Naike : Village Priest | Santal


The word Naike means”Nai-e-kamiya okoy” i.e the person who can serve the best. The santals believe that health, wealth, safety,happiness of the village come from the blessing of the Bongas and Naike is the man who parse that blessing from them through his duty. So, Naike is also an important man to the village. So to say, he is a spiritual head of the village.
As Naike is kind of priest, his selection is done by the men but mostly by the bongas themselves. To select the Naike, the villagers gather at Jaher Garh. Three winnowing fans with raw rice are handed over to three persons who have got power to possess the Bonga in trance. Then a villagers invokes Marang Buru, Jaher Ayo, Maneke Turuika and request them to choose their Naike. Each Bonga possesses a man and this is when villager declare him to be Naike.

Naike is responsible for the worshipping of God and Goddess in Jaher Garh. He worships God and Goddess only in festive occasion in the presence of the villagers. Sacrificial fowls, rice for village feast are obtained from the villagers and other materials like , methi, sindur, rice powder, oil are arranged by him.
Naike also live a common life like other villager. He also go to field for crop. When festival’s worshipping are not around he lives like common man, only when his duty is needed he act as Naike and do worshipping. He has also no remuneration. In olden days one or two acres of land were being awarded to him. Now-a-day no lands are awarded. Honor  from the villagers is the only remuneration to him.

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