Naike Mangal Chandra Soren, “Turku Lumam”, was born in 1899 at Dhuapahari (Near Silda) in the district of Medinipur (now Jhargarm District) of West Bengal. His father’s name was Subba Soren and his mother’s name was Samiya Soren. His grandfather, Thumpu Soren, had migrated to Dhuapahari from his ancestral village Kamarbandi.
Thumpu Soren founded Dhuapahari village and according to the rule of santal society, he was elected as a Majhi (village headman). Mangal Soren got his early education at Silda Toll. At that time, Adibasi people could not get a chance to study in Toll. He got a chance in Toll as he was the son of the Majhi family.
The Majhi dynasty had a very close relationship with the Silda royal family. After completing Toll education, he was admitted to Kamarbandi Upper Primary school. Except for Kamarbandi at that time, there was no school in the surrounding area. He passed Upper Primary from there in 1913 and got admission to Bhimpur Mission M.E. School.
Along with formal education, different types of handicrafts like farming, carpentry, weaving, etc., were taught in Bhimpur school. He completed his education and returned home in 1917. After returning home, he helped his father in cultivation and also started handicraft works which he learnt in school.
As he studied many Hindu religious books in Toll, his mind was attracted by the Hindu religion. He had no knowledge about his own religion Saridharam (the only religion of the Santal Tribe). He had thought that the Santals are the follower of Hindu religion. So, he had formed a team of Kirtan Singers and started propagating the Hindu religion among the santal community.
One day his father rebuked him because he practised and propagated the Hindu religion without knowing his own religion. He looked on himself as guilty and went to his paternal uncle Chunu Majhi (Tudu) to properly know the Saridharam. His uncle sang a Baha Song to him and also explained the philosophy of song.
After hearing the Baha Song, an interest in Saridharam was born in his mind. In 1927 he published a religious songbook named “Sari Sarjom”. This book reveals the philosophy of Saridharam. His other publications are:
In 1932 he was appointed as an acting teacher at Jugberia School when Headmaster Surai Soren went for Basic Training. His career started from there. He got the job of permanent teacher at Mechua Primary School in 1933. He visited various Santal areas whenever he was on vacations and collected a lot of information on Santali rituals, customs and cultures.
Once he went to Karuakata to consult with Majhi Ramdas Tudu “Raska”. He heard about Jomsim Binti and Karam Binti from him. After hearing it his thirst for knowledge began. He continued his travelling till his last breath. In his life, he visited Dumka, Mayurbhanj, Dampra and many other Santal populated areas.
The National Congress has started a massive movement against the British for an independent India in the forties. Many Santal leaders were participating in the anti-British movement. Medinipur District Adibasi Mahasava and Bhimpur Santal Teacher’s Assembly started a movement for the betterment of Adibasi.
Mangal Chandra was influenced by this movement and his soul cried for the nation. So, he joined the National Congress in 1940.
Kherwal Mag Mare started at Kolkata Alipur Bodyguard Police Line on the initiative of Santal youths who were working in Calcutta Police in 1950. Mangal Chandra Soren was elected as an MLA from Binpur Constituency in the first general election in 1952. He was elected as a Naike (Priest) at Kolkata Kherwal Mag More in 1957. He served as a Naike before his death.
He was also elected as an MLA for the second time in 1962 and the third time in 1967. He received numerous awards and honours notable among them are:
As per the rule of creation, death will happen. This great man passed away on 9 December, 1992, leaving a great treasure for us.