MATUA COMMUNITY (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Art & Culture)

News-CRUX-10     22nd May 2024        

Context: The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) sparked discussions in five Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal, particularly among the Matuas, a Hindu sect seeking citizenship under the act.

Matua Community

  • About: It is a sect of depressed class Hindus, primarily comprising Namasudras, a Scheduled Caste group.
  • Origin: from East Pakistan, Matuas migrated to India during Partition and subsequent events such as the creation of Bangladesh.

oDespite their long presence in India, a significant portion of the Matua population still lacks Indian citizenship.

  • Founder: The Matua sect, rooted in Vaishnava Hinduism, was founded by Harichand Thakur in undivided Bengal.
  • Beliefs: The teachings of Harichand Thakur attracted members of marginalized communities, including Chandals and Namasudras, historically considered untouchables.
  • Geographical Settlement: Following the partition of East Pakistan, a considerable number of Matua followers resettled in West Bengal, shaping the demographic landscape of the region.

oWest Bengal became a significant hub for the Matua community, fostering their cultural, social, and religious practices.

Matua Mahasangha

  • About: Matua Mahasangha emerged around 1860 AD in present-day Bangladesh and gained supporters in both Bangladesh and West Bengal, India.
  • Founder: The movement was initiated by the followers of Harichand Thakur, who received spiritual enlightenment at a young age and preached his philosophy through Twelve Commandments.
  • Emphasis on Education: Thakur's teachings prioritize education as a vital means for societal upliftment, reflecting a belief in knowledge as a tool for progress.