Saturday, 14 May 2016

Are Indian Tribals Hindus? - Part 4 The Eastern Heartland



V. The Eastern Heartland

Finally, we come to that part of India which is at the centre of the whole question: the region comprising the states of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Orissa. Here we come across the first major “Hindu Category Three” religion followed by a large number of tribals in Jharkhand, spilling over into the neighbouring states: The Sarna religion. As Jharkhand is the core area, we must examine the figures for the three states separately, to get a clearer picture. Also note the fact that this is the part of the Indian heartland where the Christian missionary military apparatus has struck in the deepest (not counting the East, which we will examine later), preying on both the “Hindu Category One” tribals as well as the “Hindu Category Three” tribals (although their modus operandi in the two cases must obviously contain some differences). Hence, there is a three-way division of the tribals into “Hindu Category One”, converted Christian, and (in the column entitled “Others”) “Hindu Category Three”.

The Sarna religion is found mainly among the large Santal, Oraon, Munda and Ho tribes, but has adherents among most of the other tribes as well. We will first see the tribes in which more than a third of the population belong to the “Others” category:

TRIBE
States
Total Population
%age of Hindus
%age of Christians
%age of “Others”
%age of H+C+O
Santal
J
30,48,657
60.67
5.22
34.00
99.89
Oraon
J
16,07,311
31.55
16.45
52.00
100.00
Munda
J
12,05,682
29.51
21.78
48.62
99.91
Santal
O
8,92,456
50.07
1.29
48.61
99.97
Ho
J
8,55,404
8.73
1.75
89.38
99.86
Bhumij
J
2,15,898
58.88
0.81
40.21
99.90
Asur
J
13,576
23.90
15.74
60.28
99.92

Next, the tribes in which the “Others” category is between 20% and 33%:

TRIBE
States
Total Population
%age of Hindus
%age of Christians
%age of “Others”
%age of H+C+O
Santal
WB
28,28,524
65.51
2.56
31.84
99.91
Lohra
J
2,32,742
76.15
2.46
21.23
99.84
Kharia
J
2,05,227
37.61
40.19
21.97
99.77
Binjhia
J
18,688
49.83
22.84
27.14
99.81
Mahli
O
15,705
74.61
1.79
23.46
99.86
Gorait
J
5,401
55.10
21.87
22.79
99.76
Bathudi
J
3,694
74.53
1.84
23.42
99.79

Next, the tribes in which the “Others” category is between 10% and 20%:

TRIBE
States
Total Population
%age of Hindus
%age of Christians
%age of “Others”
%age of H+C+O
Munda
WB
5,17,299
74.15
11.12
14.42
99.69
Mahli
J
1,50,769
78.06
3.07
18.76
99.89
Malto
J
1,11,073
81.42
7.93
10.29
99.64
Chik Baraik
J
61,342
72.14
9.12
18.45
99.71
Gond
J
60,260
78.56
1.56
19.77
99.89
Kisan
J
43,177
74.44
5.31
18.83
98.58
Ho
WB
16,627
85.88
2.00
11.67
99.55
Karmali
WB
11,809
81.40
1.63
15.21
98.24
Birjia
J
7,018
64.41
21.52
13.61
99.54
Saora
J
6,078
78.05
3.67
18.21
99.93
Kui Khond
J
5,533
83.41
2.93
13.05
99.39

Next, we will examine the figures for the other tribes in the three states, first Jharkhand:

TRIBE
States
Total Population
%age of Hindus
%age of Christians
%age of “Others”
%age of H+C+O
Chero
J
95,766
99.09
0.10
0.77
99.96
Bedia
J
95,378
90.55
0.19
9.25
99.99
Karmali
J
67,555
90.95
1.35
7.16
99.46
Sauria Pahadia
J
62,762
81.34
10.44
7.61
99.41
Parhaiya
J
42,553
90.92
2.35
6.66
99.93
Korwa
J
36,259
88.25
2.25
9.09
99.59
Kora
J
29,906
86.83
3.11
9.23
99.17
Birhor
J
11,715
80.16
11.81
7.78
99.75
Baiga
J
5,593
90.27
1.63
7.62
99.52
Banjara
J
632
98.42
0.00
1.42
99.84

Next, West Bengal:

TRIBE
States
Total Population
%age of Hindus
%age of Christians
%age of “Others”
%age of H+C+O
Oraon
WB
8,46,561
75.90
16.02
7.40
99.32
Bhumij
WB
4,08,764
99.32
0.36
0.17
99.85
Kora
WB
1,53,012
93.60
1.87
4.38
99.85
Mahli
WB
1,28,672
90.46
5.85
3.16
99.47
Lodha
WB
96,420
84.11
14.94
0.81
99.86
Bedia
WB
67,067
98.75
0.32
0.85
99.92
Saora
WB
65,471
96.56
1.10
1.21
98.87
Lohra
WB
55,082
90.14
1.76
6.23
98.13
Malto
WB
49,536
90.71
8.82
0.27
99.80
Mech
WB
42,279
62.43
37.28
0.11
99.82
Kharwar
WB
29,140
94.62
3.70
0.63
98.95
Chik Baraik
WB
26,351
91.11
5.56
3.17
99.84
Bhutia
WB
24,084
0.00
0.28
0.00
0.28
Rabha
WB
21,529
85.90
9.82
0.61
96.33
Parhaiya
WB
11,286
97.07
1.45
1.17
99.69
Baiga
WB
10,838
96.37
0.79
0.19
97.35
Gond
WB
8,861
97.02
1.89
0.84
99.75
Kisan
WB
8,643
95.47
3.70
0.63
99.80
Korwa
WB
7,072
92.29
5.06
2.48
99.83
Asur
WB
6,899
92.52
5.61
0.00
98.13
Garo
WB
5,174
44.76
53.94
0.32
99.02
Gorait
WB
4,777
94.43
3.56
1.42
99.41
Chero
WB
3,321
95.48
3.23
0.00
98.71
Hajang
WB
2,274
84.26
7.30
0.84
92.40
Mru
WB
2,228
94.21
3.32
1.53
99.06
Birjia
WB
1,771
93.79
3.78
0.40
97.97
Birhor
WB
1,381
98.26
1.45
0.15
99.86
Chakma
WB
441
75.06
7.48
0.00
82.54

[The percentage of Buddhists in three of the above tribes in West Bengal is noteworthy: Bhutia 99.72%, Chakma 15.87%, and Hajang 7.40%]

And next, Orissa:

TRIBE
States
Total Population
%age of Hindus
%age of Christians
%age of “Others”
%age of H+C+O
Kui Khond
O
15,73,579
82.62
17.05
0.29
99.96
Gond*
O
9,71,000
93.78
1.03
5.09
99.90
Shabar*
O
5,92,000
84.09
15.60
0.29
99.98
Kolha
O
5,68,747
92.57
0.70
6.71
99.98
Saora
O
5,53,983
87.09
12.23
0.65
99.97
Munda
O
5,50,748
73.08
22.95
3.96
99.99
Paroja*
O
4,88,000
98.20
1.61
0.14
99.95
Bhottada
O
4,19,464
95.35
4.60
0.05
100.00
Kisan
O
3,60,328
92.55
6.74
0.68
99.97
Oraon
O
3,60,072
61.16
36.30
2.54
100.00
Bhuiya*
O
3,48,000
99.62
0.11
0.27
100.00
Bhumij*
O
2,50,000
90.77
0.75
8.39
99.91
Kharia
O
2,30,331
68.83
30.57
0.56
99.96
Binjhal*
O
1,60,000
81.73
17.99
0.24
99.96
Bhumia*
O
1,52,000
96.68
3.21
0.07
99.96
Sounti*
O
1,35,000
99.78
0.10
0.06
99.94
Koya
O
1,30,735
96.11
3.77
0.11
99.99
Gadaba*
O
97,000
97.41
2.11
0.38
99.90
Juang
O
49,899
99.59
0.28
0.10
99.97
Mundari
O
43,398
85.09
11.54
3.37
100.00
Mirdha*
O
41,000
98.67
1.31
0.02
100.00
Kotia
O
39,982
99.19
0.20
0.59
99.98
Omanatya*
O
36,000
99.42
0.42
0.15
99.99
Dal*
O
28,000
99.72
0.00
0.24
99.96
Konda Dhora
O
26,920
98.24
1.59
0.11
99.94
Holva
O
19,114
98.20
1.60
0.09
99.89
Matia*
O
18,000
99.97
0.01
0.02
100.00
Kol Lohra
O
17,134
93.77
2.08
3.90
99.75
Dharua
O
16,081
99.88
0.12
0.00
100.00
Pentia*
O
16,000
96.88
2.14
0.98
100.00
Bhunjia
O
15,058
97.80
0.55
1.54
99.89
Lodha*
O
14,000
99.73
0.26
0.01
100.00
Kora*
O
14,000
93.93
1.77
4.09
99.79
Kawar
O
13,716
98.51
1.11
0.24
99.86
Jatapu
O
12,724
82.44
12.02
5.21
99.67
Binjhia
O
11,316
97.86
0.08
2.05
99.99
Bondo Poroja
O
10,238
98.43
1.24
0.28
99.95
Kuli*
O
8,700
98.33
1.14
0.26
99.73
Kol
O
7,934
86.25
12.04
1.56
99.85
Didayi
O
7,647
99.87
0.00
0.12
99.99
Malhar*
O
7,000
98.78
0.12
0.25
99.15
Parenga*
O
6,800
99.01
0.71
0.28
100.00
Bagata
O
6,673
94.89
3.43
1.59
99.91
Gandia
O
5,015
98.96
0.64
0.38
99.98
Kharwar*
O
4,600
96.87
1.03
1.87
99.77
Rajuar*
O
4,300
99.96
0.03
0.01
100.00
Korwa*
O
2,800
97.96
1.02
0.97
99.95
Desau Bhumij*
O
2,600
97.27
0.00
1.84
99.11
Tharua*
O
2,200
95.54
2.27
1.49
99.30
Ghara*
O
2,200
97.02
2.41
0.44
99.87
Baiga
O
2,169
90.73
7.28
1.75
99.76
Mankirdia*
O
2,100
91.17
3.34
5.49
100.00
Mankidi*
O
1,600
90.90
0.29
8.80
99.99
Birhor*
O
1,400
87.81
7.37
4.57
99.75
Chenchu*
O
400
99.69
0.02
0.23
99.94

 
[The tribal names marked with an asterisk (*) represent tribes of Orissa which, for some unknown reason, are completely missing in the Joshua Project figures for Orissa. This mysterious anomaly in respect of the figures for Orissa is in sharp contrast with the otherwise meticulously detailed figures for all the other areas. The figures for these tribes in Orissa therefore had to be gleaned from the figures given in the Joshua Project data for the individual tribes] 

To sum up the data for the whole of India analysed so far:

In the whole of India to the north, west and south of the Jharkhand-Orissa line, the tribals are almost exclusively Hindu Category One (and a few tribes in the Himalayan region, Hindu-Buddhist, or Hindu Category One and Two), and any conversions to Christianity or (in a few areas like Kashmir) Islam are exclusively from Hindu tribals. The only possible Hindu Category Three people are a section of Gonds, but even among the Gonds they number only 5.99% of the Gond population of the Western-Central heartland with Hindus forming 93.21% of the tribe. In almost every state, the percentage of Hindus among the tribals is far higher than the percentage of Hindus among the non-tribal population, so that the tribals are more emphatically Hindu than the non-tribals.

In the eastern heartland of Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal, we find the first important Hindu Category Three religion, the Sarna religion. This is geographically centred in Jharkhand, mainly among some important tribes like the Santal, Munda, Oraon and Ho, and found in some significant numbers in many of the other Jharkhand tribes, with a spill over into neighbouring Orissa and West Bengal. But an examination of the figures (even taking into consideration the large scale conversions to Christianity) shows that Hinduism is still the predominant religion even among the tribals of the eastern heartland of India, certainly in Orissa and West Bengal:

STATE
Total Tribal Population
%age of Hindus
%age of Christians
%age of Others
Total of H+C+O
Jharkhand
70,87,068
39.8
14.5
45.1
99.4
West Bengal
81,45,081
74.6
6.1
17.1
97.8
Orissa
44,06,794
88.2
7.4
4.2
99.8

The percentage of Hindus in the total population of the three states is as follows: Jharkhand 68.57%, Orissa 94.35%, and West Bengal 72.47%. In West Bengal, the percentage of Hindu Category One among the tribals is still more than the percentage of Hindu Category One in the non-tribal population, but in Orissa and Jharkhand (apart from the large scale Christian proselytization) it is less, because of the presence of the Sarna Hindu Category Three religion, the only such case in the whole of mainland India excluding the North East.

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