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Social, Cultural and economical dimension
1.

Economical Dimension.

6. Society And Culture.
2. Festivals. 7. Songs, Music And Dance.
3. Humanistic Dimension. 8. Medicine & Treatment.
4. Physical Dimension. 9. Households.
5. Religion And Faith. 10. Fire, Fuel and Oven.

11.

उराँव लोक-नृत्य, संगीत और वाद्य-यंत्र

 
1. Economical 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.

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.

 
  2. Festivals.                                                                                                                    Top

2.1. Phaggu

Phaggu is a festival which is observed towards the end of February or the beginning of March. On the evening previous to the feast, a young castor (Palma christi) plant and a semar (Bombax malabaricum) branch are planted in an open place. After that hen, arwa rice, handia(rice made wine) are taken to that place to be offered and then arwa rice is fed to the hen. Soon after, the hen is sacrificed and cooked there. The whole process is done by Naigas, who after mutilating the hen cooks it and then offers roti(Chapatti). Rice and cooked hens are given to children while adults are supposed to drink handia. Women are prohibited from participating in these sacerd performances.

After whole ritual performances, around sacred trees some hay, firewood and dry leaves are heaped. The village priest sets fire to the hay. When fire burns at its brightest the young castor shrub is cut into pieces with an axe. Immediately the young boys of the village light torches from the bonfire and throw the burning torches at fruit trees, saying, ‘Be loaded with good fruit’.

2.2. Sarhul

The most important festival for the Oroans and tribals of Chotanagpur is Sarhul.  It is also known as a harvest festival, is marked to welcome new year for tribals. The festival is celebrated at the begning of spring in the month of April, when sal trees becomes greener and blossoms with its flower, called the Shalony or Shalai; the symbolic flower of Sarhul. Different tribes have different ways of celebrating this festival, but each one worships the spirit of the Sal tree to seek its blessings for a good harvest. The festival holds a great significance for the tribals. The festival is very popular for its festive mood. The whole region is highly charged with full pump, dance and song, food and drinks.

Sarhul — a combination of Mundari words sarai (flower) and hul (bouquet) — means a bouquet of summer-blooming flowers. As the name suggests, the tribals worship trees and flowers that decorate mother Earth. These shaal flowers represents the brotherhood and friendship, which the tribal priest distribute in every house of the village.  The village deity who is supposed to be the protector of the Adivasis is worshipped in the sacred grove with this flower. Unless the deities of the village are pleased on them they can not be safe and prosperous.


At the Sarhul festival the marriage of the sun-god and earth-mother is celebrated, and this cannot be done till the sal tree gives the flowers for the ceremony. A white cock is taken to represent the sun and a black hen the earth; their marriage is celebrated by marking them with vermilion, and they are sacrificed. The villagers then accompany the Pahan or Naigas, the village priest, to the sarna or sacred grove, a remnant of the old sal forest in which is located Sarna Burhi or 'The old women of the grove.' "To this dryad," writes Colonel Dalton, "who is supposed to have great influence over the rain (a superstition not improbably founded on the importance of tress as cloud-compellers), the party offer five fowls, which are afterward eaten, and the remainder of the day is spent in feasting. They return laden with the flowers of the sal tree, and next morning with the Naigas pay a visit to every house, carrying the flowers. The women of the village all stand on the threshold of their houses, each holding two leaf-cups; one empty to receive the holy water; the other with rice-beer for the Baiga. His reverence stops at each house, and places flowers over it and in the hair of the women. He sprinkles the holy water on the seeds that have been kept for the new year and showers blessings on every house, saying, 'May your rooms and granary filled with paddy that the Naigas's name may be great.' When this is accomplished the woman throws a vessel of water over his venerable person, heartily dousing the man whom the moment before they were treating with such profound respect. This is no doubt a rain-charm, and is a familiar process. The Naigas is prevented from catching cold by being given the cup of rice-beer and is generally gloriously drunk before he completes his round. There is now a general feast, and afterwards the youth of both sexes, gaily decked with the sal blossoms, the pale cream-white flowers of which make the most becoming of ornaments against their dusky skins and coal-black hair, proceed to the Akhara and dance all night."

To observe the festival, the tribals, decked up in colourful clothes and carrying Sal leaves, organised a procession in villages and cities. To make the procession a success, a youth brigade has been formed. The path along the procession has been covered with sarna flags and special puja has been performed at the sarna sthal on the eve of the procession. Huge arch gates have come up along the procession route, courtesy of certain organisations.

Several programmes are organised on the eve of Sarhul.

 

2.3. Karma  festival

 Karma is the second main festival of Oroans. Karma festival celebrated by the other tribals also, mainly in Jharkhan, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and West Bengal state of India. It is celebrated, when the rice is ready for planting out, It comes after the Agriculture operation of Kharif is completed, generally celebrated on the month of September and as the Kanihari or harvest celebration. After the completion of the agriculture operations, the community prays to God named "Karma Dev" for the bumper harvest. It also signifies a celebration after the hard labour they have gone through the agricultural operations.

     At the Karma Festival a party of young boys and girls went to the forest and cut a young Karma tree(Nauclea parvifolia) or a branch of that tree, which symbolizes fertility and they bring this home in triumph and plant it in the middle of an open ground or Akhra and young boys and girls spent the whole festival night singing and dancing around it. Next morning all they may be seen at an early hour in rejoicing mood.  Elders gathered under the fine old tamarind trees that surround the Akhra, and the boys and girls, arm-linked in a huge circle, dancing round the karma tree, which, decked with garlands, decorated with strips of colored cloth and sham bracelets and necklets of plaited straw, and with the bright faces and merry laughter of the young people encircling it, reminds one of the gift-bearing tree so often introduced at our own great festival. Festival celebrates the renewal of vegetation". Accompanied by song, drums and flutes they dance round and round. Planting of Karma saplings is an essential part of the dace ritual. The songs sung on this occasion narrate the legends of Karma and Dharma. The Karma dance is associated with fertility.

Devotees fast from morning till the next day – a good 24 hours on the day of worship. Young boys and girls dance together and the girls offer to the boys sprouted barley seeds. Java and wheat is germinated a few days earlier and the small plants are put in a small bamboo basket and placed before the branch of the Karam Tree. This branch represents Karam Deo. A lamp is lit and placed before Karam Deo. 

There are some stories behind scared performances. Karma and Dharma are two brothers. Once their father asked who among them is greater. On being asked this Karma started worshipping Karma the tree of Karma and started farming and Dharma kept busy himself in doing something else. Finally Karma became richer than Dharma. Therefore this scared performance is celebrated. One another story privilege among Kurukhs " Long ago, there were seven brothers of a family, destroyed the Karma tree and thrown out the village. Karm Dev became very angry with them. After few day they suffered from some kinds of skin disease. They were understood, why those disease came to their home. They had decided to bring a branch of Karm tree and plant it in front of home. One brother went far from the seven sea and brought a branch of Karam tree. They planted it and started worship regularly. Soon, their all disease gone from their bodies and  they became healthy.

There are various types of Karam festivals are also celebrated by the Oroans. Main Karma is Dasay Karama, another Karama festivals are Jitya Karama, Kotta Karama, Chali Karama, Rashka Karama, Luchki Karama, Udaypuriya Karama, Gangpuriya Karama, Renja Karama, Lahsuwa Karama, Kesalpuriya Karama, Birinjya Karama, Adjho Karama, Thapdi Karama, Thadia Karama, Bharni Karama and Chatawa Karama. Chali Karama is divided in Pata Karama, Bariyo Karama, Pairi Karama and Riyori Karama.

 

2.4.The Harvest Festival

The Kanihari, as described by Father Dehon, is held previous to the threshing of the rice, and none is allowed to prepare his threshing-floor until it has been celebrated. It can only take place on a Tuesday. A fowl is sacrificed and its blood sprinkled on the new rice. In the evening a common feast is held at which the Naigas presides, and when this is over they go to the place where Mahadeo is worshipped and the Baiga pours milk over the stone that represents him. The people then dance. Plenty of rice-beer is brought, and a scene of debauchery takes place in which all restraint is put aside. They sing the most obscene songs and give vent to all their passions. On that day no one is responsible for any breach of morality.

 

2.5. Fast For The Crops.

Like other primitive races, and the Hindus generally, the Oraons observe the Lenten fast, as explained by Sir J. G. Frazer, after sowing their crops. Having committed his seed with every propitiatory rite to the bosom of Mother Earth, the savage waits with anxious expectation to see whether she will once again perform on his behalf the yearly miracle of the renewal of vegetation, and the growth of the corn-plants from the seed which the Greeks typified by the descent of Persephone into Hades for a season of the year and her triumphant re-emergence to the upper air. Meanwhile he fasts and atones for any sin or shortcoming of his which may possibly have offended the goddess and cause her to hold her hand. From the beginning of Asarh (June) the Oraons cease to shave, abstain from eating turmeric, and make no leaf-plates for their food, but eat it straight from the cooking-vessel. This they now say is to prevent the field-mice from consuming the seeds of the rice.

 

3.Humanistic Dimension.                                                                                                                       Top
 

3.1. Character

"The Oraons," Colonel Dalton says, "if not the most virtuous, are the most cheerful of the human race. Their lot is not a particularly happy one. They submit to be told that they are especially created as a labouring class, and they have had this so often drummed into their ears that they believe and admit it. I believe they relish work if the task master be not over-exacting. Oraons sentenced to imprisonment without labour, as sometimes happens, for offences against the excise, insist on joining the working gangs, and wherever employed, if kindly treated, they work as if they felt an interest in their task. In cold weather or hot, rain or sun, they go cheerfully about it, and after some nine or ten hours of toil (seasoned with a little play and chaff among themselves) they return blithely home in flower-decked groups holding each other by the hand or round the waist and singing.

3.2. Language and Literature

Kurukh, or Oraon, is the vernacular of a tribe in Chota Nagpur and the adjoining portions of the Central Provinces. It is more closely connected with ancient Tamil and with ancient Kanarese than with any other of the great Dravidian languages. The people themselves say that they and the Maler actually did come to their present seats from the Kanara country. Malto language of Maler tribe is nearly related to the the Kurukh, now Maler settled still farther north, near Rajmahal on the bank of the Ganges. Neither of these two languages has any literature or any alphabet. The Roman or Hindi  alphabet is usually employed for recording them. Kurukh has a rich oral literature, with innumerable fables, fairy tales, ballads, riddles and popular sayings. Variants of some Oraon fables are found in other tribal languages.

Although newest Kurukh script has been developed by Kurukh scholars, called 'Tolong siki'. Mainly Dr. Narayan Oroan has developed  it and  Bishop Dr. Nirmal Minz, Late Dr. Francis Ekka and Dr. Ramdayal Munda has been associated to develop this script. This script was published on 15th may 1999 for public use. Dictionary and Grammar books has been written and Bible has been translated on 2000 by Rev. Niranjan Ekka. Literacy rate in Kurukh language: 23% Oraon and 17% Kisan.

Tribal and Regional Language department of Ranchi University in 1981 was started  teaching to the courses of Ranchi University  of the dialects Kurukh being spoken by Kurukh tribal. They has been nomadic and migrated one place to another place, since 2500 B.C. to near about 1540, until they settled in Chhotanagpur. They spent 4040 years in nomadic environment, therefore they can not develop their society and language like as south Indian society and their language. So many books, like as poem, songs and story etc. are written for the courses. Now this language is developing gradually.

3.3. Education

Before Independence, there were very few schools, mostly run by the church to cater to the educational needs of the Kuruxs in the Chotanagpur area. Today there are several schools in the area run by both government and private agencies. Medium of instruction in these schools is invariably the regional languages of the States. Though there is constitutional provision to use minority and tribal language as medium of instruction where majority of the students in a school come from one linguistic background, Kurukh has not been used as a medium of instruction. It is often argued that the use of the Kurukh language as the medium of instruction will hamper learning of regional languages which would be the only language used in the higher education. This fear is justified when there is no systematic language teaching material for gradual switch over to the regional language. There are problems of non-availability of teaching particularly in the government schools. Unfortunately the Kurukh language is associated with low socio-economic status, backwardness and ignorance and so time it has failed to provide adequate facilities for learning regional language as a result of which the Kuruxs continue to remain deficient in the regional language in which they have to complete for jobs.

The Kurukhs language has been introduced in the degree courses as one of the Modern Indian Languages at the Ranchi University recently. It is however too early to say whether it has any favorable impact on the maintenance of the Kuruxs language.

 

4.Physical Dimension.                                                                                                                               Top
 

4.1. Appearance.

Sir H. Risley states, that the "color of most Oroans is the darkest brown approaching to black; the hair being jet-black, coarse and rather inclined to be frizzy. Projecting jaws and teeth, thick lips, low narrow foreheads, and broad flat noses are the features characteristic of the tribe. The eyes are often bright and full, and no obliquity is observable in the opening of the eyelids." "The Oraon youths," Dalton states, "though with features very far from being in accordance with the statutes of beauty, are of a singularly pleasing class, their faces beaming with animation and good humour. They are a small race, averaging 4 feet 5 inches, but there is perfect proportion in all parts models of symmetry. There is about the young Oraons a jaunty air and mirthful expression that distinguishes him from the Munda or Ho, who has more of the dignified gravity that is said to characterise the North American Indian. The Oraon is particular about his personal appearance only so long as he is unmarried, but he is no hurry to withdraw from the Dhumkuria community, and generally his first youth is passed before he resigns his decorative propensities.

4.2. Tatoos

Kurukh women use tattos on their body along with metallic ornaments. 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.

 

      5.Religion And Faith.                                                                                                                         Top

Like many other ethnic groups, Kurukhs worship different symbols of the nature. They however, believe only as the dwellings of the spirit in that symbols, there is a creator of the universe and sun is considered only as symbol of God's glorious power and brightness ,they reverence the sun, and acknowledge a supreme god, Dharme or Dharmesh, who exists in the sun. Kurukhs believe in different gods having symbolic representation in villages, agricultural assets, forests, epidemics etc. They satisfy these gods through religious festivals similar to those of the other community. Karma and Sarhul are two main festival of Kurukhs. Karama  is a worship of trees performed symbolically with the  Nauclea parvifolia(Kadam)  tree or its branches. Karma festival is celebrated, when the rice is ready for planting out and it is the renewal of vegetation.  Sarhul festival cannot be done till the sal tree gives the flowers for the ceremony. This takes place about the beginning of April on any day when the tree is in flower.Sarhul is associated with praying for the fertility of land and a good paddy harvest.They either bury or burn the dead. As a mark of respect to the deceased they offer flowers and leaves of sacred trees to the dead on the pyres.

The following account of the tribal religion is abridged from Father Dehon's full and interesting description:"The Oraons worship a supreme god who is known as Dharmes; him they invoke in their greatest difficulties when recourse to the village priests and magicians has proved useless. Then they turn to Dharmes and say, 'Now we have tried everything, but we have still you who can help us.' They sacrifice to him a white cock. They think that god is too good to punish them, and that they are not answerable to him in any way for their conduct; they believe that everybody will be treated in the same way in the other world. There is no hell for them or place of punishment, but everybody will go to merkha or heaven. The Red Indians speak of the happy hunting-grounds and the Oraons imagine something like the happy ploughing-grounds, where everybody will have plenty of rice-beer to drink after his labour. They look on god as a big zamindar or landowner, who does nothing himself, but keeps a chaprasi as an agent or debt-collector; and they conceive the latter as having all the defects so common to his profession. Baranda, the chaprasi, exacts tribute from them mercilessly, not exactly out of zeal for the service of his master, but out of greed for his talbana or perquisites. When making a sacrifice to Dharmes they pray: 'O god, from to-day do not send any more your chaprasi to punish us. You see we have paid our respects to you, and we are going to give him his dasturi (tip).

Modern days, The Oraon religion presents a mixture of Sarnaism, naturalism, Hinduism and Christianity. Though, Oroans have their own religion, Some Oroans, particularly who are well settled and reside in cities,  worship Hindu godes and celebrate Hindu festivals too, and a considerable number of Oroans are Christians. Although whole of them give importance of their own culture, language and festivals

 

  6.Society And Culture.                                                                                                                            Top
 

6.1.Social Rules.

The Oraons do not now admit outsiders into the tribe. There is no offence for which a man is permanently put out of caste, but a woman living with any man other than an Oraon is expelled. Temporary expulsion is meted out for the usual offences. The head of the caste panchayat is called Pannu, and when an offender is reinstated, the Panna first drinks water from his hand, and takes upon himself the burden of the erring one's transgression. For this he usually receives a fee of five rupees, and in some States the appointment is in the hands of the Raja, who exacts a fine of a hundred rupees or more from a new candidate. The Oraons eat almost all kinds of food, including pork, fowls and crocodiles, but abstain from beef. Their status is very low among the Hindus; they are usually made to live in a separate corner of the village, and are sometimes not allowed to draw water from the village well. As already stated, the dress of the men consists only of a narrow wisp of cloth round the loins. Some of them say, like the Gonds, that they are descended from the subjects of Rawan, demon king of Ceylon; this ancestry having no doubt in the first instance been imputed to them by the Hindus, and they explain that when Hanuman in the shape of a giant monkey came to the assistance of Rama, their king Rawan tried to destroy Hanuman by taking all the loin-cloths of his subjects and tying them soaked in oil to the monkey's tail with view to setting them on fire and burning him to death. The device was unsuccessful and Hanuman escaped, but since then the subjects of Rawan and their descendants have never had a sufficient allowance of cloth to cover them properly.

6.2.Social Customs

 But more often they go on all night. Mr. Ball mentions their dance as follows: "The Oraon dance was distinct from any I had seen by the Santals or other races. The girls, carefully arranged in lines by sizes, with the tallest at one end and the smallest at the other, firmly grasp one another's hands, and the whole movements are so perfectly in concert that they spring about with us much agility as could a single individual." Father Dehon gives the following interesting notice of their social customs: "The Oraons are very sociable beings, and like to enjoy life together. They are paying visits or pahis to one another nearly the whole year round. In these the handia (beer-jar) always plays a great part. Any man who would presume to receive visitors without offering them a handia would be hooted and insulted by his guests, who would find a sympathising echo from all the people of the village. One may say that from the time of the new rice at the end of September to the end of the marriage feast or till March there is a continual coming and going of visitors. For a marriage feast forty handias are prepared by the groom's father, and all the people of the village who can afford it supply one also. Each handia gives about three gallons of rice-beer, so that in one day and a half, in a village of thirty houses, about 200 gallons of rice-beer are despatched. The Oraons are famous for their dances. They delight in spending the whole night from sunset till morning in this most exciting amusement, and in the dancing season they go from village to village. They get, as it were, intoxicated with the music, and there is never any slackening of the pace. On the contrary, the evolutions seem to increase till very early in the morning, and it sometimes happens that one of the dancers shoots off rapidly from the gyrating group, and speeds away like a spent top, and, whirlwind-like, disappears through paddy-fields and ditches till he falls entirely exhausted. Of course it is the devil who has taken possession of him. One can well imagine in what state the dancers are at the first crow of the cock, and when she finds the girls straggling home one by one, dishevelled, too tired even to enjoy the company of the boys, who remain behind in small groups, still sounding their tom-toms at intervals as if sorry that the performance was so soon over. And, wonderful to say and incredible to witness, they will go straight to the stalls, yoke their bullocks, and work the whole morning with the same spirit and cheerfulness as if they had spent the whole night in refreshing sleep. At eleven o'clock they come home, eat their meal, and stretched out in the verandah sleep like logs until two, when poked and kicked about unmercifully by the people of the house, they reluctantly get up with heavy eyes and weary limbs to resume their work."

 

6.3. Subdivisions

The Oraons have no proper subcastes in the Central Provinces, but the Kudas and Kisans, having a distinctive name and occupation, sometimes regard themselves as separate bodies and decline intermarriage with other Oraons. In Bengal Sir H. Risley gives five divisions, Barga, Dhanka, Kharia, Khendro of other tribes, and Dhanka may be a variant for Dhangar. The names show that as usual with the tribes of this part of the country the law of endogamy is by no means strict. The tribe have also a large number of exogamous septs of the totemistic type, named after plants and animals. Members of any sept commonly abstain from killing or eating their sept totem. A man must not marry a member of his own sept nor a first cousin on the mother's side.

 

6.4. Branding And Tattooing

"When a boy is six or seven years old it is time for him to become a member of the Dhumkuria or common dormitory. The eldest boys catch hold of his left arm and, with burning cloth, burn out five deep marks on the lower part of his arm. This is done so that he may be recognised as an Oraon at his death when he goes into the other world." The ceremony was probably the initiation to manhood on arrival at puberty, and resembled those prevalent among the Australian tribes. With this exception men are not tattooed, but this decoration is profusely resorted to by women. They have three parallel vertical lines on the forehead which form a distinctive mark, and other patterns on the arms, chest, knees and ankles. 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.

6.5. Marriage.

Marruage rituals in the Oraon community are similar to those of Santals and Mundas. Marriages are arranged by the guardians in the family, but the opinions of the brides and bridegrooms are also respected. Child marriage is not recognised. Divorce is allowed. Divorcees, as well as widows, can remarry. Both men and women can marry more than once but men are not allowed a second marriage unless they are widowed or are divorcees.

6.5.1. Pre-marriage Licence. Marriage is adult and pre-nuptial unchastity appears to be tacitly recognised. Oraon villages have the institution of the Dhumkuria or bachelors' dormitory, which Dalton describes as follows: "In all the order Oraon villages when there is any conservation of ancient customs, there is a house called the dhumkuria in which all the bachelors of the village must sleep under penalty of a fine. The huts of the Oraons have insufficient accommodation for a family so that separate quarters for the young men are a necessity. The same remark applies to the young unmarried women, and it is a fact that they do not sleep in the house with their parents. They are generally frank enough when questioned about their habits, but on this subject there is always a certain amount of reticence, and I have seen girls quietly withdraw when it was mooted. I am told that in some villages a separate building is provided for them like the Dhumkuria, in which they consort under the guardianship of an elderly duenna, but I believe the more common practice is to distribute them among the houses of the widows, and this is what the girls themselves assert, if they answer at all when the question is asked; but however billeted, it is well known that they often find their way to the bachelor's hall, and in some villages actually sleep there. I not long ago saw a Dhumkuria in a Sarguja village in which the boys and girls all slept every night." Colonel Dalton considered it uncertain that the practice led to actual immorality, but the fact can hardly be doubted. Sexual intercourse before marriage, Sir H. Risley says, is tacitly recognised, and is so generally practised that in the opinion of the best observers no Oraon girl is a virgin at the time of her marriage. "To call this state of things immoral is to apply a modern conception to primitive habits of life. Within the tribe, indeed, the idea of sexual morality seems hardly to exist, and the unmarried Oraons are not far removed from the condition of modified promiscuity which prevails among many of the Australian tribes. Provided that the exogamous circle defined by the totem is respected, an unmarried woman may bestow her favours on whom she will. If, however, she becomes pregnant, arrangements are made to get her married without delay, and she is then expected to lead a virtuous life." According to Dalton, however, liaisons between boys and girls of the same village seldom end in marriage, as it is considered more respectable to bring home a bride from a distance. This appears to arise from the primitive rule of exogamy that marriage should not be allowed between those who have been brought up together. The young men can choose for themselves, and at dances, festivals and other social gatherings they freely woo their sweethearts, giving them flowers for the hair and presents of grilled field-mice, which the Oraons consider to be the most delicate food. Father Dehon, however, states that matches are arranged by the parents, and the bride and bridegroom have nothing to say in the matter. Boys are usually married at sixteen and girls at fourteen or fifteen. The girls thus have only about two years of preliminary flirtation or Dhumkuria life before they are settled.

6.5.2 Betrothal. The first ceremony for a marriage is known as pan bandhi or the settling of the price; for which the boy's father accompanied by some men of his village to represent the panch or elders, goes to the girl's house. Father Dehon states that the bride-price is five rupees and four maunds of grain. When this has been settled the rejoicings begin. "All the people of the village are invited; two boys come and anoint the visitors with oil. From every house of the village that can afford it a handia or pot of rice-beer is brought, and they drink together and make merry. All this time the girl has been kept inside, but now she suddenly sallies forth carrying a handia on her head. A murmur of admiration greets her when stepping through the crowd she comes and stands in front of her future father-in-law, who at once takes the handia from her head, embraces her, and gives her one rupee. From that time during the whole of the feast the girl remains sitting at the feet of her father-in-law. The whole party meanwhile continue drinking and talking; and voices rise so high that they cannot hear one another. As a diversion the old women of the village all come tumbling in, very drunk and wearing fantastic hats made of leaves; gesticulating like devils and carrying a straw manikin representing the bridegroom. They all look like old witches, and in their drunken state are very mischievous."

6.5.3. Marriage Ceremony The marriage takes place after about two years, visits being exchanged twice a year in the mean time. When the day comes the bridegroom proceeds with a large party of his friends, male and female, to the bride's house. Most of the males have warlike weapons, real or sham, and as they approach the village of the bride's family the young men from thence emerge, also armed, as if to repel the invasion, and a mimic fight ensues, which like a dissolving view blends pleasantly into a dance. In this the bride and bridegroom join, each riding on the hips of one of their friends. After this they have a feast till late in the night. Next morning bread cooked by the bride's mother is taken to the dari or village spring, where all the women partake of it. When they have finished they bring a vessel of water with some leaves of the mango tree in it. Meanwhile the bride and bridegroom are in the house, being anointed with oil and turmeric by their respective sisters. When everybody has gathered under the marriage-bower the boy and girl are brought out of the house and a heap is made of a plough-yoke, a bundle of thatching-grass and a curry-stone. The bride and bridegroom are made to stand on the curry-stone, the boy touching the heels of the bride with his toes, and a long piece of cloth is put round them to screen them from the public. Only their heads and feet can be seen. A goblet full of vermilion is presented to the boy, who dips his finger it and makes three lines on the forehead of the girl; and the girl does the same to the boy, but as she has to reach him over her shoulder and cannot see him, the boy gets it anywhere on his face, which never fails to provoke hearty bursts of laughter. "When this is complete," Dalton states, "a gun is fired and then by some arrangement vessels full of water, placed over the bower, are upset, and the young couple and those near them receive a drenching shower-bath, the women shouting, 'The marriage is done, the marriage is done.'They now retire into an apartment prepared for them, ostensibly to change their clothes, but they do not emerge for some time, and when they do appear they are saluted as man and wife."

6.5.4. Special Customs marriage Meanwhile the guests sit round drinking handias or earthen pots full of rice-beer. The bride and bridegroom come out and retire a second time and are called out for the following rite. A vessel of beer is brought and the bride carries a cupful of it to the bridegroom's brother, but instead of giving it into his hand she deposits it on the ground in front of him. This is to seal of tacit agreement that from that time the bridegroom's brother will not touch his sister-in-law, and was probably instituted to mark the abolition of the former system of fraternal polyandry, customs of an analogous nature being found among the Khonds and Korkus."Then," Father Dehon continues, "comes the last ceremony, which is called khiritengna handia or the handia of the story, and is considered by the Oraons to be the true form of marriage which has been handed down to them by their forefathers. The boy and girl sit together before the people and one of the elder men present rises and addressing the boy says: 'If your wife goes to fetch sag and falls from a tree and breaks her leg, do not say that she is disfigured or crippled. You will have to keep and feed her.' Then turning to the girl:'When your husband goes hunting, if his arm or leg is broken, do not say, "He is a cripple, I won't live with him." Do not say that, for you have to remain with him. If you prepare meat, give two shares to him and keep only one for yourself. If you prepare vegetables, give him two parts and keep only one part for yourself. If he gets sick and cannot go out, do not say that he is dirty, but clean his mat and wash him.' A feast follows, and at night the girl is brought to the boy by her mother, who says to him, 'Now this my child is yours; I do not give her for a few days but for ever; take care of her and love her well.' A companion of the bridegroom's then seizes the girl in his arms and carries her inside the house."

6.5.5. Widow-Remarriage And Divorce It is uncommon for a man to have two wives. Divorce is permitted, and is usually effected by the boy or girl running away to the Duars or Assam. Widow-remarriage is a regular practice. The first time a widow marries again, Father Dehon states, the bridegroom must pay Rs. 3-8 for her; if successive husbands die her price goes down by a rupee upon a fresh marriage, so that a fifth husband would pay only eight annas. Cases of adultery are comparatively rare. When offenders are caught a heavy fine is imposed if they are well-to-do, and if they are not, a smaller fine and a beating.

6.6. Customs At Birth

"The Oraons," Father Dehon continues, "are a very prolific race, and whenever they are allowed to live without being too much oppressed they increase prodigiously. What strikes you when you come to an Oraon village is the number of small dirty children playing everywhere, while you can scarcely meet a woman that does not carry a baby on her back. The women seem, to a great extent, to have been exempted from the curse to our first mother:'Thou shalt bring forth, etc.' They seem to give birth to their children with the greatest ease. There is no period of uncleanness, and the very day after giving birth to a child, you will see the mother with her baby tied up in a cloth on her back and a pitcher on her head going, as if nothing had happened, to the village spring." This practice, it may be remarked in parenthesis, may arise from the former observance of the couvade, the peculiar custom prevailing among several primitive races, by which, when a child is born, the father lies in the house and pretends to be ill, while the mother gets up immediately and goes about her work. The custom has been reported as existing among the Oraons by one observer from Bilaspur, but so far without confirmation.

6.7. Naming A Child

"A child is named eight or ten days after birth, and on this day some men of the village and the members of the family assemble at the parents' house. Two leaf-cups are brought, one full of water and the other of rice. After a preliminary formula grains of rice are let fall into the cup, first in the name of the child and then successively in those of his ancestors in the following order: paternal grandfather, paternal great-grandfather, father, paternal uncle,maternal grandfather, other relatives. When the grain dropped in the name of any relative meets the first one dropped to represent the child, he is given the name of that relative and is probably considered to be a reincarnation of him."

6.8. Dormitory Discipline

An important characteristic of the social life of a village have been found in Kurukhs  is dhumkuria (dormitory) life. It is the educational institution for bachelors, where they stay together to get training about their culture, custom, religion and social life. It is usually located on the outside of the village to prevent unnecessary noise. There is a separate rooms for the females. Teacher of the institute are old men or priest (naigas). When a boy is six or seven years old it is time for him to become a member of the Dhumkuria or common dormitory. The eldest boys catch hold of his left arm and, with burning cloth, burn out five deep marks on the lower part of his arm. This is done so that he may be recognised as an Kurukh at his death when he goes into the other world."

Dalton describes dhumkuria as follows: "The huts of the Kurukhs have insufficient accommodation for a family so that separate quarters for the young men are a necessity, in which the boys and girls all slept every night." Colonel Dalton considered it uncertain that the practice led to actual immorality, but the fact can hardly be doubted. Sir H. Risley says, "sexual intercourse before marriage, is tacitly recognised, and is so generally practised that in the opinion of the best observers no Kurukh girl is a virgin at the time of her marriage. However any pairs are practiced transgression, they are punished by the several penalties and get marry each other. They can't marry with another person.

In this way, Dhumkuria life is a prosperous and disciplined social life among kurukhs. It is admiration to Kurukhs, but modern Kurukhs do't give importance of dhumkuria life. They have not enough time to stay on dhumkuria. Most villages have not any dhumkuria. They should understand the importance of dhumkuria and keep their richest culture alive.

The Dhumkuria fraternity, Colonel Dalton remarks, is under the severest penalties, bound down to secrecy in regard to all that takes place in their dormitory; and even girls are punished if they dare to tell tales. They are not allowed to join in the dances till the offence is condoned. They have a regular system of fagging in this curious institution. The small boys serve those of larger growth, shampoo their limbs, comb their hair, and so on, and they are sometimes subjected to severe discipline to make men of them.

6.9. Disposal Of The Dead

The Oraons either bury or burn the dead. As the corpse is carried to the grave, beginning from the first cross-roads, they sprinkle a line of rice as far as the grave or pyre. This is done so that the soul of the deceased may find its way back to the house. Before the burial or cremation cooked food and some small pieces of money are placed in the mouth of the corpse. They are subsequently, however, removed or recovered from the ashes and taken by the musicians as their fee. Some clothes belonging to the deceased and a vessel with some rice are either burnt with the corpse or placed in the grave. As the grave is being filled in they place a stalk of orai  grass vertically on the head of the corpse and gradually draw it upwardsas the earth is piled on the grave. They say that this is done in order to leave a passage for the air to pass to the nostrils of the deceased. This is the grass from which reed pens are made, and the stalk is hard and hollow. Afterwards they plant a root of the same grass where the stalk is standing over the head of the corpse. On the tenth day they sacrifice a pigand fowl and bury the legs, tail, ears and nose of the pig in a hole with seven balls of iron dross. They then proceed to the grave scattering a little parched rice all the way along the path. Cooked rice is offered at the grave. If the corpse has been burnt they pick up the bones and place them in a pot, which is brought home and hung up behind the dead man'shouse. At night-time a relative sits inside the house watching a burning lamp, while some friends go outside the village and make a miniature hut with sticks and grass and set fire to it. They then call out to the dead man, 'Come, your house is being burnt,' and walk home striking a mattock and sickle together. On coming to the house they kick down the matting which covers the doorway; the man inside says, 'Who are you?' and they answer, 'It is we.'They watch the lamp and when the flame wavers they believe it to show that the spirit of the deceased has followed them and has also entered the house. Next day the bones are thrown into a river and the earthen pot broken against a stone.

6.10. Worship Of Ancestors

The pitras or ancestors are worshipped at every festival, and when the new rice is reaped a hen is offered to them. They pray to their parents to accept the offering and then place a few grains of rice before the hen. If she eats them, it is a sign that the ancestors have accepted the offering and a man kills the hen by crushing its head with his closed fist. This is probably, as remarked by Father Dehon, in recollection of the method employed before the introduction of knives, and the same explanation may be given of the barbaric method of the Baigas of crushing a pig to death by a beam of wood used as a see-saw across its body, and of the Gond bride and bridegroom killing a fowl by treading on it when they first enter their house after the wedding.

 

6.11. Human Sacrifice

"There is also Anna Kuari or Mahadhani, who is in our estimation the most cruel and repulsive deity of all, as she requires human sacrifice. Those savage people, who put good crops above everything, look upon her in a different light. She can give good crops and make a man rich, and this covers a multitude of sins. People may be sceptical about it and say that it is impossible that in any part of India under the British Government there should still be human sacrifices. Well, in spite of all the vigilance of the authorities, there are still human sacrifices in Chota Nagpur. As the vigilance of the authorities increases, so also does the carefulness of the Urkas or Otongas increase. They choose for their victims poor waifs or strangers, whose disappearance no one will notice. April and May are the months in which the Urkas are at work. Doisa, Panari, Kukra and Sarguja have a very bad reputation. During these months no strangers will go about the country alone and during that time nowhere will boys and girls be allowed to go to the jungle and graze the cattle for fear of the Urkas. When an Urka has found a victim he cuts his throat and carries away the upper part of the ring finger and the nose. Anna Kuari finds votaries not only among the Oraons, but especially among the big zamindars and Rajas of the Native States. When a man has offered a sacrifice to Anna Kuari she goes and lives in his house in the form of a small child. From that time his fields yield double harvest, and when he brings in his paddy he takes Anna Kuari and rolls her over the heap to double its size. But she soon becomes restless and is only pacified by new human sacrifices. At last after some years she cannot bear remaining in the same house any more and kills everyone."

6.12.Godlings

In the concerns of this world, to obtain good crops and freedom from sickness, a host of minor deities have to be propitiated. These consist of bhuts or spirits of the household, the sept, the village, and common deities, such as the earth and sun. Chola Pacho or the lady of the grove lives in the sarna or sacred grove, which has been left standing when the forest was cleared. She is credited with the power of giving rain and consequently good crops. Churel is the spirit of a woman who has died while pregnant or in childbirth. She hover sover her burial-place and is an object of horror and fright to every passer-by. It is her nature to look out for a man whom she liked best during her lifetime. She will then come at night and embrace him and tickle him under the arms, making him laugh till he dies. Bhula or the wanderers are the shades of persons who have died in unnatural death, either having been murdered, hanged, or killed by a tiger. 'They all keep the scars of their respective wounds and one can imagine what a weird-looking lot they are. They are not very powerful and are responsible only for small ailments, like nightmares and slight indispositions. When an Ojha or spirit-raiser discovers that a Bhula has appeared in the light of his lamp he shows a disappointed face, and says: 'Pshaw, only Bhula !' No sacrifice is offered to him, but the Ojha then and there takes a few grains of rice, rubs them in charcoal and throws them at the flame of his lamp, saying, 'Take this, Bhula, and go away.' Murkuri is the thumping bhut. Europeans, to show their kindness and familiarity, thump people on the back. If this is followed by fever or any kind of sickness it will be ascribed to the passing of Murkuri from the body of the European into the body of the native."Chordewa is a witch rather than a bhut. It is believed that some women have the power to change their soul into a black cat, who then goes about in the houses where there are sick people. Such a cat has a peculiar way of mewing, quite different from its brethren, and is easily recognised. It steals quietly into the house, licks the lips of the sick man and eats the food which has been prepared for him. The sick man soon gets worse and dies. They say itis very difficult to catch the cat, as it has all the nimbleness of its nature and the cleverness of a bhut. However, they some times succeed, and then something wonderful happens. The woman out of whom the cat has come remains insensible, as it were in a state of temporary death, until the cat re-enters her body. Any wound inflicted on the cat will be inflicted on her; if they cut its ears or break its legs or put out its eyes the woman will suffer the same mutilation. The Oraons say that formerly they used to burn any woman who was suspected of being a Chordewa.

 

7.Songs, Music And Dance.                                                                                       Top
 

Like ethnic groups, Oroans pass their time in music and dance .They use FLUTE, NAGARA & MANDAR as their musical instrument They sing folk songs in which their life style emerges. Like other tribes, Oraons like to dance, sing and play musical instruments. Their dances and songs are deeply rooted in their social and cultural life. Mandar, drums, Nagara and Dholak, flute and Mandar are the main musical instruments. They sing folk songs in which their life style emerges. Jhumur songs of Oraons reflect their lifestyle and their religious philosophy. Their songs and dances are seasonal and festival wise, hence they sing songs according to the season. All religious ceremonies and seasonal festivals of Oraons such as the Basundhara in the month of Baishakh, Bhadri in Bhadra, Jejuti in Agrahayan, Itu in Falgun and Sarhul in Chaitra reflect the tribe's link to agriculture.  Marriage songs and dances are also different from another seasonal dances and songs. following of the dances and songs of Kurukhs : Karma,  Sharhul, Jhumar, Damkach, Bhadri, Jejuti, Itu and Jatra.

7.1. Karma Dance Karma festival is celebrated on Bhadrapad-Suklapaksh Ekadashi. At the Karma festival a party of young people of both sexes spend the whole festival night singing and dancing. The songs sung on this occasion narrate the legends of Karma and Dharma On the day of worship, devotees fast from morning till the next day – a good 24 hours. A branch from the Karam(Nauclea parvifolia) tree is planted in the middle of an dancing ground(Akhra) and the night is spent singing and dancing around it. All may be festooned with strips of coloured cloth and sham bracelets, java( new rice or wheat plants)and merry laughter of the young people encircling it, reminds one of the gift-bearing tree. Java and wheat is germinated a few days earlier and the small plants are put in a small bamboo basket and placed before the branch of the Karam Tree.  Lahsua and Khare are some of its varieties.

7.2. Jaudra Dance During the month of AGHAN & PUSA it is played in the villages at night.

7.3. Sharhul Dance Sharhul festival celebrated, when sal tree gives the flowers for the ceremony. It takes place about the beginning of April on any day when the tree is in flower.Sarhul  which is a prominent festival of ORAON can’t be thought without dance . the youth of both sexes, gaily decked with the sal blossoms, the pale cream-white flowers of which make the most becoming of ornaments against their dusky skins and coal-black hair, proceed to the Akhara and dance all night. People hold together in a chain and form a circle then practise  this dance  along with music and song . Musicians with their traditional music instruments remain inside the circle .Men wear white DHOTI with red border and women wear white SARI with red border .Watching a dance group causes one to be a part of it.

7.4. Bheja Dance Dozens or more young boys and girls gather at a particular place ,form a chain by clumping hands of one another in alternate succession then perform dance following different postures with melodious traditional music and songs in a rhythm.

7.5. Panky Dance Men hold CHANWAR in hands and on their soldiers then perform dance.

7.6. Angnai Dance It is performed in the villages during any festival.

7.7. Jatra Dance Jatra is the famous dance of Kurukhs. The tribe are seen to best advantage at the great national dance meetings called Jatras, which are held once a year at convenient centres, generally large mango groves in the vicinity of old villages. As a signal to the country round, the flags of each village are brought out on the day fixed and set upon the road that leads to the place of meeting. This incites the young men and maidens to hurry through their morning's work and dig up their jatra dresses, which are by no means ordinary attire. Those who have some miles to go put up their finery in a bundle to keep it fresh and clean, and proceed to some tank or stream in the vicinity of the tryst grove; and about two o'clock in the afternoon may be seen all around groups of girls laughingly making their toilets in the open air, and young men in separate parties similarly employed. When they are ready the drums are beaten, huge horns are blown, and thus summoned the group from each village forms its procession. In front are young men with swords and shields or other weapons, the village standard-bearers with their flags, and boys waving yaks' tails or bearing poles with fantastic arrangements of garlands and wreaths intended to represent umbrellas of dignity. Sometimes a man riding on a wooden horse is carried, horse and all, by his friends as the Raja, and others assume the form of or paint themselves up to represent certain beasts of prey. Behind this motley group the main body form compactly together as a close column of dancers in alternate ranks of boys and girls, and thus they enter the grove, where the meeting is held in a cheery dashing style, wheeling and countermarching and forming lines, circles and columns with grace and precision. The dance with these movements is called kharia, and it is considered to be an Oraon rather than a Munda dance, though Munda girls join in it. When they enter the grove the different groups join and dance the kharia together, forming one vast procession and then a monstrous circle. The drums and musical instruments are laid aside, and it is by the voices alone that the time is given; but as many hundreds, nay, thousands, join, the effect is imposing. In serried ranks, so closed up that they appear jammed, they circle round in file, all keeping perfect step, but at regular intervals the strain is terminated by a hururu, which reminds one of Paddy's 'huroosh' as he 'welts the floor,' and at the same moment they all face inwards and simultaneously jumping up, they come down on the ground with a resounding stamp that marks the finale of the movements, but only for a momentary pause. One voice with a startling yell takes up the strain again, a fresh start is made, and after gyrating thus till they tire of it, the ring breaks up, and separating into village groups they perform other dances independently till near sunset, and then go dancing home."

7.8. Damkach It is a  variety of dance mainly practiced by SADANS in Jharkhand during marriage ceremony and oroans also accepted to dance domkach.

7.9. Other Dances: Marriage songs and dances are also different from another seasonal dances and songs. Jhumur songs of Oraons reflect their lifestyle and their religious philosophy.  Bhadri Celebraed in Bhadra. Jejuti Celebrated in Aghan. Basundhara  is celebrated  in the month of Baishakh. An another dance is Itu.

 

   8. Medicine And Treatment.                                                                                 Top
 

Knowledge of the treatment of diseases is another sphere where we find a close relation between the Oraon community and its environment. Treatment of diseases is invariably based on the use of medicinal herbs found in the region. There are about 34 kinds of disease which are treated with such medicines. These include pain (headache, toothache, stomachache, eye pain, ear pain, migraine), fever (high, ordinary, malaria), wounds, constipation, diarrhoea, dysentery, epilepsy, rheumatism, insomnia, tetanus, eczema, etc. These are treated with medicines based on leaves, roots, the bark of trees, and with plants which grow wild in the jungle. Some of them are grown in their fields by the people themselves.

 
9. Households.                                                                                                                                                                            Top
 

It is for minor products that we find greater concern among the Oroans. The Oraon household includes such items as mats, cots, wooden stools, baskets, cups, plates, cushions, rope, mortar and pestle and oil presses. All of these are made from forest products. Hunting implements such as bows and arrows, axes, doulies, slings, spears and swords are made from forest products with iron. Similarly, fishing tools such as baskets and traps of various kinds are made of bamboo.  Fishing nets are made of twine. Specially the bamboo made fishing cage is very attractive. Umbrellas are made with the handle and ribs of bamboo covered with gungu leaves. Even the hooded waterproof coat is made of the gungu leaves. Grinder is made from Stone and its handle made by wood. Measuring pots called Awdka is made from the aluminum and copper. They use Sabbal and Ghana(Big hammer), which are made from Iron. Most of the metal works are done for agricultural purpose, hunting and weapons. The Kurukh people would like to use  bamboo for making baskets, hunting & fishing equipments.Bomboo of Netarhat in Jharkhand is very famous, becouse these bamboos are thin in shape and strong and flexible.  Kurukh tribes are fully depend on Lohar for metal households, Turies for bomboo households and Kumars for mud made pots.

 
10. Fire, Fuel And Oven.                                                                                                                                                 Top
 

The dried up twigs or branches of trees and dried leaves and the dried jute sticks plastered with cowdung are the most common types of fuel used by these people in this area. Sometimes dry grass, straw, jute wastes etc. are also used as fuel. Most of these are collected from nearby places. Coal as a fuel is too costly for them and is hardly used by them.

Sometimes fire is preserved by them for future use in a straw rope (bolan) or in an oven or in a pot full of rice-husk, thereby eliminating the cost of match sticks.

The oven prepared by these Oraons, is quite simple and similar to that used by the neighbouring caste people. It is made up of earth and plastered with a paste of mud, cowdung and water. It is triangular in shape, with three corners slightly raised in the shape of cones, known as Kana or Jhick. These three cones serve as the supporting stands on which the pot or the pan is placed. A small pit is first dug out and on three sides of the pit, three cones are made with earth. Inside the pit, the fuel burns and the ashes are stored.

The use of fire and fuel in Southern Bengal is generally similar to that of the Oraons of the Ranchi area excepting that dried Sal leaves are extensively used as fuel as these are freely available in the Ranchi area. On the other hand, the jute stick plastered with cowdung forms a popular item of fuel among the Sunderban Oraons, but is rarely used by the Ranchi Oraons.

The oven prepared by the Oraons of the Ranchi area, is also slightly different in shape and size from the Oraon ovens of the Sunderban area. The Oraon oven of the Ranchi area is bigger in size and rather rectangular in shape. First of all a big earthen platform is made and a small gap is kept in one of the lateral sides where the oven is made. Within the gap, a small depression is scooped out where the fuel burns. The raised cones of the Oraon oven of Ranchi are less prominent and almost faint as compared to those of the Sunderban. The remaining portion of the platform serves for keeping the cooking vessels.

 

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