Sunday, 25 February 2018

Disom Level Administration


Disom is the top most unit embracing 5 to 10 pirs. Desh Pargana is the head of Disom. He is also elected personnel and elected by the Pir Parganas once in every five years. The cases of disputes which are not decided in Pir level are brought to the notice of desh Pargana and Pargana decides the cases with the consultation of Pir Parganas and Manjhi.
Desh pargana is vested with the power to impose upon the accused both physical and monetary punishment and in case of drastic social offence like bitlaha. (Woman having sexual relationship with other caste. ) the accused is banished from the society. Desh Pargana has got a power to nominate some more parganas who can assist him in maintenance of law and order in the Disom. They are called as Ghat pargana. The word ghat comes from the word ghaty. which means danger place. In the Disom there are some ghats where huge gathering of people takes place every year. In such places , there is a possibility of breach of law and order. The duties of Ghat Parganas are to maintain the law and order in the ghats. Among the Ghats, one is river ghat where immersion of bone flower of deceased take place every year in the month of January and another ghat is the place where Jatra Patta ( dancing festival) takes place for days together. For one ghat there is one pargana . He makes a temporary office in the ghat during the occasion. This office acts as a Mobile Court .
Pargana has got power to punish a man immediately if he is found to be guilty in the occasion. He has also power to debar a person from immersion of bone flower of his kid and kin if his village panchait brings some allegation against him.
Desh pargana has no such remuneration. He gets some percentage of money collected as punishment from the accused and the rest is divided among the pargana and public.

Pir Pargana | Pir Dihiri

Pir Pargana :

When 50-60 villages consists together a ‘Pir’ is formed, it is upper unit of group of village. Pargana is the head of pir. This is why he is called as Pir Pargana. He is a elected personnel of the pir. He is elected by the majhi of the belonging villages , once in every five years.
He is a adminstrative head of the pir. Undecided village level disputes, disputes among the villagers of different villages , Public grievances on drastic social offence , are brought to the notice to the pir pargana and pargana decides the case with the consultation of majhi of other villages. The accused are punished. Pir Pargana is vested with the power to impose only monetary punishment on the accused.
Pargana has no such salary. Sometime he gets some portion of the money collected as punishment from the accused as  to bear few expenses of his and the rest is divided among the manjhi and villager . The  money is very less in comparison to his service. The honor he receives from the public as Pir Pargana is the only pride of his service. He too lives common life like other villagers.

Pir Dihiri :

Dihiri is nominated person of the ‘Pir’. He is responsible for the welfare of the people living in the ‘Pir’. He worships God and Goddess of local hills who seem to be responsible for causing rain and warding off the epidemic.  He has to responsibility to act as priest during Jantal Festival.
Dihiri has no such remuneration. Only in the eve of festive occasions, he and his family members collect rice, salt, oil, vegetable from the villagers as festive food.

A Glimpse of Santal Village : Atu

The community life of Santhals center in his village, and is so organized as to make common action inevitable in social economic and religious affairs. The houses are built on either side of the village street, which leaves a good space for two bullock carts to pass each other.

The houses set closer together and have their main door opening on to the village street. Each house is responsible for the state of the road outside. In that way, it becomes a moral responsibility in a traditional way to which they take care of the outside premises clean and maintained. And like many things, this also become an integral part of the Village.

Santhal village house
A glimpse to a Santal Village. (Courtesy: Seral Murmu)

Santhals are also well known for their artistic creativity. Evidently, we can find this in their daily life skills, Like the way they decorate their house, painting of wall that too by just using of natural colour which is found in soil and some limestones.

Santhal houses are built of very basic things. Basically, it consists of soil mixed up with the husk of rice, bamboo and Sal wood. Earlier time, the thatching of the roof was done by using haystack, but nowadays tiles are being used for this purpose instead.

Santhal houses, Santali village, Santhali art
A view from courtyard showing the interior look of Santal house/(Bengal).

Each house in the village has their own taste of designing and decorating the walls.

Historically, on a larger scale, the formation of the village started with two or three brothers who came there first and later on, with many people and family came up to join and live closely, formed the village. Initially, it was those brothers or family who first came and cleaned the bushes nearby, collated the land and set it for cultivation and the cultivable land was divided equally.

In recognition of their valuable hard work and thought, people assumed Eldest brother among them to be the ‘Majhi’ of the village to lead and perform for the benefit of the community. Majhi is considered as the headman of the village who speaks on behalf of them.
Gosane’ is a kind of small hut which is built just outside to the Majhi’s house. A stone is placed in ‘Gosane’ in his memory when he passed away. The number of stone tell us about how old is that village.

Like ‘Majhi’ the village headman, there are other various posts in the village to handle various issues and ease the co-operation between villagers, following below are the name among them:-

If you're interested to know more about Santal's 'Social Organisation', you should give a look to this article: 'Self Rule of Santhal Community'.

A Santhal village doesn’t get completed by just having a ‘Majhi’ and houses around. In spite of having a well organized social system, it has to have some organizational unit of spiritual belief also.

The one of such belief is, they make ‘Jaherthan’ which is the sacred grove of ‘Sal’ tree where villagers annually gather and perform their community worship to Nature. Also, they make a separate wide space within the village where people gather to enjoy by singing some Santali Folksong and Folkdance, this place is called ‘Akhraa commonplace to villagers, where when needed village meeting also is held.

In addition to all these social structures of the village, spiritual belief is also the utmost priorities of the village. From the beginning of the formation of the village, they regard their village by calling to ancestral spirits, they ask ‘Marangburu’ the supreme spirit of the universe to help and support them to establish the all things well to them, to keep the disease away from the village. And they also acknowledge them for blessing the village with all nearby thing such as river, mountain, and forest. And this way, villagers find the spiritual values to the river, mountain, and forest.

Hor Dhorom : How religion to Santal is different

The name of the religion of santals is SARNA. No Binty or folk lore says about the founder of the religion or the actual time periods of its origin. But the rites, rituals, formalities handed down from ancestor to ancestors over the ages in the name of religion which give some clear indication that the Sarnaism is very  old religion of the world and older than the other religions of India.

When did the conception of religion came to mankind is very difficult to say but some idea about its etiology, we may have, if we analyze the meaning of Dhorom which is Santali term of religion. The word Dhorom originates from the words DOHA and URUM. Doha means”Duh daha reyah har” i.e. the path of self protection and urum means to recognize or understand. So the religion as per the santal is well recognized experimented path through which one can achieve self protection or self purification. If this be the meaning of dharma. One can say that the conception of dharma i.e. religion to mankind is as old as man himself. It is revealed from Darwin theory of evolution of human being either the fact that every creature on this earth has to struggle hard with the other for its existence and so the human.

History says “when man took his origin in this earth there was thick forest around him and in the forest there were different kinds of animals,nmany of whom were far more superior to man in shape, size and strength. But man was able to subdue them all and befitted the condition of his survival. This was possible only when man came to know how to protect himself. In order to do so, man chose the cave, a confined place (now home) as his shelter and se fire in front of the cave by which he was able to save himself from the attack of other animals and then he attacked them according to his convenience. He used the different weapons in different time as the attacking device. First, he used the weapon made of stone, then the weapon made of wood (bow and arrow) and  then weapon made of metal (axe, showed). With these weapon the man was able to attack the animals safely and successfully. Thus the man was able to establish his existence the means of self protection was the first and foremost device.
So, as per the santals Dhorom (religion) is first and foremost essential part of life. So to say it is a part and parcel of life without which no existence of life can be dreamt of. So Sarnaism is no doubt as old as man himself. This is as per the analysis  of the word Dhorom. If we analyse the meaning of Sarna itself, we may also come to the same conclusion. The word Sarna means forest. So the association of man with the forest is as old as man himself.

Santal Pargana : A Turn in Santal Community

After leaving champa gar dishom, the Santals again engaged themselves in search of plain and fertile land and came to  Gangra Beda i.e Gang Gara Beda (ganga river valley). It was also a plain and fertile land, so they settled immediately. But they could not stay for longer time ,because the dikus came again. By that time Dikus had become more powerful than Santals. And as peace loving community did not want to involve itself into war with them.So they did not resist them because of which they had to move further towards the south following the down stream valley of river Ganga and ultimately they reached Chutia Nagar i.e. Chota Nagpur plateau. In this way the Santals were totally driven out from the valley of river Ganga. So no Binty says regarding the establishment of any kind of civilization in the Gang gara Beda, rather it says the condition of santals was very very measurable there, because where ever the santals cleared up the Jungles for their inhabitation and cultivation the dikus came in. So they could not get any chance to settledown properly and permanently.

Therefore their economic condition became very wretched. Binty says “when the Santals reached the chotanagpur plateau, they had no food to eat. Only they had their lives with them (sutuh sumung jiwi).  The chotanagpur plateau was not a plain land. It was full of high hills all around. The santals settled down here and there where ever some what plain and cultivable lands were available in between hills or at the down of the hills. Anyway, by will of their hard labor, they managed to convert the ups and downs of the land into the cultivable plain land and produced different crops. This land is nothing but Santal pargana area of today situated in Jharkhand.

Life of the Santal in Chhotanagpur plateau was quite different from Sasang Beda and Champa Garh Disom.
In Sansang beda and champa garh disom. Most of the people were living in garh. i.e nagar or town. They were ruled by their own king kishu rapaj. But  Chota Nagpur platuea, almost all the people lived the at village. The word ‘atu’ derived from the ‘ot’ which means holding capacity of an area. As the plateau was up and down with high hills all around the people did not get suitable lands at stretch for their habitation and cultivation, as a result of which they were bound to live here and there according to the holding capacity of an area. i.e Cultivable land available . Thus they started living in Atu i.e village, when the holding capacity of an atu became inadequate in comparison to the distance from the other so they lived there. In this way the Santal  made different village in different places. Under the circumstance their way of life and mode of administration took a new turn. Instead of feudalism, they adopted democratic socialism . Every village was taken as an unit and its administration was vested upon Majhi, Parnik, jog Majhi, Naike who were the elected personnel of the village.

Binty says, with the new social setup, the santals lived in Chotanagpur plateau i.e santal pargana very happily for many years, After the British came to India and penetrated in to the plateau to explore the minerals, their peaceful happy life got disturbed . Dikus (outsiders) again got the way to come in. They established themselves as Thika dar, Jagirda and Jamindar under the sadhow of British Government and exploited the santal people very much. Then santal people out of anger revolted against the British Government . Santals untiy led by Baba Tika Majhi in the year 1784 and santal revolution led by SIdo kanhu in the year 1855 were the main . From there revolution , then might British Govt. got to realize the consciousness and power of santals , and in order to suppress them forever seized to fire many santal villages causing the heavy loss of life and wealth .Later on few Santals migrated to different place. In this way the santals people spread from santal pargana area to other parts of the chotonagpur plateau. Now they are seen living hilly region of Bihar Bengal and Orissa M.P within the same range of Chotanagpur Plateau.

Champa Garh

While migrating towards east in search of plain and fertile land, they came across a land which is surrounded by five rivers so they named it Champagarh. Champa in santal means five and Gara means river.

Sansang Beda: The Valley of Santal Civilisation

There is a very common song in Santals that:
Aba manmika santal manmika
Hihiri Pipiri Janam lena
Khoj Kaman reban khoj lenaho
Sasang beda reban jati lena

The meaning of song as follows-
We the people took the birth in Hihiri Pipiri
And grew in Harata forest
We were tought a lesson in khoj Kaman
We were devided in sept(group) in sasang beda.

So, Sasang Beda being a sacred place in the history of Santal is an important historical place to them. The word “Sasnat” which means civilization is derived from the name Sasang, where the Santali civilization had taken place long ago.

Santal people observed a great change themselves while living in Sasang Beda:
To keep the human relationship in track for all times to come they were divided in to twelve groups i.e. Sept or Clan such as 1. Hansda 2. Murmu 3. Hembrom 4.Tudu 5. Soren 6.Baskey 7.Beshra 8. Kisku 9. Mardi 10. Chone 11. Dankar 12. Gandwar

Each group was treated as one family and who ever hailed in that family were treated as brother and sister and the marriage among them was restricted. Thus the human relationship arising out of marriage became systematic and holy one.