Adi-Dharma/Sarna Dharma: A New Age Religion of Adivasis in Jharkhand
The designations of “New Age” are applied to emergent faiths that have risen in the second half of the twentieth century. They offer innovative counter-culture responses to the socio-cultural or political conditions of the modern world yet are umbilically rooted in their ancient identities.
Adi-dharma “Primal Religion” of Jharkhandis is also referred to as Sarna-dharma. It derives its name from the word “Sarna,” meaning sacred-grove, and dharma, a set of religious beliefs. It is also referred to as Sari-dharma, Jehar-dharma, and Bongism (named after their god). The concept of Adi-dharmawas coined by the late Ram Dayal Munda (b.1939–2011), one of the most respected voices of the Jharkhand movement and a dynamic leader of his community. Munda’s main concern was to reestablish the lost identity of a large section of long marginalized tribal communities living in the Chotta Nagpur Plateau region. The tribal collective consisted of the Mundas, Oraons, Santals, Hos, Kudumis, and the...
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