Major BR Enclave, Pochanpur
Dwarka, New Delhi-110023
Culture and Tradition of Chik Baraik Community
Chik Baraik community has a very rich cultural tradition with deep regional imprints. It carried its culture in originality wherever moved. Chik Baraik community is also not untouched as other tribal communities from the rapid transformation in recent years. However, the community had its own identity related to culture and traditions some of which are still continuing some way or the other. The community has its unique tradition and practices for whole life cycle and all occasions. Even the language they speak (sadri) has very rich expressions with specific vocabulary.
Housing and Dresses: Traditionally they were found to be scattered alongwith other major tribes in the region. Houses were made up of self made earthen burnt tiles known as ‘khapra’, mud, and woods. Clay and cowdung were and are still used for plastering and finishing walls and floors. During older days, doors were used to be of woods and sometimes simple hinges on the outer side known as ‘tati.’ It used to be of tin as well. Their clothing had been karya (loin cloth), panchi or gamchha (towel), lungi and dhoti among males and lahanga and saree among females. The ornaments had been lac/aluminium/iron or silver made lahti, churi, bichhiya, tadiya, paynri, kakna, tarki, hansli, bandhna and leaf roll for ear known as tarpat or bidiyo, among females. The ornamental tattoos on chest, neck, whole arms and legs below knees were also very prominent.
Language: Sadri/Nagpuria/Sadani has been the primary mother tongue of Chik Baraik community. However, the speakers have also taken up the other tribal languages of their locality as secondary languages for communication like Kharia, Mundari, Kurukh, etc. They have also well embraced the languages like Hindi in Jharkhand, Bengali in West Bengal, Assamese in Assam and Oriya in Odisha as languages of communication with others and sometimes within intra community interactions.
Beliefs and Worshiping: Chik Baraiks have been traditionally animists/ancestral worshipers and nature worshipers. However, they are found to profess Hinduism in part or in some form and also some percentage of Christianity in parallel fashion with their traditional culture. Some have left the practices due to migration to other places, especially urban areas and faraway places, where their religious and cultural practices cannot be performed.
Life Cycle: There are rituals and practices right from the birth of a child. Birth pollution is observed. It is of very much interest to see the name picking of a child well known as chhathi by chasing and meeting a floating sesame seed by raw rice on the shallow water of bronze thali. Damgani, panbandhi, maitkoran (worshiping gram deity) by village Pahan (priest), palcing kaniyari khunta, madwa and dalhardi, nahchhur, amba biha, painkotan, pairghani, popping and playing lawa, sindur dan, harin marek, chuman, bahurat, playing beng pani, etc. are still the most vibrant form of step by step activities during marriage ceremony with earth shattering beats of dhank and nagara full of bass and treble and melodious tune of shahnai played by the traditional musicians of Ghasi community. Dhuku, sagai and sindur darrek were also some forms of union of male female to be together with certain social recognition activities. Marriages are performed by the village pahan with maitkoran and thakur (barber). Uniqueness of the practices of Chik Baraiks are that the boys’s parents or relatives go to girl’s place to see and negotiate for marriage unlike others; token amount is paid by the boys’s family to the girl’s family and part of the marriage expenses are paid by the boy’s family to the girl’s family are paid as decided by both sides in a ceremony called damgani. The process of marriage starts with giving karam luga (usually giving saree for a girl as a symbol of consent to marry by boy’s family) and exchange of interactions starting after dev uthan followed by ghar dekhi by both families before finalization of everything on mutual consent. After death, the dead body is buried in the masna (designated burial ground for Chik Baraiks). Thereafter, teen nahna is performed on third day of burial followed by the dash karma or final ritual on tenth day by taking community bath and meal. During this period also there are some specific activity performed for feeding and peace of soul.
Songs and Music: Every stage can be witnessed with full of joy and dance open to all males and females of the society. It is really challenge to resist oneself to these beats, which are different during different time/period and activity with different tune of shahnai, dhank and nagara. Pahgun, nawakhani, Sohrai, Karam and Jitiya are the major festivals with sarhul. It is so fascinating to listen to different songs and ragas for different season occasion, time and place like damkach, karam, phaguwa, mardana jhumair, tharhiya, lahasua, sanjhi, kalwa, biyari, adhratiya, bhinsariya, with sweet beat of popular instruments like mandar (mostly mati mandar otherwise kath mandra, muchu mander, etc.), dholki, bansuri, thechka, etc. Even the songs are for those who migrated or had seasonal (chhaw masia or six monthly) migration to Assam, Bhotang (Bhutan), and Tapu (Andman and Nicobar Islands). These days these have been updated with contemporary migration destination. One really needs to revisit and reinvent all the rich cultural heritage of Chik Baraik, some of which are in peril. The rich cultural tradition of Chik Baraik community has always been under the shadow of large tribal groups and never been highlighted. It needs to be protected and promoted otherwise will become a heritage very soon.
Agriculture and Food : The agricultural produce of the community have been paddy, marua (ragi), gondli (pearl millet), kurthi, urad, jatangi, gangai, danrbodi, etc. The pulses grown were urad, kurthi, khesra, danrbodi, barai, rahair, etc. Major vegetables grown were bodi and sem (type of beans), gongra, jhingi, lauwa and tumba (type of bottle guard), konhda and raksa (types of pumpkins), kheera (cucumber), pechki/ratna, aaru, sakhin, etc. Alongwith many others, these used to form the staple food. Boiled mahua flower (fresh and dried) with tamarind seed or kurthi or saal seed was also a kind of food. Various forms of cakes popularly called as latha like mahua latha, sarai latha, jatangi latha are also of special mention. The khichdi made up of various ingredients known as leto or dubu were also occasional food. Now there has been transformation in the food habit also.
For flex and ropes, sanai and kudrum were grown. Otherwise various tree barks like that of banyan tree, straw and bariyari plant were also used for rope making.