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Why & who are propagating tribals as not-Hindu?

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Now a new controversy has arisen. Across the country, debates have been erupted over tribal dominated states such as Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam. Although this is not a new issue, it is being argued that in the run-up to the 2021 census, tribals are not Hindu, so it should be recognized as a separate religion. In the Jharkhand Assembly, a resolution passed by the ruling party calling the tribal religion “Sarna Dharma”. Editorials are being written in various major newspapers, the gist of which is that the Tribals are not Hindus. They are of a different religion. A section of certain intellectuals have been working tirelessly since years to prove their anti-Hindu sentiments, which are being reflected just before the next census.

They are arguing that the Tribals have been being forced to mention as Hindu in the census, which violates their religious identity. There are options, including Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, etc., which provide information on a person’s religion or religion during the census. There is no alternative for the Tribals. So they were mentioning Hindu as their religion. Now it is being demanded that “Sarna Dharma” be added to that list. If those who support the campaign fail to do so, then they will propagate tribals to register in the “other” option. For example, if 4 Crore out of the country’s 10 Crore million indigenous peoples mark the “other” religion, it will lead to a debate that will force the government to recognize a new religion in the next 2031 census.

But what is the purpose behind it? Why is all this being done and who is behind it? It simply came to our notice then. In fact, the purpose of the campaign is somewhat different. First of all, to separate the Tribals from the Hindu Society to create a wall of division under the pretext of creating their own unique identity and pave the way for the creation of a terrible class struggle. Once they have been separated from their thousands of years of bonding, then those people will have the opportunity to convert the tribal peoples to other foreign religions in the future. Fact is that this strategy has already been implemented in many African countries and its benefits have gone to those religious institutions for whom religious conversion is a business. It is part of a long-running conspiracy of those missionaries. The conspiracy includes foreign conspirators as well as some so-called intellectuals who believe in a certain ideology.  

According to the 2011 census, only 0.8% of people registered or declared themselves as “other” religions. If the Tribal people think themselves as different from the Hindus, they would have identified themselves in other religions in the previous censuses. Hindus, Christians, Muslims, etc. are being weighed on the same scale while discussing this issue, which is baseless. It is said that they were now compelled to write whatever they were writing, whether Christian or Hindu. In fact, the history of Christians and Muslims in India is only 500 years old. The Tribals who now call themselves Christians, have converted in recent years.

Odisha is a land of tribes. Odisha occupies a unique position among the Indian States and Union Territories for having a rich and colourful tribal scenario. Also Odisha is land of Bhagawan Jagannath.

From the earliest times of our Jagannath culture, where was Jagannath first worshiped? It was by a Sabar Raja, a Tribal King. The tradition of Rath Yatra is thousands of years old. The descendants of the Tribal Rajas called as “Daitapati” Sevayatas in Puri Temple play an important role in the worship tradition of the temple. In the Ramayana, Ramchandra sits at Shabari home and eats. Santali, Vill, Munda, Mizo etc. all have Ramayana in their language. Not only inJagannath Temple, but also Ayapa Bhagwan of Kerala, Sabarimala, Tirupati Balaji Bhagwan of Andhra Pradesh, etc. are all connected with the Tribal culture. The local tribals are worshipers at the famous Gupteswar temple in Koraput of Odisha. Even today tribals are the main worshipers at the Maa Deuri Durga temple in Jharkhand. The tribal tradition includes the worship of the family deity, the village deity, the joint worship of the village deity, and the eating of the joint offerings, which is in the Sanatni tradition. So why are they being portrayed as non-Hindus? Who is poisoning their simple minds.  Why are they being misled by their simplicity?

All of these conspiracies are remotely abroad. Eminent researcher Rajiv Malhotra mentions such a conspiracy in his book Breaking India. Everything he wrote in his book is now slowly happening. Nature worship is an integral part of the traditional Hindu tradition. Worship of the river, the sea, the sun, the moon, the basil tree, the bell tree, etc., has been going on since time immemorial. So are the common people who worship him different from the Hindus? The method of worship may be slightly different. The difference in the method of worship is only accepted in traditional Hinduism not in any abrahamic religion. “Sarna” can be a sect like as Shaiva, Shakta, Vaishnava. But on that basis, there seems to be no basis for portraying Tribals as non-Hindus.

Who has ever opposed the nature worship of Tribals in the name of Hindu tradition? No. Local non-tribal peoples are even more involved in functions and celebration of tribals. But some so-called social activists and intellectuals who are pursuing a racket of conversion are trying to prove that nature worship is not part of Hinduism.

To get to the bottom of this controversy we have to go back to the 1800s. The British historian Max Müller first wrote the theory of the Aryan invasion, which was later intensified by the British to create divisions among the Indians, with no historical evidence included in the textbooks of the school and college history. The Aryans came to India from the shores of the Caspian Sea, expelled the natives, invaded the Dravids, and sent them to the South. The consequences of which can be seen today. The worship of Mahingshasur on the tenth day, and the worship of Ravana on Diwali, can be seen now. This is the evil effect of the Aryan invasion theory. Those who take this view often call themselves as AmbedkarBadi. In reality, however, they do not agree with Ambedkar’s conviction. They need to read Ambedkar’s book “Who Are Shudra”. He called the Aryan-Invasion theory as fake, misleading. No one came to India from the shores of the Caspian Sea. Everyone living here are native of this land.

Racism is slowly building up in society and that needs to be addressed. Those who think that Ambedkar is anti-Hindu should know that Ambedkar, who was the creator of the Constitution of India, kept the image of Rama’s return to Ayodhya in the original constitution. At a constitutional meeting on the 14th, he demanded that Sanskrit should be made the national language of India. Yes, he opposed Castes system and accepted Buddhism. It was his protest against these ill practices. However, the way in which various organizations are making controversial arguments against Hindus by keeping Ambedkar’s Photos, they are just using great national leaders like Ambedkar to fulfill their purpose. Renowned author Manoj Das in his book “India’s History – Answers to the Century Question” rejects the doctrine of Aryan aggression. Similarly, Dravid Freeley in his research has ruled out the possibility of an Aryan attack. Evidence from the skeletal DNA of an underground skeleton in Rakhigarh, Haryana, has shown that no migration has taken place from Asia to India.

Let those who call the Tribals are non-Hindus based on the British census make it clear whether they will believe the British or take the constitution written by Baba Saheb Ambedkar. Baba Saheb in the constitution had clearly mentioned who are Hindus. In the end, the government has a big role to play in protecting the culture of the Tribal and keeping their traditions intact. The whole country has a responsibility to save them.

Bio – Anil Biswal is a Senior Journalist based at Odisha. With an experience spreading over 8 years, he has been actively involved with news reporting, news analysis and managing news operations. His experience ranges from covering national and regional politics to observing public policy to producing research on cultural history. He tweets at @BiswalAnil.

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