The movement of the Tana Bhagat community at Tori station of Jharkhand continues for the third consecutive day. The Railways had asked the Jharkhand government to remove Tana Bhagat protestors from tracks at Tori station and clear the way for New Delhi-Ranchi special Rajdhani Express and dozens of goods trains stuck for hours on Thursday.
Who are Tana Bhagats?
Tana Bhagats belong to a tribal community in Jharkhand’s Gumla district and are followers of Mahatma Gandhi’s principles. They reject the practices of spirit worship and sacrifice and live a simple life.
Originally from the Oraon tribe, there are many families in the Tana Bhagat community whose lands were auctioned by the British rule. They hoped that they would get their rights after independence, but due to various unknown reasons, they have not been gifted with their rights yet.
The Tana Bhagat tribal community is perhaps the only tribal community in India who start their day with the Indian flag worship. The tricolour flag is placed in every house of the Tana Bhagat community in the same way as the Tulsi plant in an ordinary Hindu family. They mainly depend on agriculture, least interested in cattle rearing and keeping poultry birds. They pay more attention in growing vegetables and grains.
Tanas have distinct identical characters in technique type of dress, food habit, and uniqueness in belief systems in their religion. The Tana followers wear white khaddar dhoti, white turban and some of them have beards, use rubber sandal and sacred thread, and put the Chandan tilak on the forehead. They never use the leather items, do not smoke tobacco, strictly avoid the handia, and do not consume alcohol, and any kind of meat. Even Tana followers do not take cooked food in the house of the non-Bhagat family.
During the British rule (1914-1919), Tana Bhagats opposed the taxes imposed on them by the British and they staged a Satyagraha (Civil Disobedience Movement) even before Gandhi’s Stayagraha Movement. They opposed the Zamindars, the Banias (moneylenders), the missionaries, the Muslims, and the British State.
Why are Tana Bhagats protesting?
Tana Bhagats have been demanding a complete ban on coal mining in Jharkhand saying the wealth of Jharkhand is being quickly belted-out of the state. They are also demanding land lease besides pension for them.