News from the villages (February - March 2017)

By: Boro Baski and Martin Kämpchen
14.04.2017 News

A traditional Baha-ritual

Seminar on Tribal/Indigenous Health care system_
From 23th to 24th February 2017, Asiatic Society, Kolkata had organized a two day international seminar on 'Tribal/ Indigenous Health care system: Tribute to P.O. Bodding' at Vidyasagar Hall of the society. Several scholars, academicians, medical doctors from India and abroad presented their papers on tribal health care on which Paul Olaf Bodding (1865 – 1938) worked extensively on his well-known  book 'Santal medicine'. Boro Baski presented a paper on 'Santal cultural heritage' focusing on the traditional knowledge on herbal medicines practiced by Santals today.

Adibasi Baha Parab (Santal flower festval)
On 9th March 2017, Adibasi Baha Parab (Santal flower festival) was successfully celebrated with various eventful programmes. Baha rituals, tribal sports, folk dances, whole night drama and traditional musical programmes were some of the highlights of the festival. All village people from Ghosaldanga, Bishnubati and surrounding villages were invited to join in the festival. Non-Sandal people were invited just as well.


Boro Baski sent festival-fotos and a write-up that give us a detailed description of the festival. In former times Baha festival was celebrated as a closed community festival. 28 years ago the registered societies of Ghosaldanga and Bishnubati started to organize a new form of 'Adibasi Baha Parab' which is an extension of the traditional Baha festival. The main objective was to open this festival to Santals of other villages and to non-Santals and thus make it inclusive.

First Aid training programme for teachers
On 13th March 2017, Hannah Beckmann, Judith Drexler the former volunteers and Marcus the first time visitor to the village from Germany conducted the First Aid training programme for the teachers of the organization. They showed them through demonstration that how the most common accidents such as snake bite, fever, drowning in water, burns can be given first aid treatment before sending the patients to the hospital. This training is part of the long term teachers’ training programme that is going on in the organization since last month. In all 30 teachers attended the programme.

Santals from Bangladesh on a visit 
Santals from Ghosaldanga and Bishnubati start to establish ties with Santal villages beyond their national borders, particularly to Santal people in Bangladesh. Santals in Bangladesh speak the same language and have nearly the same culture. But the Santal have not become very aware about these facts so far.


In March 2017, a Santal group from Bangladesh came to see RSV, a private  primary school for Santal children (Look the picture above). Later, a small group of villagers from Ghosaldanga and Bishnubati travelled to Bangladesh for a return visit. Travelling by train or by bus can be possible. The exchange programs have been pushed by Rathin Kisku, Gokul Hansda and Ramjet Mardi, who have already travelled to Bangladesh several times.