A ‘haraiwali on Bhusar bank’: Karia and Jani shikar in Chhotanagpur
This noon in the scorching 43 degree temperature I saw a tribal women on the Bhusar bank ( a small tributary to Swarnrekha river in between Shyamali and SAIL-Satellite colony of Ranchi) under the shadow of a tree who was waiting for any labourer tribal to come to drink a glass of Haria.
Rice is cooked well and no water remains and some herbal is mixed and in a small pot it is left- after five or six days it is ready when rasa is coming out, then katcha water is mixed and churned and then in a sieve like rice water and remains of rice separate and ‘rice beer.’ Or ‘haria’ is ready.
Haria is drank in matrimonial negotiations and any meeting called baithki.
Mostly women sell and serve haria but none says them Madhubala.
Probaby Haribansh Ray Bacchan should have also mentioned haria and hariawali in his famous Madhushala. It is a case of sheer negligence of tribal who constitute around 8 per cent of Indian population spread from Laddkh to Neyveli ; from Kutch to Kamrup.
I had been with them not only at Ranchi since 1971 but had been in the upper Nagaland with Zeliongrong tribe where Madhu was a sine quo none. Though they did not press me knowing a senior doctor then in 1986-7, my guide Jagdamba Mall from Gorakhpur had started taking Madhu to get their confidence.
Tribal are female dominated society everywhere. Jani Shikar once in 12 year is a famous festival when women drink Haria (wearing shir pant now a dyas with turban like boys with arms in hands like Devi durga to kill animals, Except ox they kill goat, pig, cocks and she cocks in the villages and it is a beautiful scene during summer of 12th year. Males do not interfere in 12 th year’s Jani shikar - in Holi every year males wander in jungle.
This afternoon I was thinking that haria causes cirrhosis of liver and tribal die earlier. They need health education against haria on large scale.
The Bhusar bed has green vegetable crop, my eyes were swayed tot hat this morning I was going to my health centre. Tribal can divert to vegetable soup which will be healthy but hardly they take vegetable. They are happy with little rice and of course ‘rice beer!’
Anyway, I am a teetotaler and hardly know the taste of haria or can think of its ‘saki’ which though Bacchan probably being a teetotaler could which I am not..
Incidentally it is a 100th blog (in new series though maybe a few more from Bangalore series).