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Friday, February 26, 2021

Munda Administrative System: Jharkhand History- JPSC

Munda Administrative System

Munda Administrative System

The Mundas are a powerful tribe of the Kolarion group in Jharkhand. It is ethnically placed in the proto-australoid group. These tribes are mainly found in Ranchi, Khunti, Simdega, Gumla, Hazaribagh, Giridih, Singhbhum, and Santhal Parganas of Jharkhand.


Scholars differ about their place of residence. According to various ideology, followings are considered about their origin 

  • First- their native land is considered to be the birth of Tibet.
  • Second- they came from the South-West of India to Madhya Pradesh under the pressure of the Aryan and later they entered the reason of Jharkhand.
  • Third- they entered Jharkhand from the South-Eastern part of India and defeated the Asura tribe and later established their domination over Jharkhand.

  • Munda has its own language which is called 'Mundari'. This language belongs to the Austro-Asiatic language family. They called this language 'Hodo Jagr'

Munda village has some special sites, which can also be considered as a specialty of a tribal village. These places are;
  • Akhada- where the panchayat meets and, the young men and women gather and dance & sing at night. 
  • Sasan- which is Tomb, where dead bodies are buried. Stones are placed on the tomb, which is called 'Sasanadiri'.
  • Gitiora- the youth house in Munda tribal village.


  • When the Mundas entered the Jharkhand region, they cleaned the forest for livelihood and started agricultural work, and established themselves as permanent residents.
  • They built a farm, Khunt Katti Khet, and their settled village came to be a name known as Khunt Katti Village. The builder of the field was called 'Khuntkattidar'
  • The Mundas traditionally enjoyed a preferential rent rate as the Khuntkattidar or the original clearer of the forest. (Note: In the course of the 19th century they had seen this 'Khuntkatti land system' being eroded by the jagirdars and thikadars coming as merchants & moneylenders).
  • Due to the increase in population, there was a shortage of space, so the peasants started building new villages in the vicinity. These villages were new, but the social, cultural, religious, and political systems of these villages were operated from the same ancestral villages.
  • When the number of such villages became more, the panchayat system of these Khunt Kattidar villages developed. The 'Parha' was formed by combining various such villages.
  • Each village in the Munda tribe had a Panchayat, whose chief was called Munda. Many such Gram Panchayat or villages were made into a cluster, which is headed by 'Manaki' standard.
  • 'Parha' was formed by mixing several clusters, the chief of which was called 'Parha Raja'. There were often members of the same clan in the Parha.
  • There was also Panchayat of Parha, who was called 'Parha Panchayat'. There were five executive officers in this Panchayat who worked under the king. These officers were Diwan, Thakur, Pandey, Karta, and Lal. All these positions were hereditary. These people obeyed the orders of the 'Parha King' and made recommendations to the king. 
  • The nomination of the king was a by-election. This post was not heredity. This is the reason why the administrative system of this Munda-Manaki-Parha-Sardar represented the example of India's first democratic system.
  • Manaki and Parha Raja did not receive any revenue of any kind. On this basis, it is called Cooperative-System, and not called Raj-System.
  • Border disputes, settlement of mutual disputes, and other disputes were resolved by the Parha Panchayat. It was considered the highest Judiciary, Executive, and Legislature of Munda.


The Munda considered the village as a political unit. In a village, there are four prominent persons- Munda, Bhandari, Pahan, Panbhara. They had a head (chief) and an organization to deal with other villages. The head of the Munda village was called the Pahan (the priest). He obtained this title by virtue of being the original founder of a new community, or the oldest representative of the original founder. His duty was to offer sacrifice at festivals mainly for three reasons;
  • to prevent the village from the ravages of wild animals;
  • to obtain satisfactory harvest;
  • to ensure successful hunts.

The chief function of the 'Pahan':
  • head of the village in many villages; 
  • to preside over the Panchayat;
  • to punish those who violated established customs;
  • to collect the contributions of the village and hand them over to the proper authority.
The Pahan began to exercise the above functions with the introduction of the Rajya into the Munda political system. Later on, he was assisted by a Munda in the execution of his duties. These two offices were solely for service without any remuneration for a special grant of land attached to it. These two officials were highly respected.

The chief function of the Bhandari;
  • to the responsibility of floating information in the whole village before any event and festive celebration and meetings like Gram Sabha.

The chief function of the Panbhara;
  • to assists, the Pahan in all his rituals and does the job of fetching water during practices along the Pahan.


The Confederation of villages was made up of ten or twelve villages. It was called a 'Patti'. The chief of the 'Patti' was called the 'Manaki'. He was the political organizer of the Munda. His duties were;
  • to settle disputes concerning land and other matters;
  • to settle the questions of exceptional tribal interest within a village;
  • to settle peace between different villages with the help of a council of elders;
  • to collect Chanda or rent and hand over it to the Raja.


At present, Government Panchayats have also been established in Munda tribal areas. These panchayats also interfere with the social affairs of Munda, due to which the traditional Panchayat are now becoming secondary.



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