Rajmahal Hills situated in Jharkhand are among one of the oldest hills of India. This article will dive into various dimensions about Rajmahl Hills including the Geography of Rajmahal Hills, Location, Importance, Fossils in Rajmahal Hills and last not least the rampant mining in the hills and its effect on the tribal communities living in the area. You can also download the Rajmahal Hills Map from the Link at the end of the article.
- The Rajmahal Hills, situated in the Santhal Pargana Division (Jharkhand), lie between 24°20′- 25°20′ north latitude and 87°20′-87°45′ east latitude. The hills extend in the north-south direction for about 122 km from near the river Ganga at Sahebganj to as far south latitude as 24°20′.
- In the east-west direction, it is about 48 km wide near the centre of the hills, but it contracts to about 20-25 km in the north and south.
- To the north and east, this range is bounded by the river Ganga and in the west and south by the undulating plains of Godda and Dumka districts.
- The hill range consists of succeeding hills, plateaus, valleys and ravines.
Importance of Rajmahal Hills
Rajmahal hosts some of the oldest fossils in the world and there is a need to protect the area, say experts. Rare fossils, found in these hills, belong to the Jurassic period. These fossils could help scientists in research tracing the evolution of Earth and its creation.
- Experts hold that after the Aravali hills, the Rajmahal hills are perhaps among India’s oldest hills.
- The origin of these hills could be traced back to anywhere between 68 – 118 million years ago.
- Volcanic activities during the Jurassic period resulted in the formation of the Rajmahal Traps.
- These are named after the town of Rajmahal situated in eastern Jharkhand.
- The River Ganga wanders around the hills changing the direction of flow from east to the south as can be seen in the figure.
- These hills are situated on the northern margin of the Gondwana supercontinent, and are today inhabited by the Sauria Paharia tribe people while its valleys are dominated by the Santhal people.
Fossils in Rajmahal Hills
- The Rajmahal hills contain plant fossils that are 68-145 million years old.
- The fossils here have attracted Geologists and Palaeobotanists from around the world.
- The plant fossils bearing inter-trappean beds of the Rajmahal Formation are now declared as National Geological Monuments of India by the Geological Survey of India (GSI), for their protection, maintenance, promotion and the enhancement of tourism.
Mining in Hills
There has been a growing concern around the illegal mining in Rajmahal hills. Recent news articles also point to the same. A primitive tribe and rare fossils threatened by stone mining in Jharkhand.
- Rampant stone quarrying in these hills has increased the concerns of its impact on the indigenous communities living on the hills and in the valleys.
- The rampant mining affects the livelihood and habitation of SauriaPaharia, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group, that lives on the these hills.
PVTGs in Jharkhand
Some of the PVTGs of Jharkhand and Bihar are-
Asur, Birhor, Birjia, Hill Kharia, Korwa, Mal Paharia, Parhaiya, Sauria Paharia, Savara.
Particularly vulnerable tribal group
- Seventy-Five tribal groups have been categorized by the Ministry of Home Affairs GOI, as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.
- The criteria of the government of India for identifying Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups are:
- Pre-agricultural level of technology
- Low level of literacy
- Economic backwardness
- A declining or stagnant population.
- PVTGs are found in 18 States/UTs in India.
- The SauriaPaharia is also known as Maler Paharia are tribal people of Bangladesh and the Indian states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Bihar.
- They are found mainly in the Santhal Parganas region of the Rajmahal.
- This tribe depends on mixed farming of millet, corn and other crops and they follow shifting cultivation, called jhum.
Where is Rajmahal hills located?
The Rajmahal Hills, situated in the Santhal Pargana Division (Jharkhand), lie between 24°20′- 25°20′ north latitude and 87°20′-87°45′ east latitude.
Which soil is found in Rajmahal hills?
Laterite soil rich in iron and aluminium and which forms in hot and wet tropical areas is found in the Rajmahal Hills.
Who lived in Rajmahal hills?
The Santhal Pargana famous for Santhal rebellion against Britishers is inhabited by various tribes. The Particularly vulnerable tribal group Sauria Paharia also known as Maler Paharia, inhabits in the Rajmahal Hill.