Munda - History and Cultural Relations



The view that the Munda originally entered India from Southeast Asia is based mainly on their linguistic affiliations; their own oral traditions give them instead a western origin (from Uttar Pradesh). There is some evidence of tribal Kingdoms in pre-British times (e.g., the Ho/Munda kingdom of Chota Nagpur, and the Bhumij states, especially Barabhum). Mainly, however, the Munda have lived, often fairly autonomously, under the rule of outside powers. Most Munda are conventionally regarded as tribes rather than castes, despite the definitional problems this gives scholarship. It is an identity most of them promote themselves, partly because of the legal advantages they gain through being on the list of Scheduled Tribes, but mainly because of opposition to "Hindu" (i.e., upper-caste) officials and landowners, who, from early British times, have displaced many tribals from their land. This strongly tribal and anti-Hindu identity has led to rebellion in the past (the Ho rebellion of the 1830s, the Santal rebellion of 1855-1858, the Birsa Munda movement of 1895-1900), but today it has become translated into political action through the Santal-dominated Jharkhand Party, which agitates, among other things, for a specifically Adivasi (Tribal) province. Despite this, there are a number of Munda groups who have sought to gain caste status by reforming customs (banning alcohol, public dancing, cross-cousin Marriage) and acquiring a specialist occupation such as basket making. These attempts to improve their lot earn them the contempt of the "tribal" Munda and, since they are mainly artisan castes, ironically lower their status below that of the Tribals in the eyes of the upper castes, since the tribals at least are not involved in a polluting occupation. Only the Bhumij, having been rulers, can convincingly claim a moderately high (Kshatriya) status.


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Santosh Hemrom
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Jun 30, 2015 @ 5:05 am
The identity of the Munda community has to be focused clearly. In Bangladesh Munda communities are living sine a long time. But it is controversial to me that the Munda peoples say the Pahan also the Munda. On the other hand the Pahan people focus themself as Pahan. I think their clan is same. The Munda's are the old communities of this sub-continent. My question is that is there written script of the Mundas? How many classifications of Munda language? Some time it is observed that the language of Pahan and the Oraon are same. What is the real facts of being so? In India how many areas that Munda peoples living there? Such so many question's answer have to be cleared for knowing this community.

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