Tip | Santal history and customs explained by the Daricha Foundation – West Bengal and Jharkhand

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The Santals, a proto-Austroloid racial group,  are the largest tribe in West Bengal accounting  for more than 50% of the state`s tribal population.

Other than West Bengal, their major concentration is in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Tripura.  In Assam, they are not classified separately as a tribe and their lot is clubbed with the generic “Tea Tribes of Assam.” There is also a sizeable Santal community in neighboring Bangladesh, and a smaller group in Nepal.

Although they reside in several districts of West Bengal, the majority of Santals are found in Paschim Medinipur District.  Their primary occupation today is daily agricultural and manual labour, though there is an increasing move among the youth towards better education and self sustenance. […]

Santals have a rich cultural heritage and Santal dance and music traditionally revolved around Santal religious celebrations. They have been able to preserve this, in the most part, over the centuries, despite waves of migrations, invasions by the Mughals and the British, influence of Hinduism and Christian missionaries on traditional animist beliefs and later, urbanization. […]

Source: Daricha Foundation
Address: http://www.daricha.org/tribes.aspx?ID=TR140630204053&Name=Santals
Date Visited: 29 June 2020

“[A] common perception of conversion, prevalent in India, is that all conversions take place only among deprived lower caste or tribal groups, which are considered more susceptible to allurement or coercion. The reality of upper caste conversions is ignored in this climate of cynicism.”– Ivy Imogene Hansdak in Pandita Ramabai Saraswati: the convert as ‘heretic’

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