(Last Updated on : 09/10/2009)
Sauria Paharia tribes reside in the mountainous and wooden pathways of several districts of Bihar. These include Rajmahal, Pakur, Godda. Being one of the nine primitive tribal communities of Bihar, Sauria Paharia is a part of Paharia tribes. The Sauria Paharia tribes are scattered in different parts like Godda and Sahebganj of Santhal Pargana Plateau. Following the tradition of most of the tribal communities of the whole of Indian subcontinent, these Sauria Paharia too takes up the occupation of cultivation. Shifting cultivation is the most popular one. In order to facilitate the process of the shifting cultivation, all these Sauria Paharia tribes create their settlements on the hilltops and these too inside the jungle areas. They grow millets namely Bajra, maize, pulses, vegetables etc. Apart from cultivation, they are also engaged in fishing during the summer season. Some are also engaged as labourers and in government services.
It becomes obvious that since all these Sauria Paharia tribes are farmers, their festivals and several of their social rituals too revolve around the harvesting and its related activities For the sake of good harvest, they worship the spirits in order to appease them so that they could not bring about destruction any further. The work of starting the harvesting follows immediate afterwards. The Sauria Paharia tribes are followers of animism and some follow Hinduism
as the main religion. So very arduously, they follow several Hindu traditions like reverence of one God, vegetarian food etc. They believe in witch craft and evil spirits. They sacrifice fowls and animals to appease spirits. Several sacred centres are situated in and around their residing states. They celebrate different festivals like Ghaghra Puja, Bandana etc. All the members of the community celebrate these festivals with great pleasure and clad in beautiful clothes, they enjoy the tribal songs and dances in the community.
There are several villages of these Sauria Paharia tribes that are scattered here and there and not cloistered in one place. In every village the chief leader is chosen who is popularly known as the 'Mukhia' who gathers the revenue of the land from the villagers. However, it is also to be noted that there is no permanent religious head amongst the Sauria Paharia tribes. The Sauria Paharia tribes have ardent faith in clan system, better known as 'Gotra'. Most of these Sauria Paharia tribes converse with each other in the language of 'Malatri' or 'Malto' which has got a close resemblance with the language of the Oran tribes. Malto language is of Dravidian language
group. There are quite a few Sauria Paharia tribes who also converse in quite a few of the indigenous local languages. In their local dialect the Sauria Paharia tribes are known as 'Maler'.
The Sauria Paharia tribes have plethora of songs, dances, religious rituals and social customs etc. As far as the functions of marriage etc they follow an elaborate and traditional format. As per the tradition of the Sauria Paharia tribes, the eldest son of the family naturally becomes the legal heir of the property of his father after his demise. In the marriage, divorce is permissible and also re-marriages are predominant amongst majority of this Sauria Paharia tribal community.