van Exem, Albert.
The Religious System of the Munda Tribe.
1982. 279 S. 30,00 Euro. 16,5 x 24 cm. 978-3-88345-357-6.
(Collectanea Instituti Anthropos Bd. 28)
Fr. Albert Van Exem, S.J., born in Belgium In 1918, came to India In 1946. He spent 17 years among the Mundas whose language he speaks fluently. Since 1969 he has been Director of the Chotanagp ur Catholic Mission Co-operative Credit Society" which has a membership of 54,000 Tribals, mostly Oraons, Kharias, Hos and Mundas, spread out over four districts. In this capacity, he published a booklet on the Basic Socio-Economic Attitudes of Chotanagpur Tribals" whose size belies its importance.
Deeply interested in the tribal turn of mind, he sees religion as the unifying factor in their social and economic attitudes. He thus poses a challenge to anthropologists and development workers alike. It is his conviction that those who work among the Tribals to lift them up and to integrate them with the Indian mainstream should not overlook their philosophy.
The author makes a study in depth of the religious system of a single tribe. Too often, he feels, erroneous conclusions are drawn from superficial observation, and though the munda tribe is not one of the most numerous in India, it is well known and is representative of many others that live in the central belt of India.
To his thinking, all traditions, myths, customs, rites and religious attitudes of a people ought to be studied to find out how they cohere in their collective mind. This is what the author set himself to do in this work which is probably the first of its kind in India.
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