(Last Updated on : 06-02-2010)
Paharia tribes ennoble the tribal community culture of West Bengal state as a whole. The word Paharia has an etymological significance. It is an Indo-Aryan word which stands for the people residing in hilly or mountainous region. There are different tribal groups having the tradition of living in hills, mountains and forests. This tribal community is also found in some parts of Bankura district
, Purulia district
and Burdwan. A major part of Ayoddha Hill is occupied by the Paharia tribes.
The histories of these Paharia tribes are quite significant. According to the anthropologists if India, in the ancient period, the Paharia tribes were famous as bandits and dacoits who were thought to carry on with their plundering fetes in the adjoining region comprising of Gangetic plains. They also attacked the cargo boats full with trading items and utensils. All the inhabitants of these plains and also the East India Company officers used to identify them as "those hill men".
The Paharia tribes practice cultivation. Some of them even have developed expertise as gathers and collectors. Also some of them have adopted , especially in the earlier days , have adapt to other professions like hunting, fishing ,worked as laborers etc. They are also adept in basketry. Though in the earlier times, the Paharia tribes were nomadic people, but later plundering and settled down in various places. They have also mastered the art of making clothes and fibres.
Many anthropologists claim that since the Paharia language is not found in written form. Especially the people of Paharia tribal community speak Bengali language
. Some of these Paharia tribes have practiced Christianity
. Especially during Christian weddings, singing Christian religious hymns are in vogue.
Culture of Paharia tribes is greatly ennobled by dance and songs. Young males mainly perform the Paharia dance. Their dance resembles like "twist" dance. In the older forms of dancing, however, when the people had ate up a substantial amount of rice beer, young ladies used to dance together with increasing zest. Now the Paharia tribes have become little stiffer.
What is remarkable about this Paharia tribal society is that there is no clan division among them. Majority of the Paharia tribes regarded themselves to be only Paharia tribes. Paharia tribes have no dietary restrictions.