25th Karam Festival of Santal Adivasis celebrated at Mahadevpur in Naogaon


Hill voice, 3 September 2020, Naogaon: The 25th Karam Festival of the Santal indigenous peoples was celebrated at the Natshal football ground in Mahadevpur Upazila in Naogaon with an overnight puja-parvan and a cultural program of the Adivasis on 2 September 2020 Wednesday. The 25th traditional Karam Festival of Santal Indigenous was organised by the Jatiya Adivasi Parishad.

Rabindranath Soren, President of the Central Committee of the Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, inaugurated the program under the chairmanship of Kartik Urao, the land donor of Karam Mandir.  Presidium member of the Jatiya Adivasi Parishad Advocate Babul Rabidas, General Secretary Sabin Chandra Munda, Treasurer Sudhir Tirkey, Office Secretary Subhash Chandra Hembrum, Information and Research Secretary Manik Saran, Principal of Raigaon Degree College Md. Arifur Rahman, President of Adivasi Chhatra Parishad Central Committee Nukul Pahan spoke at the event. The program was conducted by Naren Pahan, General Secretary of Adivasi Juba Parishad Central Committee.

During the brief discussion, the speakers strongly criticized the government for raising the issues of land grabbing, oppression, murder and so on. They then demanded constitutional recognition as an indigenous people, the establishment of a separate ministry for the plains indigenous peoples, and the appointment of indigenous directors in indigenous cultural academies, including the formation of separate land commissions.

Note that, the biggest religious festival of the plain land indigenous peoples is Karam Festival or Dal Puja. Indigenous people of Naogaon in the northern plains have been celebrating Karam Puja every year for generations.

Karam festival has been celebrated regularly at Natshal ground since 1996. This puja is celebrated every year on the full moon day of the month of Bhadra.  During the puja, biographies of two indigenous brothers, Dharma and Karma, are presented. Indigenous people believe, practicing religion protects them from all kinds of dangers. And they will be in danger if they do not practice karma. On the first full moon of the month of Bhadra, the people of the indigenous community cut the branches of the Karam tree.

Then in the evening, according to the calendar, when the full moon begins, the Karam festival is celebrated every year by cutting the Karam branches and burying them in a temporary mandapa through worship, dance-song and saying something.

At this time the whole area became a gathering place of the indigenous community. At the end of the puja, the next day, the Karam twigs were picked up and the men and women of all ages, including the youth of the village, danced and sang. Indigenous people are eagerly waiting for this Karam festival throughout the year. This year, on the occasion of Karam, 20 cultural groups from different districts performed their dances and songs and showcased their language, culture and traditions.