The Musahar community belongs to the Schedule Caste group and populates the Northern parts of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh. Termed 'untouchable caste,' they are deprived of several social and economic benefits, resources, and claims.
The Musahar community is among the poorest communities in Bihar. It often depends on a diet of rats and other rodents, due to which society has placed them at the bottom of the list determining purity. Most of their community members suffer from malnutrition and a lack of job opportunities and basic educational facilities.
They are also called several other names, such as 'Bhuiyan' and 'Banbasi', due to their former occupation of catching and eating rats. Notably, some from their community are still forced to follow the same practice due to adverse situations and poverty.
Story Behind Coming Of 'Musahars'
According to hypothetical stories presented by locals, Lord Brahma created a man and offered him a horse to ride. The first Mushar started digging holes in the belly of the horse with the intention of fixing his feet. Such ill-mannered activity by the first Musahar man offended Lord Brahma, who cursed him and his upcoming generations to be rat-catchers and eaters.
According to a study conducted by the National Human Rights Commission of India, titled 'The Musahar: A Socio-Economic Study,' the Musahar community members were found to be the poorest of the Scheduled Castes, and their population is estimated to decline in the coming decades, due to challenges they face in their daily lives.
The study highlighted the extreme backwardness of the community, which forces them to suffer in extreme situations without basic amenities. The term' education' is non-existent among the community members as the literacy rate is only six per cent. They are also deprived of government schemes, policies, and welfare programs due to a lack of documents and their caste level in the hierarchy.
Help Empower The Backward Community
Several self-help groups (SHGs) can now be seen where people from the Musahar community have collectively come together to improve their quality of life. Several independent bureaucrats have also helped the community to go above the poverty line.
A retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, Jyotinivas Kumar Sinha, was awarded Padma Shri by the former president of India, Ram Nath Kovind, in 2019 for his selfless service towards the welfare of the Musahar community.
In fact, several non-profit organizations have now started working on the grass-roots level to improve their life. Everyone should come forward to help the socio-economically backward community by contributing to the NGOs as it strengthens their hands to work better.
Also Read: Chhattisgarh: Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel Announces Monthly Allowance For Unemployed Youth