The book is the first pioneering work on the religious history of the tribals of Chotanagpur.Writing on religion and its influence is a daunting task. The religious history of the tribals in general and Chotanagpur in particular has not been taken up by any anthropologist, ethnographer or even historians. Emphasis so far has been on the political history, privation, tension and conflict in tribal society.
This aspect of the history of tribals, especially in Chotanagpur, has not been dealt with in one sweep, but has been discussed in patches, e.g., Sarna Dharam and Christianity. Nothing has been written so far discussing the entire gamut of religious evolution of the tribals in India and particularly in Chotanagpur.
This is an attempt to present a complete and co-ordinated history of the religious evolution of the Chotanagpur tribes. This is a humble attempt to present the entire gamut of tribal religious evolution in Chotanagpur. Apart from the published folklore, tradition and printed records, this book is based on participant observation covering a period of more than six decades. It presents a complete and coordinated picture of the religious history of the local tribes, except those in Santhal Parganas, which is now a part of the newly created state of Jharkhand.
Religious history of the Chotanagpur Tribes is an unique and highly illuminating account of tribal religious evolution in Chotanagpur from the very ancient times to the dawn of Indian independence. It describes Sarna Dharam, Buddhism, Jainism, Shaivism, Vaishnavism, and Christianity in Tribal Chotanagpur in the local, national and even international context. It is based mainly on the major research project on the subject assigned to the writer by the UGC during the period 1997 to 2000 A.D.
1. The Land and the People
2. Sarna Dharam
3. Buddhism and Jainism
4. The Hindu-Muslim Impact
6. Religious Revitalization Movements
7. Religion and Facets of Tribal Life