Oraons: Political & Social Institutions (Part-III)

The houses in the villages were built mostly of wood, bamboos and leaves of trees. In fact, the vast majority of houses are built of mud and the roofs are tiled. On the walls of some of these houses, it is common to find drawings of human beings, horses, elephants and men riding horses, a row of men dancing, etc. Most people keep their clothes and other possessions in a bamboo basket called ‘harka’. Most of the people lived in spacious houses. Almost all the houses have a courtyard and a verandah on all sides. In our houses, one can find a trident and a religious Sarna flag fixed at the courtyard. Most of the houses had separate sheds for cattle located in one corner of the house. The cattle had separate doors built especially for them. Each room of the house is smeared daily with white soil and cow dung to keep it clean.
In almost every Oraons’ villages, one can easily find one or more Akhra (dancing place). Often in each tola of a village, one can find a separate Akhra. We have rich collection of song and related dance traditions; these vary according to the seasons and occasions. In these joyous community festivities, dominated by songs and dance routines, everyone in the village, come together to participate at these akhra, irrespective of their age, gender, and economic status.
One more Oraons’ institution called Dhumkuria were kind of bachelors’ dormitories that worked as a kind of finishing school for the younger generation of Oraon in a village. It has completely disappeared, as it came under vicious attack led by negative propaganda by the people who wanted to attack our society.
We are happy-go-lucky type of race, always finding an excuse to throw a community feasts. These feasts and festivals are expression of their joy over a good harvest or a happy event in his village. Among most of the Adivasis, beef and pork were considered a taboo, but mutton, goat-meat, fowl, and few other birds were considered delicacies.
The ‘Haria’ drink has an important place in the social system of the Oraons. Whenever a feast is to be given on the birth of a child, marriage or in connection with the funeral, large stocks of Haria is very important item. It is a cheap drink and in the past it used to add valuable vitamin to our diet. This traditional drink Haria is prepared by using simple fermentation process and ingredients like rice or mahua, etc; it is low in alcohol content and only after consuming large quantities can one become intoxicated.  This popular drink can be easily prepared in the home by means of a very simple fermentation process.
Off-late we have seen that rightly or wrongly the whole Adivasi community have been painted as bunch of ‘drunkard’; the young Adivasis have the added responsibility to erase the irreparable harm done by such judgemental propaganda by the vested interest. They need to show the way, by becoming a responsible Adivasis community member and limiting the damages done by such misinformation.

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