Santala Creation Stories

Dr. Biyotkesh Tripathy

Creation Myth Creation and the Origin of the Tribe

Govt. Of Orissa Activities Report 2004-05

Story 1: Creation Myth

Teller: Banamali Murmu 

[M 50. Tribe: Santal. Village: Machhia, Udala, Mayurbhanj. Date: April 13, 2000. Interviewer: Fani B. Puthal. Cassette No. 222, Side A. O. Tr. Pp.: 10,372-10,397. E. Tr. Pp. . F.N.: Mbj 4. Transcriber: F. B. Puthal. Status: As told (minor editing; editorial explanations & additions in brackets). Type: Myth.]
Translator: Biyotkesh Tripathy.


    At the beginning, the world was not like this. This was a desert. There was no water here. No life existed. So then, how life was created was that we [only] know that four directions were there: north, south, east and west. But there were no people.

    Then, Thakur said to himself, ‘How to start creation?’ [He was] god himself; he had love and affection. He has created all this. Thakur Baba, he has created [this world]. The one known as Pilchu Budha, he is Thakur Budha. We obey him.

    Then, what happened one day was that gods said, ‘Let’s go and have a look at the earth.’ That day, what they did was they came on the Gajamati elephant. From before they used to come along a thread they had extended to the earth. We have three world, as you know: Swarga (heaven), Mancha (earth) and Patala (the nether world). So, they came riding on the Gajamati elephant. Came and saw; wandered around. They saw there was nothing. When they came they had brought four wild "amla" berries. When Gajamati elephant felt thirsty, they wondered where they could find water for it. It was feeling very thirsty. They threw those wild amla berries in the four directions. When they threw that, the sound of a splash of something falling in water came from one direction. That was to the west. They said, ‘Let’s go [and see].’ They went searching. Searched everywhere. [They saw that] where there was a big boulder, its top was a little wet. Gajamati elephant said, ‘Give me water, or I’ll die of thirst.’ They told it they would do this and that for it, [but it should dig up that boulder, for there was water under it].’

    So, the elephant, per force, poked it hard. Otherwise, how would water come out? It tried to dig it out with its tusks. As he did that, one of its tusks broke. In olden times these elephants had four tusks. It tried again and another of its tusks broke off. But the water gushed out. From that day elephants have two tusks.

    The Gajamati elephant said, ‘Mother Ganga, I have released you, now give me water.’ And so much water gushed out now that the whole earth was flooded with water. There was water everywhere. But there was that island, that place had not been submerged. So, the elephant drank away happily. After drinking, they started back for heaven. They went up along that thread. Having gone up, they stayed there.

    Then Thakurji said, ‘Okay, now, we have created water and let it loose all over. Now, how shall we go about making humans?’ Then they threw this "ghungurucha" grass and its seeds fell everywhere. There a pair of doves was nesting, having made something like a spider’s web. The ghungurucha got stuck in that web. The ghugurucha seeds got stuck in that net.

    Then Thakurji said, ‘How shall we know about the earth? [We need someone to go and come with information].’ They had thrown the ghungurucha seeds from heaven. [They did not know what had happened to them.]

    Then, they made a wooden cow. They organized the wood and made a wooden cow and took it to Thakurji. But, [when given life and taken to earth], it did not budge from there [to bring information].

    (Q: Who made the wooden cow and took it to Thakurji?)

    It was that Lita Majhi, who was his general factotum. Lita Gadet. He made a wooden cow and took it to Thakurji who gave it life. But when it was given life [and was taken to the earth], it would not go anywhere from there.

    Thakurji said, ‘What to do, now?’ Then he turned to Lita, ‘Hey, Lita, I haven’t got any information about the earth. You go back and wander around the earth [and see].’

    Lita said, ‘Let’s do something else. Let’s make a wooden "Balia" fish.’ When it was done, they said, ‘Here it is, lord. Go; get it invested with life from Thakurji.’ [After this was done and it was brought back to earth], to carry information back and forth, it did not do it.

    ‘What shall we do now? Go and tell Lita to make a prawn and bring it. We’ll inform the earth and go there.’ So, he took it there and said to Thakurji, ‘This is done. Give it life.’ It was given life, but then, the prawn also did not go back [with information]. It stayed there.

    [Thakurji said], ‘What to do? The earth is filled with water. How shall we go there, and get information. Whatever we made stayed back; no one came back. What shall we do?’

    Again, he sent Lita. ‘Go, make a crab and come back with it.’ So, he had a crab made and had it invested with life from Thakurji. It also did not come back.

    All these [created things] had taken Lita to Patalapuri [the nether worlds] and had kept him as king there. Thakurji wondered where Lita had gone, while he had been taken to Patalapuri and kept there as the king. And these creatures, having been invested with life, were playing about in the water in a lively manner.

    Messengers came and told Lita, ‘Let’s go, Thakurji has sent for you.’

    So, he went. Thakurji said to him, ‘Lita, these creatures did not go about. But how shall we build the landmass. What shall we do and how? All the earth is water.’

    Then, when Thakur’s woman was bathing, two swans were born from the dirt [washed off] from her body; from Thakurji’s woman’s dirt. She rubbed her hand like this and the dirt came off. From that two swans—Hans and Hansli—were born. [They flew about crying because they could not perch anywhere.]

    [Hearing that], Thakurji said, ‘What is this? Two birds are crying on earth. They are, perhaps, not finding any place to land. What to do? There is water everywhere. How shall we keep these two birds?’

    Thakur woman was bathing. What she did was, these kainma seeds and kaincha bushes she planted in the side. The trees grew. The two birds, now, found shelter there. Stayed there. They mated there. In those "kainma" and "kaincha" trees they built their nest and stayed. From their mating were born two humans.

    Thakurji looked around and said, ‘I seem to hear human sounds. It sounds like children are crying.’ Then he said to Lita, ‘Let’s go and look around. Let’s see what has happened.’

    When they came they saw that two humans had been born in the trees. A boy and a girl. Since they had been born, where should they be given a place to live? They were sitting on that island which was there. They had been born, but their umbilical cord had not been cut. So, Thakurji sent Lita, ‘Lita, you go to heaven and ask the blacksmith to make an arrow for me: a Tiada Kanda [the arrow with which the umbilical cord is cut].’ With that Tiada Kanda their cord was cut.

    Then Thakurji said, ‘Now, who shall we make the Suruni Budhi [midwife]? And whom shall we make the turmeric-grinder?’ Then, he added, ‘Go; bring those black birds you see in the river. The black birds. Bring those birds.’ [When they were brought,] he said to them, ‘Go and make turmeric paste.’ The land birds, they make babies where the wind blows, inside grass-ball nests, they became Suruni Budhi. Thus, the Gaintha Gudi bird became the Suruni Budhi. So they came and did the washing and cleaning up. They became clean. So, the two human children stayed well. Thakur Baba used to look after the two children, fed them and put them to sleep.

    Like this, the two children grew up. When they grew up, what would they eat? The names of the two children were, Thakur Budha, the boy’s name and Gangi Budhi, the girl’s name. These two names were given. Like this, when they had come of age, he told them, ‘Go and wander in this jungle.’

    They were naked. They had no clothes. Then, Thakurji said, ‘Cultivate cotton trees.’ So they started cultivating cotton. And from that cotton they made clothes. Up to that time they were living in that island. Other lands had not been formed.

    Then, [Thakur] thought how to increase mankind. [For this, more land had to be created.] So, he called up the Balia fish, prawn etc. that he had already created and said to them, ‘Who among you can create [more] land [by bringing it up from the bottom of the sea?] He who can do this will marry this girl, Gangi Budhi.’

    All of them were called and all of them came. The crab came first. Every time he brought up the earth, it was washed away. This happened with all of them. No one could bring up the earth. Then, the earthworm king was called. He said, ‘Lord, sir, shall I be able to do this? I can eat the earth at the bottom and shit it out at the top. But there is nothing on the surface [to shit on.’] Then, what they did was they caught hold of the turtle. They placed the turtle and the earthworm evacuated the earth on its back. After a while, the turtle [unable to bear the weight] moved. All the accumulated earth fell back into the sea and was gone. What to do? Then, Thakur sent Lita to heaven to bring chains and hooks. [When these were brought], they drove four pegs and tied the turtle’s legs.

    Then the turtle said, ‘You have tied me. Now, how shall I eat? What shall I eat?’

    Thakurji said to him, ‘Arrangements will be made for you, don’t you worry. Since you will stay down below, seven channels will be made leading right up to your mouth. All the puja offerings that will be made—of milk, curd etc.—everything will go to you. Rice, curry, everything will go to you. Down below, you will get all that.’

    Then, the earthworm started sucking the earth into itself and voiding it on the turtle. A body of solid earth was [soon] created. On it Duba grass was planted and [the roots of] that grass grabbed the earth and made it firm.

    So, the solid earth was made. By then the two humans had grown big. Thakurji said, ‘What to do? These have grown up. They are naked.’ He went to them every evening, he roamed around and saw how they were eating, drinking and living. One day, what he said to them was, ‘Hey, Thakur Budha! Let’s make some "handia" [pot-fermented rice-based alcoholic beverage] today. We’ll make a festival today. So, let’s make some handia.’

    ‘We’ll make handia, but how to do it?’

    So, they put rabbit droppings in water and kept it, so that it became just like handia. But it did not taste like handia [nor did it have that effect.] Then they saw that at one place there were some roots. Monkeys, having eaten that root, were chattering [and jumping about] excitedly.

    Thakurji said, ‘Yes, this will be right. We’ll make handia from this.’

    Then they made the handia from ghungurucha rice [and the roots]. It turned out quite well. After sleeping [and taking rest, letting the drink ferment,] they drank the handia. They were intoxicated. Then, [Thakurji} made them sleep in one place.

    Next morning, they said, ‘Thakurji, we’ve done a bad thing.’

    ‘What bad work did you do?’

    ‘It was like this, last night….’

    ‘No, this is a good thing. How can this be bad?’

    Then, they ate and drank and lived happily. They wore clothes. Ate potatoes and other things from the jungle. They grew up.

    Ten children were born from them: ten boys and girls. So, they were given different names and were designated as different races. Then, their children grew up. So came Hembram, Besta, Hansda, Murmu etc. So, our children have come from that brother and sister.

    Nowadays, when puja and rituals begin, these things are recited. Since, we are the children of those swan birds, we never eat the swan meat.

Story 2

: Creation and the Origin of the Tribe
Teller: Dasarastha Hansda

[M 80. Tribe: Santala. Village: Beguniadiha, Udala, Mayurbhanj. Date: Feb 6, 2000. Interviewer: F.B.Pothal. Cassette No. 213, Side A-B and 214, Side A. O. Tr. Pp.: 9248-53, 9254-85, 9286-9306. E. Tr. Pp. . F.N.: Mbj 3, p.6. Transcriber: F.B.Pothal. Status: As told (minor editing; editorial explanations & additions in brackets). Type: Myth.]

Translator: Biyotkesh Tripathy

    Why we have accepted him as god is because, when our first forefathers were born, our birth was from birds. By birds I mean Hans and Hansli [a male and a female swan]. A Hans and Hansli. They were king swans. They gave us birth. We have emerged from their womb.

    When the earth was, as people say, submerged in water, there was nothing there. Only water everywhere. At that time, the one we call Thakur, Thakur Baba, he is our god, [he was there]. Like your Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara, we have our Thakur Baba. On seeing this, he said, ‘The earth has become submerged in water like this. How shall we [bring up this earth] and start the creation?’

    He started thinking. Then, what Thakur Baba did (in your language it is god; in our language it is Thakur Baba)? What you call Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara, our ancestors [our traditions] knew nothing of them. We only know Thakur Baba. So, he started thinking how this world could be created. And who was Thakur Baba’s follower or general factotum? It was Lita Gadet. Later, [in your tradition] Lita Gadet was known as Narada [Brahma’s son]. Thakur Baba’s follower was Lita Gadet (your Narada). In just two and a half steps he could go round the earth. He was Lita Gadet. So Thakur Baba called Lita Gadet.

    [He] said, ‘Well, the earth has become like this, how shall we start the creation?’

    Then, Lita said, ‘Our earth is flooded with water, but we have gods in heaven. We can call them.’

    So, he went and called the gods and goddesses. When he called them, they came. Indra, Baruna, Agni, he called all these gods. They gathered in one place.

    Then, Thakur Baba started thinking and [finally] turned to Lita, ‘How shall we create this world? What creatures do we have in this water?’

    Lita said, ‘We have some. There is the [wide mouthed] balia fish, there is tortoise, [and] like them there are many more.’

    ‘Okay, ask them if they can build the world.’

    (He asked. There is a song here in which Indra is called).

    Lita went and called them before Thakur Baba. He brought them there. First came the crocodile.

    He said, ‘Hey, you live inside the sea, there is water above you, can you create the earth or not? Can you bring up the earth from Patala [the bottom of the sea]?’

    ‘Yes, lord, I can.’

    So he brought up the earth, but while he was bringing it up….

    (Let me correct myself.)

    First, he called the turtle. He called the turtle and asked, ‘Hey, you, turtle, can we build the earth on your back?’

    It said, ‘If you build the earth on my back, I shall have to bear it all the time. The earth will be made, but how shall I get food? How shall I eat? I shall have to stay fasting forever.’ This is what the turtle said to Thakur Baba.

    Thakur Baba said, ‘No, no. If you carry the world, then arrangements will be made for you.’

    [The turtle] said, ‘Lord, what arrangements will you make? First tell me that. Let me hear it.’

    ‘Okay. If you bear the world, all the men of the world, when they make offerings at pujas—some offer it to Jahira, some to Mahadeva, some to Biswa and all the other pujas—the offering will come to you, right up to your mouth. The offerings of all the pujas of the world will come to you, right to your mouth. You will eat all that. You will live on happily.’

    [The turtle] said, ‘Okay, if you do like that, I’ll agree.’

    ‘That will be done. You can start.’

    The turtle agreed. When he agreed, all the creatures in the sea were called. They were called one by one and were asked, ‘Can you bring up the earth from the bottom of the sea?’

    [Each one said], ‘Yes, I can do it.’

    ‘Go then.’

    How could they bring up the earth? When they would bring up the earth, it would flow away.

    ‘This one could not do it.’

    There is proof of that failure in curses given to them. The crab got the curse that he would be trampled under foot by wooden sandals. That sign is on its back. The crab, [of course], came later. Balia fish also could not bring of the earth, [for the earth was washed away]. So, his mouth was pulled wide [as punishment]. When its mouth became wide, he [Thakur] sutured the sides of its mouth. If you look at the mouth of the Balia fish you will notice sutures on either side of the mouth. Its mouth had been pulled wide and who had done it? It was Lita who had done it on orders from Thakur.

    Then came the crocodile. [It failed]. After the crocodile, came the prawn. It said, ‘Yes, I can bring it up.’ When it could not bring up the earth to the surface, it was smashed. When it was smashed it became like it is today.’

    Then earthworm was called. It was asked, ‘Can you bring up [the earth from the bottom of the ocean?’]

    It said, ‘Yes, I can do it.’ But it raised some questions, ‘I can bring it up, but unless you stretch a lead pole from the bottom of the sea to the surface, how shall I come up?’

    So, Thakur Baba had a pole planted. One end of the pole remained buried in the earth below the surface of the sea, while the other end reached the back of the turtle. As the earthworm [sucked up] the earth and brought it to the surface, it deposited it on the back of the turtle.

    When the earth became much on the back of the turtle, it became too heavy for it. So, it started shaking and ran away in fear. When it ran away, the accumulated earth fell back into the sea.

    Then, Thakur Baba said, ‘Hey, Lita, this turtle is running away. What to do? Go to king Indra and bring chains from him. When you have brought the chains, put the lead rod back on the tortoise’s back and tie up three of its legs with the chain. Leave one leg free.’

    Chains were brought from king Indra. Three of the turtle’s legs were tied with the chains. Then they left it; otherwise it was running away. Then the earthworm, again, brought up the earth from the bottom of the sea and started piling it up on the back of the turtle. Then they saw that it was all right that the earth has been brought to the surface, but it had remained uneven. It was not level. What to do? How to level it up? Then it was leveled up. Who leveled it? According to our belief (I forget the name). [But] it was leveled by plowing. As it was being leveled with a plow, when the plowshare was raised, [some] earth [came up and] became mountains. The areas that became uniform became the plains. When it became leveled, however, the earth could not remain steady [as it was mushy].

    Then, Thakur Baba said, ‘This earth is unstable. What to do?’ Then he thought again and called Lita.

    [He said], ‘What shall we do, my boy? This earth is shaking [and mushy], how shall we make it stand firm? How can humans live here? What shall we do and how?’

    Then Lita said, ‘Lord, (in this our heaven,) in one place, a dove has laid eggs. It has also built a nest with duba grass, for the eggs to be placed. That duba grass it had brought from heaven or some place. It has planted that grass there [to make its nest.]’

    What Lita did was, he brought that duba grass from near that egg and planted it on earth. When he planted the grass, it spread like nobody’s business. So, the earth became firm and steady.

    Thakur asked, ‘Hey, Lita, has it firmed up?’

    ‘Yes, it has.’

    But what remained on the turtle’s back, only that became the earth, [firm ground], the rest was the sea.

    The duba grass had come from the dove’s bed, outside the egg. When it was planted, it spread fast everywhere. When it spread out, its roots held the ground fast. This is how the earth was created [and made firm.]

    This is the creation of the world in our language [culture].

    Then the creation of man. That’s further ahead.

    (Q: In your language what do you call the earth?

    A: In our language [it is] "disham." Disham means the whole world. Why was it called disham, there is a story behind it.)

    When our earth became flooded, in that water, we had a tree called "shiram." Shiram is a bush kind of tree. Brooms are made of it. What is called "kaincha" bush nowadays. That kaincha bush floated. It was floating on the water. The earth was filled with water at the time.

    Thakur Baba thought, ‘This [earth] is covered with water. How shall we arrange [the water and the bushes?] (If we create humans) how should we arrange the water? [What should it be made to look like?]’ He thought about these things.

    As he was thinking, Lita said, ‘What’s to be done first, only you can do. We don’t have the power for that. You are powerful. If you want, you can do it. What you will do, we can continue doing like that.’


    The he brought that kaincha or shiram bush. Having brought it, he slit its leaves. With these he made a swan. When he had made the swan, he set it afloat on the water. When he set it afloat, he looked at it and said, ‘Hey, they are floating very nicely. If we give it life, it will be even more beautiful.’

    Then, Thakur Baba invested it with life. All this work was not really done by Thakur Baba. He only gave orders. So, [actually], after seeing the shiram bush, Thakur Baba called, who do you think? He called Dhata and Bidhata. Then, he said to them, ‘You do like this and set it afloat in the water. Let’s see what happens. Dhata started making it with that shiram. When the making of it was about half done, it became evening, perhaps, for he stopped the work and went home. As they were going back home, Bidhata said, ‘Hold on, hold on, I have left a chisel behind. Let me get that.’ So Dhata went on and Bidhata came back. When he came back, he spoiled all that Dhata had done and made them worse. Then he went away.

    Next day, when they came back, Dhata saw what had happened and asked, ‘Hey, we had done so much yesterday, what’s happened to that?’

    ‘Who knows what has happened? I don’t know,’ said Bidhata. Bidhata did not confess. He kept on saying he had done nothing.

    [Dhata said], ‘It’s you who came back after we had left. If you haven’t done it who else could have?’

    ‘I haven’t done it.’

    This is how the work went on for some time. At last, after much effort, Dhata and Bidhata completed the work. Then they set [the swans] on water and turned to god and said, ‘Lord, we have made them. Come and see.’ They were set in water. When they were set in water, they were swimming nicely.

    Thakur Baba thought, ‘This is really nice. It will become even more beautiful if we give them life.’

    He said to [Dhata and Bidhata], ‘Give them life.’

    When they were invested with life, they started swimming in the sea like birds. Thus swimming, they gradually grew big. The time came for their mating. So they mated. When they had mated, they built a nest in the shiram bush, the one that is called kaincha today. There they took shelter and built their nest. The Hans and Hansli [the male and female swans]. They built their nest and lived there. But the shiram was floating on the surface. Then, some days after they had mated, two humans were born [to them]. They had not laid eggs. But a man and a woman were born. Two humans were born. One was male and the other female. Gods (Thakur Baba) named them "Pilchu Baba" [the male one] and "Pilchu Aye," the female one. "Nangi" and "Gangi." In our race everyone has two names.

    And the one that was man, "Pilchu Baba," he was our progenitor. Pilchu Baba and Pilchu Aye. "Aye" means mother and "Baba" means father.

    When they were born, they could not live in that kaincha bush. It could not bear them, for their weigh was more. So, Hans and Hansli put one child each on their backs, and then started flying. [They] flew and flew for many years, no counting of that. And they cried.

    When they cried, that cry fell in the ears of Thakur Baba. When it fell in his ears, Thakur Baba said, ‘Hey, Lita, go and see who is crying so much in heaven, day and night. Find out.’

    Lita went and saw that Hans and Hansli were flying about with two children [on their backs]. There was no place where they could [land and] stay. It was because of this that the solid earth was created, the story of which has already been told [by me]. Here, I am speaking about the creation of human beings.

    [When the solid earth was created and it became firm], these human beings [Pilchu Baba and Pilchu Aye] came down to live there. And they lived on there. When they came and lived on the earth, Lita went to Thakur Baba who said to him, ‘Hey, Lita, make a [suitable] place for them, where they can live [comfortably].’ So, what Lita Gadet did was that he built a huge garden. On earth. Made a garden and kept them.

    He said to them, ‘You Pilchu Baba and Pilchu Aye, you live in this garden. There are so many fruits and roots here; you can eat all that. But this one fruit you should not eat. [Thakur Baba has forbidden it].’ So, [they lived on], eating all the other fruits.

    Thakur Baba asked, ‘Hey, Lita, Did you visit those two humans? Are they all right?’

    ‘Yes, Thakur Baba, they are fine.’

    ‘But have you told them not to eat the fruit of that tree?’

    ‘Yes, sir, I’ve told them [as you had instructed].’

    Then, Lita thought, ‘[This way] the human creation cannot go on further. Let me go and tell them.’

    So, taking another shape, Lita went and said [to them], ‘Hey, tell me what you are eating for your sustenance.’

    ‘We are eating everything,’ [they said], ‘except only this fruit which our Thakur Baba has forbidden us to eat. What kind of fruit it is we do not know, but he has asked us not eat that [as you had told us].’

    ‘Oh [yes], Thakur Baba had asked [me to tell] you not to eat that! Listen, what does Thakur Baba know? You eat this fruit, it’s very tasteful.’

(Lita had come in the guise of Saitan [Satan]).

    So, they ate that fruit. When they had eaten that, the two of them lost their mind. (It’s because of that fruit that they lost their minds. That is why they had been forbidden.) Now, they got maddened. Lusty.

    [This above episode was correct by the teller, here below, as well as in another sitting, as a Christian story was used, and was replaced by the true Santala version that follows.]

    When Pilchu Baba and Pilchu Aye were wandering in the garden they found a "ranurang" tree in a spring. "Bakhar" [a fermenting substance] is made from ranurang tree. Water was springing out through [the roots] of that tree. Some monkeys had drunk water from that spring. By drinking that, the monkeys had become intoxicated. Lita saw all this. When he saw this he thought, ‘Wow, these are very good things.’

[Transit to 214A]

    The monkeys were jumping about madly. Lita saw this; the others [Pilchu Baba and Pilchu Aye] had not seen this. When Lita saw this, he said to himself, ‘What do you know! If only the water springing out through the roots is so intoxicating, how intoxicating will the roots not be!’ So, Lita took some of that root with him. Having taken it, he gave it to Pilchu Aye and said to her, ‘You make some bakhar [fermenting agent] from this.’

    ‘How shall we make bakhar?’ she asked. ‘With what? No, no. We don’t have any [grain] cultivation here, so the things needed are not available. With what shall we do it?’

    Then Lita said, ‘This your ghungucha (ghungurucha or jhintika grass), you pluck [the grains of] that. Having plucked it, you pound it.’

    So they plucked and pounded the ghungucha grains. When they pounded it the [small] rice-like grains came out.

    When the grains came out, Lita said, ‘Okay; now you grind this grain with these roots [I have brought] and make them into balls. That will become bakhar. And, collecting more of this jhintika grain (the ghungurucha grain), you make a "handia" brew [on your fire].’

    They again asked, ‘Lita, how shall we do the handia? We don’t have any pot.’

    ‘Not to worry. You pluck some leaves from this tree and [stitch them with some wooden picks] to make them pot-like. You make the handia in that, tie it up and keep it.

    So, they did like that. (Lita was leading them in a bad path).

    Pilchu Aye, put that grain to cook. When the grains were cooked, she mixed that "ranu" [bakhar] with it. Then she covered it and kept it aside.

    After two days, Lita came again and asked, ‘Hey, what’s happened? Has it got fermented?’

    ‘Yes, lord,’ they said, ‘it’s done. (They were speaking to Lita who is also our god). Shall we now do a puja [make a ritual offering]?’

    ‘Okay, then, we’ll do a puja.’

    Pilchu Hadam also said, ‘Okay, let’s do a puja.’

    So, they made three pots of leaves. Having done this, they said, ‘Okay, now we can begin the puja. But where shall we do the puja? Here? Out in the open?’

    So they got ready for the puja. Lita sat down and said, ‘Now, begin the puja ritual.’

    Then Pilchu Baba asked, ‘But to whom shall we make the offering?’

    ‘To Maran Guru,’ said Lita.

    ‘Who the hell is this Maran Guru?’

    ‘It’s me,’ said Lita.

    So they performed the puja.

    Then, Lita said, ‘Now, you drink.’

    So, the two drank. Pilchu Budhi drank and Pilchu Baba also drank.

    Then Pilchu Baba said, ‘We have taken it, but why didn’t you drink?’

    ‘You made the offering to me. Then how did I not drink?’

    They finished drinking. The puja was also over. Then Lita left. When he had left, these two got high and as they got high, they slept together. Then, Lita arrived again. These two were sleeping just a little apart. He pushed them close together. When they came close together, in their intoxicated state, they mated.

    When they mated, they said, ‘Goodness! We’ve done wrong.’ They had become awake then. ‘We’ve done wrong.’

    Next morning, Lita came and hid himself behind a bush. Thus hidden, he was watching them.

    He [finally came out and] said, ‘Hey, why are you behaving like this today?’

    ‘Thakur, we have no clothes.’

    ‘What’s this about not having clothes?’

    'We are feeling ashamed.’

    So, Lita could understand that they had mated. And he said, ‘Don’t you worry, we’ll get clothes.’

    Then, we have a tradition that Lita told Thakur Baba about this matter of clothes.

    Thakur Baba, having heard this, said, ‘Go to king Indra. He has cotton trees. [Bring that].’

    (At that time, there was no cotton like today. Clothes came from inside the cottonseed.)

    Lita brought a cotton tree from Indra and some cloth. He gave the cloth to them and planted the cotton tree.

    (I have said before that cotton did not grow on cotton trees, clothes came from it.)

    Like this, after they had mated, clothes came. After clothes were used, Thakur said, ‘I had wanted to keep the world well. But this was wrong.’ When this had happened, diseases etc. came (as they say). Then started the creation of human beings. People were created.

    Then, what happened was, creation started. When creation started, first Hansda was born. (From Hans it has become "Hansda"). From the mating of Pilchu Baba and Pilchu Aye, were born nine boys and nine girls. Eighteen children were born.

    When eighteen children were born, Pilchu Baba said, ‘Hey, Budhi, these are boys and these are girls. They are brothers and sisters. How can they be mated, tell me? Otherwise, how can creation of humans continue?’

    ‘Yes, Budha, you are right.’

    Who was born first? It was Hansda. From Hans it was known as Hansda. Hansda was the first human. And he was their eldest son. Then came Murmu. He became Thakur [priest]. Hansda was "purdh" [ancestor]. Murmu was Thakur. Then [came] Hembram. (Although nine brothers were born, they were different from one another. They were "na mahal" [nine septs]. The race—this our Kherual race—was of nine brothers. The first was Hansda. Then, Murmu, then Hembram, then Tutu, Kisku [etc.].

    Of these nine boys and girls that were born, Pilchu Aye took away the girls to one forest [to pluck and gather] and Pilchu Baba took away the boys to another forest to hunt. [The boys] went to hunt and [the girls] went to gather leaves and such. Otherwise, how would they forget? How long they lived in these forests, there is no count of that.

    Then, [after many years], they brought them to get married. Pilchu Aye brought the girls to a place where they stopped and started singing and dancing merrily.

    When the boys were returning from their hunt, they were saying, ‘Akaren kudia, hane, serenj do?’ (Meaning: ‘Of what place are these people who are singing? Let’s go and see’). So they went there.

    When they came, [seeing they were girls], they started [playing with them and] grabbing them. At that time, Pilchu Baba said, ‘Each to each just as you had been born, from the older to the younger, like that you pair off. The younger with the younger, the elder with the elder. The older cannot go with the younger. Number one with number one. Number two with number two. It should be like that. Thus, they paired off like that, in correct order. At that time they sang songs.

    Then Pilchu Baba said, ‘Now, you can’t live in one place.’

    So, race [sept]; each one chose his sept. Our Majhis are not one race. Race means surname [clan]. They are separate. We have "na mahal"[nine clans]. So the surnames are different. The first was Kisku. Kisku became a king. He stayed in Kainda.

    When Pilchu Baba made the division, he said, ‘Where will you stay? Better go and stay in Kainda. And where will you stay? Go and live in Amki Badili. First was Kisku, he was king. He stayed in Kainda. He was the guard. Then Soren, he became the king’s soldier. He stayed in Badili. Then Hembram, he became "Karji." Karji means Minister, the king’s Minister. He stayed in Champanangar. Fourth came Murmu. He became Thakur [priest]. He would do the religious service of the king’s Thakur. He stayed in Dhirichawra. Fifth came Hansda. He stayed in Baha Badela. Sixth was Marandi (also Marndi). He became the cultivator. Marndi kisan. He stayed in Chainangar. Seventh was Tutu. He was "Rushika." He stayed in Duisanangar. Eighth came Besra. He became "Byar." He stayed in Chirunangar. Ninth came Baske. He stayed in Saharnangar. Thus, Pilchu Baba placed them in different regions.

    These were our guardians and forefathers. He had divided them and placed them separately. They are our guardians. Then, each clan lived in its own area and thrived by cultivation and other things. The clans grew. Having gradually grown we have arrived in the present stage.



Illustrations: Sarasi Das