Kharia tribes

          In the midst of the rugged slopes of Ranchi, Lohardaga and amidst the furrowed incline of west and east Singhbhum and Hazaribagh of the Jharkhand state; the Kharia tribes have made their presence felt in quite a large number. Although the Kharia tribes have mainly concentrated in Jharkhand, yet they can also be found in Orissa and West Bengal.


Language: Being a part of the `Proto-Austroloid` family group, these tribes converse with each other in Kharia language. These Kharia tribes also speak languages like Hindi, Sadani and few other dialects that have originated locally.


Livelihood: The major source of livelihood for this Kharia tribe is agriculture.. Some of them also depend on small forest products. Instances are also not rare when these Kharia tribes adapt to labor works. Fishing, hunting as well as animal husbandry is exercised as supplementary  occupations.



Type of Kharia: There is an important fact that has been revealed by the anthropologists. According to them, the whole of the Kharia tribal society are segregated in to 3 broad segments, each having different occupations. These are namely the Dudh, Dhelki and Hill Kharia. The Hill Kharia tribes are amongst the most ancient community. For their sustenance, they depend mainly upon forest resources such as collecting honey, eatable roots, fruits and herbs. The other parts of the Kharia tribes have taken up cultivation .The Hill Kharia is most ancient community. The house of Hill Kharia comprises of only one room, which is utilized as bed, room, storeroom, kitchen and guest room. Family is the core of social set up in the society of Kharia tribal communities. Most of the families of this tribe are nuclear. The general trend is that the children of Kharia tribes live separately after getting married. The Kharia tribes adapt to `partlineal, patrilocal and patriarchal family`. Amongst them also, there is wide prevalence of clan system. Popular clans of Kharia are Badya, Gulgu, Bhuiya, Jaru, Tesa and Hembrom etc. Moreover, there are several of Delkhi Kharia tribe, which includes Muru, Soren, Samad, Barliha, Charha, Amongst Dudh Kharia tribe, Hansda, Topno, Mail etc. are popular.


Customs: The whole of the Kharia tribe has been rightly identified by their kinship to a common object, known as totem. They protect these totemic objects from being injured. Marriage is an important institution. Although the Kharia society is monogamous polygamy is widely prevalent. The Bride price is an important element of the marriage of any of the Kharia tribal families. In order to curtail the huge expense of bride price, often it has been found that two Kharia tribes marry the two sisters of the same family. The popular practice is not to marry, within the clan, which is taboo in the Kharia society. Kharia tribes are quite pious worshipping several deities.


Religion: The Dudh and Dhelki Kharias and Dihuri by the Hill Kharias call their religious head Pahan. This is a post which one holds on a hereditary basis. Several religious ceremonies are feted where almost all the Kharia tribes revere the Giring or Bero. Burha Burhi or Marsi Masan is the progenitor of Kharia tribes whom also these Kharia tribes worship and also are respected. Worship of spirits is also being practiced by quite a lot of Kharia tribes. The common ritual is to conjure up the spirits of deceased ancestors who believe to be dwelling near the oven. When the Kharia tribes carry the ventures of hunting and also pray for rainfall, the mountain spirits are being invoked. These spirits are popularly known by the names of the hill in which they are thought to live in.


Festival: Apart from celebrating these religious ceremonies and rituals, quite a lot of conventional festivals too are feted, mostly of which have the origin in the locale. Just like other tribes of the region, these Kharia tribes celebrate festivals like Karma, Sohrai, Sarhul, Nawakhani etc.