Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Concept of Ancient Warming in stories of Indian Tribes




In recent years, the scenario of future global environment is haunting the man as the present environmental changes (e.g. global warming) pose considerable danger to his own existence and environment. He is presently struggling to understand as to what will be the nature and extent of these changes in the next hundred years.

Is global warming a recent phenomenon? No it is not. Our planet has passed through several warming phases as proved by different geological evidence. The history of earth's climate, is characterized by change. Times of glaciation on the earth have followed by warm intervals and the duration of years of both cold and warm intervals has varied by several orders of magnitude.

Other than scientific evidences some of the Indian Tribes of Jharkhand State indicate in their Folk stories warming as a measure factor of disaster in ancient times, which killed many people. It is not million years old but it may happened eight thousand to ten thousand years from today. They have no scientific way of presentation. They expressed global warming in the form of Fire Rain, which God showered from Heaven to destroy the evil people.

The Mundas (the ancient tribe of India) are said to have been created by Sing Bonga- the Sun God or supreme deity of the Mundas. Mundas stories of ancient warming relate in a story form: -

"It was long- long before the dawn of the human history. The earth was yet in its infancy. Sing Bonga " the dreaded lord of time" was seated on his throne of gold, engaged in happy converse with his heavenly consort. But the heavenly pair had not long been thus agreeably occupied, when they were disturbed in their dalliance by an intolerable heat, which suddenly surcharged the thin atmosphere of heaven. And just at that moment, there went up from the beasts that roamed the earth below piteous complaints to Sing Bonga's throne on high. "The heat emanating from the iron-smelting furnaces of the Asur tribe (one of the primitive tribe of Jharkhand State)," so ran the complaints," this heat is drying up the streams, the tanks and the pools, and scorching up all the vegetation. We are dying of hunger and thrust. Nor do the birds of the air nor the worms that crawl on the earth find any food to eat or water to drink.

According to historical and anthropological studies, in ancient days Asurs the mighty tribe use to make arms by melting rocks rich in iron.

In other popular story: -

"Mankind threw off their allegiance to Sing Bonga. Sing Bonga there upon sent a warning to men on Earth through His servant bird 'Kaua Bhandari' (crow, the steward) and 'Lipi Susari' (Lipi the cook). But men refused to obey Sing Bonga. Enraged at the impious contumacy of man, Sing Bonga showered down on the earth below a terrible rain of fire to destroy mankind".

Here rain of fire can be interpreted as scorching heat at that time which affected human civilization.

In another story when social distinctions were assigned to the various tribes, the Marndis were overlooked. Ambir Singh and Bir Singh, two members of that tribe from Mount Here, were incensed at this slight, and they prayed for fire from heaven to destroy the other tribes. Fire fell and devastated the country, destroying half the population. The home of Ambir Singh and Bir Singh was stone, so they escaped unhurt.

According to Santal tribe of Bengal and Jharkhand: -

" When Pilchu Haram and Pilchu Budhi, the first man and Woman, reached adolescence, fire rain fell for seven days".

In Ho tribe of Jharkhand the myth of destruction of human kind is said to based on the story which tells that the first people became incestuous and un needful of God. Sirma Thakoor, or Sing Bonga, the creator destroyed them by fire.

Throughout the history of different ancient tribes of India there are numerous similar examples of the effect of warming or climate change on the mankind.

Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi


Email: rch_nitishp@sancharnet.in

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