 in urban areas. 75 per cent of this income, i.e, Rs. 4,800 in rural areas and Rs. 5,500 in urban areas should be
Note: Compared to the most other states of India, the proportion of net agricultural land distributed to the landless and poor peasants is significantly highest in West Bengal. Compared to 6.712% of land distributed in West Bengal, the proportion was as low as 1.24 per cent in rest of India upto 1993. The proportion now in September 2001 in West Bengal is 7.72 per cent. This comes to 0.41 acre per beneficiary. Area covered by registered share-cropper is 8.18 per cent of the net cultivated area. Corresponding shares in the Burdwan district were 5 per cent for land distribution and 10 per cent of net cultivated area for registration of share-croppers. These achievements will have to be judged in the context of the fact that, as per 1991 census, more than 58 per cent of agricultural workers in rural Burdwan were completely landless without any claim over even share cropping land. They must be tilling nearly 60 per cent of the land. So, if tillers are to own land they till through land reform, then land reform in Burdwan so far achieved only one-twelveth part or little more than 8 per cent of needed land distribution through full land reform.


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

taken as income limit under the Poverty Alleviation Programmes for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The families with an income level upto Rs. 3,500 are the poorest of the poor and assisted first. The families or beneficiaries within the income group of Rs. 3,500 to Rs. 4,800 in rural areas and Rs. 3500 to Rs. 5,500 in urban areas will be taken up as beneficiary after all the families below Rs 3,500 are being assisted by the respective authority ( Backward Classes Welfare Department ). Furthermore, the programmes like mass literacy, immunization, construction of roads, minor irrigation, fisheries, poultry farming, DWCRA etc. are important. With regard to DWCRA we can mention, for example, the sanction of Rs. 99,658 for Tilakdanga Adivasi Mahila Samity under Trilakchandrapur Gram Panchayat during 1998-99. This Samity is functioning till now. During field level data collection I have identified two types of scheme initially, i.e., directly benefitting the tribes and schemes indirectly benefitting the tribes. I have identified so far Special Component Plan ( SCP ), Tribal-Sub Paln ( TSP ), Special Tribal Area Development ( STAD ), Communuty Development Scheme under Integrated Tribal Development ( ITDP ) in the first category and Employment Assurance Scheme ( EAS ), Jawhar Rojgar Yojana ( JRY ), Indira Abas Yojana ( IAY ), Individual Beneficiary Scheme ( IBS ), Basic Minimum Service Scheme ( BMSS ), Integrated Child Development Scheme ( ICDS ) etc. in the second category at the initial stage of field level data collection. Tribal development programmes in seven Gram Panchayats are basically the works of development like repair and construction of roads, culverts, field channels, anganwadi centres, shishushikha kendras, well and well platforms; sinking of tubewells; digging of ponds; social forestry; distribution of house sites and housing loans; distribution of various self-employment projects as paddy processing, chira making, sal leaf plate making, goatery, piggery, milchcow, bullocks, bullocks and cart, sheep rearing, grocery, readymade cloth, vegetable vending etc. Programmes are wage and employment oriented. Wages in agriculture in seven Gram Panchayats range between Rs. 40 to 45 and in non-agricultural fields they remain within Rs. 50 to 60. And this has raised consumption thirst among the tribal daily wage earners. Self-employment projects are at the deadlock. This is due to their consumption thirst, lack of cash in hands and lack of suitable infrastructural facilities suited for the projects. Investment and profit maximization are absent in their society. Routine development works like the above may cause innumerable losses to human and natural resources. Monetary loss is in juxtaposed with other losses. This trend is not conducive to investment and profit maximization syndrome. The development programmes under EAS, STAD, JRY, SJGSY, IAY, IRDP and TSP throughout seven Gram Panchayats of this block are non-entrepreneurial, distributive and timeconsuming. Development efforts start with a single dose and end with no long-run and trickle-down effects. A slight dosage of input might produce a deadlock in development. The development efforts throughout seven Gram Panchayats within this block may be presented in a diagram (Fig. 1). There is no feedback between input and output. All the efforts are scattered and isolated. This is not a scientific way, indeed.

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Output Wage increase Consumption No trickle-down benefits Wage increase capacity


Self-emplolyment Output

Money not used for investment

No trickle-down benefits Dead-lock in selfemploymen t

Money not used for investment

Fig. 1 The need is comprehensive planning and programmes. Comprehensive programmes make possible to improve the social and economic orientation of planning and management, to take fuller account of the consequences of decisions, to improve inter-sectoral links with due account of the requirements posed by the development of society as a whole, to overcome restrictions stemming objectively from the sectoral and departmental planning and management, to use the reserves in order to achieve priority goals and to ensure a correct balance between resources and use them more effectively. Road development becomes necessary for economic development and overall investment process. The construction and repair works have generated employment in the form of wages for the tribal people in this area. Economic benefits from a road network may be reliable for larger economy. But these people have no such capital to invest so that they can acquire benefits from this infrastructure development. They remain mainly as unskilled wage labourers. The schemes like JRY, EAS, SJGSY and STAD etc. have made them confined within consumption network, not investment as mere wage labourers. Economic benefit other than wage labour to these people is not noticeable due to lack of marketable surplus in their hands. The non-tribal money-lenders, businessmen and landowners do get substantial benefits from this development. Due to absence of total plan programme or integrated plan perspective for the area, vested interests take advantage of the new facility or facilities while the tribal community is hardly ready to meet this new challenge. The development programmes are scattered in nature and content. Mere housing loans of Rs. 16,000 20,000 under IAY, individual beneficiary scheme of Rs. 1000 12,000 under IRDP and TSP, and mere wage benefits under JRY, EAS and STAD etc. would not improve their lot. Poverty alleviation is tantalizing, and it gets further complicated as to the equation of living standard with the levels of income and


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

consumption. The development programmes are not flexible, not responding to the new demands of the tribes more resources in their hands, adjustment with local market, active participation in the development process and entitlement of socioeconomic infrastructure to their needs and capabilities. Surplus lands have been distributed among them. Economic condition of sharecroppers has been improved to a lesser extent. It has improved their consumption needs, and not savings and investment. Irrigation facility for cultivation is not up to the mark to enable them to make productive use of this resource. What is more receptive to the tribal community is the institutional set-up for input delivery, especially water, credit and output marketing on the one hand, and institutions responsible for dissemination of productive techniques on the other. Most of them are agricultural labourers. Most of the owner cultivators own less than three acres of land. Lands are fragmented and agricultural turnouts are very low. Risks like land fragmentation, fragmentation of family, low irrigation facility, low technology adoption, investment risks, low market facility in this development process may be avoided through appropriate policy formulation. Pattadars are more impoverished than the bargadars. There is the question of augmentation of the productive potentials, harmonizing with the social processes and creative innovative impulses. The Operation Barga in this area aims at a limited reform. The bargadar even after his registration has not gained much in terms of income. It has provided some upward revision of tenants share. He is opposed to receive 75 per cent share provided he bears all the costs of cultivation. For the costs of cultivation he goes to the landowners and money-lenders. The banking system to make credits available to them has failed due to the non-repayment of days long credits from banks. Most of the institutional credits are enjoyed by the rich farmers, when non-institutional credits are offered to the poorer sections of the society. Rural indebtedness of the poor peasants and landless labourers to the private money-lenders are mostly for consumption and ceremonies rather than for production and cultivation, which would divert their production initiatives and incentives into consumption thirst and convert their income to the repayment of cumulative indebtedness. Their income level has increased to some extent, but this is not conducive to their actual development. To generate their income DWCRA formation is a good example. In this area out of 15 groups only nine are functioning. Out of nine few are under almost defuncts due to lack of spontaneity, lack of like-mindedness, lack of technological know-how or skill, lack of information and absence of marketable facilities of the articles produced for malfunctioning of DWCRA groups in this area. The party nominates group leaders. The total process is mechanical, dictated by the policies of distribution rather than development and change without a substantial alteration. There is only one tribal group leader, functioning till now. Majority of the tribal people can be formal to be without access to property or gainful employment and living under conditions of abject poverty. The strategy is to give something little more to everybody. The most important schemes are IRDP and TSP, administered by the state government and designed to help the rural poor to cross the poverty line. It is assumed that the rural people are poor because they do not possess any productive asset other than labour and they also as workers do not possess any special skill.

Md. Ayub Mallick


Thus, any development programme meant for the rural poor must aim at creating new productive assets for them. The core of IRDP and TSP is to provide the poor families with income generating assets to enable them to earn income to cross the poverty line. Both IRDP and TSP are intended to augment the assets base of the rural poor by facilitating the acquisition of income generating assets through a combination of institutional loan and governmental subsidies. The implementation of the policies and programmes undertaken at Kanksa in the Left Front regime during 1978-2000 are aimed at the penetration and politicization of the rural masses. Politicization of the rural masses is important than development. Despite various development measures under Kanksa Panchayat Samity, actual development of the tribal people did not take place. Indebtedness has become the regular feature of their life process, resulted in the culmination of four interrelated consequences : deterioration in resources; technological change without change in the quantum of total resources and the consumption pattern; stagnation in production relations, but rapid changes in technology and consumption pattern leading to progressive destitution of the tribals; and stagnation in resource position, technology and productive relations, but rapid changes in the consumption pattern. In this area the tribal economy tends to be diversified. The tribes are dissociated from the control of the resources and from decision-making in resource utilization pattern. They tend to migrate outside the area for work. The programmes are intended to provide benefits to a specified few tribal families economically, but not to develop the infrastructural base of the area i.e. irrigation, land development, credit and marketing etc. Here, it is to be noted that planning for development means optimal utilization of limited resources with sizeable investment, i.e. area and activity. The Tribal Welfare Department through the institution of Panchayats has entered into the fields of agricultural extension and become exclusively responsible for all programmes involving subsidy to the tribal farmers. A network of drinking water facility to the tribal areas has also been established. However, the Department most unfortunately has not yet established a network of tribal co-operative societies. Besides, cultivation of fish on a co-operative basis under Gopalpur Gram Panchayat is a good sign for tribal development. But, LAMPS at Basudha under Bonkati Gram Panchayat has not made a good start due to lack of information, non-repayment of credits drawn, administrative lapses and lack of self-consciousness among the tribals. In this area, tribal development got circumscribed to a weak sectoral programme, not a total developmental effort. Tribal beneficiaries are less interested in the programme of ICDS and its implementation. Their participation is negligible. Their consciousness about the impact of ICDS programme is low. The need is to raise the level of consciousness at least to a non-negligible extent. ICDS workers should take regular visit to the field, reach the level of consciousness of the beneficiaries and motivate them to take active participation in the implementation of programmes. Workers should motivate them with regard to immunization programme so that more positive participation could be ensured. For proper implementation of programmes like immunization and nutrition there should be good understanding and co-operation between ICDS office and primary health centre. Meetings with the beneficiaries should be regular and prospective. The programmes should be revitalized in accordance with the socioeconomic characteristics of the beneficiaries.


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

Majority of the beneficiaries are females, married and above 20 years of age. They are mostly illiterates and to some extent literate. With regard to occupation, landholding and annual income they belong to the lower stratum of the society. Majority of the beneficiary families are composed of 3-5 members. Those who use all sources of income as single wage earners are below poverty line, living in economic insecurity and hardships. Those who use all sources of income as double income earners are above poverty line, have more or less economic security than the former category. And those who use only one source of income as single income earners are below poverty line having much more economic hardship. It is possible to group these into three main categories: the structural poor, for whom poverty is strongly linked with social identity; the more mobile poor who have more or less economic security; and the destitute or chronic poor. Effective social protection policies are essential to prevent the first and third categories becoming further impoverished, and for the second to avoid falling back further into poverty. Economically they are poor and subjected to economic hardship. Due to economic hardship they are socially deprived. They only brood over daily needs. Due to this kind of economic hardship they are not too much worried about and are unable to continue the education of their children. They think their children as economic source. They need immediate return from this kind of investment. Rearing of children is a kind of investment to them. To them, the values of children are like first, domestic help, second, running family lineage, third, source of love, and fourth, companionship. First and foremost they think that child rearing is their responsibility. Secondly, it is a social obligation. For a huge and abject poverty syndrome they continuously search for immediate requirements and their immediate fulfilment. They are subject to unfavourable conditions: seasonal unemployment; price rise in consumer articles, chemicals and fertilizers; low remunerative price for agricultural produce, lack of proper irrigation facility; and indebtedness to private money-lenders and landowners. Therefore, their parents have nothing to do, but to neglect the immediate requirements of pre-school education of the children. So, there is the need for effective integration of social and economic inputs. In this block Continuing Education Programme has become more meaningful in case of Scheduled Castes than that of the Scheduled Tribes. The block has 51 Continuing Education Centres with 12 in Bidbihar, 9 in Molandighi, 4 in Amlajora, 7 in Trilakchandrapur and Gopalpur, and 6 in Kanksa and Bonkati. Most of the centres are irregular in submitting their progress report to the block office. The students go to the centres casually. They say, Whats the necessity? It will not improve our economy. So, there is the need for functional literacy. Poor enrolment and participation of ST students in comparison with SC can be presented here. I can say, it is the product of the culmination of structural and functional inequalities. To ensure greater functional literacy improvement of their economic performance is the imperative need of our time. Kanksa Panchayat Samity has sanctioned various projects like fishery, goatery, poultry, milchcow, bullocks and cart, carpentry, grocery, sal leaf plate making, paddy processing etc. through individual beneficiary schemes like IRDP and TSP to this end. The projects have failed at the mid-sea due to their economic hardship, indebtedness, lack of adequate infrastructural facilities, half-

Md. Ayub Mallick


hearted attempt on the part of the project officials and allottees, lack of an integrated development approach and seeing development as continuous and not sectoral. Lack of power facility, absence of co-operative farming and lack of subsidiary sources of income among the tribals, all these have made them handicapped to run the projects successfully. Essentially, non-performance syndrome creeps in. Fifty per cent of the total project cost is disbursed at first and a lions share of it is eschewed by the project allottees for consumption needs. They neglect investment needs subsequently. During collection of field level data I have found that in IRDP and TSP schemes the names and addresses of few beneficiaries have been mentioned, but the names of projects and subsequent project costs have not been cited. I found this maladroit nature and malignancy. Besides wage earning a prospective self-help scheme for tribal women, i.e. improved sal leaf cup and plate making would improve their economic lot. The plates would be machine stitched in place of stick stitched and moulded with a card board base to make them more market acceptable. It will act as an alternative to plastic, paper, and steel and china clay plates used as buffet plates. Through the operation of this scheme the beneficiary would get Rs. 1000 a month. This drive would be taken up through the District Rural Development Agency under the scheme Swarna Jayanti Swarojgar Yojana. Adequate infrastructural facilities like paper supply, modern technology, market facility, reasonable pricing policy and advertising would necessarily be provided. This would provide further opportunities for making their economic conditions improved and social standing moderate and meaningful. Agriculture remains the main source of income for the tribes people. Use of modern technology and inputs in agriculture among the tribeal groups cannot be considered as noteworthy phenomena, which have not been used to an appreciable extent. Low productivity in agriculture has reduced the opportunity for increase in income, further income generation and savings. Agricultural improvement is the urgent need of the hour, which especially incorporates improvement in the use of modern technologies in agriculture, development of land and irrigation system. Irrigation problem is a major problem in this area. Irrigation facilities should be provided adequately to reduce the element of uncertainty in agricultural produce. To this end, surface and ground water resources should properly be utilized. This would be facilitated, if educated leadership is developed within the community and if actual participation of the tribal people in the development process is essentially encouraged and ensured. Reduction of exploitation and inequalitarian distribution would help in generating confidence, savings and investment promotion among them. In the field survey and field level data collection I have also found the following facts and realities. Firstly, land remains the main source of their income. Very few of the tribes in this block are owner cultivators. Most of the pattadars are from SC categories in this area. Secondly, pattadars are mostly illiterate and below the poverty line. They have limited source of income. On the average, patta plots are non-agricultural devoid of irrigation facility (called as danga land or upland). It does not cross the limit of 22 33 shatak or something more in very few cases. Bastu lands have only given them house sites, but not more than that. They are daily wage labourers. Daily wage 9


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

differs. In Banskopa it is Rs. 40, but in Khatpukur and Gopalpur it goes up to Rs. 45. Patta holders draw credits from mahajans at the rate of interest of Rs. 10 per month. Agricultural patta holders sell all the crops to repay the credit to the mahajans. Throughout the year they have nothing to do, but to work as daily labourers. Few patta holders use the patta lands for agricultural purposes in lieu of 60:40 crop divisions. Patta lands are not within their own hold, which as per law are not transferable. Few patta holders work as share-croppers without recording their names as bargadars giving the landowners 40 per cent of the total crops. A minuscule of them has become able to buy some lands, but most of them have not been able to rise above the poverty line and have to work as daily labourers. Crops produced are double in volume and high yielding varieties. The patta holders are least benefitted through the schemes like IRDP, IAY, Old Age Pension, JRY and MWS (Million Well Scheme). With the introduction of high yielding varieties, fertilizers and pesticides production has increased than that of the previous five years ago. In spite of that, patta holders are below the poverty line due to rural indebtedness. Loans offered by the Panchayats through IRDP have not been repaid and used for the development of the downtrodden. The poor patta holders have almost consumed the loans offered, and have not used it for their economic development. Thirdly, few incidents have come to my notice that the patta holders of the year of 1972 are not patta holders once more today. Party leaders have snatched the patta lands and distributed these to the poor. During 1972 they had few lands. Now, they have improved their economic conditions through business and service, and are supporters of left opposition. Local party leaders, who were the managers or nayebs of the zaminders or landowners then, have now bitter relations with those patta holders. Now the local leaders have got a chance to take an action against those patta holders of 1972 by distributing the lands to the poor. But, as the poor are below the poverty line and in the grind wheel of money-lending, the real fruits of providing patta lands have not yet been seen. Lands have been sliced and production hampered. Fourthly, the conditions of the bargadars are much more improved than the patta holders. Some bargadars own patta lands and they cultivate these lands. So to say, they have improved the economic conditions. They do not need credits from others. Few bargadars have a tendency to conceal their income and to show an increasing rate of their monthly expenditure, which do not generally match to their income. They thought that I was a government official, trying to know the actual income. They surely had to think that if they could show low-income pattern for them, and then I could persuade the government to help them so that they could make themselves financially healthy. They also told me that Sir; please do something on behalf of the government. Few bargadars, who have their patta lands in paper, do not hold it within their own control. They received their patta lands during the year of 1972. They can produce papers. These cases are within the jurisdiction of the High Court. Party and panchayat leaders did not try to do anything for these patta holders. Some of them do not know that they have patta lands. They do not know that they were given agricultural patta lands. These patta lands, which were vested to the poor from the landowners, are now unknown to the patta holders. The landowners, who previously formed important pockets of Congress party strong-

Md. Ayub Mallick


hold, are now left party leaders and CPI (M) - dominated panchayat members. They, for their vested interests are trying to divert the attention of the poor patta holders from these patta lands. Papers are in the hands of the patta holders, but they do not use and cultivate these lands. The landowners, who previously formed important pockets of Congress party stronghold and whose lands were vested and distributed to the poor patta holders during the year of 1972 are now important left party leaders or left party supporters, now trying to take revenge against these poor patta holders with the help of party support and help. Fifthly, the poor patta holders and bargadars are members of Krishak Sangsthan and they attend meetings of the Gram Sansad. Most of the members say that we only hear, comrades do everything. We follow our leaders. Sixthly, distribution of patta lands is only the instrument to catch votes, but not intended to improve the conditions of the poor patta holders. Seventhly, administration is subservient to the interests of the party leaders and the party dictates. Eighthly, however, the incidence of landlessness is more pronounced among the tribal people in this area. Programmes like land distribution among them, recording the names of the bargadars, resettlement of landless agricultural labourers providing house sites and housing loans, extension of employment, generation of selfemployment have made a very little impact on their pressing problems and urgent needs. No individual programme from sectoral angle can heal the ulcer. An integrated approach to it should be enunciated. Effective co-ordination between various programmes is a necessary step. Electrification in tribal villages has to be stepped up carefully, would likely to provide congenial living conditions for them. Priority should be given to electricity for irrigation and drinking water facilities. It has to be oriented to the growth of small-scale industries like sal leaf plate and cup making, paddy processing, medicines from herbs and tubers etc. This area is prospective for development. Agriculture and forestry are pre-dominant sources of income. Infrastructural development is going on gradually. Technology transformation is low. Tribal people are being dissociated from the control over resources and from the decision-making process. Their electoral turn-out is high, but political participation in the decision-making is low. Resource utilization pattern is at a low level, and they tend to migrate outside for work. It is to be noted here that the sustainable development of the tribal population depends upon a system of self-development based on their own creative force and corporate productive resources. The plan for tribal development must take forest and land resources as the base. They should become co-sharers in the creation of wealth and take active part in its management. To ensure man-nature-society, symbiotic relationship without generating conflicts between them, emphasis should be laid on maximization of creative participation and minimization of socio-economic disorder. Tribal people are too weak to stand as equals against the non-tribals. They have to be properly organized, and have to get only politicized imparting a sense of participation among them in view of productive resources, productive relations, manpower position and socio-economic orientation. In fact, development centres


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

round a high rate of economic growth with social justice, priority investment, political decentralization and moulding of tradition with modernization. Popular participation should be treated as the basic policy in national development and as a basic policy measure active participation of all individuals in the development process is a sine qua non for development. Participation provides the beneficiaries of development, an opportunity for opinion building, helps the planners in setting goals and objectives, formulating policies, implementing plans and programmes, organizing and evaluating the target community, the less privileged few. The problems of the tribals, the rural down-trodden are germinated from structural conditions and not functional in a real sense. Participation makes the people aware of their problems relating to development and empowerment and root causes behind it. To find out the extent of participation I interviewed 175 tribal people from Bidbihar, Molandighi, Bonkati, Gopalpur, Amlajora, Trilakchandrapur and Kanksa Gram Panchayat areas: Fuljuri, Kuldiha, Garkella, Telipara, Babnabera, Domra and Amanidanga. Of them 38.75 per cent respondents said that they were regular in attending Gram Sansad meetings, 42.00 per cent were regularly casual, 43 per cent and 46 per cent were non-participatory when needed and occasionally. Only 1 per cent was never non-participatory, 40 per cent respondents said that Gram Sansad meetings were both regularly and occasionally participatory, 20 per cent said that it was participatory when needed, and 47.50 per cent reported that it was occasionally non-participatory. In the decision-making process the people participated less like that of the block level officials and administrators. It is a noteworthy that partypanchayat leaders, Gram Sangsad members and Pradhans combined a trio and contributed at least 76.25 per cent in their control over the decision-making. Panchayats demand for peoples participation in development programmes was more casual than participatory, but more participatory than non-participatory. It is evident from respondents answers that panchayats demand for peoples participation was in most development programmes: casual (47.21%) > participatory (38.79%) > nonparticipatory (14.00%), in few development programmes: casual (46.00%) > participatory (42.00%) > non-participatory (12.00%), and in normal times: casual (45.00%) > nonparticipatory (43.62%) > participatory (11.38%). Therefore, Panchayats demand for peoples participation in development programmes is mostly casual. It seems crystal clear that participation of the tribal in development programmes was mainly through labour, moral support and benefit sharing. The respondents who were mainly from the age group of 21-30 and 31-50 years with a socio-economic background: mostly illiterate, agricultural labourers and share-croppers in the low to medium category having a minimum (landless to with less than 1 acre) portion of land in their ownership, except share-cropping reported that participation in the decisionmaking was not their task. The leaders themselves made decisions, took the decisions and justified the decisions. They only heard about decisions and participated in the meetings to raise hands and voices in favour of the decisions, but did not say anything that may counteract the decisions and muddle the decision-making processes. The respondents having secondary education, business, lands more than three acres and from higher economic category said that participation was satisfactory and in the selection of beneficiaries they discussed the matter with all. It is to be noted here

Md. Ayub Mallick


that I have categorized the socio-economic status of the respondents into high, medium and low on the basis of points scored by the respondents. I have ranked them on the basis of living standard of the respondents, their daily food habits, socio-economic outlook, creativity, and sources of information, recreational implements, and their greater political access. Most of the respondents who were from the lower to middle category didnt know the objectives of various development programmes. The factors like very low economy and education have made them weak in perception and understanding. They are not aware about the guidelines of development programmes like IRDP, TSP, JRY etc. 72 per cent of the respondents said that they did not know the guidelines required for IRDP, TSP, JRY and the like. They took money as governmental help for self-employment and poverty alleviation. Only 28 per cent of the respondents knew about the guidelines. They received this information from gram panchayat offices and party-panchayat leaders of their locality. In this task of providing information party-panchayat leaders made important contributions to development efforts, but low level of information have retarded those efforts and reduced confidence building among them. Backdrop produced out of poverty and illiteracy has resulted ignorance among them. I have found these facts in my study area. Ignorance has made them more oriented to consumption pattern rather than investment. Among the respondents only 12 per cent were interested in investment. 1.28 per cent said that banks should be liberal in terms of loan. An environment of investment has not yet been created among the tribals. They consume most of the amount of loan against food, repayment of credit with interest to private money-lenders and other consumer durable. Nonrepayment of loans to banks has become a regular feature for them. At this point the role of Panchayats is negligible. Most of the respondents were not satisfied with the selection of beneficiaries. They said that depressed and poor families were least benefited. Selection through Beneficiary Committee and meetings convened for that selection were procedurally defunct. It (selection of beneficiaries) was based more on good understanding with party-panchayat leaders and members of the Committee than on economic background. This does not mean that the beneficiaries are from higher economic background. Their general feature is economic hardships. Therefore, most of the beneficiaries were from the lower rung. They are at the margin of survival and in struggle to achieve a level of consumption just enough to survive. They have been absorbed in the national and local economy and techno-economic fold of settled peasantry. Basically, they can be divided into two categories who own, work and hire-out themselves and who do not own, work and hire-out themselves. For them, class-consciousness signifies that they are organized forces struggling for survival, and they are autonomous. The determinants of their consciousness about the class position are like inequalities, trend in occupational diversification and mobilization. The proletarianization of the tribal peasants is not different from the proletarianization of the non-tribal peasants. They are differentiated in terms of production relations, place in the society in relation to other classes, and forces of production like land, irrigation, seeds and fertilizers. When the immediate problems before the tribal labourers are adequate wage rates, food and clothing, the problems before the share-croppers and those who own few plots of land are better prices for


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

agricultural produce, better credit and loan facilities and irrigation facility. Formation of class-consciousness among the former is at the rudimentary stage. The latter in alliance with its non-tribal counterparts have subdued their class- consciousness at the low level. They are mobilized on tribal development and techno-economic pursuits of development programmes. Politicization of the poor by the left parties is a legacy of the past. The politicization among the tribes by the CPI(M) is a noteworthy phenomenon in this area. The left parties have had capitalized tribals discontent during the 60s and 70s and made it as their support base. CPI(M) - dominated Krishak Shaba had a number of followers in several villages of Jungle Mahal experienced with restlessness among the landless labourers and share-croppers. In 1969, the tribal and scheduled caste bargadars demanded 60 per cent crop-sharing from the landowners, who resisted the move. The CPI (M) tried to ensure a bargaining and compromise formula to make a peaceful settlement to this. The restless sharecroppers did not accept this move. Clashes between the landowners and bargadars came into being in Rakshitpur and Hariki as a result of this. Finally, the CPI (M) leaders could not effectively intervene in the disputes, and for that the area was left open to the influence of the extremists. Dissidents of the CPI (M)-dominated Krishak Sabha in Chua, Rakshitpur and adjacent villages supported the extremists. Due to police action and harassment the extremists favoured underground activities and this created apathy in the minds of a large number of supporters. The extremists did not achieve much except expediting the registration of a handful of bargadars. The CPI (M) has had capitalized this situation. It has made strong organizational base in this area. The party has institutionalized discontent of the tribal through Panchayats. Few tribals have been elected in the Panchayats to represent their interests. They also represent in Gram Committees. In all five Panchayat elections all tribal members of Gram Panchayats and Panchayat Samity, except Tapan Soren of Gopalpur and Sannayasi Hansda of Molandighi were elected from the CPI (M). Sahasabhadhipati of Burdwan Zilla Parishad, Kabilal Maddi during the interview said that institutionalization of Panchayats have become a reality after the Left Governments accession to power in 1977. Panchayats have taken various measures to improve the economic conditions of the tribes. They have been benefitted through barga operation and distribution of patta lands. Their children are enjoying the educational facilities. They are more conscious about their own. Cultural improvement through drama, sports, dances and songs have been worked out. Despite that, they should be given more facilities for intellectual improvements and economic benefits rather than mere distribution of lands. They should have their own cultural identity. Tribal culture should go hand in hand with non-tribal culture, so that they can take part in the social mainstream. But the institutionalization of Panchayats with regard to tribal participation in Panchayats and various development programmes is not quite satisfactory. Tribal peoples discontent has been institutionalized within the Panchayati Raj institutions and various development programmes through it. As tribal life situation today centres round the productive functions and relations of production concerning land, the science and technological developments in tribal areas have to proceed along two axis. One axis is skill, knowledge and resource base of the tribal communities; the other axis is the common pool of technology and knowledge about the application of the same as available to mankind

Md. Ayub Mallick


at the global plane, for augmenting the quality of life and strengthening the forces of peace and human unity. (Roy Burman, 1989: 53). Destruction of forest ecology brought about sedentarization and changed the symbiotic economic relation with the peasants to one of proletarianization. They have become marginalized; exploitation of labour has been introduced into their society. The tribal and non-tribal societies remained separate, but gradually have become intertwined with complex unequal economic linkages. Through these unequal economic linkages the elite society dominates the production process through its control over land and labour. The government-sponsored development programmes have had very little effect on the worsening immiserisation of the tribal people. They remain as a class of primary producers, mainly as agricultural labourers and share-croppers. They are mostly unskilled labourers working in agricultural and non-agricultural fields. Further, economic integration between the two societies, tribal and non-tribal without transforming the relations of production, i.e., the relations of exploitation into a more equitable one, would aggravate the tribals problems more and more. The strategy of tribal development has to combat these relations of exploitation at all levels so as to make the quality of their life improved. Application of skill, knowledge and technology on their resource base, i.e., land and forest are essential for their improvement in the life situation. A type of stratification among the tribal people has emerged on the one hand, a small privileged, property-owning and educated section utilizing the benefits bestowed upon them and on the other, vast chunk of under-privileged labouring classes. They have been taking part in the national or regional economy. The tribal people of this area are critically averse to the exploitative relations of production. They are objects of capitalistic, semi-feudal exploitation. But their sociocultural outlook is different from the hierarchically based Hindu caste society though they have entered into the techno-economic fold of the settled peasantry. They mainly produce for household consumption. Hunting and gathering technology in the tribal society is a past story. They do not have their technological inputs, they practise techno-economic features of a settled peasantry, which may not be termed as tribal; but their economic motives in most cases as I found and socio-cultural tendencies may be considered as tribal. They are more oriented towards the life at present, and not what the future would be. In their society there is no role of specialization according to sex, age and proficiency. Majority of the tribal people in my study area are landless agricultural labourers. Few are owner-cultivators. Out of 175 people, 109 work as agricultural labourers in the lands of neighbouring caste peasants, 59 earn their livelihood as share-croppers in the fields of non-tribal peasants and remaining 7 in non-agricultural fields. Their economic outlook is pleasure seeking and not savings, investment and planning. They believe in the principle that substantiates moral requirements, the theory, which yields pleasure or relief from suffering and the evils as causing suffering. It is a variety of naturalism in ethics. The economic condition of the tribal people is not so good. They depend on land either as agricultural labourers or as share-croppers. Agricultural production does not provide self-sufficiency to all. Production on land is meagre as to low irrigation and habits of using traditional methods of cultivation. They are exploited by landowners, money-lenders, traders and shopkeepers. Intensive utilization of land


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

and water resources would help to generate self-employment opportunities to them, if these tasks are properly done. The attitude of the tribal villages in most cases had not been changed from an asset for domestic work to investment in future. In few cases (these families who have few resources) small family norm has been accepted. Health, nutritional status and dressing pattern of women and children have also improved. They are all conscious of their forest ecology. They do not know the green house effect, but are environmentally alert. They feel and realize the problems like poverty, malnutrition and environmental degradation, and the importance of wise use of resources to solve these problems. It is encouraging that government has tried to understand the tribal problems and taken a number of corrective measures. Measures are not adequate and effective. This conventional development model is exploitative and must be replaced by sustainable development conducive to their ecology. Sustainable development should go hand-in-hand with productivity, renewal capacity and bio-diversity. Only peoples participation along with the integration of various development programmes could change their life situation towards prosperity and happiness. The Government should also provide facilities like soil testing, fertilizers, seeds, pesticides and irrigation on time and under proper supervision to make them more effective. Remunerative prices for agricultural products should be paid. Tribes should be encouraged in afforestation programme to grow commercial crops and to develop forestry-based cottage industries. They are resource-poor and backward in terms of low level of literacy, low access to modern technology and information, fatalism and hedonism. Therefore, they have little capacity to take risk. The soil has low productive capacity. The poor families, who obtained patta lands, are also of low fertility status. These lands with low productive capacity and fertility status may be used in farm forestry. People are not conscious about this farm forestry technology, but peoples participation is essential for sustainable forestry development. Consciousness and participation are essentially correlated. And I found anomaly between the two during field survey. When I discussed the matter with them they said that they did not know its utility, its mechanism. The respondents belonged to the weaker section, are weak in terms of economy and education, and are not conducive to the development of independent thinking among them. They believe in the preservation of their eco-systems: sarna, a sacred grove in forest areas, where teenage were initiated into adulthood, akhara, where young males and females choose their life partners and sasan, the burial ground in forest. From adulthood to death, forest is associated with them or with their life cycle. They do not believe in the cutting of trees like sal and peepal. This mind set-up can be used to develop farm forestry, to keep a balance between human needs and environmental imperatives. Deforestation in Jungle Mahal area has impoverished the tribal people has produced competition for scarce resources, and has created consequent class formation. Availability of land, food and other minor forest produces has become inaccessible to them. In this competition, a few families or a very few individuals have become able to capture more, while the majority of them are impoverished. Previously, in their mutually supporting community they shared things with others. This sharing culture has disappeared and they have become pauperized and marginalized due to deforestation. Due to this marginalization the loss of material base and the break up

Md. Ayub Mallick


of the community have taken place, and necessarily they have to deal with the landowners and the private money-lenders. For greater and more profit the capitalist owners, traders, contractors, landowners and middlemen force the tribes to depend on the sale of minor forest produce and fuel-wood etc. to them and the tribal people have nothing to do, but to sell these for their very survival. The traditional culture of keeping a balance between human needs and environmental imperatives has disappeared. This impoverishment has reduced their income and food habits, forced them confined into the hands of the landowners and private money-lenders, who appropriate their little income. They are pushed back to indebtedness and unequal economic linkages, for they have lost their bargaining power. The conventional methods of development strategies are not intended to make self-reliant growth possible, to create a suitable atmosphere for greater participation of the people, i.e., active involvement in achieving consensus, in decision-making, in planning and preparation of programmes, and in monitoring and evaluation. Political institution like panchayats have to ensure village meetings regular on proper deliberation and consultation with the villagers on the one hand and on the other, marginal arrangements for planning, preparation of programmes, implementation of that programmes, proper monitoring and actual benefit-sharing etc. in order to make development programmes meaningful. To improve the life quality of the tribal people, provide protection from destitution it is necessary to take into account the matters like improvement in natural resources, improvement in land productivity scientifically, improvement in household income and employment generation, development in the utilization capacity of both natural and human resources and improvement in health and social welfare as urgent. One of the ways to see the problem of non-participation is that people should prepare their own development programmes and the government should participate in these programmes by way of financial, legal and technical assistance. Participatory culture is absent in real sense. However, participation has to be institutionalized to ensure involvement of people in all stages of development: societal and extra-societal environment research, planning and programme design, implementation and management of programmes. For sustainable development capital formation and output raising capacity should have to be developed, and if growth process were sustained, trickle down effect would ensure better living standard for the tribal. Sustainable resource utilization, appropriate technology intervention for resource conservation and regeneration, gradual empowerment of the socially disadvantaged group all can be ensured through the participation of the people. People would participate in the development process if the expected benefits exceed the expected costs of participation, if they are empowered to do so, if they have the ability to organize and motivate the co-villagers, if local leadership provides opportunities to participate them in various development programmes, and if the government provides sizeable amount of financial and technical assistance in mobilizing peoples resources and developing appropriate infrastructural facilities. Participation of the tribals people in community affairs is lower, but this is not the case with political participation, where the tribal respondents score higher on the political participation continuum. Tribals participation includes voting, canvassing, discussing political matters, attending meetings, contributing to election fund etc.


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

Several factors contributed to this type of political behaviour, may be stated as decay of traditional panchayats, growing importance of statutory panchayats, industrialization, growth of market economy and the community development programmes through various schemes etc. They have now imbibed new influences, values, attitudes and beliefs and take part in politics and modern political process for pursuing economic needs, for satisfying social needs and pursuing particular values. Political participation and political awareness influence one another. It is the fact that because of the lack of education and socio-economic and political backwardness tribal people are not fully politically aware. Their level of awareness is low and voting behaviour is influenced by money, mobilization activities of the political parties, friends and neighbours. They are less interested in occupying political offices. Panchayati Raj, has introduced the politics of opportunity and participation into the Indian village and in this respect has opened the way for significant change (Madan, 1977: 62); but the tribal people have not made any significant change. However, Panchayati Raj seems to have developed a sense of popular participation and political education among the tribals. Continuous orientation of Marxian ideas by the CPI (M) cadres and party workers has become deep seated in the minds of the tribal people. Abresent, they are class conscious. They are oriented to the campaign of the left parties, particularly the CPI (M) that Panchayats would take over benami lands and its distribution, would enable middle and poor peasants to secure bank credit, would also administer the food-for-work programme. (Sen Gupta, 1978). The participatory orientation of the tribes in different elections is high. All the respondents interviewed expressed their views that they cast their votes in almost all elections. The respondents expressed that they did not want to alienate themselves from the mainstream politics. They have adapted themselves with regime values and norms. Their attitudes towards political order and attitudes towards mobilization do not differ basically from the general mass of the population, though their culture of participation is not participatory in real sense of the term. With regard to attitudes towards political order there appears to be an agreement on what procedures shall be considered legitimate for purposes of obtaining and exercising governmental power regularizes political conflict and supports political order by making violent techniques exceptional rather than ordinary. (Willhoites, 1963: 303). And with regard to attitudes towards mobilization there appears to be a commitment to action and means of translating this commitment into action. The tribal people are adaptive to and compromising with the prevailing attitudes towards socio-political conditions. They cast votes, discuss political matters with their leaders, friends and neighbours, and also attend political meetings. Though they are not aware of various political issues they participate in elections for expressive purposes. Though a significant number of tribal voters turn-out to the polling booths, most of them do not know the significance of voting, their rights and duties and their role in the political system. More interest in attending meetings than taking part in political discussion throws light on the psychodynamic character of those people in controlling the decision-making process and the decision. Less interest in politics than in political discussion means that people with this psychodynamic character are intended to

Md. Ayub Mallick


grasp benefits through the political process, but not to take keen interest in mobilization. The political parties (54.86 per cent) and the electioneering agents (28 per cent) have contributed a lions share in providing information to the respondents though they listen to Radio and TV, contribute only 17.14 per cent. Though they are politically conscious and know the number of political parties (72.57 per cent) and party symbols (68.00 per cent), but most of them do not know or are acknowledged with party programmes and manifestoes (94.86 per cent), the symbol of political parties like Congress (I) and BJP, except the symbol of CPI (M) (32 per cent) and the number of political parties at present (27.43 per cent). These people are too much politicized by the left parties and do prefer the CPI (M) party candidates to elect. Out of 175 respondents a number of 162 (92.57 per cent) prefers the CPI (M). It is, in fact, the mobilization effect of the CPI (M). Wage increase (33.71 per cent), land distribution (10.28 pre cent), economic assistance in terms of loans and subsidy (14.28 per cent) and regular contact with the party workers and activists (41.73 per cent) do have them impact in this preference politics. Even though the voters turnout on a large scale to cast their votes, they are not conscious of the electoral process. They are not aware of their power functions and roles. The local leaders and power seekers meet the voters at the time of elections and influence and motivate them by assuming them that their problems would by solved and they get them job and job opportunities, higher wages, patta lands, and loans and subsidy. They do not have direct contact with the prime and frontal leaders, where the local leaders play a dominant role in influencing and motivating the voters. They are politicized, but not politically socialized in real sense of the term. The respondents take a keen interest particularly in respect with the casting of votes. Though they are not satisfied with the functioning of the political system and the government, they do not alienate themselves from the mainstream. Their interest in politics and participation in it are not yet highly developed and well-knit. They take interest in politics and participate in it as they are mobilized to do so, but do not know what role they have to play in the differentiated role structures. Though they are conscious about political happenings, they cast their votes, attend meetings, take part in political discussion and take interest in political matters. Educational attainment appears to have the most important demographic effect on political attitudes. Among the demographic variables usually investigated none compares with the educational variable in the extent to which it seems to determine political attitudes. The uneducated man or man with limited education is a different political actor from the man who has achieved a higher level of education. (Almond and Verba, 1963: 379). From the survey it seems clear that illiterates (52 per cent) take interest in politics, take part in political discussion and cast their votes. Their difference from the people having formal education is the difference in terms of attending meetings. Illiterates do attend meetings less, and, therefore, have less control over policy-decisions and less contact with party-panchayat leaders. Conscience, knowledge and wisdom; political competence, interest and responsibility; self-confidence, dominance and articulateness do not direct their political attitudes. The formally educated people are much more likely to attend meetings than the ill educated or illiterates. With regard to occupation the agricultural labourers (64 per cent) and share-croppers (35 per cent) do take much


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

interest in politics, in attending meetings and in casting their votes in spite of their low income below subsistence level, lack of education and lower stratum of the community. The tribal people are less interested in attending meetings and taking part in the decision-making process. Talking politics is a matter of time pass business to them in leisure time. Due to lack of education they are not fully exposed to wider political information through mass media, therefore, they lack political competence, wider information about political issues and analysis of issues etc. Democratic competence is closely related to having valid information about political issues and processes, and to the ability to use information in the analysis of issues and the devising of influence strategies (Almond and Verba, 1963: 95). They receive political information from their leaders and are politicized by party-panchayat leaders. The introduction of Panchayati Raj has provided them a new opportunity for increased political activities and overall politicization. The tribal village like any other village is embraced with national political system. The first tier of the Panchayats is linked with the Zilla Parishad, the State and the Centre. They are integrated into the wider political system. They contest election, cast votes, attend meetings, take part in political discussion and lastly, take interest in politics. This is a clear indication of the spirit of politicization among the tribal propular. The need for income security and the fear of periodic unemployment etc. have played an important role in the politicization pattern towards the left political forces. The agricultural labourers suffer from acute seasonal unemployment and in this circumstances development programmes of the Left Front Government are clearly a boon to these tribal people. It is also a fact that left political currents have also affected tribal people and the left-oriented political wave has overshadowed their politicization pattern. Due to poor economic condition they become unable to receive developmental inputs. Diversification of occupational structure has resulted in ranks among the tribal agricultural labourers, poor cultivators, white-collar workers etc. They enter into borrowing development assets lesser than that of fulfilling social obligations like marriage and death and of drinking. Application of modern technology has become slow in tribal areas mostly due to lower irrigation facility, poor land holding pattern and disinvestment motives among tribes. Mass education has to be regularized and developed. The proportionate changes in techno-scientific and socio-cultural fields are the essential pre-conditions for tribal development. Literacy, education and economy have a substantial bearing on the receptivity of change and the level of participation in development activities. Though they cherish and do aspire for more cash in their hands to improve their living standard, they are unmindful to development programmes. Most of the respondents say that the development programmes have not made better economic life for them. Low level of literacy among then has always been a matter of concern to policy makers and planners and it has become a problematic issue to them. The fact is that the poor economic condition of the tribal people prevents the children from attending schools. The struggle for life is very hard and the children make a substantial contribution to the economic activities of the household. If the child is taken away to school, the family is deprived of the little income earned by the child. This explains the apathy of the tribal people towards sacrifice for better future, hence low level of literacy is found among them (Sachchidananda, 1967). They brood over present and not the future. However, an

Md. Ayub Mallick


improvement in school enrolment of tribal children is a positive sign, but its spread seems to be localized and minimum or not up to the mark (Rao, 1990). Participation of the tribal page in community development activities is lower, but this is not the case with political participation, where the tribal respondents rate of answering the questions asked is higher on the political participation continuum. Tribal participation includes voting, canvassing, discussing political matters, attending meetings, and contributing to election fund etc. Panchayati Raj seems to have developed a sense of popular participation and political education among the tribals. They are mobilized along class political lines by the left parties. Transformation of tribal life is taking place in different regions of India at different places. The changes in tribal life are brought about as a natural process of evolution, due to contact with other communities and after Independence as the effect of different welfare and non-tribal population development measures, with the purpose of bringing them quickly to the level of common mass of India. But there are problems in integrating the tribes with others. India follows the capitalist economic path and the path of competitive polity, while the former develops differentiation on class lines and latter seeks to widen support structure across the narrow kinship and caste boundaries, on the one hand. On the other, political ideology and practice ignore growing economic differentiation between and within tribes, and legitimize tribe with distinct social and cultural identity. There is conflict between the two. They should not be treated as undifferentiated group. The contradiction should have to be resolved through the automatic integration of the tribal people in the mainstream society. The tribal population remain at the back of the queue. The establishment of industries lends urgency to the extension of protective measures so that they cannot be exploited anymore. There is no need of directed integration. The manner of the integration of the tribal into the wider Indian society will ultimately be determined by political decisions, and these will be not the basis of moral evaluations (Haimendorf, 1994: 322). There is the need for cultural tolerance and appreciation of cultural values. Tribes should not be separated, but assimilated within the broader Indian society in spontaneously. There is the need for protection so that they cannot be exploited by the non-tribals and then neo-elites among the tribes in an undue manner. privilege. They can develop along their own lines. The pattern of integration can be shown in figurative dimensions (Fig. 1 & 2). In a developing society like that of West Bengal, several intermingling variables like lack of proper use of tribal language in educational institutions causing less interest among them, lack of knowledge about market economy, social distance between tribal and non-tribal, consumption of excessive alcoholic liquor among the tribal people, their traditional beliefs in health and hygiene and ceremonial practices pulling them from modernization. The patron-clientable relationship between programme implementers and tribal beneficiaries, lack of participation in the decisionmaking process pushing them to destitution and poverty all these impede the development measures. Addiction to drinking is a complex problem in tribal development that needs to be avoided. The causal relationship can be presented in this respect: liquor addiction needs use of cereals food grain borrowing at a high


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

interest rate no or minimum scope for marginal savings no or minimum savings no or minimum investment low production in agriculture repayment of debt with interest no capital formation poverty syndrome addiction to liquor out of frustration and societal norms (Ray, et. al., 1982).
Political Sphere (A) Automatic Assimilation of Integration

Tribal Society (D)

Particles of A.B.C.D in interaction

Non-tribal Society (B) Non-tribal Society (B)

Fig. 1 : What Should Be

Sphere of directed integration

Fig. 2 : What Is

Table 3: Factors contributing to the political participation of the tribes

Age group Total no. of respondents 65 7 13 14 26 31-50 72 18 25 29 8 20 7 3 21-65 175 79 16 17 18 19 20 .... 12 13 10 11 3 4 5 2 7.69 10.77 20.00 21.54 40.00 25.00 34.72 40.28 21.05 52.63 18.42 7.90 45.14 Number of respondents No. of time cast votes Percentage


1. No. of time votes cast


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2. Motivation behind voting

A. B. 21-65 175

Electing the candidate If the candidate is

elected, he will provide help to us



54.86 Contd....




Age group

Total no. of respondents 175 175 175 175 81 13 81 .... .... .... 46.28 7.44 46.28 .... ....

Number of respondents

No. of time cast votes


3. .... .... .... ....

Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

.... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... 175 175 175 30 96 49 175 175 175 141 13 21

175 175 175

93 65 17

.... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... ....

53.14 37.14 9.72 80.56 7.44 12.00 17.14 54.86 28.00 Contd....

Motivating agents A. Socio-economic background of the candidates B. Political leaders C. Friends and relatives D. Allurements like wage increase, patta lands distribution, operation barga 4. Discussion of political issues A. Casually B. Regularly C. Never 5. Discussion with A. Political leaders B. Friends and relatives C. Family members 6. Information gathered through A. Radio/TV B. Political parties and their leaders C. Electioneering agent

Age group Total no. of respondents Number of respondents No. of time cast votes Percentage .... .... .... .... 175 175 119** 56*** .... .... 175 175 127* 48 .... .... 72.57 27.43 68.00 32.00
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.... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... 175 175 175 175 59 18 25 73 175 175 175 .... .... ....

175 175

9**** 166

.... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... ....

5.14 94.86 2.86 92.57 4.57 33.71 10.28 14.28 41.73

Political awareness A. No. of political parties Yes No B. Symbol of political parties Yes No C. Election manifestoes and programmes of political parties Yes No D. Party prefernce Congress (I) CPI(M) BJP 8. Reasons for party preference A. Wage increase B. Land distribution C. Loans and subsidy D. Regular contact

* They only reported the names of three main political parties, Congress(I), CPI(M) and BJP ** They know the symbols of the three main political parties. *** They do not know the symbols of all the main parties, except the CPI(M) **** Only these respondents know the election manifesto and programmes of the CPI(M). They are party workers.


SOURCE: Field Survey


Table 4: Socio-economic indicators and political participation of the tribals

Votes cast Political discussion No 135 22 1 79 61 8 5 3 98 55 31.43 59.43 71 25 4.11 2.89 2.00 3 5 2 34.86 33 18.86 1.71 2.89 1.14 40.57 14.28 45.14 41 23.42 0.57 2 1.11 2 91 65 5 4 3 112 59 12.57 16 9.14 24 77.14 65 37.14 143 82.00 13.71 1.11 52.00 37.14 2.89 2.29 2.00 64.00 33.71 Percentage No Percentage No Percentage Attending meetings Interest in politics


Total no. of respondents No 143 30 2 91 68 8 5 3 112 61 2 1.00 35.00 64.00 4.11 2.89 2.00 39.00 52.00 1.11 16.89 82.00 Percentage












EDU: Illiterate






Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

Class I-IV Class IV-X Class X-XII

8 5 3

4.11 2.89 2.00



OCCU: Agricultural labourer Sharecropper Business Others




SOURCE: Field Survey

Md. Ayub Mallick


Almond, G.A. and S. Verba. 1963. The Civic Culture (New Jersy: Princeton University Press). Alpin, Mc. 1981. Report on the Conditions of the Santhals (Calcutta). Bandyopadhyaya, J. 1987. Political Ecology of Drought and Water Scarcity, EPW (Vol. 22: No. 50: December 12). Biswas, P.C. 1956. Santals of the Santal Parganas (Delhi: Bharatiya Admjati Sevak Sangh). Bose, Nirmal. 1977. Indias Eastern Tribes in Romesh Thapper(ed.), Tribe, Caste and Religion in India ( Meerut : Macmillan ). Burdwan District Committee (CPI-M). 1985. Political-Organizational Report ( Burdwan : 14 th Conference ). Danda, A.K. and D.G. Danda. 1971. Development and Change in Basudha (Hyderabad: National Institute of Community Development). Debnath, Debasis. 1992. Role of Tribes in Modern Panchayat System, Bulletin of the Cultural Research Institute ( Vol. XVIII : No. 2 ). Desai, A.R. 1977. Tribes in Transition in R. Thapper (Ed.) Tribe, Caste and Religion (Meerut: Macmillan). Dhanagre, D.N. 1988. Action Groups and Social Transformation in India, Lokayan Bulletin (Vol. 6: No. 5). Doshi, S.L. 1972. Tribals: An Assimilationist Society and National Integration in K.S. Singh (ed.), Tribal Situation in India (Simla: Institute of Advanced Study). Elwin, V. 1963. The Tribal World of Verrier Elwin (New Delhi: OUP). Fernandes, W. 1989. The Forest Policy and the Forest Conservation (Amendment) Act, 1989, Lokayan Bulletin (Vol. 7: No. 1). Field Survey . Government of India. 1963. Report of the Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes 1962-63 . Haial, Kancha. 1990. SCs and STs: Systemic Exploitation, Economic and Political Weekly (December 22, 1990). Haimendorf, Christoph von Furer. 1994. Tribes of India: The Struggle for Survival (Delhi: OUP). Inamdar, N.R. 1970. Functioning of Village Panchayats (Bombay: Popular Prakashan). Kashyap, Anand. 1998. Parameters of Tribal Development: Some Key Conceptual Issues in V. Joshi (ed.), Tribal Situation in India (New Delhi: Rawat Publications). Kothari, S. 1993. Challenging Economic Hegemony. Paper read at the Conference on Sustainable Development with Equity in the 1990s, University of Wisconsin. Linton, Ralph. 1936. The Study of Man (New York: Appleton Century Company). Madan, T.N. 1977. Indian Society: The Rural Context in S.C. Dube (Ed.) India since Independence (New Delhi: Vikas). Mellor, J.W. 1976. The New Economics of Growth (London: Cornell University Press). Pathy, Jaganath. 1998. Impact of Development Projects on Tribals Relationship in V. Joshi (ed.), Tribal Situation in India (New Delhi: Rawat Publications). Pattanayak, D.P. and R.C. Heredia. 1994. Tribal Education Development, EPW (Vol. 30: No. 16). Planning Commission. 1990. An Approach to Eighth Five Year Plan (New Delhi: Government of India).


Tribal Development and Panchayati Raj

Prabhu, Pradeep. 1998. Tribal Movements: Resistance to Resurgence, Journal of Social Work (Vol.59: No.1). Rajiblochan, Meeta. 1994. Gram Vikas in Relogon Shindi, EPW (Vol. 29: No. 47). Rao, B. Janardhan. 1998. Adivasis in India: Characterization of Transition and Development in T.V. Sathyamurthy (ed.), Region, Religion, Caste, Gender and Culture in Contemporary India , Vol.3 (New Delhi: OUP). Rao, B.J. 1998. Adivasi in India in T.V. Sathyamurthy (Ed.) Region, Religion, Caste, Gender and Culture in Contemporary India , Vol. III (New Delhi: Oxford University Press). Rao, G. Rama. 1990. Growth and Disparity in School Enrolment of Scheduled Tribes in Selected States in Ashish Bose, U.P. Sinha and R.P. Tyagi (eds.), Demography of Tribal Development (New Delhi: B.R. Publishing Corporation). Rao, M.S.A. ed. 1979. Social Movements in India (New Delhi: Manohar Publications). Ray, U.K., A.K. Das and M.K. Chowdhuri. 1982. Impediments to Tribal Development, Bulletin of the Cultural Research Institute (Special Series No. 27). Roy Burman, B.K. 1979. Challenges and Responses in Tribal India in Rao, M.S.A. (ed.), Social Movements in India (New Delhi: Manohar Publications). Roy Burman, B.K. 1989. Society, Ecology and Land Reform in India, Indian Journal of Public Administration ( Vol. XXXV : No. 1, Jan.- March ). Sachchidananda. 1968. The Tribal Village in Bihar (New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal). Sen Gupta, Bhabani. 1978. Democracy Goes to Bengal Villages and the Rural Balance of Power Shifts to Weak and Poor in Perspective (Calcutta: Ityadi Prakasani). Sengupta, N. 1982. Jharkhand: Fourth World Dynamics , Delhi. Sharma, B.D. 1977. Administration for Tribal Development, Indian Journal of Public Administration ( Vol. 23 : July-Sept. ). Sinha, A. 1976. Bihar: Protection on Paper, EPW (Vol. 11: No. 15: April 10). Swartz, M.J. 1968. Introduction and Process in Administrative and Political Action in M.J. Swartz (ed.), Local-level Politics (Chicago: Aldine Publishing Co.). Vidyarthi, L.P. 1972. Report of the Task Force on Development of Tribal Areas (New Delhi: Government of India). Willhoites, Fred H. 1963. Political Order and Consensus: A Continuing Problem, The Western Political Quarterly (Vol. XXVI: June).

Brief Communication

Pokhran Potters of Shilpagram

Pritish Chaudhuri* About Shilpagram
The state of Rajasthan is broadly divided into two ecological zones Mewar and Marwar. Mewar is the green part and Marwar is the desert region. The city of Udaipur comes under the Mewar region consisting of vibrant festivals and multi coloured traditions, customs and festivals throughout the year. Situated on an altitude of 598 m above sea level, 24 58 N, 73 68 E This place is an ideal centre of crafts and performing arts. In view of this, the fair is known as Shilpagram Utsav which was set up at Shilpagram by the Government of Rajasthan with an idea to encourage the cottage industry of the state. Rajasthan being a kaleidoscopic heritage site which attracts tourists even from foreign countries but due to land terrain character it is not highly fertile for high yielding agricultural product. The word Shilpagram literally means the village of craftsmen. It is located 3 km west from Udaipur near Hawala village. Shilpagram consists of 26 huts and those are spread over an area of total 70 acres (130 bighas) of undulating terrains. The entire area is beautiful and surrounded by the Aravalli hills. Shilpagram is an ideal example of ethnographic museum showing enormous varieties and diversities of crafts, arts and culture of various states of India and it highlights the lifestyle and folk-traditions of the tribal people of the western zone. One of the attractive features is that the huts and stalls of the member states are built in their traditional architectural pattern. The huts are linked with one another. Such a concept reveals the rich tradition of the state as well as hints to the mode of unity of diversity and national integrity prevailing in this study area. Government of Rajasthan intends to uplift the traditional art and culture of Shilpagram at world level. Through this festival, the local and rural artists get the chance to display their art in front of the national as well as international visitors. Winter season is the best time to visit Udaipur. Ten day long festival is organised during the month of December. During this period maximum number of tourists visit Shilpagram. Shilpagram is an attractive destination for entertainment, education and exploration. This rural arts and crafts campus provides a common platform to both rural and urban artists to perform their best and interact with each other. It offers an oppor*Junior Research Fellow, Anthropological Survey of India, Western Regional Centre, Pratapnagar, Udaipur.


Pokhran Potters of Shilpagram

tunity to the rural and the urban artists to share their experiences and exchange their ideas and technologies. This enrich their skill in arts and crafts. Shilpagram has paved the way to promote contemporary urban potters, designers, visual artists, to work and produce their traditional art everyday and then put there for exhibition and sell it to the visitors. If anybody is interested to learn the art and craft of Rajasthan, he/she can join the workshops that are meant for the demonstration of methods. Here one can understand the lifestyle of the weavers and local artists at a glimpse over the portrayed pictures displayed in the stalls. This is actually done to make people aware about the present condition and status of the artists. A visit to this place would give one a view of the rural arts and crafts. Shilpadarshan is a program organised by the Shilpagram authority in order to ascertain the skill of traditionally performing artists and craftsmen in an open platform. Another main motive of this fair is to generate awareness and knowledge of rural lifestyle, tradition and culture among the younger generation. Special emphasis is given on workshops for children to teach them art, craft, theatre and music. In Shilpagram, there are five huts from Rajasthan in integrated pattern which represents weavers community from Marwar zone. There are two huts named after the two sand bound villages of Rama and Sam from the desert. From a village named Dhol, 70 km west of Udaipur, there is a potters hut. There are two more huts of tribal communities of southern Rajasthan. The tribal communities are the Bhil and the Sahariya. Thus each member state of the western zone has huts describing certain occupations of the people of the area. It is interesting to highlight how Indian people have fashioned and reshaped this basic element to suit their environment and needs. Similarly, two member states of the west zone feature weaving, again as an affirmation of how the ecological setup and needs of the people have led to achieving such a variety of occupation. The varieties are heritage and culture. A visit to rural arts and crafts complex becomes an educative and enriching experience. The hut from Sam is planned for the organizational workshops and seminars. The cluster of Banni and Bhujodi huts from Gujarat would have been built for the guests such as master craftsmen, research scholars, etc. So we can say that this place of knowledge and education has become an important landmark in Udaipur, and Government of India has decided to replicate them in all the states of India.

Pokhran potters at Shilpagram

Making of objects with clay is an ageold tradition of India. In the early stages of civilization, men first made the object for storage. Earthenware always played a vital role in every civilization at different periods. Till now this ageold tradition is in practice all over India. Different regions have their own distinct features depending upon the climate, soil type etc. People made pottery for both household and ritual purposes according to their use and utility. With the passage of time its typology, technique, art forms purposes get changes. But still in rural India earthenware, are used for the domestic purposes. Now-a-days, stress is being given on its marketing.

Pritish Chaudhuri


With this view in mind, the Government and various non government organizations are organizing fairs, seminars and workshops for promotion of their products. This was the initiative taken by the Rajasthan Government to settle the potters in Shilpagram so that they can show their traditional skill and sell their products. Apart from pottery, various terracotta articles also attract both domestic and foreign tourists. Rajasthan is a land of wide varieties of pottery and terracotta art found at different regions. For example, paper thin pottery of Alwar, blue pottery of Jaipur, brightly coloured terracotta plaques of Molela, etc. are famous. While watching the wide variety of traditional handicrafts at Shilpagram, I met with Mishrilal (30 years) and his younger brother Bhojraj (17 years) at their stall busy in bargaining with the customers. During conversation he gladly introduced himself and showed me his masterpieces. He took me inside his small workshop and requested me to sit. After some conversation I came to know that he was staying at Shilpagram for the last eight years. In the first hand interview he informed me about his daily activities, lifestyle and economic condition. Mishrilal and Bhojraj demonstrated me the way of manufacturing their products. This demonstration also provided some practical idea about their techniques and art patterns. The word kumar or kumhar are used for the potters. A potter belongs to many varieties of castes in India. This is a pan Indian community which is spread all over India. But the potters of Pokhran call themselves as Prajapat, the son of Lord Bramha. The concept is that Lord Bramha has created this earth with mud. Hence, they also create objects and work with mud. Mishrilal is the trained son of his father Lunaramji Prajapat who is also famous as an expert terracotta sculptor and potter. His father has visited various workshops all over India. He is the actual resident of Pokhran in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan. Their families are associated with the same profession generation after generation. Mishrilal is provided with a type of permanent house at Shilpagram by the Shilpagram authority. There, they are allowed to make their articles and demonstrate the working procedure whenever asked by the visitors. In return the Shilpagram authority charges Rs. 300.00 per month from such learners. I have come to know that his income is irregular throughout the year and accordingly he his maintaining is family. During winter season, as already been mentioned in the introductory part of Shilpagram that a good number of customers visit the shop. That time he had good number of customers. In the peak season, hardly he is getting any time to relax because, the demand of products is more. So, in order to maintain the balance in between demand and supply he pays his labour as much as he can. Profit is also not bad, but, doesnot meet their expectation. In the tourist season or in festive occasions the income is around Rs. 10000.00 to Rs. 15000.00 per month. But, during the ten days Shilpagram fair, the authority charges Rs. 2000.00 only for ten days as rent, while previously they used to charge Rs. 500.00 only. In off season, it is seen a different picture. The rest of the year is almost devoid of tourists because of the harsh summer and scorching heat. During the interview


Pokhran Potters of Shilpagram

with Mishrilal, he moreover told me that he earns Rs.4000.00 or more per month by selling his products during the lean period of the year. One more interesting feature is that, the activities and workout of Mishrilal is not confined within Shilpagram. Each year, he participates in various other trade fairs all over India. But basically he visits four selective places, eg., Delhi, Gandhinagar (Gujarat), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Raipur (Chattishgarh) to demonstrate the easy way of making arts and crafts to the interested learners and simultaneously selling own products in the fair as taken from Shilpagram.

Pokhran potteries are distinctive in nature and consist of stylish forms with inside decorative patterns. It reflects the traditional form. There are some pottery types such as, the lotas with long spouts that are meant for pouring oil. The spherical bottles with narrow mouth are used as oil container. Round spherical bottles with narrow mouth, which can be closed by pottery plugs and can be hanged around the shoulder by the camel riders are used while they travel through the long desert. Apart from these main items, the potters of Shilpagram generally prefer to make small clay articles which are meant for decorative purpose. These include magic lamps, terracotta bell with chain, lantern, terracotta figurines of various gods and goddesses, animals and other toys, small size plaques, etc. All these articles are either painted black or red. The black colour is generally in the oil paint which is easily available in the market, but the red paint is prepared by them though not abundent. This is locally known as Geru. Apart from these decorative articles, they also make some household earthenwares which are used for both decorative and domestic purposes. Such items include bowl with lid for keeping curd and cooling jug.

Saraswati, Baidyanath and N. K. Behura 1966- Pottery Techniques in Peasant India. Anthropological Survey of India, Govt. of India, Calcutta 13. Saraswati, Baidyanath. Ed. 1978- Pottery Making Cultures and Indian Civilization. Shakti Malik Abhinav Publications, New Delhi- 110016. Ranjan, Aditi and M P Ranjan - nd - Crafts of India, Handmade in India. National Institute of Design. Ahmedabad, Published by Council of Handicraft Development Corporations, (COHANDS), New Delhi.

Brief Communication

International Border Situation in North East India and the Distant Communities
Bibhash Dhar* Ganesh Ch.Ojah*
The North East region of India is having international borders on all the four directions. It is connected to the Indian mainland through a narrow corridor known as the Siliguri Neck. Under the XIth Plan project, the Border Area Studies taken up by the Anthropological Survey of India, three officials were deployed from the North East Regional Centre of the Survey, located at Shillong. Till March 2011 the deployed team under the said project covered four international borders, namely, the IndoBhutan border in the Baksa district in Assam, Indo-Bangladesh border near Dawki in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, Indo-Bangladesh border in the Dhubri district of Assam and the Sino-Indian border in the Zemithang Administrative Cirle, Tawang district, Arunachal Pradesh. Only border left to be covered is the Indo-Myanmar border in Mizoram which will be covered in May-June 2011. During the Executive Committee meeting held at the Western Regional Centre of the Survey at Udaipur in April 2011, it was decided that the same research team would cover the Sino-Indian border in the North district of Sikkim. The findings are different in each studied situation. It is obvious as because the situations on the borders can never be uniform as each situation would speak a different story and the human problems and situations also differ. Following are the excerpts from the different border situations:

Out of the four borders studied, first of all, the discussion is taken up on the Indo-Bhutan border at Samdrupjongkar in the Baksa district of Assam. It is an open border, and one can enter through the decorative gate at Samdrupjongkar in Bhutan from 7 a.m. and should come out from Bhutan before 4 p.m. A formal entry is made in a register and a person is free to enter, but, the entry is allowed only upto the market at Samdrupjongkar. On the Indian side there is, however, no formal gate and no register is maintained where the identity of Bhutanese citizens are registered. For the purpose of the present study, the border villages of Darranga Mela Bazar, Nanke Darranga and Sashipur are considered. It has been found that there is no no mans land in between the two nations and especially between Samdrupjongkar and Darranga Mela Bazar or
*Anthropological Survey of India. N.E.Regional Centre. Shillong


International Border Situation in North East India & the Distant Communities

between Bhutan and Nanke Darranga and Sashipur. Further there is a high wall along the border constructed by the Government of Bhutan for their own security as the forest coverage in the study area was found to be a safe corridor for the ULFA that are active in Assam and the neighbouring states in the North East India. Surprisingly, the wall is hardly of a length of two hundred metres and such a short wall might not be serving the purpose as the rest of the area is left quite open. It has been observed that in a certain uninhabited land between Bhutan and India which is supposed to be no mans land between Daranga Mela Bazaar and Samdrupjongkar, a large contingent of families of doubtful citizenship who were driven away from the Merapani area of Nagaland-Assam border, have been settled here by the authority. Indian citizens that have made this international open border their home have been found to be dependent on Bhutan for their economic survival. There are many who work at Samdrupjongkar in different capacities. There are teachers, security personnels, shop assistants and a large contingent _of labour force. They earn their livelihood from Bhutan and leave their respective houses in India for their respective workplaces in Bhutan in the morning and come back on foot to India through the gate at Samdrupjongkar before 4 p.m.


To take a stock of the situation of the lndo-Bangla, border in Meghalaya, the village Pyrdiwah in the East Khasi Hills district and Muktapur, the border village under the Jaintia Hills district of the state of Meghalaya were selected by the research team on considering the fact that the villages are bordered with Bangladesh and have people from different communities. This is a criterion for the Border Area Studies. Importantly, a few years back there was a confrontation between the two countries due to disputed boundary in Pyrdiwah. Muktapur has no barbed wire fencing and the families on the border are of easy prey to the miscreants from the other side of the border. It was found that the village, Pyrdiwah is populated by the Jaintia, quite a few families belonging to the ex-tea garden labourers, originally from the Chotanagpur plateau and a few Bengalee Hindu families. The village does not have the barbed wire fencing over the actual Line of Control (LOC) as the LOC is perhaps yet to be determined. One may be even afraid that if the barbed wire fencing comes into reality, then almost the whole of Pyrdiwah may go out of the hands. May be due to this confusion quite a big unit of the Border Security Force (BSF) is stationed in the village. Further, the families of the ex-tea-garden workers that are found today in the village are all migrants from the tea gardens of Bangladesh. Some Hindu families also are immigrants. These families are found in the village but are passing the days in uncertainity as they are under constant threat from the local inhabitants to leave the village and go elsewhere. It may be mentioned here that the ex-tea-garden people do not have any place to go as according to them, even if they go back to Jharkhand or Bihar there would be nobody to recognize them or allot them land. Moreover, they

Bibhash Dhar, Ganesh Ch.Ojah


have no other way of survival other than agriculture and as such they really need substantial volume of agricultural land while they are so poor that they are not in a position to buy even inch of land from their savings. Today, most of the Hindu and the ex-tea-garden family members earn their livelihood as daily wage earners in the areca nut plantations owned by the Jaintias of Pyrdiwah. It would be interesting to note that even today the people of Pyrdiwah and those of Bangladesh have marital relations across the border, though less in number. The village, Muktapur is situated some 45 kilometres east of Pyrdiwah. The hamlet where the non-tribals huts are left to the mercy of the almighty for their survival. There is neither fencing, nor any border guard deployed there. The land is plain and opened to Bangladesh with some water bodies here and there. It has been told that the people have incurred loss of good number of their cattle stolen during the nights and robberies also often take place. People earn their livelihood as daily wage earners in the areca-nut and other plantations owned by the Jaintias. Situations have even forced some of their women to be sex workers as they could not find any other means of earning bread. INDO-BANGLADESH BORDER (ASSAM) Indo-Bangladesh borders in Assam though officially closed are considered to be one of the porous international borders that India shares with any neighbouring country. To undertake the study, the research team thought to work in one of the vulnerable borders that Assam shares with Bangladesh. With this idea in mind one of the borders in the district of Dhubri was selected after holding meetings with the local administrative machinery in the district headquarter town also known as Dhubri. The selected border with Bangladesh is the Ramraikuthi border, located 42 kilometres from the district headquarter town of Dhubri. Just about half a kilometer within the barbed wire fencing on the Indian side is one of the famous moncisteries (Satra) founded by Srimanta Sankardev, the legendary reformist of Assam of the yesteryears. This known as the Satrasal Satra. Population is cosmopolitan, consisting of Bengali Hindus, Assamese Hindus and Bengali speaking Muslims. The hutments of the Bengalispeaking Muslims are located quite near the barbed wire fencing whereas of the Assamese and Bengali Hindus are around the Satra. The legend is that Srimanta Sankardev visited the present Satrasal area which was quite a marshy land in the past and found the plot of land nearby the OuTenga (elephant apple) tree to be one of the most suitable site for setting up the Satra. Further, it is learnt that the Maharaja of Cooch Behar, King Naranarayan donated the land long back, in the early part of the 16th century, to be used for the construction of a Satra. The donation was made in a copper plate. One of the important observations in this border is that the barbed wire fencing has been properly maintained by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel and they claim that in that particular stretch of about sixty kilometers, there are no reports of any untoward incidents. A black topped road, locally


International Border Situation in North East India & the Distant Communities

known as the BSF road passes by the barbed wire fencing that is used for BSF patrolling. None is allowed to use the road after sunset and the BSF are very strict on this point. Another interesting observation is that there are three black steel gates at certain intervals on the long stretch of barbed wire fencing. These gates are opened on fixed timings to help those Indian peasants who claim to have cultivable plots in between the zero line and the barbed wire fencing. As per norms, the barbed wire fence, are constructed some 150 yards away from the zero line on both sides. These peasants are thus allowed to take out their agricultural implements near the zero line by entering through the gates manned by the BSF but, if any mishap takes place near the zero line, the BSF would not be able to rescue the victims as they have not entered through the gates at their own risk. Those peasants who enter through the gates are supposed to come back latest by 4 p.m. After that the gates would be locked by the BSF and there would be no chance for those who are trapped inside to come out. Another important information that could be collected from the study area is that just on the other side of the border (in Bangladesh) there is an informal school that teaches Assamese language. It is felt that such an attempt is made with some intention and the idea behind is only to camouflage the identity of the infiltrators inside Assam.


For studying the Sino-Indian border; the research team thought of selecting the Zemithang Administrative Circle of the Tawang district in the bordering highlands in Arunachal Pradesh are uni-ethnic. Zemithang area was selected for the study because it borders Bhutan to its west and China to its north. Hence, it was thought that both the border situations could perhaps be assessed in this tri-junction amidst the snowy mountains. With this idea in mind, the team selected the village Lumpo, last Indian village towards either China of Bhutan for the proposed study. The village Lumpo is about 7000 feet above the mean sea level and overlooks the river Nyamjangchu the turbulent river that flows from China and washes the Zemithang Circle before entering into Bhutan. The study village, Lumpo is populated by 40 families of Pangchenpa tribesmen. The Pangchenpa since time immemorial were known in the eastern Himalayas as caravan traders of indigenous items and also expert in moving through the mountain passes. They are periodical mountain agriculturists. But, the Pangchenpa never showed any interest in the mountain agriculture as the country they occupy do not support agriculture due to rocky and unfertile soil condition. But the rich vegetation of grass in the summer made them switch over the transhumant activities and somehow they were not interested in indigenous trades through the mountain passes. Today, the situation is such that the people are not able to carry out their transhumant activities as they used to do earlier primarily because many of the mountain grasslands in the serene frontiers are under the occupation of

Bibhash Dhar, Ganesh Ch.Ojah


uniformed personnel of a different country. Nevertheless, the mountain pastures towards Bhutan border is relatively safe. So, people at present generally venture towards the Bhutan bordr. As the pastures were allocated to different families since the traditional days, every herder therefore have access in the grasslands towards the Bhutan border. Landscape near the Bhutan border is such that there are no mountain passes that could facilitate human movements due to the presence of deep gorges. The Bhutanese traders thus visit the Zemithang area through Dudunkhar post near Lurnla, west of Zemithang. Secondly, the Pangchenpas are now required to obtain pasture passes on payment from the administration that are to be duly endorsed by the army officials as it is essential to identify a Pangchen pastoralist. But, the people expressed displeasure over it and have largely lost interest in their traditional economy of transhumance. As a result, there is a distinct fall in the production of milk and milk products, an item for which the Pangchenpa were known in the mountains for a long time. Till the recent past it was a common scene to see the Bhutanese traders from Bhutan to visit the Pangchen villages with horse, loads of millet to be exchanged with the Pangchen butter and Churpi, a cheese-like substance. But today, these people seldom visit the Pangchen villagers as the supply of milk products have gone down substantially. As a result, the people procure their food requirement from the markets, Zemithang proper which is only 17 kilometers down from Lumpo. The people of Lumpo have also diversified their economy due to the fall in their traditional transhumant activities and are now road labourers under Broder Roads Organization (BRO) and army porters. Surprisingly, it has been found that at present more than 40 per cent of the population of Lumpo are in the age-group of 1-10 years. It shows that the mortality rate is quite high. There is no health care facilities in Lumpo or for that matter in the whole of the Circle of Zemithang. Similarly, the scenario of education is also grim. Interestingly, many teen-age boys and girls in Lumpo have been found to be undergoing Buddhist studies in Mysore. On enquiry it has been found that the study is free of cost and the boys and girls have been assured by some people of doubtful identity that once they complete the studies, they would be attached to different Tibetan-Lamaist Buddhist monasteries in Taiwan and United States. Hence, some people of doubtful identity are playing false with the innocence of the teens of Lumpo and it perhaps would not be any exaggeration if so said that these may be practised for the purpose of serving the vested interested out of cheating the innocent teen agers. Incidentally till date no such boy or girl has been attached to any Buddhist monastery outside India. Still the teens are showing interest in such studies with the hope to go out of the country.

From the above paragraphs that briefly described the human situations on the four different international borders of the North East India that have been studied till date, it has been found that all the communities are distantly located and are faced with problems which are again of different types. The problems can be in the forms of mental tension and even physical harassment caused by random infiltration and occasional incidents of cattle thefts which affected the border


International Border Situation in North East India & the Distant Communities

communities economically to a large extent. These were caused by the miscreants from the other side of the international borderr,especially in Meghalaya-Bangladesh border in the Jaintia Hills and Khasi Hills districts in the study villages of Pyrdiwah and Muktapur. Villagers of Pyrdiwah are suffering from mental agony as because the village with its cluster of houses is quite beyond the border pillar No. 1271 that demarcates the international border of the two Republics. Hence, the mental tension and a feeling of uncertainity is prevailing there all along. During the study, a situation has been found especially in the Indo-Bhutan and to some extent in the lndo-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya and that is the absence of no mans land. Examples can be cited from the study villages namely, Nanke Daranga, Darranga Mela Bazar and Sashipur in case of IndoBhutan border and Muktapur and Pyrdiwah in case of lndo-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya. People have constructed their dwelling houses right on the international border without spearing space from no-mans land. Further, a total number of 57 Indian villagers from the study villages of Sashipur and Nanke Darranga on the Indo-Bhutan border have been found to be economically dependent on Bhutan to earn their livelihood. They have been found to be working in different capacities in the establishments of the Government of Bhutan and also in the private enterprises as hotel managers, vehicle mechanics, labourers in the commercial complex at Samdrupjongkar in Bhutan. Even there is one person who is serving in the Bhutan army in the study village of Nanke Darranga. It is thus found that these Indian citizens are maintaining relation in between the two countries in their process of earning livelihood. Thus, this group of people belonging to the different communities such as the Assamese, Bengalee, Nepali, Bihari, ex-tea-garden labour community and the Bodo are performing the functions of a bridge community in this border of India and Bhutan. Third situation is that of the India-Bangladesh international border in the state of Assam as seen in the study village Ramraikuthi in the district of Dhubri (Assam) somewhat varied. It has been found here that, though primarily it is the habitat of two religious groups, still, till date there are no records of any religious or ethnic clash in the area. People of the study villages are of the opinion that mere presence of the Satrasal Satra, the monastery of Srimanta Sankaradev is playing a pivotal role in bridging the gap, if any, in between the two religious groups. Most of the people of the study village are agriculturists. The international border between India and Bangladesh is well fenced but it is only for 40 kilometres. But beyond these 40 kilometres towards North Bengal, the border is not fenced and it is alleged that there are mafia dons who are active in pushing the herds of cattle that reach the area from different parts of northern India. Another situation observed in the study area is that people who have cultivable land inside the barbed wire fence but on the Indian side of the zero line, that may as well be termed as no mans land, are allowed by the Border

Bibhash Dhar, Ganesh Ch.Ojah


Security Force (BSF) personnel to till their land and work there from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The problem is that, suppose a crisis takes place on these people after entering through the gate into no mans land then there is none from India to help and rescue them. It has been even reported that the Indian farmers often incur loss as their crops are often cut, aken away or destroyed by the miscreants who have access from the other side. Importantly, it is even alleged that there is a formal school at Boholpur, opposite the study village, where Assamese is taught to the people so that those illegal immigrants would be able to keep themselves under camouflage and perhaps be safe from the eyes of the Indian authorities. Situation on the Sino-Indian border in Zemithang is again of a different type. Here the international border is an imaginary line and known as the McMohan Line. The border is far away even from the last village of India where the study was undertaken. The Pangchenpa, the tribesmen group who have made the area as their habitat are primarily transhumant in their economy. Today, they have been forced to bring a change in their economy as many of their mountain pastures where they used to rear their stock of flocks and herds of yaks are under the occupation of uniformed personnel of an alien nation. As a result, the people have started to avoid those mountain pastures as they do not feel secure in those serene physical surroundings as they feel that the aliens are keeping an evil eye on them. The pastures towards the Bhutan border are relatively safe but the people have given up exploring those pastures as all the herders should not form crowd on these pastures that are traditionally allotted to certain families for their herding. It may be mentioned that their forefathers since the remote past were allotted the pastures in the name of different families and now due to some political developments the people have started to avoid a large number of pastures which are under threat and thus are facing crisis so far pastures are concerned. Introduction of pasture pass is also a point of displeasure for the Pangchenpa. All these contributed to the sudden fall in the production of milk products in the Pangchen habitat. Till recent past they were known in this part of the Himalayas as producers of best milk and milk products are now forced to be casual agriculturists and road labourers. There is a cry in the Pangchen habitat for health care and educatioal infrastructure. People suffer a lot due to the absence of both essential and basic institutions that are a must for development and survival. People located in the distant borders in the North East have categorically expressed their displeasure that in this age of globalization the distant communities are yet not able to communicate to people elsewhere in the country through their cell phones in spite of so many mobile towers seen here and there.

Brief Communication

A Short Note on HybridizationInter-Ethnic Matings among the Tai Khamti of Arunachal Pradesh
Saumitra Barua*1 Mithun Sikdar*2
The Khamti (sometimes written as the Khampti) or the Tai Khampti belong to the greater Tai race or ethnic groups. They are distributed mainly in the Lohitdistrict of Arunachal Pradesh and their adjoining districts and areas. The Tai groups belong to a branch of Mongoloid population of Asia distributed mainly in the Shan State of Burma, Thailand, Laos and the Yunan State of the People Republic of China. The Tai Khamti or the Khampti entered North East India in the 18th century A.D. when Alomphra (AlaungphayaBurmese or Myanmarese pronounciation), the king of the then Burma caused the final dismemberment of the Shan Empire of the Pong area of the present day Myanmar or Burma (Gogoi 1971). The other Tai groups or populations who entered India in the 18 th century A.D. for the same reason stated above are the Tai Phakial and the Tai Khamiyang. The Tai Khamti resembles the other two Tai populations, viz, Tai Phakial and the Tai Khamiyang in the socio-cultural as well as the religion point of view. The Tai Khamiyang and Tai Phakial are considered to be the sister populations of the Khamti. The Ahom or the Tai Ahom who are widely distributed in North East India particularly in the state of Assam also belong to the greater Tai race. The Khamti differ from the Ahom socio-culturally and from the point of view of their religion. The Ahom entered the North East India as invaders, majority of whom were the males, around 1228 A.D. just about the time when Kublai Khan was establishing his power in China ( Gogoi 1971). The Khamti of North East India is divided into two partially endogamous subgroups : the Khamti of Assam known as the Assam Khamti and the Khamti of Arunachal Pradesh known as the Arunachal Pradesh Khamti. The Assam Khamti is a small transplanted population numbering around 450 individuals inhabiting the Narayanpur and the Bihpuria area of Lakhimpur district of Assam. They were fragmented from the parental population, i.e., the Khamti of Arunachal Pradesh, in 1843 A.D. when they in a group of 500 individuals were deported to their present habitat by the British ruler. Since then they remained maritally isolated from the parental population and formed a small subpopulation of the greater
*1 Project Scientist, Anthropological Survey of India, Shillong *2 Asstt. Anthropologist (Physical), Anthropological Survey of India, Western Regional Centre, Udaipur.

Saumitra Barua, Mithun Sikdar


Khamti population. In recent years, i.e., within two or three decades, there had been some exchange of mates between the Assam Khamti and Arunachal Pradesh Khamti (Barua, 1993). The present report is on the inter-ethnic matings or hybridization among the Tai Khamti of Arunachal Pradesh.

Material and Method

The present study is based on 118 unrelated Khamti individuals of Arunachal Pradesh of which 13 individuals were married and rest were unmarried from whom blood sample had been collected for the study of DNA polymorphism The studied individuals belonged to 14 years of age and above, of which 25 individuals were females and rest males. The ethnicity and the geographical locations of birth places of both the parents, i.e., father and mother of the individuals whose blood had been collected were noted carefully and thoroughly. Besides, the ethnicity and the birth places of 13 married individuals and their spouses were also noted down. Thus the study is based on 131 couples, i.e., (118+13) couples or mating pairs. The data had been collected from the Primary Health Centre, Community Health Centre, Covernment and Private Higher Secondary residential and non residential schools and some NGO units situated within and around Chowkham and Namsai administrative centre, Lohit district, Arunachal Pradesh.

Results and Discussion

Of the total number of 118 unrelated Khamti individuals from whom 5 ml. of blood had been collected for a study in DNA polymorphisms, it was found that 9 individuals have one of the parents particularly the mothers belonging to the non Khamti populations or groups. Thus, 7.63 percent are found to be the product of inter group matings. Of the 9 individuals, 6 individuals have mothers who actually belong to the non Tai groups and the remaining 3 individuals have mothers who actually belong to the greater Tai ethnicity. Thus 5.08 percent of the studied individuals are hybrids in true sense of term (Table 1). Besides these parents, of the 118 tested individuals, the ethnicity and the geographical locations of the spouses of the studied married individualsthe wives and the husbands, i.e., the Khamti husbands are considered in this paper. Thus the total number of couples and the mating pairs which include both the parents of the studied individuals are found to be 131. Of the total 131 couples or mating pairs, 10 union or pairs are actually inter group or inter tribal union giving the rate as 7.63 percent. Of the 10 inter group union, 3 union or mating pairs -are actually the union or mating with the different Tai groups, i.e., 2 cases are the union with the Tai Khamiyang and one case is with the Tai Phakial. Not even a single case of union with the Tai Ahom has been reported in the present study. Thus giving the rate of true inter-ethnic union or matings to be 5.34 percent (Table 2). Of the 7 cases of true inter-ethnic union, one case of union in each is found to be with the Singpho, Minyong Adi, Miju Mishmi, Idu Mishmi and the Digaru Mishmi of Arunachal Pradesh and 2 cases of union are found to be with the Limbu and Tamang Nepali. Since the Khamti is a patriarchal, partrilocal and patrilineal community, the admixed union are with the 11


A Short Note on Hybridization, Inter-Ethnic Matings among the Tai Khamti of Arunachal Pradesh.

females belonging to the outside groups, i.e., non Khamti. Hence, mitochondrial DNA polymorphic traits likely to enter the Tai Khamti gene pool from the outside or non Khamti populations. But in true sense of the term if we consider all the Tai groups as a single ethnic entity then the exact inflow of non Tai mitochondrial DNA traits will be able to be shown. Barua (1993) reported that the Khamti of North East India are broadly divided into two partially endogamous subgroups based on geographical locations, viz. the Assam Khamti and the Arunachal Pradesh Khamti (introduction). The union (the mating or marriage) between two Khamti individuals where one of the partner belonged to the Khamti of different geographical location or group, i.e., Assam Khamti has been shown in Table 3. The table suggests that 6.87 per cent of the matings or the marriages are with the Assam Khamti and 85.50 per cent of the matings or the marriages are within themselves, i.e., within Arunachal Pradesh Khamti. The present study therefore agrees with the study undertaken by Barna (1993) among the Assam Khamti, that is, there is some exchange of mates between the two subgroups of the Khamti. Table 1. Hybrid individuals among the total Khamti individuals being studied. Total no of individuals studied No. of individuals whose one of their parents belong to different ethnic group, i.e., belong to the non Tai group* 6 (5.08) No. of individuals whose one of their parents are Non Khamti but belong to the greater Tai group


3 (2.54)

Figure in the parenthesis are percentages. * include one individual whose one of the parent actually belonged to the Singpho tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. The Singpho are the offshoot of the Kachin of Myanmar, thus the Singpho belong to the Kachin - Lolo group.

Table 2. Interethnic union/mating among the Tai Khamti Total number of couples/ pairs which include both the parents of the studied individuals One of the partner of the couple or the parents who belong to the nonTai group One of the couple or the parents who belong to the Non Khampti population but belong to the greater Tai group No. 3 % 2.29

No. 131 7

% 5.34

Saumitra Barua, Mithun Sikdar


Table 3. Interethnic union/mating among the Tai Khamti Total number of couples/ pairs which include both the parents of the studied individuals One of the partner of the couple or the parents who belong to the nonTai group One of the couple or the parents who belong to the Non Khamti population but belong to the greater Tai group 9(6.87)


112 (85.50)

Barua, S. 1993 Mating structure of the Khamti of Assam : A small transplanted population. J. Indian Anthrop. Soc. 28:133-138. Gogoi, L-1971 Tai Khamtis, Nabajiban Press, Calcutta.

Research Output in the Form of Publications

All time record outcome of the survey out of publishing 18 new publications and discharging of 24 popular reprints authored by suveys scholars during the year 2010-2011 which are categorically placed hereunder :

Recent Publication Indigenous Knowledge (Popular Series I) Publications during 2010-11

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. NSIP : Central Region ed. by K.Bhattacharya NSIP : Western Region ed. by K.Bhattacharya Women Poverty and Rural development ed. by K.Chakraborty Health situation of S.C. in Bolpur, Sriniketan S.K.Nandy The Baul songs In quest of universal Humanism Mousumi Majumder Janajatio Ebong Gair Janajatio Kissoron Ko Sonbegatamak Samashyon Ko Monobaignyanik Adhyan (Hindi) A P Jha Jharkhand Ki Janajatiome Swadeshi Chikitasa Padhwati (Hindi) Women work and empowerment in rural India K.Chakraborty. Santali: A linguistic study Sakuntala De. B Toppo

10 . A study of ethnic tolerance and cultural interaction case from Sikkim and West Bengal M.Banerjee 11 . Showcasing the heritage: Chittorgarh A tourist spot in cultural milieu Ratna Dhar et al. 12 . Indian Board Game Survey Ed. by R.K.Bhattacharjee et al. 13 . Scio Cultural Aspect of Adi Karnataka Community of Karnataka K. Ravi 14 . Impact of Induced Technological Change on Agrarian Situation in Tribal Villages of Andhra Pradesh K. Ravi 15 . Mortuary Practices of the HOs An Anthropological StudyB.K.Mohanty. 16 . The folk music of Manganiyars: An anthropological appraisal Ratna Dhar et al. 17 . Cry for Mother-Toungelanguage maintenance and shift A.K.Das et al. 18 . Cultural dimension of tourism: A study of Aurangabad, Aganta-Elora tourism region Maharastra S. Paul et al.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. M 13 : PottSery techniques in Peasant India B.N.Saraswati et al. M 14 : Ethnic Groups, Villages and Towns of Pargana Barabhum : A Report of Survey S.Sinha et al. M 16 : The Dhurwa of Bastar K.N.Thusu M 24 : Ethnographic Study of the Kuvi-Khanda S.Banerjee. M 27 : Ollar Gadba of Koraput K.N.Thusu

Research output in the from of publications 6. 7. 8. 9. 10 . 11 . 12 . 13 . 14 . 15 . 16 . 17 . 18 . 19 . 20 . 21 . 22 . 23 . 24 . M 29 : Nomads in the Mysore City P.K.Misra M 31 : The Lalung Society N.K.Shyamchowdhury M 32 : The Chero of Palamau B.Mukherjee M 39 : The Pengo Porajas of Koraput K.N.Thusu M 41 : The Nomadic Gadulia Lohar of Eastern Rejasthan P.K.Misra M 45 : The Soliga of Bilgiri Rangana Hills. S.G.Morab M 51 : Hakkipikki: The Trapper and Seller R.S.Mann M 75 : Beggars of Kalighat, Calcutta S.Choudhuri O 4 O 5 : Chhattisgarh: An area Study A.K.Danda : Tribal Situation in N.E.Surguja A.K.Danda


O 10 : Cultural Profile of Mysore City P.K.Misra O 11 : The Brahmans of Bengal T.C.Roychowdhury et al. O 12 : Nomads in India Ed. P.K.Misra O 14 : Aspects of Society and Culture in Calcutta Ed. M.K.A.Siddique O 32 : Linguistic Studies in Juang, Kharia, Thar, Lodha, Mal-Pahariya, Ghatoali Paharia D.Dasgupta M 59 : The Hill Kharia of Purulia D.Sinha M 71 : Folk Music and Folk Dances of Benaras O.Prasad M 78 : Middle Class Working Women of Calcutta B.Devi O 20 : Marriage in India Ed. B. B.Goswami.

Forthcoming Publications
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Genetics structure, health profile and phylogeny of some tribal groups of southern Karnataka Satish Kumar Dalit movement in Karnataka S.G.Morab The Kokna and the Malhar Koli of the Tharu District: A case study in the larger socio cultural context J.V.Ferreira et al. Endogamous groups in South India and their cultural correlatesS.Patil Health status among the three tribes of Madhya Pradesh: A socio-cultural perspective Nilanjan Khatua Health and Health Care Issues in India Cultural Dimentions and Tourism in Meghalaya Element of Tourism and Contentment in Andaman Bagela of Border Bengal The Cattle-herding Community in search of identity

10 . NSIP : Southern Region

Expected to be considered for publication

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Management of Environment and Natural Resources: Study of Traditional Wisdom ed. by H.K.Mondal, Amitabha Sarkar. Intangible Cultural Heritage: Continuity and Change Amitabha Sarkar and A. V. Arokeri Reprinting of six tribal monographs of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Reprinting of seven POI volumes of North Eastern Region. Achanakmar Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve. Simlipal Biosphere Reserve. Kanchanjangha Biosphere Reserve.

Special exhibit during the period

Manasa Chali

Special exhibit during the period

Nishi Housetype

Special exhibit during the period

Origins of life according to geo-chronology

Special exhibit during the period

DNA Double Helix Structure

Photographs from Archives

15th August 1947, Anthropological Society of India Office at Benaras Celebrating Independence Day

Photographs from Archives

Collection of Human Skeletal remains from Rupkund, Garhwal during 1956

Photographs from Archives

Dhodia woman of Gujarat with traditional attire

Photographs from Archives

Oil Press, Madras