Jharkhand : Repository of one of India’s Richest Ethnic Cultures
The cultural mosaic of Jharkhand was dreamt about, shaped and polished by generations of communities, which have inhabited this land since time immemorial. From the legendary Asurs and Santhals, to the Banjara, Bihor, Chero, Gond, Ho, Khond, Lohra, Mai Pahariya, Munda, Oraon, Kol or Kawar-over thirty-two tribal groups (28 % of the total population of the state), have left their impression on the culture of the region. And with them, were the cross-cultural influences of local non-tribal communities and successive waves of Buddhism and Jainism, Mughal rule and the reign of the Hindu emperors of Bengal. Art historians ascribe the ‘oldest cave paintings’ in India, the “scroll paintings” to a Jharkhand tribe known as the Shabars, who today live on the edge of extinction. It is an established fact that Stone Age tools discovered in Hazaribagh district and axes and spearheads found in the Chaibasa area, are remnants of a civilization dating back a few thousand years. 10,000 to 30,000 years old rock paintings, paintings in huge caves in the Sati hills and other indicators of ancient, even pre-historic, human settlements are found in profusion.