Separate Religious Code for Sarna Tribes (Download PDF)

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The Jharkhand government recently passed a resolution to send the center a letter to recognize Sarna religion and include it as a separate code in the Census of 2021.

Separate Religious Code for Sarna Tribes

Sarna Religion

  • The followers of Sarna religion faith believe in praying to nature.
  • The holy grail of the faith is “Jal, Jungle, Zameen” and its followers pray to the trees and hills while believing in protecting the forest areas.
  • It is believed that 50 Lakhs tribal in the entire country fill their religion as ‘Sarna’ in the 2011 census, although it is not a code.

Issues at Present

  • Jharkhand has 32 tribal groups of which 8 are from particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) .
  • Many tribes of Jharkhand follow Hindu religion and some have converted to Christianity, this has become one of the planks of demanding a separate code “to save religious identity” as various tribes put it as their code in census 2011.
  • Many of the tribal who follow this faith have converted to Christianity-the state has more than 4 percent Christians most of whom are tribal.
  • Some who still follow the Sarna faith believe that the converted tribal are taking advantage of reservation as a minority as well as the benefits given to schedule tribes.
  • They also believed that benefits should be given specifically to them and not those who have converted.

Separate Code

  • The population of Sarna tribal in the state has declined from 38.03 percent in 1931 to 26.02 percent in 2011.
  • One of the reasons for this was tribal who go for work in different states not being recorded in the census.
  • In other states the tribal are not counted as Tribal. Therefore, the Separate code will ensure recording of their population.
  • The declining numbers affect the constitutional rights given to them and how the rights will be bestowed upon the Adivasis under 5th Schedule of the constitution.

Sense Separate Code Makes

  • The protection of their language and history is an important aspect with tribal.
  • Between 1871 and 1951 the tribal had a different code, however it was changed around 1961 - 62.
  • As per the Experts when today the entire world is focusing on reducing pollution and protecting the environment, it is prudent that Sarna becomes a religious code as the soul of this religion is to protect nature and the environment.
  • The protection of their language and history is an important aspect with tribal.
  • If the center approves the new sarna code census 2021 would have to make a space for a new religion.
  • Currently citizens can choose form only six religions: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism Buddhism and Jainism.

- Published/Last Modified on: May 25, 2021

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