A drum procession makes its way through the village of Sarjoma. Three women lead the way carrying baskets laden with grain and assorted offerings. The procession makes its way to a large stone which marks a memorial stone.
The Munda community of Jharkhand erects a gravestone to commemorate the death of an individual. The rituals they carry out today are the same ones their ancestors carried out 100s of years ago.
“The rituals and the gravestone keep the identity of the people of the community”, says Sinu Munda, an elder of the community.
In addition to the gravestone the deceased’s family also plant Sal trees, a tree that is an important livelihood source throughout a Munda’s life.
“The person may be gone physically but the stone we erect in their memory, makes them live on forever”, Says Community Correspondent Amita Tuti who is also a Munda.