1914: Tana Bhagat Movement

Just like the Birsa’s religious movement among the Mundas, a similar religious movement gained among the Oraon known as Tana Bhagat movement or in its earlier phase it was called as Kurukh Dharam (literally the Original religion of the Kurukh or Oraons).
The Kurukh Dharam Movement was apparently initiated in 1914 by a young Oraon tribesman known as Jatra Oraon who declared that in a dream Dharmes (the Supreme God) told him to give up Matia (ghost-finding and exorcism) and the belief in spirits, to abjure all animal sacrifices, animal food and liquor, and to give up ploughing their fields which entailed cruelty to cows and oxen; but failed to save the tribe from famine and poverty, and no more to work as coolies or laborer under men of other castes and tribes. Like Birsa Bhagwan, Jatra proclaimed that a new day was drawing near, and those who did not count themselves among his followers would be destroyed. Dharmes had further ordered Jatra to teach his people the mantras, or songs and incantations and thereby to cure their diseases and other afflictions.
A component in the Tana Bhagat religion was their recognition of one god, Mahadev or Bhagawan though some of their prayers include the invocation of various Hindu Gods like Sita, Indra, Ganesh and Jagarnath, etc.
What constituted the initial strength of the new faith and contributed to its phenomenal success in the beginning was the combination of a strong desire for delivery from the bondage of capricious and blood-thirsty tribal spirits with perhaps a still stronger desire for delivery from the burden of what they regarded as an oppressive and inequitable land-system and land laws. Indeed what appeared to be most appealing to the people was the promise held out by the originators of the movements that through Bhakti to Bhagwan (God) they would be able to raise the present degraded social position of their community to the higher level occupied by the Hindus and Christian converts among their fellow and obtain relief from their long-standing agrarian grievances and the present wretchedness of their economic position.
Tana Bhagat with their Traditional Musical Instruments
The leader of this movement maintained that the tribal spirits and deities whom they had been worshiping were not helping them to alleviate the social and economic ills to which they had fallen victims, and indeed affirmed that these deities were responsible for the present state of degradation. Proceeding according to the rationale that those gods were in reality not Oraon; but alien deities that had been imported from Munda religion, the originators of the Tana Bhagat movement embarked on a programme of proselytization and agitation for the exorcism of the foreign spirits. The cult emphasized a return to the original or real Oraon religion a sin its early appellation of Kurukh Dharam or Sarna Dharam.

Descendant of Tana Bhagat

One important feature of the Tana Bhagats was their active entanglement with the various Congress sessions, which they attended, and their close association with the important Congress leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Babu Rajendra Prasad. It may also be mentioned that Tana Bhagat movement emphasized active rebellion of their members. They stopped payment of their landlords and ceased ploughing their lands. In addition, the new movement organized ghost-hunting drives at night in an attempt to get rid of evil spirits. It did not take long before the meetings of the Tana Bhagats were regarded with suspicion and exaggerated into disloyal and “illegal” gatherings.

In due course the Tana Bhagat movement broke up into a number of smaller units, some of these, like that of Sibu Bhagat were extremists and very orthodox and refused to use cattle and have in general given up the cultivation of land while the other groups are less orthodox and have not given up the use of jewelry. 




  1. আদিবাসীদের অধিকার নিয়ে আমরা যদি সংগঠিত হতে না পারি তাহলে আমাদের দুঃখ চিরকাল।আজকে রাজনৈতিক দলেরা আমাদেরকে ভোটার হিসেবে ব্যবহার করে নির্বাচনে জয় লাভ করলে আর চিনে না।খাস জমি ভূমিহিনদের পাওয়ার কথা থাকলেও তারা পায় না।বাড়ির সামনের খাস পুকুর লিজ দেওয়া হয় অথচ আদিবাসীরা পায় না।কিন্তু কেন?তাহলে কি আমরা মানুষ না।সভ্যতার এ যুগে আমরা কেন অবহেলিত।চাই আমাদের বাঁচার অধিকার।
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bangladesh ORAON students Association(BOSA)



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