Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has said that it is wrong to consider all the tribals of India as Hindu. Speaking at the Harvard India Conference, Hemant Soren has said this. He said that Adivasis were neither Hindus nor are they.
Hemant Soren went on to say, “Tribal society is a nature worshiper and has different customs. Tribal society has been suppressed for centuries, sometimes indigenous, sometimes tribal and sometimes under other identities.” The CM said that in this census, the provision of ‘others’ for tribal society has also been removed.
Tribals have no place in census – Hemant Soren
Hemant Soren said that no column is kept for the tribals in the census of the country. Regarding five-six religions, an attempt has been made to state that they must choose one of these. Adivasis are not given the option to choose their religion or identity.
He said that the State Government has requested the Center that there should be a separate column for the tribal group in the forthcoming census, so that they can move forward by preserving their tradition and culture.
Sarna religion is being demanded in many states.
Hemant Soren of Jharkhand has passed a resolution in the Legislative Assembly to recognize the separate religious identity of the tribals. In this proposal, a separate religious identity has been demanded for the tribals.
In Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and many states where there is tribal population, there is a demand for recognition of Sarna religion or other tribal religions.
Tribal organizations demand a different religious identity, saying that on the basis of which other religions have been recognized, Sarna religion should also be recognized.
Hindu identity should not be forced
Tribal organizations say that till 1941, separate identification of tribals was recorded in the census of India. But in the census that followed, the only column of their identity has been removed.
After that, all the tribals are considered Hindus except those who have converted to Christianity, or have adopted some other religious identity.
Apart from Jharkhand, the government of West Bengal has also demanded that Sarna religion should be given a separate identity. In this regard, the State Government has sent a recommendation to the Central Government.
According to anthropologist and noted social activist Karama Uraon, the demand for Sarna Dharma or tribal religion has a strong philosophical basis.
He says that tribal communities have their own beliefs and customs in the same way as in other religions.