Prime Minister Narendra Modi today welcomed a group of young men and women of the Paharia tribe into the government job at Sahebganj in Jharkhand. PM Modi visited Jharkhand to lay the foundation stone of a number of development projects including a four-lane bridge on river Ganga connecting Bihar and Jharkhand.
The Jharkhand government has trained and employed them into state police service. Paharia community is one of the poorest communities in the country. PM Modi said they are even poorer than the people belonging to Scheduled Tribe communities. With the integration of Paharias into the mainstream, the PM said he was confident even the poorest people of the country would help realise the dream of ‘New India’.
Paharias are one of the primitive tribal groups in Santhal Parganas of Jharkhand. They are extremely poor and backward on all human development indicators. Despite being one of the aboriginal people of Santhal region, Paharias are on the verge of extinction because of the apathy of past governments in Jharkhand. The Britishers had allotted them land, which they lost. Their forest land was also usurped by the successive Central governments. The community has been fighting for their rights for years.
The Britishers had earmarked 1338 square miles of forest land (Damin-e-Koh) for the Paharias. Paharia community resides mainly in Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal.
‘Imandari Ka Yug’ has started in India. A good life can be led even without looting the poor: PM @narendramodi
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In Jharkhand, there are two types of Paharias. First, Mal Paharia people who live in the southern hills of Damin-i-koh and in the south and east of Santhal Parganas. A few of them are also found in Odisha and nd West Bengal. The second group is of Shauria Paharia (or Maler Paharia_ are mostly found in Santhal Parganas. The total population of Sauria Paharias is expected to be around 30,000. Their main source of livelihood has been shifting cultivation.
The total population of Mal Paharias is expected to be just over 1 lakh.
Jharkhand government website says this about Mal Paharias: “Basically they were lived in area of Narmada valley. In present day they lived in Sahebganj, Godda, Devghar and other places of Santhal Pargana. Their are no arrangement of Gotra. Their descendants are of sakra races. Their own language is “Malti” but they also speak Bangla. Their main profession is agriculture. There are many subcasts – Manjhi, Birhi, Pajhore etc. The centre point of their religion is worship of their elders and Dharti, Gorasi Gosai are the main Gods.”
About Sauria Paharias, it says: “They are a race of Proto-Ostroloid. Their main residential place was in the area of Karnataka. At present, they live in mountains of Rajmahal and Santhal Pargana. Their own language is “Malto”. Mainly due to residence on mountain they are called as “Pahadiya”. They don’t think on same gotra during marriage. Their religious culture is similar with Hindu religion. They are vegetarian. They are economically based on farming.”
Here’s what the PM said about Paharia people today:
“I am seeing youth in front of me today. They are wearing caps with yellow flowers. They are looking awesome.
“They are children of Paharia tribe. Until now, none of their family members has got an opportunity to work for the government. All of you please clap for them.
“I want to congratulate Raghubar Das ji’s new initiative and his original thinking that he selected them for the job (police), changed rules, trained and employed them for your security. Now they have become the government.
“Brothers and sisters, these Paharia sons and daughters are among the most neglected people in the country. Today they are joining the mainstream. I observed when these daughters came to me for getting their certificate, the way they walked, the way they saluted, the way they talked, their confidence — I feel they will become our pride. These friends from the Paharia community, all of these youth will become a new force to secure the future of Jharkhand.
“They are poorer than the tribals. For four generations, they have not got an opportunity to get a government job. And they are going be the foundation of my New India. This is my New India. They are the example that even the poorest people of the country would join India’s growth story.”