Oral Narratives of Mahali

Mahalis have their own tradition of beliefs and the history of their origin, similar to other ethnic communities in India. They refer to the saga of their tradition as kise. During the field survey, the Centre collected two such narrations about their origin, and the English translation of the same is given here: 


Long ago, Pilcuharam and Pilcuhaburi had seven sons and seven daughters. They did not want any relationship between the sons and the daughters and, hence, decided to grow up with them separately. Thus, Pilcuharam went to a forest with his seven sons, and Pilcuhaburi asked their sons and daughters not to visit each other. Thus, They did not visit the village either. They were spending their days happily in this way in their respective areas.

One day, the sons of Pilcuharam went for hunting in the forest. Suddenly, they saw a deer and decided to kill it. The deer started running, and they were chasing the deer and entered the forest where Pilcuhaburi used to stay with her seven daughters. As they entered the forest, they saw seven beautiful ladies playing, swinging from the jhula hanging from a banyan tree, and enjoying themselves. The gentlemen and ladies fell for each other and married each other. However, the youngest son and youngest daughter realized that they were siblings of each other and refused to marry. The other people killed the youngest daughter, and the youngest son abandoned the place with a heavy heart. He started living alone in another forest, and one day, he suddenly met another lady. That lady belongs to a dom family. Doms are known for earning their livelihood by making things using the skin of dead animals. The man and the woman were expelled from society, and they started their new married life in another forest, where they gave birth to their children. These children are known as Mahalis in the present time.

The narration of their origin assumes that as doms used to work with bamboo, the Mahalis inherited their tradition of bamboo basketry works.




There were two wives in a family, baRki and choTki. baRki had two sons and choTki had four sons: Santhal, Mahale, Munda and Birhor. There was a worship program going on in the family when Santhal went to the river to fetch some water. He reached the riverbank and saw a dead cow lying there. He felt tempted and started having the flesh of the cow. Villagers saw him enjoying the cow-flesh and abandoned him from the village forcibly. He left the place and started staying in a new place. It is said that from that time, the Mahali tribe originated, and their conflict with the Santhal people began. But a group of people thinks that as Santhal was the eldest son of choTki, he went to fetch water from the river and ate cow meat, then in which logic, his descendants became Mahali? Thus, the Mahali people also give the blame for lying to the Santhal people, and they hate the Santhal people.