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The Munda people are an ethnic group of India. They speak the Mundari language as their native language, which belongs to the Munda subgroup of Austroasiatic languages. The Munda are found in the northern areas of east India concentrated in the states of Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. Munda also reside in adjacent areas of Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Arunachal Pradesh as well as in portions of Bangladesh. The group is one of India's largest scheduled tribes. Munda people in Tripura are also known as Mura, and in Madhya Pradesh they are often called Mudas.[7]

Munda people
Mundas.jpg
From Edward Tuite Dalton's "Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal," 1872; engravings with modern hand coloring.
Regions with significant populations
 India2,228,661[1]
Jharkhand1,229,221
Odisha584,346
West Bengal366,386
 Bangladesh5,000[2]
Languages
Mundari,[3][4]:99
Religion
[5][6]:327
Related ethnic groups

EtymologyEdit

The name "Munda" is a Sanskrit word means "headman". It is a honorific name given by Hindus and hence became a tribal name.[8]

HistoryEdit

According to linguist Paul Sidwell, Munda languages arrived on the coast of Odisha from Southeast Asia about 4000-3500 years ago and spread after the arrival of the Indo-Aryans in Odisha.[9] The Munda people initially spread from Southeast Asia, but mixed extensively with local Indian populations.[10]

According to R. S. Sharma, a historian of ancient and early medieval India, pre-Aryan tribals who spoke the Munda language occupied the eastern region of ancient India. Many Munda terms occur in Vedic texts believed to have been written between 1500 BCE and 500 BCE. Their presence in texts compiled in the upper Gangetic basin late in that period suggests that Munda speakers were there at the time.[11] According to Barbara A. West, the Mundas claim origin in Uttar Pradesh, and a steady flow eastward in history as other groups moved into their original homeland. They inhabited a much larger territory in ancient India.[12]

In the late 1800s, during the British Raj, the Mundas forced to pay rents and work as bonded labourers. Munda freedom fighter Birsa Munda began the first protest marches calling for non-payment of rents and remission of forest dues. He led guerrilla warfare to uproot British Raj and establish Munda Raj. Millenarianism in the tribal belt started with him, and he is still revered in Jharkhand, with villagers in his home village worshipping him as Birsa Bhagawan.[13]

Culture and traditionEdit

Nomadic hunters in the India tribal belt, they became farmers who were employed in basketwork and weaving. With the listing of the Munda people as Scheduled Tribes, many are employed in various governmental organisations (particularly Indian Railways).[14]

 
Part of John-Baptist Hoffmann's 15-volume Encyclopaedia Mundarica

Clan among Mundas are taken from plants and animals. Some clans are Baa (a fish), Baba (rice), Dungdung/Aind (a fish), Hans (swan), Hemrom (a tree), Hundar (hyena), Kauwa (crow), Kerketta (a bird), Kula(tiger), Nil(bull), Mus (mouse), Pandu (cobra), Runda (wild cat), Surin (a bird), Tidu (a bird), etc.[15]

Munda religion is a blend of Sarnaism and Hinduism. Although the Mundas have preserved much of their culture, they have absorbed a number of Hindu traditions. The supreme deity of Mundas is Singbonga, meaning the Sun god, who according to them, saves them from troubles.[16][citation needed]

The Munda people have elaborate rituals to celebrate birth, death, engagement and marriage. The birth of a boy is celebrated as an earner for the family, and the birth of a girl is celebrated as a family caretaker. Lota-pani is the engagement ceremony. Dali Takka, a monetary gift to paternal guardians, is generally paid before the marriage. Marriage, considered one of the main rituals of life, is a week-long festivity.[citation needed]

Involved in agriculture, the Munda people celebrate the seasonal festivals of Mage Parab, Phagu, Karam (festival), Baha parab, Sarhul and Sohrai. Some seasonal festivals have coincided with religious festivals, but their original meaning remains.[16]

 
Mundari dance

They have many folk songs, dances, tales and traditional musical instruments. Both sexes participate in dances at social events and festivals. The naqareh is a principal musical instrument.[citation needed] Munda refer to their dance and song as durang and Susun respectively. Some folk dances of munda are Jadur, Karam susun and Mage susun.[17]

An ointment of scented oil and turmeric is applied to the face and body after death. Widow marriage is common. The Munda people are patrilineal, patrilocal and patriarchal.[18]

Munda people of Jharkhand also follow the old age tradition of Patthalgari i.e. stone erection in which the tribal community residing in the village buries a large inverted u shaped dressed headstone on the head side of grave or entrance of village in which is inscribed the family tree of the dead persons.[19] There are some other types of patthalgari also:-

  • Horadiri - It is the stone in which family tree is written.
  • Chalpadiri or Saasandiri - It is the stone in remarking boundary of any village and its limits.
  • Magodiri - This is the headstone of social criminal who committed polygamy or unsocial marriage.
  • Ziddiri - This is the stone placed on over burial of placenta and dried naval part of a newborn. [20][21]

Literature and studiesEdit

Jesuit priest John-Baptist Hoffmann (1857–1928) studied the language, customs, religion and life of the Munda people, publishing the first Mundari language grammar in 1903. With the help of Menas Orea, Hoffmann published the 15-volume Encyclopaedia mundarica. The first edition was published posthumously in 1937, and a third edition was published in 1976. The Mundas and Their Country, by S. C. Roy, was published in 1912. Adidharam (Hindi:आदि धर्म) by Ram Dayal Munda and Ratan Singh Manki, in Mundari with a Hindi translation, describes Munda rituals and customs.[22]

Notable MundasEdit

 
Jaipal Singh

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "A-11 Individual Scheduled Tribe Primary Census Abstract Data and its Appendix". www.censusindia.gov.in. Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Mundari Language". Ethnologue. SIL International. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  3. ^ Singh, Geetanjali; Kumar, Jyoti (2014). "Studies on indigenous traditional knowledge of some aquatic and marshy wild edible plants used by the Munda tribe of district Khunti, Jharkhand, India". International Journal of Bioassays. 3 (2). Retrieved 22 October 2017. Munda tribe...ethnically they are proto- Austroloids and speak Mundari language
  4. ^ Osada, Toshiki (19 March 2008). "3. Mundari". In Anderson, Gregory (ed.). The Munda languages. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-32890-6. ...the designation Munda is used for the language family. Mundari, on the other hand, refers to an individual language, namely the language of Munda people.
  5. ^ "ST-14 Scheduled Tribe Population By Religious Community". Census of India. Ministry of Home Affairs, India. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  6. ^ Srivastava, Malini (2007). "The Sacred Complex of Munda Tribe" (PDF). Anthropologist. 9 (4). Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  7. ^ http://tribesindia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=792&Itemid=104&lang=en
  8. ^ "Encyclopaedic Profile of Indian Tribes, Volume 1". books.google.co.in.
  9. ^ Sidwell, Paul. 2018. Austroasiatic Studies: state of the art in 2018. Presentation at the Graduate Institute of Linguistics, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, 22 May 2018.
  10. ^ Schliesinger, Joachim (2016). Origin of the Tai People 3: Genetic and Archaeological Approaches. Booksmango. p. 71. ISBN 9781633239623. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  11. ^ Sharma, R. S. (2005). India's Ancient Past. Oxford University Press. pp. 2, 118–119. ISBN 978-0-19-566714-1.
  12. ^ West, Barbara A. (2010). Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania. Infobase Publishing. p. 564. ISBN 9781438119137. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  13. ^ Pandey, Prashant (18 September 2017). "Jharkhand: Amit Shah launches scheme for villages of freedom fighters". The Indian Express. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  14. ^ "List of Schedule Castes". Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India. 2011. Archived from the original on 23 September 2014.
  15. ^ "आदिवासी गोत्र". vikaspedia. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  16. ^ a b "Mundas, Munda Tribe in Jharkhand India, Occupation of Mundas". www.ecoindia.com. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  17. ^ "Encyclopaedic Profile of Indian Tribes, Volume 1". books.google.co.in.
  18. ^ Bhatt, Shankarlal C. (1 January 2006). Land and People of Indian States and Union Territories: In 36 Volumes. Jharkhand. Gyan Publishing House. ISBN 9788178353685.
  19. ^ http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/20515/11/11_chapter%205.pdf
  20. ^ https://www.antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/mendaly352
  21. ^ https://scroll.in/article/878468/the-constitution-set-in-stone-adivasis-in-jharkhand-are-using-an-old-tradition-as-a-novel-protest
  22. ^ "Mundari: The Language of Munda Tribe".
  23. ^ "Sorry for the inconvenience".
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 April 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "Hindi stalwarts praise tribal poet". in.news.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on 12 November 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2016.

Further readingEdit

  • Parkin, R. (1992). The Munda of central India: an account of their social organisation. Delhi: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-563029-7
  • Omkar, P.(2018). "Santhal tribes present in India" like Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal... Belavadi.
  • Omkar, patil.(2018). "Kola tribes"...

External linksEdit