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SITUATION ANALYSIS OF BIRHORE FAMILIES :::

Over the last one and a half years, district administration, Giridih regularly visited has tandas of Birhors. A questionnarire based survey was administered to know the facts and status of this tribe. The blocks covered the survey are (a) Budha Chacha (b) Ambari (c) Kalichattan  (d) Pirpradih and (e) Kalapatthar. Around 448 male and females belonging to 118 Birhor families were interviewed. The findings are given as mentioned below.

1. The Age factor

While looking at the age of the present population of Birhors living in 5 tandas, it is found that they are spread between 0 to 65 plus age group. Around 10 percent children belonging to 5-6 age group are available in these families who are yet to go to a school. Small babies of age one year (2.26%), two years survey. There are children in between the age group of 6 to 14 and among them 4.30% are 8 years children, 5.20% are 10 population is around 4 to 5 percent, whereas the 60 and above are is very less (0.45%). This is perhaps indicating that length of the life of Birhors who are 50 years and above in age is shrinking. To restore the lives of older people, initiatives have to be taken immediately.

 

2. Educational Qualification – Does it matter ?

At present 88 percent of Birhors are illiterate. In clementary schools there are very few Birhor children who are attending classes. In class I the strength of the Birhor children is 3%,in class II it is 5.21%, similarly in three it is 6%, class IV it stands 4% and in class V it is 15%. But after class V, we find a sudden VI, 3.13% attend class VII changing. Interventions made so far in SSA have brought some positive change in
their mindset. However, around 62 percent parents still don’t send their children to school and this need to be probed for appropriate solution.

    3. Skilful but no takers

The Birhors are very skilful in using the natural articles to find a meaning to their. Most them are good in making ropes (46.33%). Some of them find hunting as means of living (10%). Over the period, they have realized that it would be difficult to survive if they stick only to their traditional occupations such as rope making, hunting, agriculture, herbal making etc. A good number of Birhors have become Labourers these days (36%) and have left agriculture (0.81%). The ability to enhance the skills as Mistri is also very low (0.40%). Somehow a new trend is visible in the survey i.e. driving tractors This new venture is picking up and around 6 percent work.

    4. Survival through traditional Profession

Among all the 5 tandas taken for the situation analysis, there is one thing common among them related to their main source of income. The male is engaged in distributing and making of Rope throughout the year (46.33%). There are many Birhors families who are dependent on other income generation activities such as (a) honey collection (2%), Gorkhi job (2%) and traditional medicines (1.11%). These families still depend upon forest and forest products (10%) and goad grazing (1.1%).

    5. Land Availability and Agricultural Practices

Among Birhor familes, very few of them own their land, Around 671 decimal of land is available with them which are mostly in ‘Doon’ (18%) and ‘Tand’ (82.4%). Only 7 percent families have bullocks out of 118 families living in 5 tandas. The agricultural activities are reducing day by day due to non availability of land. The available water sources are well (90%) and ponds (10%). The main paddies cultivated are;

    Makai         :        31% Dhan           :        12% Jwar            :        2.2% Kurthi         :        10% Bazra          :        3.18% Potato         :        8.3% Onion          :        :        32.7%

It we look to their cultivation cycle as well practices, we find that 92.4% Birhors cultivate vegetables. A very few families cultivates dalhan, telhan and kurthi (5%)

    6. Plantation of Trees

As we know that these Birhor families are very close to nature and they respect nature nature in all situations. They believe in planting trees for the survival of human beings. So far trees planted by them are as below;

    Mahua                                 :        28% Seemar                                :        24% Kathal                                 :        14% Shisham & Gulmohar        :        7% Gamhar                               :        5.71% Bair                                     :        3.4% Liputs                                 :        2% Bale,Sharifa, Amrood       

And Nimbu                         :        0.86%

    Neem                                  :        0.9%

This clearly indicates that practice of Mahua cultivation is very high whereas seemar (24%) and kathal (14%) comes next. Come of the plants like Gulmohar & Shisham (7%) are cultivated very less. The situation of Gamhar is also similar. At the bottom we find Neem (0.9%), Bale, Sharifa and Amrood (0.86%) and Bair (3.4%). Though amrood and sharifa could pay them as fruits along with nimbu but somehow the  cultivation practice does not show this except mahua and the rest shown on the above table.

    7. Animals Hunted by Birhors

There are different animals could be seen in the areas where Birhor families are living. However, they do not hunt every available animal in jungle but they choose some of them which could give them good food. Among them following are the animals which are normally hunted by Birhor families;

    Titar                 :        32% Khargosh         :        26.21% Tena                 :        17% Murgi              :        5% Kabutar            :        4.03% Ganthi Raja     :        1.21%

Titar is highly hunted (32%) in jungles by these families. Next is Khargosh (26%) and Tena (17%). The rate of hunting of some of the animals is found very low such as hen (5%), Kabutar (4%) and Ganthi Raja (1%). At the same time if we look at the poultry practise and animal husbandry approaches, we find that ‘murgi’ i.e. hens (44%) and goats (38.4%) are protected. Pigs & dogs are ate the bottom of the table (2%), however, Kabutar (10%) and Bullocks are slowly getting stagnant (5%).

8.  Consumption of Food by Birhors
In spite of cultivation and hunting, these families now market also. A crude calculation has been the quantity and amount of purchasing and food find out they out they are from calculate a day buy food from the attempted to understand money they spend on material. We tried to how much rice/wheat actually purchasing open market. The ones shows;
Folded Corner: 4102 kgs consumed every month by 48 persons including both young & old persons of the family. It means 9.51 kgs per month per person is consumed. If we divide this with days i.e. 9.00 kgs x 1000 gms = 9000 gms. If this is divided further by 30 days, then we will get 9000/30 = 30 gms per day per person.4102 kgs every persons young & old family. It kgs per person is this with days gms. If this is 9000/30 = 30 consumed month by 488 including both persons of the means 9.15 month per consumed. If we divide i.e. 9.00 kgs x 1000 gms = 9000 divided further by 30 days, then we will get gms per day per person.
There are days when there is no food, no grains in the house and over and above no work to earn money to feed he himself and family. Nothing could be bought from the market as they don’t have money. These are real difficult time for Birhor families. The still make another attempt and entire family seats out literally in search of food. Children could not sleep empty stomach at night. What is the alternative ? We don’t know. They are used to it and just keep mum.

 

 

9. What could be seen in Tandas Birhor
Other than the people and food articles there was a time nothing was available in the tandas. But these days the situation has changed. They too are getting attracted towards the life of normal people who live in village. While analysing we foud that families are keen to listen to radio (34%) and they follow the language and the programmes broadcasted by the radio stations. Males could be seen wearing wrist watch (28%) and pedalling cycles to go to nearby forest, village or market (14%). Even wall watches are common but the number is not much (12%). There are some exceptional Birhor families who have TV antennas to catch TV programmes and the family members view the TV shows telecasted (4%). However this number is very  less but it indicates the changing trend of these tribes. We could see rarely any sitting arrangement or chairs etc in their huts/tandas (2%). Very few of them have chairs and carpet and carpet to make their guest sit.

10. Own-Houses of Birhors
Most of the families have their own land (86.4%), however there are families who do not have land to build their house (14%). Those who have heir land have built their own houses and some of them even stay in rented houses (14%) These houses are of different types. There are khpra roofs (5%) roof with asbestos sheet (66%), pacca roof (15%) and roof of grass (14%). Similarly the walls of these houses are also of both katcha(13%) and pucca (38%). The majority of them are going for puccas houses these days. In general the land areas of the houses are in between 200 to500 sq. ft (87%) . some of the families have very less land area in between 60 to200 sq.ft. (13%). These houses have mostly one room (84.21%). But in some cases we found there are two rooms (14.47%) and three rooms (1.3%).

11. Availability of Essentials

There is access to potable water in Birhor tandas (94%). Mostly there are handpumps installed by government (86%) but in some tandas `we could see wells also(38%) . The interesting finding is that none of these families use toilet. No effort could be seen so far for promoting toilet habits among these tribes. Similarly there is no electricity in any of these tandas. All families use wood as fuel for making food (100%) but during night they uses kerosene oil for lighting purpose (82%) . An estimate has been attempted to find out how much money is being spent by some Birhor families who afford to buy kerosene as fuel for lighting purpose per month. The amount is Rs. 418=00 per month i.e. Rs, 14/- per day.

12. Deaths of Birhors

The rate of death of Birhor members in their families is different in different age group. In the category of 0 to 5 years, we found that almost 18% children die due to diarrhea and TB. This is really very serious and the government needs to act immediately on this to prevent the deaths of infants. The second category is between the age group 11 to 15 years . in this we found that the reasons for death are severe cough and cold as well as fever (6%). In the age category of 55 and above, most of the deaths occur due to fever, asthama, TB and diarrhea (77%). There is on indication of any prevailing diseases in the tandas, however we found that malaria and eye-vision problem is very severe. Even during serious conditions they don’t rush to the nearest PHC (0.5%) . They either visit to a health worker (33.15%) , private clinic (35%) and in many case they rush to vaidh/ojha (32%).

 

13. A Challenge for District Administration

 It is good to find that all the families of Birhors are having ration cards (100%) as well as Lal (Red) cards (97%) . The BPL survey has also been done in these tandas (58%). However, there are still head of the families who said that they don’t have a job card

(49%). The situation compels them to lend money from others for their survival. Even some of them are keen to do some entrepreneurship activity but the loans are not made available to them easily. So far only 14 percent people have taken bank lone for their work. Most of them are still under the trap of mahajans and around 86 percent families are coming under this category. Looking at the seriousness of the issue, local administration must find out some way to make these families free from the loans received from the Mahajans.

14. Earning and Expenditure of Birhors

The earning members in Birhor families are mostly in the age group of 20 to 40 years .However, the age group starts from 14 years till 60 tears and above. Most of them are young ones, who does hard work and they are in the age group of 20 years (11%) and 25years(8.3%).

The earning persons could be seen in the table given below :

SI.NO

Age group

How many of them ?

1.

14 Years

5 %

2.

15 Years

5 %

3.

18 Years

7%

4.

20 Years

11 %

5.

22 Years

6 %

6.

25 Years

8.3 %

7.

30 Years

5 %

8.

40 Years

8.3%

9.

50 Years

5 %

10.

60 Years

2.4 %

These earning members earn maximum a sum of Rs. 2000=00 per annum (9.14%). There are others who earn Rs. 1000/- (18%)to Rs. 200/- (16.47%) per annum. Similarly their expenditure swings between Rs. 1000/-to Rs.12,000/- and around 19 percent families are earning Rs. 8000/- and 17% earn Rs. 10,000 p.a. They spend Rs. 500/- to 800/- in medicine every year. The expenditure on education is between Rs. 500/-(22%)to Rs. 1000/- (7.14%). Again if we see their expenditure trend on cloths, we find that it ranges from Rs. 1000/-(19%) to Rs. 4000/- (14%).

15. Urge to become self Employed

Most of the Birhor families are opting for their own employment through some entrepreneuship activity (30.34%). Some of them have shown interest in animal husbandry (26%). A few are keen on agriculture (14%) and piggery (5%). What is surprising is that some youth members are willing to pick up driving and are keen to have their own vehicles to earn money (5%). This is a good indication and the district administration must capitalize this opportunity by enrolling these boys in driving schools for proper training. On the whole 94 percent people are willing to make ‘ Boras’ and are looking for support to start this venture of employment which may give around Rs. 1500/- to Rs. 5000/- pm (37%). The market for these ‘Boras’ is already available in atka Bagodar (67%), Akhori Jagiya (5%)and Sarima (29%).

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