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Occupation and economic dimension
1.1. Occupation

Farming is the primary occupation of Kurukhs, through in modern days they have entered into commercial business and white colored jobs. They grow paddy, marwa, begetables and other crops. Men plough the land and women take part in other types of work. Women workd harder than men. They sell fiesh and vegetables or fruits.

 

 

Landless Kurukh men and women work as coolie-rega(land labourers). In Jalpaiguri and the Darjeeling Terai whither  they have migrated to work in  the tea-gardens. Some Kurukhs living in Andaman & Nicober Island and West Bengal. They are involved as fisherman.

Farming is the primary occupation of Kurukhs, through in modern days they have entered into commercial business and white colored jobs. They grow paddy, marwa, begetables and other crops. Men plough the land and women take part in other types of work. Women workd harder than men. They sell fiesh and vegetables or fruits. Landless Kurukh men and women work as coolie-rega(land labourers). In Jalpaiguri and the Darjeeling Terai whither they have migrated to work in the tea-gardens. Some Kurukhs living in Andaman & Nicober Island and West Bengal. They are involved as fisherman.

A number of educated Kurukhs are working in Government/Private job in our country as well as abroad foreign countries. Since two decades, a lot of women and workers have been settled in metropolitan and other cities like Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Patna, Lukhnow, Bhopal, Hydrabad and Bhubneswa; where women works as house-maid and men work as a worker.

In crisis or draught condition, many people tried to survive by changing their occupation. Some people depends upon selling non-timber forest produce and firewood in nearby village. Some people or landless Kurukhs join wage labouring  for the first time in a compulsive situation. They do not know skilled work due to illiteracy. A very few people engage them in vegetable cultivation and selling. 

Recent days, due to regular draught, lack of job opportunity and bad economic condition of the family, some people are leaving their native land and migrated to distant metropolitan city and other places to work in different kind of labour work.  Some middlemen or agents are involved in this affair. They give the hope to provide them work in that places, but actually it seems that they treated worse in physically and mentally. Girls, who engaged in maid-servant are exploited sexually.

1.2. Food

Boiled rice is the staple food of Oroans. It is generally taken along with pulses or vegetables, fruits, fish and meat. Generally two principal meals are taken, one at midday and the other at night and in addition they often take a breakfast in the morning. Freshly cooked rice is also taken as breakfast.  They eat the meat of goat, pig, fowl, some wild animals and birds etc.They drink a homemade wine called haria, which is generally made from rice. Mahua, another indigenous variety of homemade wine between Kurukhs, but is rare in the Kurukhs habitats.

1.3. House

Kurukhs are making their houses with the mud wall and flat roof of a dry plates called khapra made of mud. Before establishment of dry plates to the roof, they made proper base through wood, bamboo, sticks and dry hay. Walls are painted by colours and pictorial signs are drowned, generally Kurukh people prefer black colours for painting wall. Black colour is better than other colours, because its colour are stable more time. Highly areas (Pindas) are made beside surrounding wall to protect from rain water. Rich people surround their houses of brick or stone with a walled enclosure and ensure privacy by the greatest economy in windows. Almost everywhere the tendency is apparent towards the replacement of traditional roofing materials by corrugated iron sheeting and angles.

1.3. Garments

Kurukh men and women wear simple dresses. Women wear blouse,Tracked sari consists of one cloth, six yards long, gracefully adjusted so as to form a shawl and a petticoat. The upper end is thrown over the left shoulder and falls with its fringe and ornamented border prettily over the back of the figure. Kurukh women like to wear ornaments and use metal or wooden ornaments. They use flowers in their make-up. A recognised social custom is to have tattoos on the body of both men and women. Vast quantities of red beads and a large, heavy brass ornament shaped like a torque are worn round the neck. On the left hand are rings of copper, as many as can be induced on each finger up to the first joint, on the right hand a smaller quantity; rings on the second toe only of brass or bell-metal, and anklets and bracelets of the same material are also worn." The women wear only metal and not glass bangles, and this with the three vertical tattoo-marks on the forehead and the fact that the head and right arm are uncovered enables them to be easily recognised. "The hair is made tolerably smooth amenable by much lubrication, and false hair or some other substance is used to give size to the mass into which it is gathered not immediately behind, but more or less on one side, so that it lies on the neck just behind and touching the right ear; and flowers are arranged in a receptacle made for them between the roll of hair and thehead." Rings are worn in the lobes of the ear, but not other ornaments. "When in dancing costume on grand occasions they add to their head-dress plumes of heron feathers, and a gay bordered scarf is tightly bound round the upper part of the body."

     Men wear the dhuti, ganji (underwear) and the lungi. Poor men wear the gamchha or tolong called bhagwa and poor women do not use blouse to cover upper part of the body, sari is sufficient for it. The better off and educated Kurukhs wear shirts, trousers and Coat etc. Some Kurukhs keep their hair long like a woman, gathered in a knot behind, supporting, when he is in gala costume, red instruments useful and ornamental, with numerous ornaments of brass. At the very extremity of the roll of hair gleams a small circular mirror set in brass, from which, and also from his ears, bright brass chains with spiky pendants dangle, and as he moves with the springy elastic step of youth and tosses his head like a high-mettled steed inthe buoyancy of his animal spirits, he sets all his glittering ornaments in motion and displays as he laughs a row of teeth, round, white and regular, that give light and animation to his dusky features. He wears nothing in the form of a coat; his decorated neck and chest are undraped, displaying how the latter tapers to the waist, which the young dandies compress within the smallest compass. In addition to the cloth, there is always round the waist a girdle of cords made of tasar-silk or of cane. This is now a superfluity, but it is no doubt the remnant of a more primitive costume, perhaps the support of the antique fig-leaves."Out of the age of ornamentation nothing can be more untidy or more unprepossessing than the appearance of the Oraon. The ornaments are nearly all discarded, hair utterly neglected, and for raiment any rags are used. This applies both to males and females of middle age.

1.4. Ornaments

The Kurukh tribes like to wear metallic and wooden made ornaments, i.e. ornaments made of Gold, Silver, brass, copper for their earrings, bracelets, bangles and ornaments made of wooden for their earnings, called bindyo. They use silver made ornament for neck, which is called hansli. They use flowers in their make-up. A recognised social custom is to have tattoos on the body of both men and women. Vast quantities of red beads and a large, heavy brass ornament shaped like a torque are worn round the neck. On the left hand are rings of copper, as many as can be induced on each finger up to the first joint, on the right hand a smaller quantity; rings on the second toe only of brass or bell-metal, and anklets and bracelets of the same material are also worn." The women wear only metal and not glass bangles, and this with the three vertical tattoo-marks on the forehead and the fact that the head and right arm are uncovered enables them to be easily recognised. "The hair is made tolerably smooth amenable by much lubrication, and false hair or some other substance is used to give size to the mass into which it is gathered not immediately behind, but more or less on one side, so that it lies on the neck just behind and touching the right ear; and flowers are arranged in a receptacle made for them between the roll of hair and the head." Rings are worn in the lobes of the ear, but not other ornaments. "When in dancing costume on grand occasions they add to their head-dress plumes of heron feathers, and a gay bordered scarf is tightly bound round the upper part of the body."

     At the very extremity of the roll of hair gleams a small circular mirror set in brass, from which, and also from his ears, bright brass chains with spiky pendants dangle, and as he moves with the springy elastic step of youth and tosses his head like a high-mettled steed in the buoyancy of his animal spirits, he sets all his glittering ornaments in motion and displays as he laughs a row of teeth, round, white and regular, that give light and animation to his dusky features. The ornaments are nearly all discarded, hair utterly neglected, and for raiment any rags are used.

     Kurukh women use ornaments a lots but the spiritual concept of ornament is very different. They believe that all ornaments are human made and are mortal. Therefore they invented tattoos as permanent ornament. Majority of Kurukh woman have tattoos called Godna, on their bodies. They have three parallel vertical lines on the forehead which form a distinctive mark, and other patterns on the arms, chest, knees and ankles. However, Kurukh man also use Godna. They make five deep marks on the lower part of his arm. They belive that he may be recognised as an Oraon at his death when he goes into the other world." The marks on the knees are considered to be steps by which the wearer will ascend to heaven after her death. If a baby cries much it is also tattooed on the nose and chin. It is believed that Godna are the only ornament which goes with them after death also.

 

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