History narrates that Paharias were the original inhabitants of Rajmahal hills. The British brought Santhals to this area for combating the violent opposition of Paharias. Paharias and Santhals have always shared a hostile relationship and to control their aggression a number of ex-army men settled in this area. Mistrust between these communities has always been an issue of the Culture of Pakur District.
Social Structure of Santhal Tribe
The people belonging to Santhal tribe are quite progressive and well settled. Traditional leadership and close knit communities are the most prominent features of this community. A section of this community has converted into Christians and leads a comparatively modern way of life. This style of living has also introduced modern political system. The people are hard working and during off season migrate to Assam or West Bengal. Although Santhals are settled cultivators but modern technologies could not affect their practices. Gathering forest products are the second most important occupation of Santhals. Women play a crucial role in the society and enjoy rights in customs and traditions. During religious sacrifices women are not allowed except in the times when these sacrifices are held at the houses of family gods or ancestors. However, with the impact of modern lifestyle Santhal women have acquired new identity in the fields of education, science, art and culture, games and sports etc.
Social Structure of Paharia Tribe
Paharia Community have experienced a huge setback owing to their past struggle with British and Santhals. They mostly dwell on the hills and are inaccessible for the district administration. Suriya Paharia is referred to a section of this community who live at the foothills and are also known as Hillman, hill race or Landers. The main occupation of Pahariyas is cultivation where they practice slash and burn cultivation methods. Apart from this, they also gather forest products for their survival. Sauria Paharias have taken up minor Government jobs. Education is widely spread among the people of the tribe but they lag behind in terms of higher education. Mal nutrition, diseases and gambling have cast a devastating impact on this tribe.
Marriage system in Pakur District
Marriage system among the tribal people is guided by their typical customs and rituals. All sorts of marriages are practiced in the society including widow remarriage, polyandry, monogamy, bigamy, polygamy etc. For Santhals, marriage is a social necessity and these people get their children married at a small age. Adult marriages occur only in exceptional cases. Divorce is also a known concept in tribal communities.
Attires of Pakur District
Tribal folks have peculiar attires. Females wear panchi (upper garment) and Parhan (lower garment) whereas Bhagwan is worn by men traditionally. Tribal ornaments are also very popular. Apart from this, modern attires are also common in this region which includes dhoti, Kurta - Pajama and shirts for men and saris for women. Modern European dresses are worn by the higher strata of the society.
Dialects of Pakur District
Mainly four languages are spoken by the people belonging to this district namely Malt, Bengali, Hindustani and Santhali. Santhal language belongs to munds family. It is uniform in nature and is slightly influenced by Aryan languages. They do not have any written literature. It follows Roman script with a little usage of Devnagri script and the grammar is still in course of development. Languages of Paharias are collective known as Malto which comprise of various fractions. It is mostly used by Mal pahariyas and Sauria Paharia. Malto is a Dravidian language bearing stark resemblance with kurukh language of oraohs. Influences of Santhali and Aryan languages are quite evident and it does not have any grammar or literature of its own.
A mixed culture can be witnessed in Pakur district owing to the presence of people belonging to different cultures, heritages and languages. The practices of different religions combine to form a unique Culture of Pakur District. This heterogeneity also contributes in the cultural heritage of the country.
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