Friday, May 1, 2009


The Santals are one of the largest ethnic groups in India. They occupy primarily the Chotanagpur Plateau, with their settlements distributed over an area of 350 miles, from the Ganges to the Baitarani, between long. 86 degrees-88 degrees E and lat. 22 degrees-26 degrees N. Politically, this region extends through the states of Bihar, West Bengal, and northern Orissa. Within each of these states, the SANTAL population is concentrated as follows: Bihar--districts of SANTAL Parganas, Manbhum, Singhbhum, Bhagalpur, Hazaribagh, and Monghyr; West Bengal--districts of Bankura, Birbhum, and Midnapore; Orissa--districts of Mayurbhanj and Balasore.
Their social organization of the community is very complete; each village has its headman or manjhi, with his assistant the paranik; the jogmanghi is charged with the supervision of the morals of the young men and women; the naeke is the village priest, the godet is the village constable. Over a group of villages is the pargana or tribal chief. The Santal are divided into following exogamous sects/clans with respect to their surnames and Totem associated 1. Hansda 2. Murmu 3. Kisku 4. Hembram 5. Soren 6. Marndi 7. Tudu 8. Besra 9. Baskey 10. Pauria 11. Chaney 12. Bedea. Their social observances are complex, e.g. while some relations treat each other with the greatest reserve, between others the utmost freedom of intercourse is allowed.
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