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Abstract

Bir bano? disum ale horoko kale sukua, said the Mundas to Hoffman when we was
writing his Encyclopaedia Mundarica in the last quarter of the 19th century. ‘We the
Mundas do not like to live in a country where there are no forests’, is not just a casual
statement of some nature lovers. The statement had a deep social and spiritual
connotation. Hoffman noted that when somebody died the Mundas avoid saying that
so and so has died, but they would say so and so has been lost in the forest (birjanae
instead of goejane). Forests are the dwelling place of the deceased ones. When the
village is settled by clearing forests, a patch of the virgin forest is kept untouched with
the belief that it is the abode of the mother earth (jaer era) or ‘lady if the sacred
grove’ and other spirits. This ‘sacred grove’ or sarna or Jaer (Jaher of the Santals) is
the only place of propitiation of the benevolent spirits of all the indigenous peoples of
Jharkhand. Munda tribe has great relevance of forest in their life they think it is
associated with their soul and ancestor-hood. The paper has highlighted the prospects
of forest relation in the life of tribal people in Jharkhand

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