SANTALS , an aboriginal tribe ofBengal, who have given their name to the
See also:Santal Parganas (q.v.) . Their early
See also:history is unknown; but it is certain that they have not occupied their
See also:present home for longer than a century, having migrated from
See also:Hazaribagh, and they are still moving on into
See also:Northern Bengal . Their
See also:total number in all India is nearly two millions . They speak a language of the Munda or Kolarian
See also:family . The Santals as a
See also:race care little for permanent homes . They are not true nomads, but they like to be " on the move." In the low-lands they are agriculturists; in the jungles and on the mountains they are skilful hunters, bows and arrows being their chief weapons; on the
See also:highlands they are
See also:cattle breeders . But if fond of
See also:change the Santals like comfort, and their villages are neat, clean and well built, usually in an isolated position . Their social arrangements are patriarchal . In every
See also:village is a headman supposed to be a descendant of the founder of the village . A
See also:deputy looks after details; a
See also:special officer has
See also:charge of the
See also:children's morals, and there is a watchman . Physically the Santals are not prepossessing . The
See also:face is
See also:round and blubbery; the cheekbones moderately prominent; eyes full and straight,
See also:nose broad and depressed, mouth large and lips full, hair straight, black and coarse .
Thegeneral appearance approximates to the '
See also:negroid type . They are somewhat below the
See also:average height of the
See also:Hindus . They are divided into twelve tribes . In character they are a bright, joy-loving
See also:people, hospitable and seizing every
See also:chance of a feast . " They have neither the sullen disposition nor the unconquerable laziness of the very old
See also:hill-tribes of central India," writes
See also:Sir W . W .
See also:Hunter in
See also:Annals of Rural Bengal (1868) . " They have carried with them from the plains a love of
See also:order, a genial humanity, with a certain degree of
See also:civilization and agricultural habits . Their very vices are the vices of an op-pressed and driven-out people who have lapsed from a higher state, rather than those of savages who have never known better things." Each village has its
See also:priest who has lands assigned to him; out of the profits he must twice a
See also:year feast the people . At the Sohrai feast—the '
See also:harvest-home "—in
See also:December, the headman entertains the villagers, and the cattle are anointed and daubed with
See also:vermilion and a
See also:share of the
See also:beer is given to each animal . The Santals have many gods whose attributes are
See also:ill-defined, but whose festivals are strictly observed . Marang
See also:Burn, the
See also:great spirit, is the deity to whom sacrifices are made at the Sohrai .
Among some Santals, e.g. in
See also:Nagpur, Sing Bonga, the
See also:sun, is the supreme deity to whom sacrifices are made . Generally there is no definite idea of a beneficent
See also:god, but countless demons and evil
See also:spirits are propitiated, and ancestors are worshipped at the Sohrai festival . There is a vague idea of a future
See also:life where the spirits of the dead are employed in the ceaseless toil of grinding the bones of past generations into a dust from which the gods may recreate children . In some villages the Santals join with the Hindus in celebrating the
See also:Durga Puja festival . In the eastern districts the tiger is worshipped . For a Santal to be sworn on a tiger-skin is the most
See also:solemn of oaths . The Santals are omnivorous, but they will not
See also:touch rice cooked by a
See also:Hindu . Santal parents undergo
See also:purification five days after childbirth . Santals have adopted as a rite the tonsure of children .
See also:marriage is not practised, and the
See also:young people make love matches, but the septs are exogamous as a
See also:rule . Santals seldom have more than one wife and she is always treated kindly . An open space in front of the headman's
See also:house is set apart for dancing, which is very elaborate and excellent .
See also:flute, upon which they
See also:play well, is the chief Santal instrument . The Santals burn their dead, and the few charred bones remaining are taken by the next of
See also:kin in a
See also:basket to the Damodar, the sacred
See also:river of the Santals in Hazaribagh
See also:district, and
See also:left where the current is strongest to be carried to the ocean, the traditional origin and resting place of the Santal race . See E . Tuite Dalton, Descriptive
See also:Ethnology of Bengal (
See also:Calcutta, 1872) ; F . B . Bradley-Birt, The
See also:Story of an
See also:Indian Upland (1905) .
SANTAL (or SONTHAL) PARGANAS, THE
As per official 2001 cesus (govt of India)number of Santals in India is over 6 million
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