Deity celebration

Deity  celebration

People worshiping under holy sarna tree on the occasion of sarhul in outskirts of Ranchi, Jhrakhand.

Sarhul is of the important culture of asur tribe. it was celebrated during spring season and the Saal trees get new flowers on their branches. It is a worship of the village deity who is considered to be the protector of the tribes. People sing and dance a lot when the new flowers appear. The deities are worshiped with saal flowers. The village priest or Pahan fasts for a couple of days. In the early morning he takes a bath and puts on new a dhoti made of virgin cotton (kachha dhaga). The previous evening, the Pahan takes three new earthen pots and fills them with fresh water; the next morning he observes these earthen pots and water level inside. If the water level decreases he predicts that there would be famine or less rain, and if the water level is normal, that is the signal of a good rain. Before pooja starts, the wife of the Pahan washes his feet and gets blessings from him. At the pooja, Pahan offers three young roosters of different colors to one for the almighty god — the Singbonga or Dharmesh, as the Mundas, Ho and Oraons respectively address Him; another for the village deities; and the third for the ancestors. During this pooja villagers surround the Sarna place. Traditional drum — Dhol, Nagara and Turhi — players keep drumming and playing along with Pahan chanting prayers to deities. When pooja is finished, boys carry Pahan on their shoulders and girls dancing ahead take him to his house where his wife welcomes him by washing his feet. Then Pahan offers Saal flowers to his wife and villagers. These flowers represent the brotherhood and friendship among villagers and Pahan the priest, distributes saal flowers to every villager. He also puts saals flowers on every house's roof which is called "phool khonsi". At the same time Prasad, a rice made beer called Handia, is distributed among the villagers. And the whole village celebrates with singing and dancing this festival of Sarhul. It goes on for weeks in this region of Chhotanagpur. In Kolhan region it is called "Baa Porob" meaning Flower Festival. It is the festival of the great happiness.

The Karam festival is a worship of Karam devta, the god of power, youth and youthfulness. Karam is held on the 11 of moon in Bhadra month. Groups of young villagers go to the jungle and collect wood, fruits and flowers. These are required during the Puja of Karam God. During this period people sing and dance in groups. The entire valley seems to be dancing with the drumbeatth day of the phases. This is one of the rare examples of such a vital and vibrant youth festival in Jharkhand’s tribal area.

KARAM of Ramgarh
Every year on the 11the day of bhadar the people of Jharkhand, Bengal, North odisha and some parts of chatishgarh celebrate the birth anniversary of Karam thakur with pomp and ceremony. On that night we feel as if the mountain of Ramgarh dance with chotanagpur plateau.

According to legend and songs of Karam raja we find out that he was a thakur (king ) of jura thikana of Jawa estate(mewar).This chief's Kingdom was near Banas river. The neighbouring state was sirohi the king of Indore called on him for a war at Bengal. Karam story described about the Karam Rajas collection of wealth from the business(war) and how he and his men remains here because of dense jungle and unable to found the route to his country even also by sending message through pigeon To Jhalda (jhalod ) for their rescue from the unknown jungle but the unfortunate king and his men struggled here in poverty and starvation, and lastly settled here as cultivators.

A few people who are now cultivators at this region associates themselves with Rajput clans as Guhilor, Jhal (badnawar ), katiwar, pundiriwar, Bag (badnawar ) etc. and also some territorial name as Tilwar, mutra, khyrod, Dumriar, Kesriwar, Nagtawar. The Karam songs hold the name of cities like Dhar, Indore, Malani, Sirohi, Sonigorea, Fulbaria, Ratanpur, Jhalda (Jhalod ). They observe Chhau (war) dance along with jhumar which are related to western India. The above said clans with their men and the regional tribal people have great faith on Karam raja so they worship him by two branches of Kedi kadam tree. This Kedi kadam tree is known as Karam tree, as a symbolic name of Karam thakur. The people worship him to get rid of misery and poverty. The birth anniversary of Karam thakur is so popular in the region like Ramgarh, Ranchi, Bokaro, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur and Purlia, the Chinnamasta mandir of Ramgarh is famous for Jitiya and KARAM. Karam is celebrated at chutupalu 8 km south of ramgarh. Many places Near Ramgarh were named after Karam(karampur, karmaratol, karambay ) great historian GS sardesai gives some light on the basic fact of this history, it is sorry to say that in this 21st century the story is still in dark.

The newly settled urban people consider it as a tribal festival, with out any deep knowledge. East Indian historian were unknown about the story of this RAWAT KARAM THAKUR of SALUMBAR...Trees are significant in many of the world’s mythologies and religions and have been deep and sacred meaning . Trees were often regarded as sacred in the ancient world throughout Europe and Asia. The Banyan tree of Hinduism , the Yule tree of Germanic Mythology, the tree of knowledge of Judaism and Christianity, the Saglagar tree in Mongolian Tengrism, Celtic Oak tree is national tree of many European countries and USA. Throughout Europe trees are known as sites of Pilgrimages, rituals and ambulation and the recital of Christian prayers, so trees were worshipped all over the world. Euro currency have a symbol of Oak tree. In Indian history we found some symbolic name of Kadamb tree. Kadamb tree is symbol of Brahmins, Kadamb tends its name to Kadamb dynasty of Karnataka states from 345 AD. The Kadamb tree was consider as holy tree by Kadamba dynasty, was ancient royal Brahmin dynasty of Karnataka, the dynasty was founded by Maurya sharma in 345 AD. Maurya sharma was born out of sweat of Shiva which had fallen under Kadamba tree. According to D sharma in his book Early Chauhan dynasty the Origin of Guhil family of Mewar is same as Kadamba dynasty of Karnataka. Later on the Guhil dynasty was divided into two branches 1)Rawal 2)Sisodiya. After Rana Lakha singh the Mewar dynasty was divided into another branch named as Rawat. So the elder branch of Sisodiya family is known as Rawal and younger branch is Rana & Rawat. Kadamba tree is associated with Shiva & Krishna while in south India it is known as PARBATI tree. While in Chotnagpur the younger branch of Kadamba tree (Kedi kadamba) is known as Karam tree. In Jharkhand Sal tree used to be sacred most tree of aborgins .Karam is a popular festival celebrated in the 11th day of Bhadra . A twink of Kedi Kdamba branch is brought and worshipped in the court yard of the house .

The people of Chotnagpur worshipped the Kedi Kadamb tree as symbolic name of Karam Thakur of Phulwaria related to Jawa estate of Mewar ruled by the Rawat family of Salumbur . One of the folk memory of Jawa mentioned that SRIROHI state is adjoining to the estate of Karam Raja. That JAWA’S FOLK MEMORY- “HALAD PHUL DHANKA DHANKA MALI PHUL MOR KHASA RE , SRIROHI RE BANSO KHADIKA PHULO MORO DEITE SANDESH.” My country have abundance in flowers like Jasmine and Turmeric , my Neighbouring states is Srirohi full of Bamboos And her chief is my friend somebody else give him message in my distress. Folk memories differ in elapse of time from place to place by migration and immigration from the beginning of 19th century to 20th century but the clans and sects of so-called Gotra of some Kurmis people of Chotnagpur are associated with Rajput clans and towns. According to the book Prithiraj chauhan and his times by Pv Samani that remifications of caste by the people of Rajasthan to some Gotras indicate a close association with some towns on their migration to new place the name of old place was sometimes attached with their Gotras in order to have a specific mark of identification .

The story of Karam is a real history of Maratha war at Bengal, the discord between Raghuji Bhonsle and Nana Sahib peshwa for Bengal resulted in wars in between 7th to 27th April 1743 in the dense jungle of Bankuda to Bedugarh and culminating in a tragedy episode in the life of KARAM RAJA at Bedugarah mountaimn pass. So karam the ruler or Thakur of PHULWARIA related to Sisodiya, Rawat family of Sulambar(Mewar).. Some famous name of Karam in the Indian history-

1 Kaima or Karma was the famous minister of Pruthiraj Chauhan, he was the eldest brother in law of P Chauhan,he was slained out of Jealousy, after his death chauhan kingdom collapsed along with Hindu kingdom from India(Bhumij people of Jharkhand still named after him as Kaima or Karma to their sons)

2)Karamchand Panwara was famous for his help to Rana Sangha at his bad period.

3) The chief minister of Mewar dynasty at the time of Rana Sangha was Karam Saha.

4)Karam Chandawat was slained by Bahadur Sahas force of Gujarat at the time Rana Uday Singh at Chittor.

5)Karamchand Cutchwa fought against Akbar in Chittor.

6)Karam Rawat of Salumbar fought against Akbar at Haldighat war.

7)Rathore Jodha(Jodhpur after his name) the eldest son of Jodha was Karam singh and his decedents are till now known as Karamsot Rathore at Marwar.

8)Karam Din Khan famous during Maratha period.

9)Karam Ali famous historian of Bengal in Later Moghul period.

10) our father of nation Mohandas KARAM Chand Gandhi.The history of Karam Thakur of Jura(Phulwaria) is a very micro history of Mewar and also for Bengal expedition by Nana saheb 

. In this expedition the famous generals of India like PILLAJI JADAV, MALHAR RAO HOLKAR etc were accompanied by Peshwa. In comparison to them Karam Thakur was a very petty chief of Mewar, but he is a fortunate one that the Rajput clans remembered him for his Surya banshi descendent of Rama at Chotnagpur .

So the Charan(Who make the songs of the events),of the distress armies summarised the genealogical and territorial history of karam raja. The folk memory described as PURUB DESHE AALI HAMI PASHIM DESHE GHAR RAM JHADER BANS HAMI LAXMAN JHADER SAR The above folklore described as I came to Eastern country but actually I belong from western country, I am the kinship of Rama but descendants of Laxman. As described above the elder branch known as Rawal and younger branch known as Rawat of Surya banshi. AT Chotnagpur Karam Raja with his men in different padas(villages) settled nearby Damodar river in dense forest with wild animals, the village of Karam Raja later on named after him as Karambay at present in Hesapada panchayat of Gola Block 4 to 5 km from Rajarappa water fall. In this transitional period of life, his wife was pregnant and the last issue was Tusu. The Charan describe the above incident as follows- JAKHAN TUSU LAYE CHILO INDU RANIR UDARE KARAM RAJAI ADESH DILO SABAI PALAN KARITE When Tusu was conceived in the womb of INDU RANI, Karam Raja order all his men to observe this happiness.So Tusu was the daughter of Karm Raja and her mother name was INDU RANI. In Chotnagpur Karam and Tusu are very popular Traditions without any written history. But the folk memories contain many events that happens in their lives and times. According folk memories Tusu had two elder brothers and one elder sister named Sulochana. She belongs to Brahmin Rajput and she married to a JHALA boy of Rajput clan of the same village ,the above fact is described in a folklore as – CHHILI LO BAHMENER BITI HOLI LO JHALDAR BAHU. During her childhood her husband was demise by snakebite. Even the folk memory describe the jungle where the Jhala boy was cremated, that jungle was named after him JHALDA. Many of Tusu’s folk memories describe about her beauty and physical features. The Idol of a Tusu is a girl of teenage dressing as yellow and red frock, In actual her body colour is golden yellowish. She was an Aryan looking girl with dressing style of north western part of India. Tusu’s beauty was spread within the villages of nearby areas , lastly it goes to the ear of deceased nawab Siraj ud daula’s younger brother Mirza Ramzani. According to the historian Ghulam Hussain only one of the son of Zinuddin khan escaped narrowly from palassy war . Probably Mirza Ramzani and some of his followers came to this wild Jungle to save their lives from Mir Zifar and Miran . Probably thev settled in the Bedugarh area of Ramgarh district since 1757. Still Gola(Bedugarh) is a Mohammadian village and Karambay village is about 4 to 5 km from Gola . At that time Karam Raja and his men were struggling for their existence. Mirza Ramzani came and settled near by them with full of baggage. Then he compelled and harassed Karam Raja and his men to wed Tusu. Commonly the marriage ceremony are held from Makar or Magh month, Mirza Rmzani waits for the auspicious day. But Tusu did not wait for her misfortune days. Lastly one day after Makar she consult with her friends and decided not to marry the Moghul rather die with dignity in the nearby water fall of Damodar(Damuda) According to LINDSEY HARLAN in her book RELIGION & RAJPUT WOMEN the word Sati means a good Women. This usage reflects the understanding of Rajput Women have of the Sati: becoming a Sati is a process, a process instigated at the moment of Marriage or occasionally even at the moment of betrothal and most worship of Satis is done by women . In real sense her untimely demise was attributed to her grace and beauty. After Tusu’s death her friends contribution made her Immortal and popular. In the name of her memory they used to built her Idol and immersed her idol in that very same place of Damodar river on the death anniversary of Tusu , and that place is now known as Rajarappa waterfall and she is being worshiped as CHINNAMASTA KALI like KALIJAI of chilika in Odisha. Present East Indian culture and traditions like Tusu ,Karam, Jitiya etc are Damodar river’s culture near KARAMBAY village of Gola block and within 257 to 260 years its people and culture spread all over East India.

Maghe Parab
Mage Parab is the principal festival celebrated among the Ho people of eastern India, and is also celebrated by the Munda people, though followers of Birsa Dharam, a new religion based on traditional Munda spirituality and religion, do not celebrate Mage Parab, despite the fact that they celebrate other traditional Munda festivals. It is also not celebrated by any other Munda-speaking peoples, and is much less prominent to the Mundas than to the Hos. It is held in the month of Magha in honor of the deity Singbonga who, in the Ho creation myth, created Luku Kola, the first man on Earth. It was first described in 1912 by Indian anthropologist Rai Bahadur Sarat Chandra Roy in his The Mundas and their Country.

浅草雷連 | Jin Abe | Flickr

At the same time, the unmarried tribal girls celebrate the Jin awa festival, which has its own kind of songs and dance. This is held mainly for the expectation of good fertility and better household. The unmarried girls decorate a small basket with germinating seeds. It is believed that the worship for good germination of the grains would increase the fertility. The girls offer green melons to the Karam deity as a symbol of ‘son’ which reveals the primitive expectation of human being (i.e., grains and children). The entire tribal area of Jharkhand becomes tipsy during this time.

JAWA OF RAMGARH-Jharkhand has its own primitive and new culture. Some are indigenous and others are exotic, the former culture is the bone immersion and the later culture is the Tusu's immersion and some culture have got its own historical identity like Jawa or Jawas and Jitiya. In the passage of time 273 years have passed, some people of Jharkhand remember their past native estate Jawa and Jitiya with pomp and ceremony. By analysing the songs of Jawa and the history we found that Jawa or Jawas had a glorious past.Jawa an erstwhile estate of Mewar ruled by Rawat of Salambur. It is situated 66 km south west of Udaipur, this place is known as Kherwara. It is stated in historical annals of the Mewar that in Mewar the three major Bhumiyas chiefs were those of Jawas Para and Madri. The Bhumiyas chiefs of Jawa and Para are called Sambari chahuhan. Rao lakhan Singh the progenitor of the family left Sambar to Marwar and in the 13th century two of his descendants Ganga and Manik came to Jawas, the two brothers divided the conquer territory among themselves. Ganga got Para and Manik got Jawas.later on the hilly area situated at the Western part of Jawa were also ruled by the purbiya chahuhan. These area are known as Jura, Ogna and panwara. Rawat Patta is reputed to have come from Edur in 1398 Ad to Jura. The Western boundary of Jura is Sirohi state. All the above-mentioned estate of Mewar were ruled by the Bhumiyas chiefs and later on these chiefs were under the ruling family members of Salumber known as Thakur and their headquarter was at Jawas...u JITIYA - Jitiya was situated near chitor of Mewar, now it is situated at Bhilwara district of Rajasthan. It was a former estate of Mewar, it is now situated in the western part of Mandelgarh andnorthern part nearer to Chitor district. Jitiya was ruled by the descendants of Biram Singh.Biram Singh was younger brother of Rana Pratap Singh, the second wife of Uday Singh was Sahaja Bai, she had two sons Shakti and Biram. Shakti who saved the life of Rana Pratap during the Battle of Haldighat by giving his horse Ankara. After the death of Chetak at Gogunda hill. Biram Singh was very close to Rana Pratap, he saved the family of Rana Pratap during the time of his trouble from Haldighat and after wards. Man Singh the grandson of Biram was first Sisodiya jagirdar or Thakur of Jitiya. Jitiya, Mandelgarh were also ruled by the Bhumiyas chiefs of Solanki origin, the Bhumiyas of Mandelgarh were courageous to others. Now the question comes who were Bhumiyas and Thakurs? The ancient clans prior to Rana Sangha had ceased on the rising greatness of the subsequent new division of clans. They took to plough, they never forsook their arms and past culture. Their descendants were known as Bhumiyas. The ruling family members who enjoyed the estate by the grant of Prince are known as chief or Thakur, both had duties to protect the country and also took parts in the expedition to abroad. When and how they came to Jharkhand? After Nadir shah's invasion to India the fall of Mogul empire came to its end, and the Maratha power was on the expansion having severe internal rivalry, this internal dispute between peshwa and Bhonshle ended with clash at Jharkhand for Bengal. At the time of Bengal expedition peshwa left puna with the object of check mating Raghu Ji in Bengal. At that time in 1742(March -April) peshwa asked tribute or help from Rajput princes of Rajputana, when he was at Bundelkhand.At that time Rawat Bhakt Singh was(1739–61) chief of Jawas. Probably Karam Raja was his cousin brother and Thakur of Jura. At that time the total Rajput soldiers and Bhumiyas soldiers came under the leadership of Rawat (Sisodiya) Karam Singh to Bengal. So they came to Bengal in the train of Peshwa Nana saheb and reached near Murshidabad on 13 March 1743. Their returned journey was very much painful with a heavy clash with their fellow brother Raghu Ji Bhonshle of Nagpur near the dense forest of modern purulia to the mountain pass of Bedu gharh near Ramgharh.On April 27 -1743 it was their last day of happiness. The advance troops of Nana saheb fell into prey by the act of deceiving by Bhonshle near the Mountain pass of Ramgharh. peshwa and his troops halted after Ramgharh near Lilajan river for near about 12 days but the wandering troops of Karam Raja and others unable to join the Peshwa troops, probably they were pushed by Bhonshle (mund kata troops) towards Damodar river.They were unable to found the direction in the dense forest to Ramgharh.Then they settled here as cultivators, the descendants of Karam Raja and other Thakurs are known as Kurmis having their own clans of Rajput. Bhumiyas are known as Bhumij and other people were also known as Kurmis (cultivator) having some territorial name of Rajputana Gujarat and Malwa in their septs. Maximum Thakurs and employees resided nearby the jungle of Damodar river and the place was named as Bokaro (the settler of foolish) and some also resided near Ramgharh. The Bhumiyas of Jawa never retained their position in Jharkhand, they lost their time and wealth by wandering their route to their motherland with Karam Raja. Probable the Bhumiyas of Jitiya and Mandelgarh were witty to adjust in those circumstances and retained their position in the Jungle. They became the chiefs of newly created areas like Manbhum (probably the land of Mandelgarh mBhumiyas). later on they proceed towards Barabhum, Patkum, Dholbhum, and Baghmundi. In the Year 1742 the name of areas like Manbhum, Purulia, Jhalda, Bokaro, Udaipur, Singhbhum etc. were not in existence .Only Pachet estate was there in this jungle area. Their happiness didn't last for long. After the British penetration to this jungle mahals, they slowly lost their power and estate to Bengali officers. The Bhumiyas chiefs were gradually lost their independent and superior status after Bhumij revolt (1832–33).on being defeated by the British force they completely disintegrated and came and took refugees in adjacent area mostly with munda people, so the newly creating culture and traditions by the People of western India like Karam Jitiya Jawa and Tusu flourished by the Bhumiyas chiefs of Jharkhand. The maharana or the Sisodiya family of Udaipur pare the highest in ranks and dignity among the Rajput chiefs of India and treated them and continue to treat them with great respect. So the people of their country and other Rajputs respect Sisodiya Karam or karmu and Dharam or Dharmu with their native estate Jawas and Jitiya. After the clash at Jharkhand peshwa became the super hero among his rivals in India, leaving behind the sorrow and the painful life of his comrades in this jungle, having social stigma as Adivasi and their traditions and culture are recognised as Tribal festival of Jharkhand.

Hal Punhya
Hal punhya is a festival which begins with the fall of winter. The first day of Magh month, known as “Akhain Jatra” or “Hal Punhya”, considered as the beginning of ploughing. The farmers, to symbolize this auspicious morning plough two and half circles of their agricultural land this day is also considered as the symbol of good fortune.

Bhagta Parab
This festival comes to between the period of spring and summer. Among the tribal people of Jharkhand, Bhagta Parab is best known as the worship of Budha Baba. People fast during the day and carry the bathing Pahan the priest, to the tribal mandir called Sarana Mandir. The Pahan sometimes called Laya, gets out of the pond, the devotees make a chain, locking their thighs with each other and come forward to offer their bare chest to Laya for walk over. After worship in the evening, devotees take part in dynamic and vigorous Chhau dance with lots of gymnastic actions and masks. The next day is full of primitive sports of bravery. The devotees pierce hooks on skin and get tied at one end of a long horizontal wooden pole, which is hanging on the top of a vertical Shal wood pole. The height goes up to 40 feet. The other end of the pole which is connected with a rope, pulled around the pole by the people and the tied devotee display the breath-taking dance in the sky. This festivals is more popular in the Tamar region of Jharkhand.


Ropini is perhaps the first festival of Jharkhand. It is a festival of sowing seeds in the field. Farmers starts sowing seeds from this day but there is no dance or song like other tribal festivals but just a few rituals. There are some other festivals like Rajsawala Ambavati and Chitgomha are also celebrated with Ropini.


Bandana is one of the most famous festivals celebrated during the black moon of month of Kartik (Kartik Aamavashya). This festival is mainly for the animals. Tribals are very close with animals and pets. In this festival, people wash, clean, paint, decorate feed well and put ornaments to their cows and bulls. The song dedicated for this festival is called Ohira which is an acknowledgement for animal’s contribution in their day-to-day life. The belief behind this festival is animals are integral part of life and have souls as human being do. The most exciting day of the bandanna week is the last day. Closured bulls and buffaloes are chained to a strong pole and they are attacked with a dry animal hyde. The angry animals hit the dry skin with their horns and the crowd enjoys. Generally natural colours are used for decorating animals and the artwork is of folk type.


This is held once every 12 years. The womenfolk wear menswear and go for hunting in forest. Jani-Shikaar is performed in remember of driving away the mohameddens by the kurukh womenfolk in Roh-tas-garh, who wanted to capture the fort on the Sharhul festival new year day for tribal community, when men used to be in drunken condition. They had tried to capture 12 times in 12 years and every time they were driven by the kurukh women, who wore the men's clothes while in the field of war.
मीनेष जयंती

मीनेष जयंती चैत्र - शुक्ल पक्ष (सुदी) की तृतीय तिथि को (साधारणतया मार्च या अप्रेल के महिने में) मनाई जाती है।

Madurai Veeran
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Madurai Veeran
Protection and Justice

Statue of Madurai Veeran at the Sri Maha Muneeswarar Temple, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur
Affiliation Born to one of army man origin

Mantra Om Shree Madurai Veeraiya Namaha

Weapon Sword / Aruvaal
Mount White Horse

Region Madurai, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa
Consort Bommi and Vellaiyammal

Madurai Veeran (also known as Muthu Kumaran; lit. warrior of Madurai) is a Tamil folk deity popular in southern Tamil Nadu, India. His name was derived as a result of his association with the City of Madurai as a Protector of the City. His worship is also popular amongst the Tamil diaspora.


The folklore is that Madurai was troubled by Kallar bandits and the pandyan king ordered Veeran to resist. Veeran then met Vellaiyammal, a royal danseuse, who was attracted to him because of his looks and skill in various arts. She asked him to teach her the Natya Shastra (tenets of dancing).

Pandya king, who was himself attracted to Vellaiyammal, did not appreciate this development and viewed this as an affair. Some of his generals, who hated the closeness of Veeran to the king, used the opportunity to inform pandyan king that the delay in suppressing the robbers was deliberate as Veeran was conniving with the robbers themselves. Furious, pandyan king ordered a traitor's death for Veeran, who was taken to the gallows and had his alternate limbs are chopped off. Hearing of this, Bommi and Vellaiyammal attend the gallows to see the severed limbs and chastise pandyan king for his injustice.

The legend says that Veeran is brought back to life by the virtues of botth these women and is vindicated by the presence of gods. Veeran, thereafter retires to a cave beneath what is now Meenakshiamman Temple.

A shrine was later erected at the south gate of Meenakshiamman Temple by Pandyan king. The story persists through the singing of songs and street theatre.

Bihari deities

Bihari deities include Sati, and Sitala Mata, while in Goa, Ganesh and Shiva are worshipped. Most Chamar in Punjab and Chandigarh are Sikh and are called Ramdasi after Guru Ramdas the fifth Sikh Guru. They bow down before the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs. The Nirankari and Radhasaomi sects advocate worship to an omnipresent Supreme Being who is without form, does away with rituals and idolatry and provides close fellowship within equals.

A Dalit Temple to ‘Goddess English’

Chandra Bhan Prasad, a Dalit intellectual, activist and a bit of a maverick, has for several years been trying to promote fluency in English as the key to the liberation of the people at the bottom of India’s caste system from what he sees as the caste prejudice inherent in Indian languages like Hindi.

He usually hosts a party on Oct. 25, the birthday of Lord Babington Macaulay, the man who got the Raj authorities to adopt English as the language of higher education in India (he also drafted the 1860 penal code that India still uses today). Many Indians criticize Lord Macaulay for creating, in his words, “a class of persons, Indian in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect,” to act as native interpreters between the British and India’s multitudes.

He was fairly successful and even today many of India’s upper classes think and write in English. For decades some Indian intellectuals have wondered (often in English) how to gain the standing for other Indian languages that English – and those educated in English – have.

Mr. Prasad has no time for such concerns. Today he is presiding over the laying of a foundation stone for a temple dedicated to “Goddess English” in a village in Uttar Pradesh state, about 350 kilometers east of New Delhi. He hopes the temple will be completed by Lord Macaulay’s birthday.

“In cities, people are somewhat aware of the importance of English,” said Mr. Prasad ahead of the trip. “In villages, not much. So I wanted to trigger this sort of recognition.”

The 2009 Annual State of Education in India report found that about 51% of schoolchildren in rural India can both read and understand simple sentences in English by the time they get to Class Eight, usually at age 13 or 14, after which many children leave school.

So why a temple and not an English teaching center, scores of which can be seen in cities and towns all over India?

“I cannot reach large masses of people. I do not have the infrastructure to provide English instruction to scores of people,” said Mr. Prasad. “If you say English is a goddess, worship it, then the message is much better.”

Among the design conceits on the drawing board: the front pillars of the temple could be mounted on concrete shaped like computers, the steps are to resemble a computer keyboard, and a “fountain pen-shaped elevated object” is planned on the roof. There will also be a statue of an anonymous gentleman “in a coat, wearing a hat and who sports specs or sunglasses,” said Mr. Prasad.

“These are all symbols of modernity and I want to inject that into the very childhood of Dalit kids,” he said.

If anything Mr. Prasad, who has a flair for being polemical, seems to think Lord Macaulay didn’t take his Anglicization project far enough. Mr. Prasad says his own aversion to Indian languages extends to “native dress” as well as language although he hasn’t extended that injunction to people visiting his Macaulay parties. He points out that along with many other caste-based restrictions, Dalit men were not allowed to wear the full-length version of the dhoti, a wrap worn over the lower part of the body.

“English attire is caste-neutral,” said Mr. Prasad. “In India, the dress of the people differs from caste to caste. But the architecture of the trouser is same for everybody.”

Images of Dalit Deities :

Santa Muerte Blanca

The Tuluva pantheon has Koraga Thaniya

From elders to youngsters, everyone loves the name, Koraga Thaniya.
Those who worship Bhutas (deity) of tulunad are afraid of their deities due to many reasons. But when people hear the name Koraga Thaniya everyone’s face turns wider with smile due to his entertainment and jokes done by the lord.Whenever there is a theft or valuable is misplaced they pray to Koraga Thaniya for help and they offer him a bottle of alcohol/spirit. Soon after they worship him in this manner, the items that they have lost will soon be found. Also, any problem to cattle, they please Koraga Thaniya for help. He is worshipped in almost all the parts of South Canara. He is worshipped by offering Kola and Agelu (spiritual performances) to him. His attire is so simple. There is no special ornaments or other things on him. Folklore has it that he is regarded as a brave warrior.

His birthplace was in Koragara Koppa. In ‘Paddana’, we can see many places where many Koraga community members live -- Kadri, Jeppu, Moodbidri and Mulki. Folklore has it that in Koppa Koraga and Korappolu, a baby boy is named Uravana Odi. When this baby grows into a matured man they search a suitable girl for him to marry. His uncle says “There is a girl in Thirthamale Koppa”. When they reach the place, they say that girl is in Kadpamale Koppa. So, they travel to Kadpamale Koppa, while many of them arrive near home where Koroppolu Maire who would be fetching lice from her father’s head sees the people and says “Wow, see the beauty of relatives arrived at our sweet home, dad”. While her dad says “You are still very small and you are not old enough to be sought in marriage”. Later, he asks her to arrange some water and to welcome the guests. Gives some beetle leaves with tobacco to eat. Later, they ask for a girl. At first her father rejects saying she is very small to send her. But later they agree to teach her everything. Later, they mutually accept the marriage and they decide to fix a date. They get married. One day, she learns that she is pregnant. She prays to lord Kantaavara and says she will do a special puja to Ullaya if she delivers safely. Later, when it was time for delivery, Maira remembers her curse given by Lord Shiva where he thought her as Parvathi and tries to force himself on her. But Maira regards him as lord and offers him puja. Angered by this, Lord Shiva curses her that she will deliver a baby boy and with this her whole community will be vanished.So, when Koraga Thaniya was born, his mother dies while feeding him. His father too dies while trying not to keep his son starved. Later, his aunt dies too. After all his family was banished, he alone went to faraway places to lead his life. Later, in a big street he would be doing some funny activities. But would cry missing home. Seeing this, a lady called Bairakka, her daughter Manjakka, and brother Chenneya take him to their home. There he learns to make pots and bags from bamboo. During the Nema of Marl Jumadi, Mada Maisandaya, Padavu Lakkesiri, lot of goods including coconut fronds, tender arecanut fronds and other items need to be sent to temple. Seven persons were supposed to carry these items to the temple. But they do not turn up. Upset, Bairakka’s husband asks Koraga Thaniya, if he could give it to temple.He agrees to do it if they provide whatever they used to offer as treats to seven members. He is offered all that and he takes the goods all alone. While going, he turns back and says to Bairakka, “You have taken care of me very well but today you don’t have full faith on me to return”. Baidyakka feels very bad and asks him not to go. To which Koraga Thaniya says, “Once I take up the goods on my head, I will not leave it until I reach my destination.”

But at the temple, people say “You are untouchable and cannot take the goods inside the holy place”.Upset, Koraga Thaniya asks “If I pluck those coconut leaves and offers it to Lord, he has no problem. But if I bring these goods and take them inside the temple, it is a big issue?” Angered Koraga Thaniya, drops everything outside the temple. Later, he sees a tamarind tree near the roof of the holy place. He remembers his mother’s words, “Need to get tamarind to make a pickle.” So, he climbs up the tree and keeps his one leg on the roof of the daivasthanam and tries to pluck tamarind. But he goes missing which indicates that he turns one among the daivas. Hence, he is worshipped as Koraga Thaniya daiva.Koraga Thaniya always carries one stick in his hand and he is fondly called as Ajja/grandfather.In Tulunadu culture, one who dies for the sake of divinity gets the status of daiva and is worshipped.Author:Dr Lakshmi G Prasad is a well-known Tulu folklorist. The author holds PG degrees in Kannada, Sanskrit, and Hindi as well as doctorates from Hampi Kannada University and Dravidian University. Currently, she teaches Kannada at Government PU College in Nelamangala. She blogs at