When I was posted in the West Shinghbhum district ( now in the state of Jharkhand ) in late nineties , I heard the name of an aboriginal tribe called BIRHOR . Their actions appeared little peculiar to me because they preferred to live in the hut made up of bamboos and dry vines and herbs of the forest despite the fact that the Government had built pacca shelters for each family of the tribe . They were scattered in the areas of Sonua , Goerkera , Chota Nagara , Bada Nagara ( mostly in the forest areas of Saranda ) in Jharkhand and in some parts of West Bengal , Orisha , Chhatisgarh and Bihar . Traditionally nomadic , speaking Birhor language , the BIRHOR tribe has population of about 10726 in the state of Jharkhand , about 3104 in the state of Chhatisgarh , about 2241 in the state of West Bengal , about 596 in the state of Orisha , and about 377 in the state of Bihar . Etymologically speaking , the word BIRHOR is made up of two words BIR and HOR . BIR means Jungle and HOR means Men . It means ‘men living in jangle’ or ‘jangle people’ as such .
Ethnologically speaking , the BIRHOR tribe is more closure to the Kharbar tribe as they call themselves their brothers because both of them claim to have been decedent of the Sun God . They are akin to tribes like Santhals , Mundas , and Hoe . They are smallest of altogether 30 tribal inhabitants of the state of Jharkhand . The literacy rate in Hindi of the BIRHOR tribe was 0.02 % in 1971 which has , now , reached up to 10 % as such . When I was there in Manoharpur , I had heard that , anyhow , a boy of this tribe had cracked matriculation examinations with a lot of efforts done by the Government . Now literacy rate might have increased considerably as such . Traditionally having magico-religious beliefs , the BIRHOR tribe believes in SING BONGA ( the Sun God ) and HAPRAM ( Ancestral Spirits ) .To them HAPRAM should be placed below BONGA . They believe that the entire universe has been created by the SING BONGA and his wife CHANDU BONGA. They worship their God in the Hindi month of Pous and Magh .
Nomadic gathering and hunting are the sources of their day-to-day subsistence .They used to trap rabbits and tittirs . They also collect and sell honey . Rope making from vines and selling them in the local Haat are a few economical activities they prefer to do . Now with the aid and assistance of the Government and with their constant encouragement , they have started some agricultural activities which had helped them to provide stability in their way of living . Thus , as per socio-economic trends , the BIRHOR tribe can , now , divided into two categories : 1. The wandering BIRHOR are called UTHLUS , 2. The settled BIRHOR are called JANGHIS .
NOTE : THE SOURCES OF THE BLOG IS SOME WRITTEN MATERIALS …..ARBIND KUMAR , THE BLOGGER .