Matua Mahasangha

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Matua Mahasangha is a religious reformation movement that originated in what is today Bangladesh, with a considerable number of adherents both in Bangladesh as well as in West Bengal in India. Matua is a sect of Hindu folk religion. The movement was launched as a reformation by the followers of Harichand Thakur, popularly to by adherents as God Harichand. Born to a peasant family belonging to the Namasudra community, Thakur attained atmadarshan at an early age and would subsequently preach his Darshan in Twelve Commandments. The teachings of Thakur establish education as preeminently important for the adherent and the upliftment of the population the adherent's duty, while also providing a formula for ending social conflict.

Matua-mahasangha believe in Self-Dikshitisation ("Self-Realisation"). So anyone who has faith in the Darshan or Philosophy of God Harichand belongs to the Matua-mahasanhga.

After Partition in 1947, a large number of the Matua community migrated to West Bengal in India. In the 2011 provincial election (Bidhan Swava), they have been a big political force behind Mamata Banarjee's win and sweeping victory over left alliance.

Organisations[edit]

Initially the Matua-mahasangha followers or "matuas" formed an organisation in Orakandi, Faridpur, Bengal Presidency (now in Bangladesh). After 1947, followers formed a second organisation in Thakurnagar, West Bengal, India. Dr. C. S. Mead, a Baptist missionary, was involved with the movement. At first, it was very difficult to form the temple. The temple was initially looked after by Thakur's family, but as of 2011 it was managed by a trustee chosen by the followers. The State Government of West Bengal offered the Matua Mahasangha 20 cottah of land to build a research organisation.[citation needed]

Followers may be found throughout India and Bangladesh. In some locations they have worshipping places. In the beginning Matua-mahasangha followed simplified rituals, but later adopted Vaishnavism.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Matua Dharma Darshan (in Bengali), Thakurnagar, 1393 B.S. p-47: Paramananda Halder
  • Sekhar Bandyopadhyay: Popular religion and social mobility : The Matua sect and the namsudras in R.K.Ray (ed) Mind Body and Society, Life and Mentality in colonial Bengal ( Calcutta) 1995
  • Hitesh Ranjan Sanyal: Social Mobility in Bengal, Calcutta,1985
  • Adal Badal (Bengali Monthly) June–July,1995 No IV and V
  • Namasudra Movements in Bengal (1872–1947), R.K.Biswas, ISBN 81-88006-19-X, 2010, Progressive Book Forum, Kolkata