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Photographer's Note

I SHOT IT IN A SANTAL VILLAGE IN PURULIA WITH 200MM TELE.
The Santal are a dominant native community of Northeastern India. They are found mainly in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa states of India and in Bangladesh. Known for their ability to bear hardships, they are regarded as proud and brave soldiers. In fact one of the early rebellions against the British was led by a Santali leader, Baba Tilka Majhi.
Santal is one of the largest tribes in India, having a population estimated at 4.2 million. According to the 1991 census.

According to the Santal religion, the supreme deity, who ultimately controls the entire universe, is Thakurji. The weight of belief, however, falls on a court of spirits (bonga ), who handle different aspects of the world and who must be placated with prayers and offerings in order to ward off evil influences. These spirits operate at the village, household, ancestor, and subclan level, along with evil spirits that cause disease, and can inhabit village boundaries, mountains, water, tigers, and the forest. A characteristic feature of the Santal village is a sacred grove on the edge of the settlement where many spirits live and where a series of annual festivals take place.

The most important spirit is Maran Buru (Great Mountain), who is invoked whenever offerings are made and who instructed the first Santals in sex and brewing of rice beer. Maran Buru's consort is the benevolent Jaher Era (Lady of the Grove).

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Additional Photos by SUBIR BASAK (photographer123) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 222 W: 177 N: 1325] (6248)
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