The tribals of Jharkhand have launched a campaign called ‘Tribal Sengel’ to demand a separate code for their Sarna Dharma in the census. Sarna Dharma is the indigenous religion of the tribals, which is based on the worship of nature and ancestors. The tribals claim that they are not Hindus and they have their own distinct identity, culture and customs. Jharkhand Tribal Fight
The campaign was started by the All India Sarna Dharma Mahasabha, an umbrella organization of various tribal groups, on October 25. The campaign aims to mobilize the tribals across the state and create awareness about their rights and identity. The campaign also plans to organize rallies, seminars, workshops and cultural programs to highlight the issues of the tribals.
The tribals have been demanding a separate code for Sarna Dharma since 1951, when the first census was conducted after independence. However, their demand has not been fulfilled by the successive governments. The tribals allege that they have been wrongly categorized as Hindus in the census, which has affected their socio-economic and political status.
The tribals argue that Sarna Dharma is not a sect or a branch of Hinduism, but a distinct religion with its own scriptures, rituals, festivals and places of worship. They say that Sarna Dharma is based on the concept of ‘Jal-Jungle-Jameen’ (water-forest-land), which is the source of their livelihood and identity. They also say that Sarna Dharma is a way of life that respects nature and promotes harmony among all living beings.
The tribals hope that by getting a separate code for Sarna Dharma, they will be able to preserve their culture and heritage, which is facing threats from various forces. They also hope that they will get better representation in the government and other institutions, and more benefits from the welfare schemes meant for them.
The campaign has received support from various political parties, social organizations, intellectuals and celebrities. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), which is leading the ruling coalition in the state, has also backed the demand of the tribals. The JMM chief and former chief minister Shibu Soren has said that he will raise the issue with the central government and seek its approval.
The campaign has also faced some opposition from some Hindu groups, who have accused the tribals of being misled by some vested interests. They have claimed that Sarna Dharma is a part of Hinduism and that the tribals are Hindus by birth. They have also alleged that the campaign is a conspiracy to divide the Hindu society and weaken its unity.
The census is scheduled to be held in 2023, and the tribals are hopeful that their demand will be met this time. They have said that they will not give up their fight until they get justice and recognition for their Sarna Dharma.
The campaign for a separate code for Sarna Dharma in the census is a significant development for the tribal of Jharkhand. The tribal have been demanding their religious recognition for decades, and the campaign has given them a new hope. It will be interesting to see how the central government responds to the demand of the tribal.