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Encyclopedia > Santal

The Santals are a tribal people of India, residing mainly in states of Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. They speak the Austro-Asiatic (Mundaic) language Santali or Santhali. Once mainly hunter-gatherers, most Santals today work as agricultural labourers. According to the Library of Congress, they numbered some 42,00,000 at the 1991 Census of India. The Republic of India is the second most populous country in the world, with a population of more than one billion, and is the seventh largest country by geographical area. ... Jharkhand (झारखंड in [[Devanagari}}) is a state of India. ... Bihar (बिहार in Devanagri) is a state situated in the eastern part of India. ... West Bengal (পশ্চিম বঙ্গ, Pôščim Bôngô) is a state in the northeast of India. ... The Austroasiatic languages are a large language family of Southeast Asia and India. ... Santali is a language in the Munda subfamily of Austro-Asiatic, related to Ho and Mundari. ... Library of Congress, Jefferson building The Library of Congress is one of four official national libraries of the United States (along with the National Library of Medicine, National Agricultural Library, and National Archives and Records Administration). ... 1991 is a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Santals had famously rebelled against the British in 1857-58 under the leadership of Sido Murmu and his brother Kanhu Murmu. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a country in western Europe, and member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the G8, the European Union, and NATO. Usually known simply as the United Kingdom, the UK, or (inaccurately) as Great Britain or Britain, the UK has four constituent... 1857 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... 1858 is a common year starting on Friday. ... Sido Murmu was the leader of the Santhal Rebellion 1857-1858 along with his brother Kanhu Murmu. ... Kanhu Murmu was the leader of the Santhal rebellion 1857-58, along with his brother Sido Murmu. ...


Santals do not consider themselves to be Hindu, but adhere to a so-called "animistic" religion of their own. The Santals' indigenous religion is one of the most studied tribal religions in India. According to the 1991 census, however, only 23,645 people listed Santal as their religious belief. This article is about the Hindu religion; for other meanings of the word, see Hindu (disambiguation). ... This article is in need of attention. ...

According to the Santal religion, the supreme deity, who ultimately controls the entire universe, is Thakurji. The weight of belief, however, falls on a court of spirits (bonga), who handle different aspects of the world and who must be placated with prayers and offerings in order to ward off evil influences. These spirits operate at the village, household, ancestor, and subclan level, along with evil spirits that cause disease, and can inhabit village boundaries, mountains, water, tigers, and the forest. A characteristic feature of the Santal village is a sacred grove on the edge of the settlement where many spirits live and where a series of annual festivals take place.

The most important spirit is Maran Buru (Great Mountain), who is invoked whenever offerings are made and who instructed the first Santals in sex and brewing of rice beer. Maran Buru's consort is the benevolent Jaher Era (Lady of the Grove).

A yearly round of rituals connected with the agricultural cycle, along with life-cycle rituals for birth, marriage and burial at death, involves petitions to the spirits and offerings that include the sacrifice of animals, usually birds. Religious leaders are male specialists in medical cures who practice divination and witchcraft. Similar beliefs are common among other tribes of northeast and central India such as the Kharia, Munda, and Oraon. Kharia, one of the tribal (adivasi) group of people, living in Jharkhand , and Orissa states, India. ... For the Hindu monster, see Munda (Hinduism), and for the language family see Munda languages. ... The Oraon or Kurukh are a tribal (Adivasi) people of Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, India. ...

As of 1995, there were also some 3,00,000 Christian Santals who are alienated from traditional festivals, although even among converts the belief in the spirits remains strong. 1995 was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Christianity is Indias third-largest religion, following Hinduism and Islam. ...

This section incorporates text from the public domain Library of Congress Country Study for India.[1] (http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/intoc.html) The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ... The Country Studies are works published by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress ( USA), freely available for use by researchers. ... The Republic of India is the second most populous country in the world, with a population of more than one billion, and is the seventh largest country by geographical area. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Santals - LoveToKnow 1911 (659 words)
At the Sohrai feast - the "harvest-home" - in December, the headman entertains the villagers, and the cattle are anointed and daubed with vermilion and a share of the rice-beer is given to each animal.
In the eastern districts the tiger is worshipped.
Santals have adopted as a rite the tonsure of children.
  More results at FactBites »



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