An Anthropological Study of Belief and Practices in a Deltaic Region: A Case Study Sundarban

Journal of the Anthropological Survey of India, 65(2) : (237-250), 2016

An Anthropological Study of Belief and Practices in a Deltaic Region: A Case Study Sundarban

Krishna Basu
Anthropological Survey of India, Eastern Regional Centre, Kolkata, West Bengal

Abstract
The Sundarban delta is a not only a heritage of India but also the biggest delta of the world. The villages falling under the Indian side of Sundarban delta are multi-ethnic and multi-religious in composition. The people of Sundarban delta have come from different parts of the country and also from abroad. Though agriculture is the main occupation of the villagers, it is supplemented by other terrestrial and aquatic resources as the area is more often than not affected by flood and cyclone. Ingress of saline water on lands renders it unfit for cultivation for three to four years. The people have adapted themselves to a new environment and in the process developed various myths, beliefs and practices. The gods and goddesses occupy an important position in the life and culture of human beings. Among these, the Banobibi, Dakshinrai and Shajangali play a crucial role in the forest based economic life of the people of Sundarban delta region which comprised of both Hindus and Muslims. The present study clearly demonstrates that human adaptation to a new environment is a key strategy for survival and nature and culture are co-dependent factors which together influence forms and functions of human life.

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