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Separate religious code for Sarna tribals

  • IASbaba
  • July 25, 2022
  • 0
Geography
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In News: As demands for a Sarna religious code in Census 2021 grow in Jharkhand, many outfits are busy trying to convince the tribal people that they are Hindus.

  • In November 2020, the Jharkhand government convened a special Assembly session to pass a resolution to recognise Sarna religion and include it as a separate code in the Census of 2021.

The Sarna Religion

  • The followers of Sarna faith believe pray to nature.
  • The holy grail of the faith is “Jal (water), Jungle (forest), Zameen (land)” and its followers pray to the trees and hills while believing in protecting the forest areas.
  • Jharkhand has 32 tribal groups of which eight are from Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.
  • While many follow Hindu religion, some have converted to Christianity — this has become one of the planks of demanding a separate code “to save religious identity”— as various tribal organisations put it.

Why need Sarna Code?

  • It is believed that 50 lakhs tribal in the entire country put their religion as ‘Sarna’ in the 2011 census, although it was not a code.
  • Thus it is important to recognize them.

Politics around the code

  • Many of the tribals who follow this faith have later converted to Christianity—the state has more than 4% Christians most of whom are tribals.
  • Some who still follow the Sarna faith believe the converted tribals are taking the benefits of reservation as a minority.
  • They also believe that benefits should be given specifically to them and not those who have converted.

What sense does a separate code make?

  • The protection of their language and history is an important aspect of tribals.
  • Between 1871 and 1951, the tribals had a different code. However, it was changed around 1961-62.
  • Experts argue that when today the entire world is focusing on reducing pollution and protecting the environment, it is prudent that Sarna becomes a religious code as the soul of this religion is to protect nature and the environment.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements about Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in India: (2019)

  1. PVTGs reside in 18 States and one Union Territory.
  2. A stagnant or declining population is one of the criteria for determining PVTG status.
  3. There are 95 PVTGs officially notified in the country so far.
  4. Irular and Konda Reddi tribes are included in the list of PVTGs.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

  1. 1, 2 and 3
  2. 2, 3 and 4
  3. 1, 2 and 4
  4. 1, 3 and 4

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