Mundari, Oraon and Chik-Baraik dances: “Living together, keeping their dances distinct” – Jharkhand

A scholar pursuing his PhD in Ranchi University has captured the diverse beats of Jharkhand’s tribal dances in an academic study.

Titled “Peculiarities of Folk Dances of Tribes in Jharkhand”, Sunil Baraik’s work on the rarely touched subject will be published by Indian Folklore Support Centre, Chennai.

“It’s a booklet that should find readers among young tribal boys and youths who otherwise have little knowledge of folk songs and dances. I have tried to trace origins and detail forms,” said Baraik, also a former student of tribal and regional language department of the varsity.

His study focuses on Mundari, Oraon and Chik-Baraik folk dances of Chotanagpur.

It’s amazing how each tribe in Jharkhand has its own distinct folk dance. Dances and beats change with seasons. Songs, which reflect the joys and sorrows of the community, differ from season to season,” said the scholar, obviously involved in his subject.

He added that villagers cared a lot about the meaning of the songs.

“If the harvest season is on, no one is allowed to sing a song that does not match it. It is believed that mismatched songs will invite the wrath of the gods,” said Baraik.

Gender is another aspect of his research.

For instance, boys and girls of the Munda tribe, who live in large numbers across Ranchi and Khunti districts, traditionally do not touch each other while dancing. “Usually, Munda girls link arms with each other to form a semi-circle and dance. Munda men form groups of three or four each and sing songs or play musical instruments. But among Oraons and Chik-Baraiks, men and women join hands and sing together while dancing,” he said. […]

Among Mundas, men begin a song on a high pitch while women keep it low. Oraons and Chik-Baraiks keep the pitch normal. He added it was fascinating that though different tribes lived together for ages, they kept their dances distinct.

Source: “Tribal dances on study beat” by SANTOSH K. KIRO, The Telegraph (Calcutta), September 2, 2011
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“We shall first have to give up this hubris of considering tribes backward. Every tribe has a rich and living cultural tradition and we must respect them.”

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on India’s Constitutional obligation to respect their cultural traditions
Gandhiji at Prayer Time, Parnakuti, Poona (1944) by Chittaprosad, the great advocate of the rights of workers and revolutionary artists. | Learn more in “Gandhi, Secularism, and Cultural Democracy” by Vinay Lal >>
Gandhian social movement | Constitution >>

“Air is free to all but if it is polluted it harms our health… Next comes water… From now on we must take up the effort to secure water. Councillors are servants of the people and we have a right to question them.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi, Ahmedabad address on 1 January 1918; quoted by his grandson, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, in “On another New Year’s Day: Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘khorak’ a 100 years ago” (The Hindu, 1 January 2018)

Learn more about the mentioned in this article: Munda | Oraon | Jharkhand >>

Research the above issues with the help of Shodhganga: A reservoir of theses from universities all over India, made available under Open Access >>

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