(Last Updated on : 03/09/2011)
Karmali tribe is one of the artisan tribes of Chhotanagpur. They smelt iron and prepare iron tools. Iron tools are supplied to the tribes who are engaged in agricultural tribes and castes. They have been associated with the occupation of the craft making.
Culture of Karmali Tribe
Karmali tribe erect their houses with mud wall that is thatched with bamboo and tiles. Their houses are rectangular that has wooden doors which they prepare themselves. There are no separate cattle sheds and they are accommodated in the Veranda of the house. As they rear and eat pigs, the Munda and other tribes consider them untouchable and do not have food and water relation.
They also weave different types of baskets. They prepare sickle, knife, karahi, cholani, dabu, axes, Basula, Rukhani, Bhala, Ber, Garasa, bow and arrow. The women wear ornaments in neck; earn nose, hand, wrist, feet and fingers that are made of brass, bronze, steel, thread, shell and seeds.
Karmali follow the rule of monogamy. If there is a problem of barrenness, widowhood and widower hood, bigamy and tri-gamy are allowed. They also abide by the rule of tribe endogamy and clan exogamy. Inter tribe marriage is not allowed. Karmali tribes are divided into different exogamous clan groups like kachhuar Kaithawar, Sona, Sandhwar, Khalkhohar, Karhar and Tirkey.
Marriage of Karmali Tribe
Generally the marriage mate is acquired by bride price. This marriage is settled by the fathers or guardians of the boy and the girl. The bride price is paid in cash and in kind. In kind things like dresses and ornaments of bride, clothes of bride's parents, brothers, sisters and grand parents are given. Rice, pulse, vegetable and goat are also given in order to provide feast and hospitality to community members. The father of the boy approaches the father of the girl at the time of marriage. When bride is settled, the village priest Munda or the Baiga is called and a suitable marriage date is fixed. Groom's male relatives pay the bride price.
The ritual of Mittikora or soil digging is done by the female kins in the both houses. The hearths are prepared from the soil as it is a symbol of establishment of separate house after marriage. The Marwa ritual is done before the day of marriage. In this a Marwa is erected in the middle of the courtyard with bamboos, leaves and grasses.
The couple needs to observe taboos regarding bathing and food. Beautificatory rituals in which oil; Haldi and Ubatan are applied over the body of the bride and the groom by the female kins.
The groom is brought in Marwa. The bride and the groom are brought in the Marwa by putting steps in baskets. They seek blessings of the family deity and all kins present there. Community members share the feast. The bride stays there for a week. Thereafter bride's father goes there to bring her back. For a year she remains in her own house.
Economy of Karmali Tribe
Income is generated by making iron-tools, sharpening iron tools and repairing iron-tools. They do this on daily wages basis. Items of house hold use and agricultural implements, cutting implements like axe, sickle and war weapons like Bhala, Ber, Garasa are prepared. However now they are facing problems in procuring raw material. Now daily wage earning has become a source of income.
Religion of Karmali Tribe
Singbonga is the chief deity of the Karmali. Pahan is their religious priest and head. Other deities include Grambonga, Dihwar bonga, Nagbona, Beghbonga, Banshbonga and so on. Karmali tribe also believes in a number of ancestral spirits. Their ancestral spirits reside in the house. In order to please the spirits and deities they offer sacrifices with the help of the priest. They also believe in witch craft.
The Karmali celebrate festivals like Sarhul, Karma, Jitia, Dasehra, Nawakhani, Phagu, Ramnawami, Vishwakarma Puja.
Political Organisation of Karmali Tribe
The Karmali tribes have their community Panchayat in which all heads of the families are members. The head is called Mahato who is also the village head. In this Panchayat cases related to adultery, rape, extra marital relation, break of incest taboos, division of property, divorce, are heard and decided.
Kinship of Karmali Tribe
Kinship system of Karmali tribe presents a model of relationship that is based on parentage and marriage. In Karmali society one finds the system of tracing descent from the earliest ancestors. Therefore here lineage, Kul and clan are consanguine kin groups. Lineage and clan are patrilateral in nature. The Karmali tribes use classificatory kinship terminology. Kins are categorised on the basis of nearness and distance.