Introduction / History The Kisan live in India, in the states of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. Many Kisan may now be living in Jharkhand in India. They are classed as a Scheduled Tribe. This benefits them in work, parliament and with other benefits. Kisan means "farmer". They are called by names according to the states they live in. In Orissa they are called Kor, Kuda and Mirdha and also Bihor, Kola and Morua. In Bihar they are called Nageshwar and Nagesia.
The Kisan use the languages of the states they live in. In Bihar they speak Sadri and use Devanagari for writing. In West Bengal, Sadri is the main language and they also speak and write in Bengali. In Orissa they speak Kisan and Oriya and use Oriya for writing.
Most of them are landowners who cultivate and agriculture is their main occupation. Those who have no land usually work as agricultural laborers. In West Bengal they often work on tea plantations.
Many Kisan sell products such as honey and wild flowers. They eat rice, mutton, poultry and eggs among other foods. The Kisan men drink alcohol, mostly locally brewed or home brewed. Many parents cannot afford to have their children educated and many have literacy problems. They are a tribal, peasant people and they use family planning.
Many Kisan use private moneylenders who charge high interests. They prefer marriages in adulthood. Marriage with the daughter of a mother's brother is accepted except in Bihar. Divorce is allowed in cases such as adultery, cruelty and impotence. Parental property is divided equally among the sons. The women have roles in money, social and religious matters. They have traditional councils at the village level to solve disputes.
What are their beliefs? The Kisan are Hindus and worship all the main gods and goddesses like Krishna, Siva, Hanuman, Rama and others. They have gods from their tribal roots also. They observe the main Hindu festivals. The Brahmin priests are called Purohit and local priests perform ceremonies. They use medicine men. The Kisan have pollution periods for both births and deaths. In West Bengal the dead are mainly cremated and in Orissa they are buried.