Tribal people celebrate the Jharkhand assembly's resolution to let them identify their religion as 'Sarna' in Ranchi on 11 November | Photo: ANI
Tribal people celebrate the Jharkhand assembly's resolution to let them identify their religion as 'Sarna' in Ranchi on 11 November | Photo: ANI
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New Delhi: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliated organisations are concerned over the Jharkhand assembly’s 11 November resolution that will allow tribal people in the state to identify with a distinct religion, Sarna.

Though the RSS hasn’t taken an official stand on the issue, a senior functionary termed the move a “conspiracy to divide Hindus and reduce their overall population”.

The Sangh Parivar is also worried about the rising trend in the tribal community to identify themselves as belonging to Other Religions and Persuasions (ORP).

If the Centre approves Jharkhand’s new ‘Sarna code’, Census 2021 would have to make space for a new religion. Currently, citizens can choose from only six religions — Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. However, those who do not subscribe to these religions are clubbed together as ORPs.

“The issue was taken up in the past few meetings and Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram is looking into it,” the RSS functionary quoted above said.


Also read: Soil for Ram Mandir construction angers Jharkhand tribals, VHP blames Christian missionaries


Awareness programme

The Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, an affiliate of the RSS that works on tribal issues, has now started an awareness programme in major tribal belts, where its functionaries are holding meetings with the community and emphasising how they are an integral part of the Hindu religion.

Sources said such awareness programmes are being held across the country, especially in states with sizeable tribal populations, such as Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Odisha, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

In Maharashtra, for instance, in places where internet connectivity is good, the tribespeople are being sent WhatsApp letters urging them not to identify themselves under ORP.

“We are also narrating stories from our epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata which contain stories of tribespeople. This is proof enough that we are all part of the Hindu samaj,” said a Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram functionary.

Another functionary told ThePrint that the VKA has started conducting meetings in several villages of Jharkhand. “This is nothing but a ploy to cut off the tribal community from the broader Hindu religion,” the functionary said.

“For the past two decades at least, an attempt was made to make the tribal community members identify themselves as ORP. This is nothing but a conspiracy. In the 2011 Census, there were 79 lakh individuals who identified themselves as ORP, and at least 44 lakh are from Jharkhand itself. It was noticed that these ORPs later converted to Christianity.”

A third functionary added: “Our workers are holding discussions and are asking the community why do they want to leave the Hindu fold and become part of the minority. We are emphasising how the Hindu samaj is one, and this is just a conspiracy to divide it.”

A fourth functionary told ThePrint that the Sangh Parivar is also getting support from groups that follow traditional religions, who are not in the favour of the Sarna code. “Bharat aur Bharatiyata surakshit rehne chahiye (India and Indianness should remain protected),” this functionary said.

“This is nothing but a political move to break the Hindu samaj. There are some Christian and Muslim groups behind this. We will not allow this to succeed and will take it up with the Centre too.”


Also read: Social, cultural habits are preventing spread of Covid among India’s tribals, survey finds


 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. hindu shabd koi vedas mein, upanishads mein kyon puranas mein bhi nahi hai. the word came in only around 15th century BC when persians came in . and tribals jo mul nivasi hai unse varnasram se hi koi lena dena nahi hai tho hinduism se sambandh kab bana. waise bhi jo shudras ko in savarn logon ne around 1st centruy AD untouchables banaya wun scheduled castes ko bhi in logon ko so called hindusim se koi lena dena nahi.

  2. What a contrast in inclusivity!
    The Ahmediyas want to identify themselves as muslim but are banned from doing so.
    The Shias simply want to worship a descendant of the prophet but are considered inferior.
    Here, RSS is urging advisais to identify themselves as Hindu and yet JMM and Congress are keen to divide the country further. This is despite the BJP having a higher percentage vote than the JMM at the last assembly elections.

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