The Land From I Belong… “Johar Jharkhand”
I had been thinking for quite long time now that I should write about the land where I grew up, where I learned all the values, where I bloomed and last but not the least where I became a better person. Yes, folks I belong to Jharkhand!.
Jharkhand is a state in eastern India. It was carved out of the southern part of Bihar on 15th November, 2000. Jharkhand shares its border with the states of Bihar to the north, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the west, Orissa to the south, and West Bengal to the east. The state’s name means “the land of forests” and the land area is about 49,821 square miles. As you guessed, most of the land is covered in trees! Ranchi is the capital and the population here is roughly 33 million. The state is a tribal one, dominated and controlled by indigenous tribal folk because this region is so fertile enough for agricultural values like paddy, wheat, maize and pulses, added to it, being a forest region. Jharkhand also provides great values of forest produces as a major economical status to the state. The state official animal is Elephant and Cuckoo is the state bird. This state can also be said as a blessed piece of land on earth with all sort of natural credibility and treasures to mankind such as copper, coal, iron, manganese, mica, chromium and bauxite.
You can find pure, unadulterated joy in Jharkhand because this is one Indian state that has survived the ill effects of urbanization to a surprising degree. Forests, hills, valleys, waterfalls, wildlife, history, culture, charming towns and vibrant cities – everything embraces the visitor as only a slice of paradise on earth can. And the people, the pristine tribal communities who are the original dwellers of the land, rejoice in their visitors. Those who have returned to Jharkhand more than once, have discovered that the genuine Jharkhand is as exotic and beautiful as the mythical one and far more exciting than the one promoted by the visitor industry!!
Jharkhand is full of surprises. Archeaologists have unearthed pre-Harappan pottery, and pre-historic cave paintings and rock-art. That hint at ancient, cultured civilizations inhabiting these parts. Each sub-caste and tribal grouping Jharkhand has a unique tradition to uphold. Oraon comb-cut paintings can be traced back to ancient times. Kurmi a unique style of ‘sohrai’, where drawing outlines are scratched onto the surface of wall with nails and a wooden compass is used to etch the segmented lotus, Pashupati or Lord Shiva is depicted as a horned deity on the back of a bull. Red, black and white lines are drawn in pairs on either side to represent the ashes of ancestors. The Kurmis of Bhehwara use glyptic art to represent plants on the walls and floors of their homes. Mundas use their fingers to paint in the soft, wet earth of their homes and use unique motifs like the rainbow snake and plant forms of deities. Lavender-gray colored mud from rock-art sites next to Munda villages, are used with ochre mud as contrast colour. Ghatwals use glyptic paintings of animals on their forest dwellings. Turi who are a small community of basket-makers use predominantly floral and jungle-based motifs in natural earthy tones on the walls of their homes. Birhor, Bhuiya Birhor & Bhuiya use simple, strong, and authentic graphic forms like ‘mandalas’, painting with their fingers, crescents, stars, yoni, rectangles with corner petals, ovals with flared lines and concentric circles, are common. Manjhi Santhal – the striking warring figures painted in black or simple clay plaster walls are startling reminders that their origins probably had links with the Indus Valley civilization.
Basant Panchami (Saraswati puja), Holi, Rakhsha Bandhan, Dusshera, Diwali, Jitiyaa, Bhaiya Dooj and Chath Puja are the common hindu’s festivals celebrated throughout the state. Whereas, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha and Muharrum are the common muslim festivals.
Chath Puja is reckoned as one of the most important festivals of Jharkhand. The ‘Sun-God’ is worshiped in a different form here on the two special days. During this festival the setting Sun is worshiped with utmost sincerity and devotion. The inhabitants of the state have immense faith on this auspicious festival, which is celebrated two times a year once in the month of Chaitra or March, and the other time in which it is celebrated is the month of Kartik, which falls in the month of November. The harmonious melody of the lyrics chanted during this festival lets one immerse in the sanctity and the purity of this auspicious occasion. Besides the Hindus, some of the Muslims also actively participate in the holy ceremony. If we opt for redefining this festival then we can say that it is an expression of seeking blessings from the forces of the nature, thus representing the amalgamation of the Vedic and non-Aryan religion.
Jityya is celebrated by ladies who have kids. Long and a healthy life is what they ask for from Parwati (Lord Shiva’s wife). Ladies fast the entire day and adorn their kids with ‘kajal tika’ (black sooth produced from the oil diyas) on the forehead for keeping the evil eyes away. Kids are fed with the foods of their choice.
Bhaiya Dooj is the other prominent festival of Jharkhand. It is a festival purely dedicated to the love and affection between brothers and sisters. Brothers bless their sisters and also promises to protect them from all hardships. The celebration of Bhaiya Dooj in this state can be redefined as a bond that speaks of sensitivity and timeless relationship.
Some of the important festivals of the tribal’s such as Karam, Baha, Sarhul and Sohrai are actually glaring example of the tribal spirit. And whatever the rituals, dance and music come naturally along with them. Simple tribal dances are mixed together with dances about the difficulty of life and social problems to create some vibrant and eclectic mixes. A number of Indian musicians have also come from Jharkhand.
Palas phool or tesu ke phool are one of the common flowers seen in Jharkhand. Tribal women’s wearing it on their hair is a common sight. Palash flowers adore the trees from January end to March, making the tree top looks like its ablaze. Palash tree is also considered to be the Fire God’s incarnation. Mythology says that it was a punishment given to him by Goddess Parwati for disturbing her and Lord Shiva’s privacy. The wood is dirty white and soft. Being durable under water, the wood is used for well-curbs and water scoops. Good charcoal can be made from it. The flowers are used for dyeing clothes. It’s said that the cloth can tear but the color will never go… The red fiery flowers reminds me of one of my favorite poems:
“Basant ke aise dino mein,
jee chahta hai, jaaoon jhool,
iss ped se jhoola laga kar,
aur upar se barse tesu ke phool…” 🙂
Photo courtesy: Prokrity Asad | www.skyscrapercity.com
‘Kadam’ flowers/ fruits are also common which is widely eaten raw or rejoiced as chutney or sabji. Here is me holding a couple of them
Photo courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com
Jharkhand cuisine has more to it besides its ethnic eating habits. The land where the modern state of Jharkhand is spread across, was under the influence of Mughal rule, and thus, the Mughal cuisines have greatly influenced the cooking style and the tastes of the people residing in Jharkhand. Here is a list of the recipes of the people of Jharkhand: Bihari Litti, ole (suran or elephant feet) bharta, Sattu, Pittha, Nimki, Thekua (dessert), Besan (gatte ki sabzi), Mitha Khaza, Kala-Chana Ghoogni, Til Barfi, Aloo Chokha, Kohde (kadime) ke phool ke pakode, Kacchu ke Patte ke Pakode (Patra), Sehjan ke phool ke pakode, Chana Dal ki Kachree, Pua, Singal and Khichdi. Thekua is one of the popular dishes of Jharkhand. It is also known as Khajoor and is a homemade dessert. Thekua is a sweet dish which is also crispy. It is a dessert made by mixing sugar, wheat, flour and chopped coconuts. The sweet concoction can be carried along with you in long journeys, as it can be stored safely for a few days. Moreover, it is very easy to prepare Thekua. In Jharkhand, vegetables are a high priority in the meals. Most of the plant parts are cooked in different varieties eg. chutney, subji, daal or can be eaten raw. A plant’s leaf, flower, stem and fruits everything can be served as a different delicacy altogether. There is a wide variety of non-veg items too.
Photo courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com
This is one place where the sun seems to radiate hope. The evening sky overflows with stars. The hills seem to be moving like the waves of the sea. The tribal drums weave their rhythmic magic. And the spirit revives in an atmosphere that is best described as unique. Life seems far less complicated and far more captivating when you are in Jharkhand. Here is where you can do your own thing – follow what everybody else follows, or break pleasure of a walk-in the-woods.
Yes. Jharkhand is perfect. The kind of perfection that exists somewhere between your head and heart. Relax. Play. Do business. Party. Withdraw. Study. Build relationships. Enrich yourself culturally. Seek entertainment. Find delight.
I invite you to come and feel the warmth of Jharkhand… Johar! Hiju’ bin (Namaste! You are welcome!) 😀 😀