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About Latehar

History of Latehar District

Historical foot print of Latehar District

The Latehar district is situated in the North West of Jharkhand in a total area of 3,659.59 km. Latehar district is situated between 84deg. 31 min. East latitude 23 deg. 44.4 sec north latitude. The district of Latehar is one of many districts in the state of Jharkhand. The Latehar district contains seven blocks namely Latehar, Chandwa, Balumath, Manika, Barwadih, Garu and Mahuad. The capital of the district Latehar is also named Latehar which is 105km North West of the state capital Ranchi.

In terms of culture, the Latehar district is primarily tribal, and 40% of the population belongs to schedule tribes. More than 66% of the population is compromising of schedule castes and schedule tribes. The history of the area is very much diverse and complex. Since Latehar was part of Palamu before 2001, it is worth considering the history of Latehar is actually with the history of Palamu. The district of Palamu was constituted in 1928 where its headquarters was Daltonganj and was named after Colonel Dalton, the commissioner of Chotanagpur during the British rule.

This district together with the earlier composite district of Palamau is inhibited by tribes like the Chero, Oraon, and Kharwa. The Chero reigned over the Palamu for more than 200 years. One of the most significant rulers to highlight was Raja Medini Rai. He extended his reign over South Gaya (now in Bihar) and parts of Hazaribagh and Sarguja (now in Chattigarh State). It is fair to say that Medini Rai’s memory has survived for his justice rather than his conquests. One of the Palamu forts was built, which was further developed after his son Pratap Rai. He rebuilt a fortress of his father’s fortress, which is still in existence in Betla which is now part of Latehar District.

Palamu including the present Latehar district itself was a hub for ‘anti-British’ revolt during 1857 movement in Chotanagpur plateau. Brothers Nilambar and Pitambar-the popular tribal patriot and freedom fighters, the chief of Bhogta clan of Kharwar were holding ancestral jagirs. Taking advantage of the movements against British rule, they declared themselves to be independent and were joined by Chero Jagirdars. They jointly attacked on British supporters. O Malley has narrated that Nilambar and Pitambar were eventually captured and trailed. The August disturbances in 1942 had their echoes in Palamu as well. Railway lines were dismantled, telegraph lines were cut and a large number of people were arrested.

Why Latehar?

Latehar was a sub-division of the then composite Palamau District. It came into being in 2001, after the Jharkhand was bifurcated from Bihar in 2000. Latehar District is vibrant, colourful and warming. It is an extremely pleasant place to visit for tourism. The area is rich in forestry, wild animals, waterfalls, flora and Grand National park (Betla). It is now integral part of a newly founded state of India Jharkhand which is rich in mineral content and therefore suggests its future as the powerhouse of Jharkhand with strings economic potentials. The area is rich in discovery and would appeal to those who love and have a keen interest in archaeological research, as well as those who desire a hearty community to indulge their holiday experiences with.

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Climate

The climate of this district is on the whole dry and bracing. The year can be divided into three main seasons: the cold season from November to March, the hot season from March to May and the monsoon season from June to September; October is a transitional month between monsoon and winter seasons.

Rainfall


The average annual rainfall for the district as a whole is 1,335 mms. (52.55 inches). The northern portions of the district get comparatively lesser rain than the southern portions. Netarhat in the plateau region of the district gets 1,817 mms. (71.5”). The rainy season is from June to September when the district gets 85 per cent of the annual rainfall. From the onset of the monsoon by about the middle of June, rainfall rapidly increases reaching the peak value in August. The variation of rainfall from year to year is not large.

Temperature

 

The cold season starts from November and continues till about the middle of March. December and January are the coolest months. In association with cold waves which occasionally pass over the area in the wake of western disturbances, minimum temperatures can go down to the freezing point of water on individual days in January and February. In the southern part of the district in the high plateau, frosts occur in December and January. By March temperature began to rise steadily. In May and earlier part of June, the maximum temperature can be as high as 46.7OC (116.1oF) on individual days. The effect of the extreme summer heat is somewhat alleviated by the dryness of the air and the strong breezes that blow in the afternoons from April till the onset of the monsoon, nights are oppressive. The night temperatures in June are higher than those in May or July. The daily range of temperature is of the order of 16o to 17oC during the winter and summer months, the temperature is always high.

Humidity

Relative humidity is generally lower in the afternoons than in the morning, except in the monsoon months when there is little difference. The summer months are the driest with humidity was as low as 20 to 25 per cent in the afternoons.
During the summer and winter months, the skhy is generally clear or lightly clouded. In April and May months, cloudiness increases particularly in the afternoons. During the monsoon months, sky is heavily clouded to overcast.
Winds are light to moderate during the winter and summer months, the speed being higher in the afternoon. In associated with thunder-storm during March to May and during the monsoon season when depressions pass westward across the central parts of the country, the district may experience strong gusty winds. The directions from which winds blow are variable especially during the monsoon season.
Severe thunderstorms occur during the summer months; even during the monsoon, rainfall is often associated with thunder. Dust-storms and occasional hailstorms occur during summer. Fog may occur on one or two days in the winter seasons.

The economy

The economy of Latehar at Jharkhand revolves round agriculture, mines and minerals, forest, trade and commerce and animal husbandry. In this context, it can be said that the economy of Latehar is agro-based and the forests of the territory play a vital role in the economy of the state.

Agriculture:

A large number of people are engaged in agricultural activities. Cultivation of paddy, maize, cereals, wheat, oil seeds etc. are common in the district. The people are either working as agricultural labourers or cultivators. Kharif and Rabbi are the main agricultural seasons. The success of agriculture in this district is entirely dependent on rainfall. A good shower of Hathia rain when received in September ensures rabi and the prospect is further added by winter rains. In the other months there is very little rainfall. Details of rainfall have been given in a separate chapter.

Latehar is a drought prone district. Therefore, rain fed crop cultivation is in practice in the area.  Immediately, after the monsoon which normally sets in June, the farmers used to cultivate rice. Subsistence farming is still commonly in the district. Being a drought prone region, the local people are living in fragile livelihoods. Due to rain fed cultivation, many agriculture labourers including small farmers used to migrate to other districts for seeking employment.

Animal Husbandry:

Animal husbandry is one of the prime livelihoods, which is supplementing and complementing the income sources in the district. However, still traditional livestock is common in the districts. Cow, goats, piggery and poultry are the common livelihoods. They rear mostly local variety of cow and hence average milk yield is very less. There is a vast scope in the field of animal husbandry in Latehar.

Goatry is another prime livelihood in the district for poor families. Most of the poor families used to rear goatry to augment their income sources. These cattle economy served as economic buffers for many families. In times of emergency, they used to sell and make money from it. Since, Latehar has vast stretch of forest and dry land; there are greater potentials for goatry, which has been a traditional occupation for the poor families.

Forest Resources

Out of total geographical area of 4211-2508 sq. k.m., forest area covers nearly 2010.2245 sq. k.m. Latehar still has vast stretch of lush green forest.The vast majority of the forests lie on the hills of Chandwa, Balumath land latehar Ranges. They also occur on plains and undulating grounds. The slopes of the hills are moderate to steep with various aspects which influence the composition of the crop significantly. The configuration of the ground, coupled with intensive grazing, fire and inadequate vegetative cover lead to high degree of run-off which often turns into high flood. The forest, on this account is deprived of the benefit of rain- water which otherwise would have increased the moisture status and aided significantly in maintaining better forest crop and luxuriant ground flora.

The tribal economy revolves around using forest products, by products and minor products. Kendu leave is one of the prime forest produces in the tribal area which gives livelihoods for about two months in March and April months.  Bamboo is another forest tree which is naturally growing in large acres in Latehar districts. It provides raw materials for tribes for bamboo based handicrafts including baskets, mats and bamboo crafts. Tender bamboo shoot is edible food for the tribes.

Another popular forest produce is mahuava flower and seed. During March and April months, picking of mahuva flower is the occupation for most of the tribes. They use it for liquor making and the dried flower of Mahuva has greater commercial value.  Mahua seed is also used for edible oil by the tribes.

Latehar has huge sal forest resources. The leaves of the sal tree are used for leaf plate making. The seeds of the sal tree have commercial value as non-edible oil. In Latehar, tamarind is available in huge quantity in forest villages in the months of March to April. This gives additional income to many tribal families. Latehar has huge potentials for lac cultivation. However, the potential is yet to b harnessed though there are huge market potentials for lac.
The lives of the tribal families are intricately linked with the forest and its produces. Forest produces play an important role in the economic activity of the people. They get different forms of forest products in different season. People also hunt animals for food and ‘Jani shikar’ festival is related to this hunting habit. These are linked with the cultural and social life of the people.  
Latehar is also rich in herbal resources which are yet to be commercially tapped. There are greater potentials for harnessing the herbal resources in the district. The tribal communities have been traditionally using the local herbs for curing many ailments Sarpagandha herb which is available in Latehar is used for the treatment of the mental patients. It is also used in blood pressure, cholera and so on. Height of the plants is 30 to 75 cm and length of its leaves is 10 to 15 cm. It also shines. Its fruit is called drupe, which is blue and black in colour.

Ashwagandha is also found in the state, which is used in increasing the physical strength, hemoglobin and increasing the red blood cell (erythrocytes) in human body. Besides, it is also used to cure arthritis, body swelling, and other ailments. Height of the plant is 3 ft and the length of its root is 30 cm.

Moosh is used in the treatment of diabetes, asthma, piles, skin disease, jaundice, urinal problem and lucoria. It increases the facial exposure and cures stomach problem. Shatawar, another herb that cures anemia is also found in the state. Wach herb is used in the treatment of cough, hysteria, urinal problem and skin disease. It also increases the mental ability and cures vein problems in the body. Kalmedh is used in any type of blood disorder, malaria, and skin diseases. It is also known as Chiraita and used to keep the stomach cool. 

Ghritakumari herb is used for the treatment of any disease in uterus and stomach. Besides, there are other species of herbs in Jharkhand. These herbs are being used right from the ancient time. In addition to the herbal plants with their therapeutic values, in the forests of the area, we also have trees of immense commercial value, which had been sustaining the lives of the villagers, particularly the tribals for several centuries down the line.

Lacquer is also used for making many products such as Indian bangles, ornaments and polishing various items. It is found in the Latehar area which makes Latehar an important source for Lacquer produce. The lacquer dries by solvent evaporation, and often a curing process enables it to become hard and durable.  

Water Resources in Latehar:

The area drains into two principal rivers, namely, the north –Koel and the Damodar or Deonad. The most forests of Chandwa range and Eastern and Southern part of Balumath range are drained by the Damodar which forms the upper catchments of the Damodar basin. The rest of the area drains into the North-Koel through its main tributaries the Amanat, the Auranga and the Chowpat. The northern western forests of Balumath range drain into the Amanat which girdles this division on the north forming the boundary between the districts of palamau and Hazaribagh. The forests of Manika and Latehar ranges are drained by the Auranga which flows from south-east to north-west and bisects the forests of these two ranges almost in two equal halves. While, only a small South-Western part of this division drains directly in the North-Koel. The bulk of Sarju area is drained through the river Chowpat which ultimately joins the North Koel.

The principal rivers and their main tributaries are (a)Auranga (b)Deonad (c) Sukrib (d)Chaupat (e)Amant (f) Ghaghari (g) Gala (h) Karkat (i) Patam (j) Dhardhari and others. The river beds are generally rocky in most parts. They carry large volumes of silt laden water in rains, but during dry months, the flow thins down to trickle and sometimes they completely dry up. Auranga river rises near Pakhar F.R.H. in Lohardaga District. Leading down from Chhotanagpur Plateau, it pursues a winding course in a north westerly direction until its junction with the North-Koel. Like the main river North-Koel, Sukri rise from Semarsot and Auranga in Deobar Forests. This is an important tributary of Auranga. With the rocky bed, it also gets almost dried up to during summer.
None of the aforesaid rivers flows entirely through the forest areas. Decline of forest cover has caused serious erosion of top soil resulting in all small rivers and rivulets become increasingly liable to flash flood.
Latehar region forms a part of the chhotanagpur plateau comprising granitic rocks associated with large areas of sedimentary rocks. The elevation of the area is around Latehar varies from 375m. to 550m. above mean sea level.

Mines And Minerals:

The geological reports say that the district is very rich in various mineral deposits. There is abundance of deposit of Coal, Bauxite, Laterite, Dolomite, and Graphite, Granite, Quartz, Fireclay, Felspar etc. The excavation and exploration of these minerals have provided job opportunities to the inhabitants of this hinterland. Though there are great potentials available for tapping the mineral resources, it is not yet been harnessed.  

Trade na Commerce:

The economy of the area is based around agricultural, forestry, mines & minerals, animal rearing and trade & commerce. A great number of the population carry out cultivating methods of paddy, maize, cereals, wheat and oil seed.
It is a matter of fact that most of the villages are so scattered due to undulating terrain. Therefore, the primary trade is in the hands of Vyaparis and village Sahukars. Paddy thrashing, dona pattal making, bamboo basket making, selling of mahua flowers, Lac, kendu leaves and other minor forest produces are main components of trading activities. In the absence of major industries and employment opportunities, the options of economic development are limited. Animal husbandry, piggery and fisheries etc. have good potential, but this sector has still remained unexplored.
Though Latehar is the district head quarter, trade and commerce is yet to be picked up to a greater extend. Latehar, though is the supplier of various agriculture and forest produces, still the commerce and trade has not gained significant momentum.

Child health & education

The infant mortality is very high in the Latehar district. It is clear that there are several causes for such high mortality rate, since there is a lack of education among rural women, poor care during pre and post natal and mal nutrition among the new born. The creation of Aanganbari Kendras has enabled women and children to acknowledge basic awareness for health and education.  As per the 2001 Census, the literacy percentage is given below.

 

Sl.No.

 

Name of State

Numbers

Literacy Percentage

Total

Male

Female

Total

Male

Female

Gap (m/f)

1

Latehar

179937

122810

57127

45.7

59.8

30.5

29.3

Health in the district is by no means better. It lacks any sufficient services for maternal and infant casualties. There is also the constant threat of the parasite Malaria which dangers people. Sufficient netting will enable a mosquito free zone and prevent any development of illness. The development of health centres will enable awareness of disease among the people. The health facilities available in the district are given below.

Dist

Population covered

 

Primary Health Centres

Additional Primary Health Centres
(in No)

Health Sub-Centres Existing (In No.)

Latehar

560898

7

10

99

Latehar fact file

LATEHAR has been named after the village of the same name on Ranchi Daltonganj Road. It is 100 k.m. away by road from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand. Latehar is famous for its rich natural beauty, forest, forest products and mineral deposits. Latehar remained an integral part of Palamau District as a sub division since 1924.

It got elevated from sub divisional status to a district on 4th April 2001 vide Jharkhand Govt. Notification No 946 dated 04.04.2001. Latehar is located on the north–west corner of Jharkhand in the Palamau Commissionary. It is surrounded by Ranchi, Lohardaga, Gumla, Palamau and Chatra district apart from Chhattisgarh state and situated between 840.31’ East Longitude and 230 44.5’ North Latitude.

It’s a predominantly tribal district with almost 40% of the population belonging to the schedule tribes and more than 66 % of total population comprises SCs and STs. The total area of the district is 3,671 Sq. Km and one of the block headquarters is more than 200 K.M. away from the district headquarters.

There are seven Community Development Blocks in the district within which distantly located villages are scattered amidst the dense forest, hilly terrains and agricultural fields. The number of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is predominantly high here and Latehar comes under Tribal Sub Plan Area.

SL. NO. NAME OF THE BLOCK

NO OF VILLAGES

TOTAL NO. OF PANCHAYAT
TOTAL VILLAGES INHABITED VILLAGES
1 2 3 4 5
01 LATEHAR 166 19 18
02 GARU 74 5 8
03 MAHUADANR 106 8 14
04 BARWADIH 83 2 16
05 MANIKA 84 2 15
06 BALUMATH 174 4 27
07 CHANDWA 86 0 17
08 BARIATU      
09 HERHANG      
TOTAL 773 40 115

 

PARTICULARS LATEHAR GARU MAHUADANR BARWADIH MANIKA BALUMATH CHANDWA TOTAL
GEOGRAPHICAL AREA (IN HA.) 47915 23429 66922 455545 35289 98454 61514 379068
A. NET CULTIVATED AREA 13060 1809 11352 3994 5622 7107 11214 54158
B. CURRENT FALLOW LAND 7304 2068 9984 7585 403 12486 5972 45802
C. BARREN NON CULTIVABLE 4585 845 5830 2408 2956 5843 3254 24721
D. FOREST 19524 16240 25838 24167 19012 54259 33710 162745
E. LAND PUT TO NON AGRL.                
I. LAND AREA 1083 888 3424 2122 739 1198 1463 11017
II. WATER AREA                
PERMANENT 480 50 184 189 150 493 64 1610
SEASONAL 192 - 300 139 92 191 141 1055
F. CULTIVATED WASTE LAND 736 394 260 854 626 1748 1911 6519
G. PERMANENT PASTURE &OTHER GRAZING LAND 143 - 766 78 6 249 - 1242
H. MICL. TREES & TREE CROPS NOT INVOLVED IN (A) 237 - 978 152 280 4793 75 6515
OTHER FALLOW LAND 4405 1433 7007 3860 2804 10088 3715 33315

 

As per 2001 census, the population detail and literacy rate can be viewed in the table below:-

S.N. Block

Population

Literacy Non Literate (15-35 years)
Male Female Total Male Female Total
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 Latehar 54,612 52,454 1,07,066 60.14 28.52 44.72 15,530
2 Chandwa 41,554 39,925 81,479 54.91 26.58 41.06 13,870
3 Balumath 68,872 67,138 1,36,010 47.80 20.88 34.51 31,099
4 Manika 32,806 31,827 64,633 47.92 18.43 33.45 15,698
5 Garu 13,012 12,495 25,447 50.42 21.76 36.52 5,335
6 Barwadih 40,398 37,639 78,037 54.31 26.32 40.93 13,871
7 Mahuadar 33,695 32,464 66,159 67.83 46.36 57.30 7,922
8 BARIATU              
9 HERHANG              

Total

2,84,949 2,73,882 5,58,831 54.76 26.98 41.21 1,03,325

 

Tribal inhabitants:

The Brijia primitive tribe is a sub section of Asur schedule tribe, which is dominated in Netarhat Plateaus. Although the Brijia has been classified as a distinct schedule tribe, Brijia toli Thana no-82 is a revenue village in Netarhat Plateaus. Kishan is other Schedule tribe inhabited in Netarhat Plateaus. With the increase in various economic activities, the non-tribal population have increased in recent years. The Brijia speaks the Asuri dialect, which is one of the fourteen Mundari dialects as recorded in the linguistic survey of India (1906), although Hindi has also become language for mass communication with the modern development.

Local inhabitants collect tubers, roots, fruits, flowers, leaves, fibres, lac and honey from the forests. They were exclusively dependent on forest for physical resources. Cultivation of certain crops like Bodha dhan is popular.  Brijia tribe has traditionally been iron smelters and they were slash and burn-method (Beora Pather) of cultivators. These activities became things of the past, because of the Forest conservation policy of Government. Iron smelting requires charcoal of green sal wood and haematite from laterite rocks to called ‘Gota’. With the gradual extension of settlement and forest codes over the whole of this locality, they have become settled farmers and have founded their villages.

Today most of the tribal population is engaged as agricultural labourers. Netarhat have favourable climate for horticulture and produces Naspati. In recent years, many acres of lands have been covered with Naspati. Dankan farm is famous Naspati Bagan.

Netarhat Plateaus' is a famous Tourist place. Tourism is also one of the important sources of income which can be developed at larger scale. Wednesday weekly ‘HAT’ (market) of Netarhat was started around 1970. After that daily market developed there. Earlier one had to go Banari to move about 25 kms for going Banari to take vegetables. Netarhat came to light and started developing in the new way when it was made short term summer camp of the Governor Chalet during British Period around 1920. A pine tree was planted in the campus. In which “THIS TREE IN 1920” is written on marble rock, which is still present there in damaged form.

Tribal culture and heritage

Primitive tribes: The Latehar district contains many scheduled tribes and scheduled castes nearing 66% of the total population of which there are 10 different kinds of tribe. The district is also home to many primitive tribes which are sadly close to extinction. The primitive tribes inhabit are Parahia, Birhor, Asur, Korba, and Brijia.  About 2412 Primitive Tribes families totaling around 11660 persons reside in 153 villages situated in the backwaters of the district.

The Asur tribe is one of the tribes that have established Jharkhand as their home.  The tribesmen make up a large portion of the population of the state Jharkhand, ranking 21st out of a total of 30. Asur tribe cover 0.13% of the total population in Jharkhand state. The Asur stay in houses that are constructed of clay with no windows. The tribe also enjoys painting the exterior walls to give a beautiful view. Their diet is mainly composed of rice, wild animals and birds. The total population of the tribal group of Asur is 7783. The rate of literacy among the people of the state of Jharkhand is not very satisfying i.e. 10.62%.

There are many other tribes for instance, the Brija tribe are inhabiting the distrirct. The tribes live in houses across the hillsides, constructed of bamboo, mud or wood. The Brijia tribe possesses a patriarchal society. A Brijia family is usually a nuclear family with father as the head of the family. Moreover, the Brijia society is known as a monogamous society, yet the prevalence of bigamy cannot be overruled. It goes without mention that they have a rural society, where agriculture and forests play a vital role in the socio-economic life. Hence, Brijia economy is based on agricultural yields, as well as on hunting, fishing and labour.

The political organization of the Brijia tribe in Jharkhand is primarily based on the Panchayat system. The head of the Brijia society is the ‘Baiga’, who looks after the social laws and customs. But, the Brijia clan exem pt women from participating in the panchayat, which is considered an exclusive right solely reserved for the men folk of the Brijia community. It is noteworthy in this context that the administration in the Brijia community has largely evolved in recent years, with the exposure of the Brijias to the modern ways of living. Hence, we can find the modern Gram Panchayat Elections making their presence felt in the Brijia society. In fact, both men and women of the Brijia clan now participate in the elections conducted by the State Election Commission.

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Korwa tribes:

Korwa tribes are one of the primitive tribes in India. They live in hills and forest of Chotanagpur, the bordering area of Chattisgarh and Jharkhand.  They are socially and economically poor. The mother tongue of Korwa people is Korwa. It is named after their name. Alternative names for this language include Ernga and Singli. However, the Korwa people call their language as their Bhashi, which means local language. This language belongs to the Munda subgroup of the Austro-Asiatic language family. The main dialect of Korwa is called Majhi Korwa (Ref: ethnologue.com) .It is spoken basically by Korwa, but a few local Kodaku people also speak Korwa. Korwa and Kodaku are said to have some similarity. Korwa people also speak Sadri and Chhattisgarhi as their second language.

Parahiyas:

Parahiyas are still found residing in jungle villages, although some of them have started living in plains also. They are fairly good cultivators and they supplement their slender resources by collecting honey, lac and other jungle produce. They used to engage in Jhum (shifting) cultivation. They have nomadic habits. Religion – the deities are Dharti or Muchukrani, who believed to remain watching the village under a large tree. Festivals are Sarhul, Dushara, Chanri, Chait Ramnavami etc.

Birhors

Birhors are absolutely nomadic in habits. They live in very small leaf-huts with an opening through which one could crawl in with difficulty. The Birhors call themselves Hindus, live in the jungle and live with the exchange of jungle produce with the people of the plains. They have no cultivation. The Birhors worship female deities and devils. Presently they have started living in the government made shelters under Birsa/Indra Awas Schemes.  Popular festivals are Gomha, Manas Puja, Karam, Navakhami, Sohrai, Fagua etc.

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Chero Tribes:

Chero is another prominent scheduled tribe in Jharkhand. The Chero dwell in areas of Ranchi, Santhal Pargana, Latehar and Palamu. The Palamu area contains a concentrated population of the tribe Chero. They are said to be descendants of the Kshatriya lineage known as Chandravanshi. The Chero of Jharkhand follows a patriarchal form of the society where women are exempted from all the rights to inheritance and succession. The Chero tribe of Jharkhand is divided into two endogamous groups, namely Terahazari and Barahazari and is also divided into a number of clans said to follow endogamy and exogamy. Among the major clans of Chero are: Barka Mawar, Barahaka Kuar, Mahato, Chotamawar, Samwat, Rautia & Manjhia, etc. The economy of the tribe is based around agriculture and also husbandry. They harvest various crop for example Kurathi, Marua, Maize & Paddy etc. However he yield is very insufficient, therefore the tribe of Jharkhand seek to earn a living though wage labour.

Kharwar Tribes


The Kharwar tribes are found in the Latehar, Lohardaga, Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Chatra, Daltonganj, Garhwa, districts and they are one of the scheduled tribes. The tribe use Khair grasses fir various purposes. A family is the unit of the Kharwar society which is generally nuclear in structure and comprises a husband, wife and their unmarried children because after marriage the children set up their own families. In fact, the concept of the joint family is completely absent from the Kharwar society. Although, the Kharwar at Jharkhand possess a patriarchal society; yet, we can find the division of labor in the society.

It is for the smooth functioning of the household that the Kharwars practice division of labor. The father of the family is entitled to all the outdoor work and activities; whereas the mother is responsible for the household work. Talking about the religion of the Kharwar of Jharkhand, it can be said that the religion of the Kharwar presents a mixture of both the Hindu and tribal cult. Among the important deities worshiped by the Kharwar are: Goddess Lakshmi, Sing Bonga, Durga, Bhagawati, Hanuman, Dihwar Bonga, Gram Bonga, etc. Moreover, the important festivals of Kharwar tribes are: Sarhul, Chhatha, Diwali, Durga Puja, Nawakhani, Jitia, Ramnavmi, Sohrai, Phagu, etc. Like the other tribes of Jharkhand, the Kharwar tribe also depends on agriculture and wage earning.

The Kharwars had once been the Zamindars of Jharkhand, but due to their extravagant nature, they have been rendered poor. In the present time, the Kharwars largely depend on agriculture. The agricultural land of the Kharwars is divided into two categories, namely Don and Tanr.

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Oraon Tribes

The individuals of the Oraon tribe not only inhabit the domain of Jharkhand, but a handful have also successfully fanned out into many economically and technologically sound cities like Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. Oraon tribes are educated and well-employed individuals. Previously, the members of the Oraon clan extracted their livelihood from chopping trees, accumulating timber and other forest related activities. They also depended on the woods to procure them with all the essential ingredients required to perform their rituals. But as we entered the threshold of the 21st century, the tribal people of the Oraon of Jharkhand have taken up agriculture as their primary means of earning their livelihood.

However, the petite bunch of the Oraon tribe who had opted to seek refuge in the northern realms of India has been mostly employed in the flourishing tea estates. The lingo that has been accepted by the population of the Oraon tribe in Jharkhand is Kurukh. This language has originated from the Dravidian family of languages and bears significant similitude with other contemporary dialects like Brahui and Malto.

The individuals belonging to the Oraon tribe also like to have a grandeur lifestyle. This can be evaluated from the zeal and enthusiasm with which they perform dances, sing enchanting folk songs and play a vast array of musical instruments with adaptness. The religion followed by huge fraction of the Oraon people is Sarna. The rest have, however, have chosen to embrace Christianity. A recognizable name from the Oraon tribe is Kartik Oraon who had served the coveted post of a Congress Minister. Language – Oraon with a large admixture of hindi words. The popular festivals are Karma, Jitia, Amawas, Dushahara, Sohrai & Chhath etc.

Mundas

Mundas appear to be of Sanskrit origin which means the headman of the village. It is believed that Mundas were the first to come in Chhotanagpur. Their concentration is mostly around Khunti District. They speak Mundari and also Hindi. Their festivals and social organisation are similar to that of Oraons.  Popular festivals are Sarhul, Kadleta, Nawa, Karma etc. The highest deity for the Mundas is Singhbonga, the sun god.

Kisan tribes

Kisan tribe depend on agriculture and a forest produces. They produce Maize, Buda Dhan, Gondli etc.  Forest produces like Lac, Honey, fruits, Sari, Mahua etc  are their main source of income. They are influenced extremely by totems.

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Tribal art and culture

The state of Jharkhand is home to many diverse forms of tribes which have established themselves over many years. Therefore, it would appear that the culture in Latehar too is diverse reflecting a vivid and colourful tapestry. The tribe have a unique dance, music and arts craft in which makes them so individual. There are many important festivals of the area including, Sohraj, Karma, Badna, Sarhul, Hal Punhya, Id, Holi, Christmas and Dussehra. There are many folk dances which include, Jadur, Paika, Karma, Chhou, Nachni, Agni, Santhal, Natua, Matha and Sohra, There are a huge range of local languages extending from Mundari, Khortha, Sadri, Hindi, Urdu, Santhali, Kurukh, Malto, Ho, Bangla, Nagpuria, and Panchparagnia. And of course music which centralises culture are too plentiful, the folk music consists of Faguwa, Mardana Jhumar, Janani Jhumar, Jhumta, Pahilsanjha, Dohari Domkach, Akhariya Domkach, Udasi and Pawas.

One of the most fascinating dances of the tribal communities is known as the Chhou Naach. The dance is preformed in the cool night and among open area in which the area is covered by fire poles called Maashals, for the sake of lightening. The performers play the role of various Gods during the dance. During the dance, they use various colourful masks. The dance is based on myths of 'Ramayana' and the 'Mahabharata’. They use traditional ornaments as well as weaponry too.

For music, again, it is clear that there are many forms of music since each tribal community has its own type. Among one of the area’s most famous music is called Jhumar which is followed by a dance. Traditionally there are different forms of art including, bull painting, body painting, stone cutting, folk painting fresco, sculpting elephant and horse. 

There are some major festivals too of the area of which they include, Hal Punhya- Hal Punhya is the first day of the month of Magh and is also called Akhain Jatra. This means that the ploughing should be started now. The festival falls during the winter and symbolizes the onset of the farming session.

The farmers start ploughing two and half circles in their land to symbolize the auspicious morning. It is regarded as a sign of good fortune. Sarhul festival is worshipping of the village diety, who protects and supports the tribes. There is dancing and singing in the whole region, accompanied with drinks, snacks and a variety of foods. The festival is celebrated in the season of the spring when the Sal trees start sprouting and blossoming, and becomes green. The offering of this festival is called diang or the hadia; a popular wine that is made out of stale rice. Rohin- A festival of sowing seeds in the fields by the farmers. Here there is no such dancing or singing like other festivals, but the festivity is accompanied with a few rituals.

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Sports

The area is rich in a sport loving community. Jaypal Singh, who was the captain of the Indian Olympic Hockey Team in the year 1928, hailed from Jharkhand. This team had won the first Olympic gold medal for hockey. Jharkhand is the home for a number of hockey players like the Silveneus Dung Dung, Michael Kindo, Manohar Tapno and Vimal Lakra (a member of the hockey team which won the recently held Asia Cup in Chennai).

There are many sports available in the area of which have been now said to be the Sports of Jharkhand and Latehar. These include weight lifting, athletics, archery, football, khoko, kabaddi, wrestling, hockey and the tug of war. These sports are played at block level as well as state level. Interestingly there are state level competitions at which the state is represented at National Rural Games competition.

 

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Tourism & Attraction

In Latehar, quite a large number of beauty spots. The following however are some of the popular locations.
(1)Betla National Park
2. Lodh fall in Mahuadanr
3. Mahudanr Wolf Sanctuary
4. Kanti fall in Chandwa
5. Kutku rapids in Barwadih
6. Kechki.-confluence of Orenga and Koel in Barwadih
7. New and old forts of Palamau in Barwadih
8. Netarhat plateau in Mahuadanr P.-S.

Betla National Park:

Tourism in Latehar is of great significance, since it holds the endangered species of the tiger. The Betla national park set up in 1974 contains about 30 tigers today and a vast array of mammalian species and 174 different species of birds. There is thick vegetation in which species can retreat and find a safe haven among watering holes and hideouts too. The park is open all year, however not during the monsoon season and it would appear that the best time to visit is the period between November and April.  There is also a motor network enabling closer access to the true wild life that only is dynamically fascinating by ones experience.

The Betla national park is a cynosure of natural and heritage of the District. It is worth visiting to see the wild side of India’s majestic beasts of the park. Tourists can get deeper into the wild life. It has huge range of wild animals and native animals such as Indian porcupine, chinkara, sambar and mouse deer. Betla elephant ride is very popular attraction of nature tourism. A Tigre Sanctuary is also situated as part of the Betla National park.

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Netarhat: Lap of nature

Netarhat is another beautiful nature tourism site of the District. It is famous for sunset and sunrise points. It is located in the hill top and the river Koel is flowing nearby to Netarhat hill station. It is a serene and calm area for nature lovers. It is couple of hour’s journey from Betla National Park. From Ranchi is less than 4 hours of journey. Accommodation in the area is plentiful with hotels suiting everyone’s needs. Visiting these areas is nothing but a journey of exploring Jharkhand and enjoying its beauty. Visit to these tourist sites are always be exciting and interesting for nature lovers. Netarhat is also known for adventure tourism as it is steep hills amidst the thick canopy of sal forest.

Water sports are of great attraction in Neterhat with a number of sports such as surfing, kayaking, water scooter, boating, banana ride and swimming available. All have been organised in the Netarhat Lake. The upper Ghaghri waterfall is of great attraction for visitors. The cascading water provides a cool and calm atmosphere. There is also the lower Ghaghri water fall situated in lush green forestry. Magnolia point is a beautiful site to visit at dusk to enjoy the aesthetic pleasures of sunset. Koel view too is popular, with its glittering river (Koel) running through the golden hills.

The hill station was popularised by the English who found the area of great beauty and were charmed by its pleasant climate. Earlier, it served as a summer resort for the British in the region, who used to stay in this hill station during summer months. The place is also well known for its orchids, apples and peaches and a great diversity of flowering trees.

Netarhat is spread over an area of approximately 50 sq km. Nestled at about 144 km from Ranchi, the state capital, it is known for its exceedingly beautiful sunrise and sunsets. Neterhat was called as “ Queen of the Jharkhand hills”. It  was named ‘Near the Heart’ by Scottish soldiers during the Raj, who were homesick for their moors and were reminded of them by the dense forests, serpentine streams, open meadows and cool breeze of the area.  And over the years, “Near the Heart” became Netarhat.

But its original meaning still holds good. The presence of motor able roads which can be navigated in all seasons makes this place a fascination tourist spot. For the quintessential nature lover, one would recommend the various dak Bungalows (e.g. the Palamu Dak Bungalow) which are available for tourist purposes. A five hour drive from Betla, Netarhat with its expanse of pine, sal, pear and mango trees, opens out your soul and lets you surrender to the romance of living the natural life all over again.

The hill slops are covered with dense sal (SHOREA ROBUSTA) forest and many species of herbs, shrubs and creepers, which are put to various uses in construction of houses, in agriculture, in curing various ailments and as foods by the local inhabitants. Asan, Gamhar, Kend, Simal, Mahuwa, Mango, Jamun, etc are other plant species. The wealth of medicinal herbs available in the area may be put scientific test and profitably harnessed in to the service of suffering humanity. Chir pine is outsider plant introduced around 1920. Bears, Hyenas and Jackals are very common animal species. One Python have been found in Netarhat jungle in 1980.  The skin of which is preserved in the Biology laboratory of Netarhat School.

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  Infrastructure and basic amenities in the district

The details of the infrastructure and basic amenities accessible to people are presented below in Table3.1.  The district has 773 villages which are characterized as inhabited villages. The district has nearly 1250 primary and upper primary schools, 01 degree college and one InterCollege.  There are 06 community health centres, 01 primary health centres and 97 sub health centres.

Nearly all the villages have access to safe drinking water facilities but only 2 percent of the households have access to piped water facility. One third of the villages have electricity connection.  The situation of individual household toilets is poor in the district. Nearly all the boys and the girls are in the primary age group are attending schools.

Table 3.1: Amenities and Infrastructure facilities

Amenities

 

Inhabited Villages (Revenue Villages)

773 villages

Primary and Upper primary School

1250

College

02

Primary Health Centre

01

Community Health Centre

06

Primary Health  Sub-Centre

97

Percent girls (age 6-11) attending Schools

99.5

Percent boys (age 6-11) attending Schools

99.6

Have Access to toilet facility (%)

8.0

Drinking water facilities

100 %

Safe drinking water

99.83 %

Use piped drinking water (%)

1.0

Use LPG for cooking (%)

1.7

Live in a pucca house (%)

8%

Own a house (%)

98.5

 

 

Lathear District Official Website
 

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