Tribals torn apart by religion

The Hindu Whether due to economic disparities or the stoking of enmities by different religious groups, the chasm between Sarna and Christian tribals has widened Two months before polling began in Jharkhand, Ajay Tirkey began dividing his day between campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Ranchi and attending to his real estate business. Mr. Tirkey, who heads the Central Sarna Committee(CSC), with lakhs of animistic Sarna tribals as members in urban parts of Ranchi, Gumla and Hazaribagh, believes that the BJP’s Narendra Modi will get the community what it has been demanding for decades: the distinction of being a … Continue reading Tribals torn apart by religion

‘Throw away the Brahman’s scriptures fast’

A poem by Savitribai Phule, circa 1860: My weak and oppressed brothers, stop living in slavery. The day of Manu-worshipping Peshwas is done, the English, who share knowledge are here. Learn now. For a millennium you have been denied books. We will teach our children and ourselves to seek knowledge; our souls cry out for wholeness, to leave behind the marks of caste and unfurl our proud flags in Baliraja’s kingdom. This shall be our war-cry, we shall rise up now, Rise up now, to learn and to act. (found at the end of ‘A Gardner in the Wasteland’. There’s … Continue reading ‘Throw away the Brahman’s scriptures fast’

At Bodh Gaya

Prayers resume under Bodhi tree, at the Mahabodhi temple after serial blasts at the temple two days earlier. July 2013. The Bodh Gaya temple complex in Bihar was rocked by a series of explosions on July 7. Over a hundred worshippers had just finished 30 minutes of chanting and a few were entering the temple complex — a UNESCO World Heritage site associated with the Buddha’s enlightenment — when the first blast occurred at 5:45 a.m. Nine explosions followed in the next hour — four at temple sites and five in a 500-meter radius. Soon after, political workers started demonstrations … Continue reading At Bodh Gaya

Parha jatra, and politics

The parha jatra, a congregation of 5/7/12/21 villages which form a parha, has been celebrated in Oraon and Munda villages since long. But what was traditionally a religious congregation has also become a rallying point and an occasion for political leaders to assert clout. In 1967, Congress MLA Karamchand Bhagat supported and oganized the parha jatra in Bero for the first time. At the time, the police had imposed a curfew after six adivasis of the area were killed in police firing. Bhagat supported the village parhass efforts to organize the jatra to defy the curfew. Since Bhagat first supported … Continue reading Parha jatra, and politics