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Friday, June 11, 2021

Baiga Tribes Governance System: Jharkhand History- JPSC

Baiga Tribes Governance System

The 'Baiga= sorcerer=medicine man' are ethnic groups found in Central India, particularly in Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh.

Baiga tribe is a majority tribe in Jharkhand, which belongs to the proto-austroloid species. They mainly reside in the district of Palamu, Garhwa, Ranchi, Latehar, Hazaribagh.

Baiga Tribes Governance System: Jharkhand History- JPSC

Societal Culture:

  • Language: Most Baigas speak Hindi, Gondi, Marathi, or local languages depending on the region where they live.

  • Tatoo: Tattooing is an integral part of their lifestyle. Women are famous for sporting tattoos of various kinds on almost all parts of their bodies. The women who work as tattooing artists belong to the Ojha, Badni, and Dewar tribes are called "godharins". They are extremely knowledgeable about the different types of tattoos preferred by various tribes.

  • Cuisine: Baiga cuisine primarily consists of coarse grains, such as Kodo millet and kutki, and involves very little flour. Another staple food is pej, a drink that can be made from ground corn (macca) or from the water left from boiling rice. They supplement these diets with food from the forest, including fruits, vegetables. They also hunt fish and small mammals.

Societal governance:

In Baiga, social organization is found at the gotra or village level. Their traditional ethnic panchayat is at the village level. 

  • Head: The head of the village organization is called "Muqaddam". This position is heredity. 
  • Priest: The village also has a religious head or priest, but sometimes or somewhere the authority of the priest is combined with the head. Often the same person holds both positions.
  • Assistant: The assistant of the chief is "Sayana" and "Sikhen". Both of these positions are elected by the villagers. 
  • Messenger: There is also a messenger, is called "Charidars".

The village Panchyat deals with;

  • Village conflicts, inheritance property disputes, sexual offenses, marriage or divorce decisions, witch exorcism 'bisaeen', or theft cases. 
  • Marriage, festivals or extramarital sex, and marriage-related problems outside the caste are also resolved.

Everyone respects the decision of the panchayat and the violator is socially boycotted with the help of the preferred members of the village. In case of an outbreak of epidemic in the village due to the disease or sickness of the farmer, the role of the panchayat becomes clear. Panchayat supports and helps in the worship of village deities and other social works.

With the establishment of a government panchayat in the village, the traditional panchayat's dignity, popularity, and authority have declined.

Belief and Cultivation:

The Baiga tribes practice shifting cultivation in the forest areas. They say they never plowed the Earth because it would be akin to scratching their mother's breast, and they could never ask their mother to produce food from the same patch of earth time and time again- she would have become weakened. For this reason, Baiga used to live a semi-nomadic life and practiced 'Bewar'or 'dahiya' cultivation. These techniques are known as "Swidden agriculture" (Shifting cultivation), rather than being a cause of deforestation, have been shown to effective conservation devices, employed for centuries by tribal peoples.

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