Religious beliefs of the Adivasis of India

Ram Dayal Munda


adivaani, Kolkata, 2014

Language: English

xii+56 pages

5 x 8 inches

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Adi Dharam unfolds before us a way of life, based on Egalitarian Principles, a continuum of nature, ancestor and human, and a symbiosis between human and animal kingdom. It emerges from a lost world the whole of humanity shared once. It was the world of magic where the creator and the created lived together. It was a spirit-centric world as opposed to anthropocentrism of the normative religions. The survival of the adi dharam is, therefore, crucial for the survival of all, the toiling and peace-loving people of the world, both indigenous and non-indigenous. The struggle to protect the land, forest and water is the precondition of the survival of the adi dharam. The ‘another world’ that we all believe is possible has to be built on the foundation of the reconstructed world of the Adi Dharam.

(From The Preface By Samar Bosu Mullick)

Adivasi people have a distinctive and positive religious identity. Despite the fact that this obviously has been suppressed so far, and other religious systems have hijacked and internalised different elements in the varying degrees, there ought to be an awakening of self-pride among the Adivasi peoples regarding their distinctive religious heritage. This identity will strengthen their solidarity, which will be helpful for their security and progress.

Ram Dayal Munda

Ram Dayal Munda (1939–2011), a Munda Visionary, was a scholar, educationist, linguist, writer, musician, tribal activist and a key actor in the creation of the Jharkhand state. He was born in a village in Jharkhand, India and was educated at the universities of Ranchi and Chicago, USA. He taught at the universities of Chicago, Minnesota, Ranchi, Australian National University and Syracuse.

He served as Vice-Chancellor of Ranchi University (1985–1988) and was an active member of several national and international committees on the issues of tribal and indigenous peoples.

He was the Chief President of the Indian Confederation of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, New Delhi and in that capacity was a regular participant at the UN Working Group on Indigenous Population, Geneva.

He was bestowed with the Sangeet Natak Akademy award in 2007 and the Padma Shri in 2010 by the government of India to recognize his social, cultural, literary and political contributions. 

His publications include research on languages and cultures with particular reference to the Jharkhand region, fiction and poetry in Mundari, Hindi and Nagpuri, and translations from Hindi, Sanskrit and English.