17 APR | UPSC Current Affairs | GS 1: Mahad Satyagraha, Pahariyas Tribe & Ringwoodite

Mahad Satyagraha

News: The Mahad Satyagraha is considered to be the ‘foundational event’ of the Dalit movement.

Mahad : It is a town located in the Raigad district, formerly known as Kolaba, in the North Konkan region of Maharashtra.

  • It was a part of the former capital city of Shivaji’s Maharaj’s Maratha empire and is home to the Raigad Fort which also houses his samadhi.

Aim of Mahad Satyagraha: It was launched against the upper caste Hindus who did not allow the lower castes to access public water sources.

Bole’s Resolution: In August 1923, S.K. Bole, a former social reformer, proposed a resolution to provide access to all the watering facilities built using public funding.

  • In January 1924, the municipality of Mahad passed a resolution to open the Chavdar tank, a large pond on the outskirts of the town in a caste Hindu area.
  • To assert their right to access public resources, Dr Ambedkar and his associates drank from the tank on March 20, 1927.
  • In the town, the act of ‘untouchables’ drinking water from a tank caused anger among the dominant caste groups.

Launch of Satyagraha: In March 1927, Ambedkar organised the Mahad Tank Satyagraha, asserted right of untouchables to have access to drinking water from public tank.

  • On 25 December 1927, the movement called for public burning of Manusmriti, the sacred text of Hindus which sanctified caste-based restrictions in society, at Mahad.
  • The act was a symbolic victory of Ambedkar against the caste-based practices in Hindu society.

Escalation of Conflict: This conflict evolved into a legal battle when the ‘touchable’ group filed a case against Dr Ambedkar and his associates for using the water from the tank.

  • This case lasted for almost ten years, restricting the untouchable group’s access to tank water.
  • Finally, in 1937, the Bombay high court dismissed the plea of the ‘touchable’ Hindu groups that prohibited others’ access to the tank water.

Significance- Every year, March 20 is observed as Social Empowerment Day in India to commemorate the Mahad Satyagraha.

 Pahariyas Tribe

News: Jharkhand’s Pahariya tribe aims to achieve seed independence by depositing native varieties in community-led banks.

The Pahariyas: They primarily reside in Jharkhand and West Bengal, with smaller populations in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Odisha.

Historical Mention: The Pahariya tribe finds mention in Megasthenes’ book as well as Hiuen Tsang’s travelogue.

Religious Practices: The Pahariyas worship deities specific to their households, clans, and villages, such as Mait, Maa, Gangadi, Sunadi, Rupadi, and Budharaj.

    • They also believe in naturalism and worship natural objects like sun, river, mountain, tree, animal, birds, plants and bushes.

Language: They speak mal Pahariya language that is influenced by local dialects Havli and Chharisgarhi. Their language is a mixture of Santali, Bengali and Hindi.

Economy: Pahariya tribe are forest dwellers and mainly engage in jhum or shifting agriculture.

Types: In Jharkhand, there are two types of Paharias:

Mal Paharia People:

        • Location: Reside in the southern hills of Damin-i-koh, south, and east of Santhal Parganas, with some presence in Odisha and West Bengal.
        • Descent and Language: Descendants of sakra races, speak “Malti” and Bangla.
        • Primitive Tribal Group: Indigenous to Santhal Parganas, Jharkhand.
        • Livelihood: Primarily engaged in shifting cultivation.
        • Religious Beliefs: Centered around ancestor worship and reverence for Dharti and Gorasi Gosai as primary deities.

Sauria Paharias:

        • Origin and Residence: Originally from Karnataka, currently inhabit Rajmahal and Santhal Pargana mountains.
        • Language and Culture: Speak “Malto”, referred to as “Pahadiya” due to mountain dwelling.
        • Marital Practices and Religion: Do not follow the same gotra system in marriage, cultural similarities with Hinduism, and predominantly vegetarian.
        • Economic Basis: Mainly reliant on farming for sustenance.


News: Researchers from Northwestern University in Illinois, USA have uncovered an immense reservoir of water that lies 700 kilometers beneath the earth’s surface, within a type of rock called ringwoodite.

Ringwoodite :

  • It is a bright blue rock and is only formed at high temperature and pressure in the Earth’s mantle.
  • It has been named ringwoodite after Alfred E. Ringwood, an Australian earth scientist who studied polymorphic phase transitions in common mantle minerals, olivine and pyroxene.
  • It is one of the most high-pressure mineral in meteorites.
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