Why Jharkhand is seeking a separate religious code for Sarna tribals

News: Jharkhand government has convened a special session and passed a resolution for the provision of a separate ‘Sarna Code’ for tribals.

Facts:

  • What does the resolution say? The resolution seeks a special column for followers of the ‘Sarna’ religion in the Census 2021.
  • What is the Sarna religion? Sarna followers are nature worshippers who do not consider themselves Hindus and have been fighting for a separate religious identity for decades. At present, they are not classified as a separate religious entity.
  • Nature Worship in Sarna: The holy grail of the Sarna faith is “Jal, Jungle, Zameen” and its followers pray to the trees and hills while believing in protecting the forest areas.
  • Was there a separate code before? The protection of their language and history is an important aspect of tribals. Between 1871 and 1951, the tribals had a different code. However, it was changed around 1961-62.
  • Significance of Separate Code: The population of Sarna tribals in the State has declined from 38.3% in 1931 to 26.02% in 2011. One of the reasons for this was tribals who go for work in different states not being recorded in the Census. Therefore, the separate code will ensure the recording of their population.

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