The Legal Footing of the KUDUMI/KUDMI/ KURMI(MAHTO) Tribe

The Kudumi/Kudmi/Kurmi(mahto) community of Chota Nagpur Plateau
consisting part of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha have been demanding for
Scheduled Tribe (ST) status since last several decades. The
Kudumi/Kudmi/Kurmi(mahto) of Chota nagpur plateau region is Totemistic and is
different from the Kurmis of North India. To illumine about the Constitutional and Legal
Standing of the Kudumi/Kudmi/Kurmi(mahto) Tribe, it was presented below a gist of the
official documents about this aboriginal tribe:-
1. Report on the Census of Bengal -1872 describes :
“Colonel Dalton mentions some Jhari Kurmis or Kurmis of the woods , in Chota Nagpore,
who are said to worship strange Gods”[page174, para 61].
2. Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal-1872 Colonel Dalton describes :
“In the Province of Chutia Nagpur, the ancestors of the people now called Kurmis appear
to have obtained a footing among the aboriginal tribes at a very remote period”[page
317, section 5].
3. District Census Reports -1891, Chota Nagpur Division describes:
“The Kurmis of Hazaribagh, as seem to be testified by their physiognomy, are not the Aryan
Kurmis of Bihar. They much resemble the Sonthals, and it would, in many cases, be almost
impossible to distinguish a representative Kurmi from a representative Sonthal”[page 4,
para 16].
“Among the lowest classes those who eat the uncleanest meat or food are considered the
lowest. I have purposely omitted to mention above the few aboriginal tribes or castes not yet
Hinduized. They are the Kurmis, Muras, Bhumijs, Sonthals, Rajwars, and Bhuiyas”[page
13,para40].
“There is a distinction between the Kurmis of Chota Nagpur and the Kurmis of Bihar. The
physical formation and features of the two classes are different. The Kurmis of Chota Nagpur
are probably of Dravidian descent, and are less respectable than the Kurmis of Bihar. In Bihar
a Brahman will take water from the hands or the Bihar Kurmi, but no Brahman in Manbhum
will take water from the hands of a Kurmi”[page 13,para 41].
4. Census of India 1901.Volume V. The lower province of Bengal and their Feudatories ,part II BY E.A.GAIT , recorded:
“KURMI(Animistic) Population of Orissa Tributary States-11191”[page 106,Table IX].
“KURMI – Kurmi is the name of two distinct group: (1) An aboriginal tribe of Chota Nagpur
and Mayurbhanj who spell their name with a hard “r” and (2) of the well known Hindu
caste of Bihar who use a soft “ r”. It was Impossible at the census to distinguish between the
figures for each , but a reference to the locality in which enumeration will probably furnish
a sufficiently good guide as to their relative strength”[page 235].
5. Census of India 1901, Volume VI, The lower province of Bengal and their Feudatories , part I , BY E.A.GAIT describes:-
“As explained elsewhere the Kurmis of Bihar are an entirely separate caste from the Kurmis
of Chota Nagpur. The latter are found mainly in Manbhum and are more pronouncedly
Dravidian than the homonymous caste of Bihar. They have a dialect of their own, known as
Kurmali , a mixture of Bengali and Bihari, here and there a few aboriginal words. The two
communities should in theory be distinguished by the “r”, which is soft in one case and hard
in the other, but in practice the rule is not observed, and both words are usually spelt exactly
alike. They have therefore, perforce been shown under the same head.” [page393, para 646].
6. Linguistic Survey of India Volume-V (Part II) Sir George A Grierson , 1903 describes about Kurmali:-
“In Manbhum this languange is principally spoken by people of the Kurmi caste, who are
numerous in the Districts of Chota Nagpur, and in the Orissa Tributary State of Mayurbhanja.
They are an aboriginal tribe of Dravidian stock and should be distinguished from the Kurmis
of Bihar who spell their name differently, with a smooth instead of a hard ‘r’. The two quite
distinct tribes have been mixed up in the Census, but as their habitats are also distinct, the
following figures may be taken as showing with considerable accuracy the number of Kurmis
in the area under consideration..” [page 145].
7. Bengal District Gazetteers, SANTAL PARGANAS, 1910, BY L. S. S. O’MALLEY mentioned:
In Champa several races (the Mundas, Birhors, Kurmis and others) separated from what was, according to the traditions, till then the common Kharwar race”[page 90].
8. Bengal Gazetteers, Feudatory States of Orissa 1910, BY L.E.B. Cobden-Ramsay
mentioned:
“At present the aboriginal tribes are the Bhuiya, the Bathudi, Saonti, Juang, Kol, Kurmi,
Santal, Gond, Khandwal, Khond, Savar and a small tribe of Pitas.”[page 223, Keonjhar State].
“The number of the principal aboriginal tribes who form 56·52 percent of the total
population is as follows:-(1) Santal 185,149, (2) Ho or Kol 67,768, (3) Bhumij 56,157, (4)
Kurmi 35,968.”[page 242, Mayurbhanj state].
9. Census of India 1911 ,Vol. V, Bihar,Orissa and Sikkim Part-I describes:
“The Koiri and Kurmi are two great cultivating castes of Bihar, but the latter is also the name
of an aboriginal tribe in Chota Nagpur and the Orissa States, who spell their name with a
harder, whereas the Bihari castes use a soft “r”. It was impossible to distinguish between the
spellings and they have therefore been grouped together.”[page 512 ,para 1012].
10. The Gazette of India , May 3,1913, PP 471 PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHORITY No 18,
Simla,Saturday, May 3,1913:
“ HOME DEPARTMENT NOTIFICATIONS, The 2nd May 1913
No. 550- whereas the tribes known as the Mundas, Oraons,Santhal, Hos, Bhumijs, Kharias, Ghasis, Gonds, Kandhs,Korwas, Kurmis, Malesaurias, and Pans, dwelling in the province of  Bihar and Orissa have customary rules of succession and inheritance incompatible with the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1865 (X of 1865) and it is inexpedient to apply the provisions of this Act to the members of those tribes. In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 331 of the Indian Succession Act 1865 (X of 1865) the Governor General of Council is pleased to exempt all Mundas,Oraons, Santhals, Hos , Bhumis, Kharias, Ghasis, Goands, Kandhs, Korwas, Kurmis, Malesaurias, and Pans, dwelling in the province of Bihar and Orissa from the operation of the provisions of that Act.
………….W.S.Marris, Off. Secretary to the Government of India.”
11. Bihar and Orissa District Gazetteer RANCHI-1917 mentioned:
“The Kurmis include not only the Hindu cultivating caste but also the aboriginal tribe of Kurmi Mahtos, whose residence is chiefly in the Manbhum district, and also in Silli thana on the eastern border of the Ranchi district.”[page 61].
12. CENSUS OF INDIA,1921,VOL. V , BENGAL,Part I mentioned :
“Kurmi.-The Kurmis belong to two separate castes whose names should be spelt one with a hard “r” and one with a soft “r”. The latter is a Bihar cultivating caste and the former an aboriginal tribe of the southern part of the Chota Nagpur plateau and Orissa States. It
would, however have been impossible to separate the figures for the two as returned and this has not been attempted either at this or at the former censuses. Midnapore contains 80,000 and Bankura nearly 20,000 Kurmis with an even balance of the sexes. These must almost all be the aboriginal tribe, which is indigenous to the western parts of Midnapore and the south-western parts of Bankura district.”[page 356]
13. Journal of the Asiatic Society of India,1925 [N.S. XXIII] ,P.C. MAHALANOBIS classified the communities by analysing the Anthropometric data as:
“ ANALYSIS OF RACE-MIXTURE OF BENGAL.
A. GEOGRAPHICAL CLASSIFICATION:-
(1) Bengal (8):-Brahman,Kayastha,Sadgop,Kaibarta,Rajbansi,Pod,Bagdi and Mohmedan.
(2) Chota Nagpur Tribes (7):- Kurmi, Oraon, Santal,Munda,Bhuiya,Mal Pahari and Male.
(3) Bihar (4):-Brahman, Goala,Maghya Dom and Dosadh.
(4) North Western Provinces and Oudh (5):- Brahman,Kayastha,Goala,Dom and Chamar.
(5) Punjab (3):-Khatri, Pathan and Chuhra.
(6) Eastern Districts (3):- Lepcha,Chakma and Magh.
B. CULTURAL CLASSIFICATION:-
(1) High Castes (6):- Bengal Brahman, Bihar Brahman,N.W.P. Brahman ,Bengal Kayastha,
N.W.P Kayastha ,Punjab Khatri.
(2) Middle Castes (6):- Bengal Sadgop, Bengal Kaibarta, Bihar Goala,N.W.P. Goala, Bengal
Pod and Bengal Rajbanshi.
(3) Low Castes (6):- Bengal Bagdi, Bihar Dosadh, Punjab Chuhra,N.W.P. Chamar,Bihar Dom, and N.W.P. Dom.
(4) Chota Nagpur Aboriginal Tribes (7):- C.N. Kurmi, C.N. Bhuiya, C.N. Santal, C.N. Oraon,C.N. Munda, Bengal Mal Pahari and Bengal Male.
(5) Eastern Tribes (3):-Darjeeling Lepcha, Chittagong Chakma and Chittagong Magh
(6) Mohomedan (2):- Bengal Mohomedan and Punjab Pathan.”[page 302-303].
14.MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF BIHAR and ORISSA TO THE
INDIAN STATUTORY COMMITTEE 1930 ,VOL.XII mentioned :
“Aborigines.-. Agaria, Asar, Bhogra, Bhuiya, Bhumij,Binjhia, Chero, Chik (Baraik),
Ganda, Ghatwar, Ghasi,Gond, Ho, Juang, Kandh, Kharia, Karmali, Kharwar, Kisan,Kora,
Korwa, Kurmi (of Chota Nagpur), Lohar (of Chota Nagpur)J Mahali, Mal Paharia, Munda,
Pan, Oraon, Santal,Sauriya, Paharia, Tharu, Turi.”[PAGE 362]
15. CENSUS OF INDIA, 1931, VOL. I BY J, H. HUTTON :-
“ The Kurmis of Chotanagpur classified as Primitive Tribe”. [page 507]
16.CENSUS OF INDIA 1931,VOL. I ,PART III(part B) mentioned:
“Note on the Tribals ol Palamu.
The following notes on the tribes of Palamau district have been describes by Mr M.S.
Mukherjee, the Khas Mahal Officer, Palamau. He arranges the aborigines in the following
order of social precedences:-
1. Chero, Ghatwal and Rautia.
2. Bhumij and Mundas.
3. Kherwar and Bhogtas.
4. Oraon.
5. Kurmis, Santals and Hos.
6. Tamaria.
7.Parahiya.
8. Korwa, Birjia, Asur and Malar.”[page 113,para (g)] .
17.CENSUS OF INDIA,1931,VOL. VII , BIHAR AND ORISSA,Part II,W.G.Lacey mentioned :
“ The ‘All India Kurmi-Kshatriya Association’ took up the cudgels on behalf of the Kurmi
Mahtos, and stoutly affirmed that they and the Kurmi-Kshatriyas of the western provinces are the same, proofs of which, if necessary, can be produced before the Government”. It must be confessed that, when invited to produce these proofs, the Association showed no great eagerness to respond and eventually took refuge in the following generalities which, besides being unsupported by evidence or illustration .[page 291, para 1]. In Volume-V (II) of his Linguistic Survey of India Sir George A Grierson writes that the Kurmis of Chota Nagpur “are an aboriginal tribe of Dravidian stock and should be distinguished from the Kurmis of Bihar who spell their name differently with a smooth instead of a hard ‘r’. These two quite distinct tribes have been mixed up in the census.” Many of these people speak a language of their own, commonly known as Kurmali,although, as Sir George Grierson points out, in Manbhum this language is not confined to the Kurmis alone but is spoken by people of other
tribes also. In Bamra state, where it is spoken by undoubted aborigines, it is known as Sadri Kol. This language is a corrupted form of Magahi, but, to quote again from Sir George Grierson, “ in this belt Magahi is not the language of any locality. lt is essentially a tribal language”- just as Mal Paharia, a corrupted form of Bengali, is the language of the aboriginal tribe bearing that name. With regard to the spelling of Kurmi with a hard r, it has been verified from the local officials that this differentiation is observed still. It may possess real significance, but the general tendency in Chota Nagpur to make the ‘r’ hard is a circumstance that should be borne in mind.[page 292,para 3] In the District Gazetteer of Manbhum (1910) Mr. Coupland writes that the distinction between the Kurmis of Bihar and those of Chota Nagpur,”which is now generally accepted, is exemplified in this district by the fact that marked traces of the characteristic Kolarian village system remain, the Mahto or village headman of the Kurmis corresponding exactly with the
‘Manjhi of the Santhals, the Sardar of the Bhumij and the Munda of the Ho races.” The Kurmi Mahtos are included among the tribes exempted from the Indian Succession Act. By a printing error the name appeared in the original notification (issued about 20 years ago) as ” Kurmi Mahto ” and in the revised notification which was issued very recently the word ” Kurmi “only is retained. There is no doubt that, until quite recent years, the two communities were agreed in repudiating any connection with one another. The Bihar contingent would commonly allude to their namesakes of Chota Nagpur as the “Kol-Kurmis “, and the latter were no less spirited in asserting their independent identity. Not only inter-marriage, but inter-dining was entirely out of the question. Even today, although it will presently be seen that these restrictions have been formally abolished by resolutions passed in solemn conclave, and although it is probably true
that the Kurmis of Chota Nagpur no longer take the same pride in their ancestry that they used to do, no authentic case has come to notice of inter-marriage between the two peoples. The Superintendent of the Leper Hospital at Purulia writes that ” a Kurmi constable from North Bihar at present resident in this hospital was very scornful when I suggested his eating with our local Kurmi patients.” [page 292, para 4].
18. The Bihar & Orissa Gazettee, PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHORITY,No 49, Patna,
Wednesday,December 16, 1931:
“ Judicial Department NOTIFICATIONS ,The 8th December 1931.
No. 3563-J, Whereas the tribes known as the Mundas,Oraons, Santhals , Hos, Kharias,
Ghasis, Gonds, Kandhs,Korwas, Kurmis, Malesaurias and Pans, dwelling in the province of Bihar and Orissa have customary rules of succession and inheritance incompatible with the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 (XXXIX of 1925), and it is inexpedient to apply certain of the provisions of the said Act to the members of those tribes. In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Indian Succession Act 1925 and in supersession of notification No. 550, dated May 2, 1913 of the Government of India is the Home department, the Government of Bihar and Orissa are pleased to exempt all Mundas, Oraons, Santhals, Hos , Bhumis, Kharias, Ghasis, Goands, Kandhs, Korwas, Kurmis, Malesaurias, and Pans,dwelling in the province of Bihar and Orissa from the operation of the following provisions of the said Act.Namely sections 5 to 49, 58 to 191, 212, 215 to 369 retrospectively from the sixteenth day of March, 1865.
Provided that this notification shall not be held to affect any person in regard to whose
rights a decision contrary to its effect has already been given by a competent civil court.
…By Order of the Governor,J.A.Sweeny, Secretary to the Government.”
19. CENSUS OF INDIA,1931,VOL. V , BENGAL & SIKKIM,Part I mentioned :
“Kurmi –The returns under this head include both the Bihar cultivating caste and the
aboriginal tribe whose name is spelt the same with the exception that the ” r” is soft. No attempt was made to distinguish between the two groups. The total number is 194,652 compared with 181,447 in 1921. As in that year considerably over one-half of them are found in Western Bengal and Midnapore actually contributes 85,711 to the total. None appear to have been returned  under their tribal religion, although a number belonging to the aboriginal tribe were reported from Rajshahi during enumeration. In Midnapore they are generally known as Mahato, but this is a title also of Koiris and Kochhes and its use was discouraged. As with the Koiris the claim to be returned as Kurma- Kshattriyas was received not from any local body claiming that appellation but from an all-India Association.”[page 476 , para 560].
20. Letter No.26/12/50-RG, Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs dated 15th February
,1951 mentioned the criteria for Scheduled Tribes list as :
“There was a special enquiry conducted along with the 1931 census through India, on the
basis of which the communities properly classifiable as tribe were distinguished from castes , among the former those which were properly classifiable as “Primitive Tribes” were listed.”[page 5,para 13].
21.CENSUS 1951,WEST BENGAL, The Tribes and Castes of West Bengal, Asok Mitra
,Superintendent , 1953 describes :-
“Kurmi -A very large cultivating caste of Upper India, Bihar,Chota Nagpur and Orissa. Their origin is obscure. Behar Kurmis are fairly good looking and Campbell and Dalton consider them Aryan in look. The Kurmis of Chhotonagpur, Manbhum and Orissa however can hardly be distinguished from a Bhumij or SantaI. The Santals consider the Kurmis to be descended from the same stock as their own and will eat cooked rice from them. The Chhotonagpur Kurmis have many customs clearly tribal whereas Kurmis of Bihar are practically orthodox Hindus. In Midnapur, Kurmis are giving up divorce and widow marriage.The religion of Behar Kurmis differs little from that of other Hindu castes of similar social standing. Brahmans serve them without stigma. They do not take any prohibited food and their social rank is respectable and Brahmans will take water from their hands. Social customs are like those of other Hindus of similar status except that in Gaya, unmarried persons of either sex are buried and not cremated.
The Kurmis of Behar are excellent cultivators but as regards special crops they are not so skilful as the Koiris. Chhotonagpnr Kurmi-The animistic beliefs characteristic of the Dravidian races are overlaid by the thinnest veneer of conventional Hinduism and the vague shapes of ghosts or demons who haunt the jungle and the rocks are the real powers to whom the average Kurmi looks for the ordering of his moral and physical welfare. Chief -among these are Bar Pahar, Garoar, Kinchakeswari, Boram Devi, Dakum Buri, etc. In Chhotonagpur Brahmans are either not employed or employed only on special occasions. But in Midnapur, Brahmans are called in on all social and religious occasions, but the Brahmans are degraded. Special festivals are the Bandhana and Akhan Jatra. By abstaining from beef and pork, they have raised themselves a step higher than the Santhals and Oraons, but the fact that they eat fowl and field rats and indulge freely in spirituous liquor excludes them from the circle of castes from whose hands a Brahman will take water.”[PAGE 79 ,PARA 48].
22. Annual Report of the Tribal and Rural Welfare Department, 1957-58 mentioned :-
“ 58A. Kurmi* ……….NOTE- An asterisk mark against certain castes in the list denotes
the castes ,races or tribes recognised as Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes before the
commencement of the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment )Act 1956 And the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes Order (Modification ) Order 1956,but not so recognised now.” [page 68].
23. AIR 1963 Pat 466,Mohari Mahto And Ors. vs Mokaram Mahto on 12 April, 1963, Patna High Court , JUDGMENT K. Ahmad, J. mentioned:
“Now it does not admit of the faintest doubt that the Kurmi-Mahtons of the Manbhum
District are racially an aboriginal tribe. They are the most numerous community (whether tribe or caste) of that district from which they have overflowed into the neighbouring districts. They have no concern whatever except in the accent of name with the Dravido-Aryan agricultural and menial caste of Bihar proper.”
24. By included in The Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act, 1908 ,BENGAL ACT 6 OF 1908 :-

“ 36. Kurmi (Mahto)” community has land protection and safeguards along with the
Scheduled Tribes.
25.The Chota Nagpur Tenancy (West Bengal) Act 1961, has given land protection and
safeguards to Kurmi(Mahato) along with the Scheduled Tribes.
26. The Tribes And Castes Of Bengal: Ethnographic Glossary, Volume 1. By H.H. Risley
describes:
“The Kurmis may perhaps be a Hinduised branch of the Santals. The latter, who are
more particular about food,or rather about whom they eat with, than is commonly supposed, will eat cooked rice with the Kurmis, and according to one tradition regard them as elder brothers of their own. However this may be, the totemism of the Kurmis of Western Bengal stamps them as of Dravidian descent, and clearly distinguishes them from the Kurmis of Behar and the NorthWest Provinces.”[Page xlvi]. “The caste bearing the same name in Chota Nagpur and Orissa belongs to an entirely different type short, sturdy, and of very dark complexion, these Kurmis closely resemble in feature the Dravidian tribes around them. In Manbhum and the north of Orissa it is difficult to
distinguish a Kurmi from a Bhumij or a Santal, and the latter tribe, who are more particular about food than is commonly supposed, will eat boiled rice prepared by Kurmis; and according to one tradition regard them as half brethren of their own, sprung from the same father, who begot the Kurmis on the elder and the Santals on the younger of two sisters. The distinct and wellpreserved totemism of the caste is noticed at length below. “The sections in use among the Kurmis of Chota Nagpur and Orissa are purely totemistic, and it will be seen from Appendix I that a large proportion of the totems are capable of being identified.” “In Chota Nagpur and Orissa …xxxxxxx…. the law of exogamy must be strictly observed, and intercourse between members of the same totem is reckoned as incest and punished by expulsion from the caste. The marriage ceremony is of a highly primitive character, and comprises several usages of special interest. After the preliminary negotiations have been completed and a bride-price (pan), varying from Rs. 3 to Rs. 9, has been paid to the parents of a girl, an auspicious day for the marriage is fixed on the basis of certain astrological data, which
are usually arrived at by consulting a Brahman skilled in such matters. Early on the wedding morning the betrothed pair, each in their own homes, are separately married to trees—the Bride to a -Mahua (Bussia latifolia), and the Bridegroom to a mango (mangifera Indica). This curious rite merits full description. Wearing on the right wrist a bracelet of the leaves of the mahua’, the bride walks round the tree seven times, and then sits in her mother’s lap on an earthen platform built close to the trunk. While sitting in this position her right hand and right ear are tied to the tree with thread by her elder sister’s husband or by some male member of the household, and she is made to chew mahua leaves, which are afterwards eaten by her mother. Last of all, lights  are lit round the tree, and it is solemnly worshipped by all present. The same ritual is separately
performed by the bridegroom, with the difference that in his case the tree is a mango, and is circled nine times instead of seven. xxxxxxx… At the same time an iron bracelet (kharu) is put on the bride’s left wrist…. In Chota Nagpur and Orissa Brahmans are not called in : the eldest male of the  household, the Laya of the village,or in some cases the brothers-in-law of the bride and bridegroom, take the leading part in the ritual.
Divorce is permitted, with the sanction of the panchayat, on the ground of the wife’s
adultery or barrenness, or if the couple cannot get on together. The husband pours some water on the ground or tears a leaf in two to symbolise separation, while the wife must give up the iron  ring (kharu) which was placed on her wrist at her marriage. Three months’ alimony is usually given to the wife. Divorced women may marry again by the same ceremony as widows. In the matter of inheritance Behar Kurmis follow the standard Hindu law ; while in Chota Nagpur and Orissa traces of an earlier tribal custom may still be discerned, under which the eldest son gets twice the share of his brothers, and a son by a ‘bihai’ wife, married as a virgin by the full ceremony, has a similar advantage over sons by ‘sagai’ wives. An actual instance will illustrate the working of the rule. A Kurmi dies leaving three sons and three Kharis of land; the eldest gets a khari and a half, the two younger three-fourths of a khari a piece. If there were two sons-—one by a bihai and the other by a sagai wife, the former would get two kharis and the latter one.Daughters and daughters’ sons are excluded by male agnates, such as cousins; but in
Orissa an only daughter may claim something on account of her marriage expenses….
In Chota Nagpur and Orissa the Kurmis are in a still earlier stage of religious development. The animistic beliefs characteristic of the Dravidian races are overlaid by the thinnest veneer of  conventional Hinduism, and the vague shapes of ghosts or demons who haunt the jungle and the  rock are the real powers to whom the average Kurmi looks for the ordering of his moral and physical welfare. Chief amon these is Bar-Pahar, the mountain deity of the Santals; Gosain-Rai, perhaps a variant of Gosain Rai; Ghat, any striking hill pass, such as the Dhangara Pass, near Chatra,which figures in the early traditions of the caste; Garoar, who watches over cows; Grameswari, the patron goddess of the village ;Kinchekeswari; Boram-devi; Sat-bahani; Dakum Buri, and Mahamai. The functions and attributes of these deities are not susceptible of close
definition, and the worshippers seem to be conscious of little more than a vague notion that by sacrificing goats, sheep, fowls, etc., and offering libations of Rice-beer, certain material calamities, such as disease and bad harvests, may be warded off. In this worship Brahmans usually take no part, and either the head of the household officiates or a professional hedge priest (dehari or laya) is called in; but to this rule there is a curious exception in the Bamanghati pargana of Moharbhanj,where Brahman priests offer fowls to the goddess Kinchekeswari on behalf of her Kurmi votaries. Jitibahan, again, a deity whose attributes I cannot ascertain, is said to be worshipped only by women, assisted by degraded Brahmans. In respect of the employment
of Brahmans, the practice of the Kurmis of Chota Nagpur and Orissa is by no means uniform. In Midnapur they call in the assistance of Brahmans on all religious and ceremonial occasions, but these priests are held to be degraded by rendering this service, and are not received on equal terms by other members of their own order. In Manbhum, Lohardaga, and Moharbhanj Brahmans assist only in the funeral ceremonies of the caste, and all other religious functions, including marriage, are discharged by the eldest Kurmi who is present at the time. The Moharbhanj Kurmis affect to get their Brahmans from Sikharbhum, and some of these claim to be of the Rarhi sub-caste, though such pretensions would of course not be recognised by the
Brahmans of Bengal. Besides the Bandhna Parab, which is common to them and the Santals, the Akhan jatra, or cake festival,deserves notice as being peculiar to the Kurmis. “ On the last day of the month of Pus (in the middle of January),when the granaries are full, the people make cakes in the shape of a double cone, called Gargaria pitha, put on their best attire, and assemble on a green outside  their village, and the young men and women form circles and dance and sing. This is followed by a joust of archery: a cock is thrown up in the air, and this is continued till one of the young men manages to shoot the bird with an arrow. The successful archer is then treated as the hero of the
day.”[Page 529-535].
27.Report of Committee on JHARKHAND MATTERS 1990, Ministry of Home, Govt.of India
describes:-
“ झारखण्ड आंदोलन शरूु से ही एक झारखण्ड राज्य बनाने के ललए चलाया गया , जिसे बबहार
के छोटानागपरु और संथालपरगना जिला तथा मध्य प्रदेश ,ओडडशा और पजचचम बंगाल के समीपबर्त्ती
जिलों में सेबनाया िाना था | इन क्षेत्रों की या इनके अधिकांश हहस्सा में आहदवासी (संथाल ,मडुं ा, हो
,उरांव ) और गैरसरकारी आहदवासी (कुमी -महतो इत्याहद ) समदुायों की काफी आबादी है िो िाततयता
,ऐततहालसक सांस्कृततक रूप से छोटानागपरु केपतै कृ समहूों सेसम्बन्ि हैं|”[page 18,para 25].
28.THE HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY OF HUMAN GENES , L.Luca Cavalli-Sforza ,Paolo Menozzi and Alberto Piazza, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS 1994 by DNA Analysis classified and grouped as:- “89: Munda (Austric)- Bhumij, Birhor, Dudh Kharia, Ho, Juang,Korku, Korwa, Kurmi Mahato, Munda, Pareng,Gadaba, Santa), Saora”[page 474,para 89].
29.Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2374 of Shr Abha Mahato , Answered on 14.12.1999
by the Minister of State ,Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment , Smt Maneka Gandhi :
“The matter of recognisation of Totemistic Kurmis ( not Kurmi ) caste as Scheduled Tribe is being examined in the light of modalities approved by the Government on 15.06 1999.”
30. Report of the Committee on Kudumi Community headed by T.K.Mishra – 2006,Govt of
Odisha : ” As noticed in 1931 census ,as Muslim League demanded East Bihar and Manbhum to include in Pakistan, most of the tribes became Kshatriyas and so the Kurmis. Untouchables Kulmis(the primitive Kurmis in Orissa) have no other way than to join this mission. Moreover, to defy the tribal unity, Kulmis of Orissa and adjoining areas who were aboriginals /tribals/untouchables and different from those of North India, British Government tried to include them all under non-tribal category.” [page 6, para 16].
31.Report of the Task Force on Scheduling of Tribes 2014 ,Govt. of India Under the
Chairmanship of Dr.Hrushikesh Panda Recommended As:-
“ SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS:
The Task Force recommends that the following should be criteria for inclusion of new
communities in the list of Scheduled Tribes:
(a) Socio-economic , including educational ,backwardness vis-à-vis the rest of the population of the State.
(b) Historical geographical isolation which may or may not exist today.
(c) Autonomous religious practices where the priests/disari/beju/ojha etc are from the
community , though practising ‘Hindu way of life’ would not be a bar.
(d) Distinct language /dialect
(e) Presence of a core culture relating to life-cycle, marriage, songs, dances, paintings, folklore.
(f) Endogamy or marital relationship primarily with other Scheduled tribes.
32.Ethnographic Report on the Kurmi Community in West Bengal,2016 by Cultural Research Institute, Govt. of West Bengal describes:-
“Ethnographic study of the Kurmis of West Bengal suggests that these people have their
distinct element of culture which is evidenced from their social organisation, marriage, rituals and religious practices. Totemistic clan structure and traditional organisation of social control of the Kurmis are the remnants of tribalism. Kurmali is considered as their mother tongue. …xxxxx…Backwardness among the Kurmis is significant as most of them are economically poor and depend only on wage earning activities.”[page 20]
33. KUDUMI / KUDMI/ KURMI(MAHTO) LISTED IN BACKWARD CLASSES LIST :-

(a).Govt.of Jharkhand ,Category BC (Annexure-I)
“6.- कुड़मी/कुमी(महतो )………KUDMI / KURMI(MAHTO).
(b).Govt of Odisha , OBC CATEGORY LIST:-
“179.- KUDUMI, KURMI MAHTO”.(c).Govt.of Odisha, SEBC CATEGORY LIST:-“182.- KUDUMI , KURMI MAHTO”.(d).Govt. of West Bengal , OBC Category List:-“7.- KURMI”.

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