Birjiya [Birjia] is the language spoken by Asur tribe/ethnic group, just as Kurukh is spoken by Oraon group, Santali by Santal group, Mundari by Munda group, Ho by Ho group and Kharia by Kharia group. These are broadly identified by sociolinguists and anthropologists as belonging to two distinct linguistic and ethnic families:
a. Mundari (Santal, Munda, Ho and Birjiya)
b. Adi-Dravidian (Oraon, Kharia).
Santali is very similar to Mundari, Ho and Birjiya (i.e. mutually comprehensible) but different from Kurukh and Kharia.
The Chotanagpur region of Jharkhand has many tribal groups living close to each other. A unique phenomenon of this region is the emergence of a hybrid language called “Nagpuri” or “Sadri”, which is used as lingua franca. It is a mix of many tribal languages and Hindi. It’s a bit like the Creole used among migrants in some areas of the world. Purists dislike the Nagpuri/ Sadri language and are trying to revive their mother-tongue.
In Santal Parganas (Dumka) region, there are two main tribal groups – the Santal and the Paharia. Paharias are considered backward and live on hills while Santals are considered more advanced and live on the plains. The Santals see themselves as dominant and do not intermarry with Paharias, though they do intermarry with Oraon and Munda groups (which are the most advanced among Chotanagpur tribes).
There are other small groups also in Chotanagpur like the Birhor of Netarhat and the Chik Baraik. The Birhor and Paharia communities are among the “Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups” (PVTGs) identified by the government, entitiling them to special welfare schemes.
Even among different tribal groups, there is some friction and some sense of animosity. The Santals and Mundas are supposed to be most “martial” because the two great tribal rebellions occurred among them – the Santal Hul of 1855-56 (led by two brothers named Sido and Kanu Murmu) and the Munda Ulgulan of 1872-1901 (led by Birsa Bhagwan).
Courtesy: Dr. Ivy Hansdak, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia University New Delhi (email 17 March 2017)
Find up-to-date information provided by, for and about Indian authors, researchers, officials, and educators | More search options >>
Search tips: in the search field seen below, combine the name of any particular state, language or region with that of any tribal (Adivasi) community; add keywords of special interest (health, nutrition endangered language, illegal mining, sacred grove); learn about the rights of Scheduled Tribes such as the Forest Rights Act (FRA); and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, women’s rights, and children’s right to education; specify any other issue or news item you want to learn more about (biodiversity, climate change, ecology, economic development, ethnobotany, ethnomedicine, global warming, effective measures to prevent rural poverty, bonded labour, and human trafficking).
For a list of websites included in a single search, click here. To search Indian periodicals, magazines, web portals and other sources safely, click here. To find publishing details for Shodhganga’s PhD search results, click here >>
- Adivasi Academy & Museum of Adivasi Voice at Tejgadh | Lecture “A View of Higher Education in India”
- Appropriate education for Adivasi children – the Vidyodaya School model at Gudalur
- eBook | Background guide
- Childhood | Children’s books | Childrens rights: UNICEF India | Safe search
- Education and literacy | Right to education
- eJournals, eBooks & reports
- eJournal | Writing and teaching Santali in different alphabets: A success story calling for a stronger sense of self-confidence
- Endangered language
- Games and leisure time
- Misconceptions | “Casteism” and its effect on tribal communities
- Multi-lingual education | Residential school | Ekalavya
- Santali education | Teaching Santal children by Boro Baski
- Storytelling | Success story
- Tagore and rural culture
- Unesco | Unicef | Unicef India | United Nations
- United Nations International Days and Weeks
- Video | “Nations don’t make us human – languages make us human”: Ganesh Devy
- Women | Safe search | President Droupadi Murmu on women’s empowerment
Tips for using interactive maps
- toggle to normal view (from reader view) should the interactive map not be displayed by your tablet, smartphone or pc browser
- for details and hyperlinks click on the rectangular button (left on the map’s header)
- scroll and click on one of the markers for information of special interest
- explore India’s tribal cultural heritage with the help of another interactive map >>
Tip: click on any red marker for details on endangered languages in a particular region of India.
Please note: the facts and figures cited (via hyperlinks) links call for updates and fact checking >>
Learn more: Endangered languages: Peoples’ Linguistic Survey of India >>