Accepted paper:

Change in Religion and Its Reflection on the Demographic Behaviour of the Santals in Bangladesh


Mahmudul Hasan (University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh)

Paper short abstract:

The Santal is one of the four dozens of small ethnic groups in Bangladesh. Their ancestral believes have been changed with the change of religion and influencing them to change their demographic behaviour too.

Paper long abstract:

There are about four dozens of small ethnic group living in Bangladesh today. The Santal is one of them. They are living in Bangladesh for about hundred years. The life style of this people was almost traditional until the few decades ago. But the changes in life style of the Santals are getting clear to clearer since the last quarter of a century. In fact, they are animist. The Christian missionary has entered and exerting influence on them for reducing their isolation and poverty. As a result, more than half of the Santals have been converted to Christianity in place of their ancestral beliefs. The change of religion is not limited to conversion only. Its influences are reflected in all sphere of societal life. For example- the size of the family has been limited or they are becoming interested in the control of their fertility. Field study shows that many Santal capable couples are presently using different methods of birth control. It indicates that the size of the family is becoming smaller day by day. But those who did not change their ancestral beliefs are not been showing such trend. Therefore, the change of religion is constantly influencing them to change their demographic behaviour too. The present paper is written based on the information directly collected from the field- the Santals settlements in Bangladesh.

panel WMW02
Religion In contemporary south Asia