ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Ethnicity, Religion, and Identity Politics among Tribes in Jharkhand

The underlying causes for the ethnic, religious, and political divides among the tribals of Jharkhand have been examined. Tribal leaders have failed in uniting the tribal society of Jharkhand, leading to divisive and fragmented politics among them. The tribal leaders of today need to realise and understand that any further divide will weaken their collective voice and identity.

The recent debates and upheaval among the tribes of Jharkhand regarding their identity need to be re-examined to understand the whole issue from ethnic, socio-economic, political, and religious perspectives, particularly after the passing of the Jharkhand Religious Freedom Bill in 2017, popularly dubbed as the “anti-conversion bill.” It is important to understand the roots of this upheaval and its underlying causes considering the increasing social, political, and religious divides among tribals in Jharkhand (Xaxa 2017; Kiro 2017; Yadav 2015). Today, the divide has reached a point where Christian and Sarna tribals (non-Christian indigenous tribals) are in open hostility. The Sarna community believes that the church is conspiring against the Sarna tribals, their religion and culture, and that it aims to annihilate the indigenous tribal community itself (Ekka 2011).

This conflict and divide is based on both, reality as well as perceptions within the indigenous tribal community that need to be addressed with caution, which is a challenge for the political as well as religious leadership. If the situation is not resolved amicably, it may lead to turmoil within the state that will not only affect sociocultural and political relations between the tribes, but also the state of Jharkhand, its people, and its policies (Kumar 2014).

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Updated On : 1st Oct, 2018

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