September 23, 2019

Identity of Santhal within their Music and Dance form

Indigenous Art & Culture

Dr.  Saswati Sinha Babu. Assistant Professor, Saldiha College, Bankura, West Bengal


Santali language is the second highest speaking language in West Bengal. In India one of the six persons is Santal. But here my objective is not to discuss the Santali language. I think it is too important to locate the cultural origin and the life style of the Santal community. The Santali folk song is an important cultural theme of their community. It has saved with its own vitality from the unsafe cultural disturbs. These modest folk songs are the most valuable art of this community. They have not mislaid their culture though they are poor, suppressed and suffering from many aspects in the society. They understand that their culture is their identity and this identity will help them to take breath to live together. It should be noted that the Santal tribe community was never associate with the greater Hindu culture though they are living with Hindus. 

Their music origin is with full of sorrow. It is indispensable to dissertation the collective effort and general identity and cultural characters in their Song and Dance form. We observe the fearlessness in the Santali male dance within a queue. In the female dance forms we found the rhythm of irony life. Especially their dance shift us towards the openness of nature and out of the law and to the primitive feelings of history. The dance and songs of primitives originated from the nature and these are bearing the symbol of their inheritances.

Generally Santal folk songs are derived into three classes. These are religious, collective and affectionate. The appeal of the affectionate songs is most important. Their span is short but it is bearing the feelings of the decades. Usually the simple and uncritical tribes cannot hide their emotions long time and they couldn’t disclose their sentiment massively.

Art and culture is the pillar of a nation and a community. Dance form of every tribal community is very much associated to their melodies. Santals dance form is too simple as their melodies. The Santali language is also a rich language. The Missionaries in the nineteenth century observed their developed folk song, rhyme, proverbs, etc. and they being charmed. Today we are observing their culture with a great exclamatory and collecting resources for our cultural breathing. If anyone wants to get a touch of infant past of India then he or she have to go to the tribal society.

I live in a Santal based jungle area. Every day I observe their culture and their simple life. They are fearless but uncritical, they are laborious, live together and have community feelings. I would like to find the cultural history and it’s reality with their lives. I want to show that the dance and music is not only the cultural aspect, it is also bears the identification of a that community.