Sabar people

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Regions with significant populations
Odisha 10,000
traditional beliefs, sarna belief
Related ethnic groups
Mundas, Ho, Santhal and other Mon-Khmer people

The Sabar people (also Shabar and Saora) are one of the Adivasi of Munda ethnic group tribe who live mainly in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal. During the British Raj, they were classed as one of the 'criminal tribes' under Criminal Tribes Act 1871, and still suffer from social stigma and ostracism in modern times.[1][2]

Also known as Saora, the Sabar tribe finds mention in the Hindu epic Mahabharata,[3] while in some parts of East Singhbhum district mainly in Musabani, they are known as in Kariya.[4] Noted writer and activist Mahasweta Devi is known for working with these forest tribals.[5]

This reclusive tribe is found primarily in East Singhbhum district in Jharkhand[6] and in Midnapore District of West Bengal.

The traditionally forest-dwelling tribe lack experience in agriculture, and rely on the forests for their livelihood. In recent years, with the spread of the Naxalite rebellion in the area, the police often restrict their access to the forest. In 2004, five persons in the Sabar village of Amlasole, in Midnapore district, died after several months of starvation, [7] leading to a national media furore. Subsequently, Durbar Mahila Samanway Committee (DMSC) started a school in the area, funded partially by sex workers from Kolkata.[8]

In June 2008, the Sabar suffered severe flooding in many of their West Bengal villages, and then received large amounts of aid from Catholic missionaries.Recently in the month of October 2018 seven shabar people died of starvation.That clearly shows shabars are still prey of starvation,malnutrition.

Further reading

  • The Book of the Hunter, by Mahasweta Devi, translated by Sagaree and Mandira Sengupta, Seagull, 2002. ISBN 81-7046-204-5.
  • Hated, Humiliated, Butchered by Mahasweta Devi, Tehelka, 12 October 2007


  1. ^ Dilip D'Souza on the Sabar tribe ', October 16, 1999.
  2. ^ Accused Of Being Accursed by Dilip D'Souza, ', 10 June 1999.
  3. ^ Orissa Tribes'.
  4. ^ Sabar Tribe
  5. ^ Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Ma - Mahashweta Devi Tehelka, 11 September 2004.
  6. ^ Sabar tribals go on ‘Bharat Darshan’ The Hindu, 27 February 2008.
  7. ^ "Red Faced". India Today. 2004-06-28. Retrieved 2015-10-17. Budhu Sabar, who lost his father Samay and sister Mongli earlier this year, has no doubt they starved to death. "My father had nothing but water for almost a fortnight before his death," says Budhu. "In the end he got fever and I watched him die without food."
  8. ^ Murty, B Vijay (20 March 2009). "Missing mantris: Sex workers step in". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2018.


  • Sabar tribe in Sabar Nagar, Jamshedpur district
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