The Prime Minister recently met Binapani Devi, popularly known as ‘Boro Ma’ the matriarch of the Matua community.
• Matuas are Namasudras, a Scheduled Caste group who trace their ancestry to East Bengal.
• Many of them entered West Bengal after Partition and after the formation of Bangladesh.
• While no official count is available, community leaders put their population at 3 crore.
• The Matua Mahasangha, is a religious reforms movement and a sect which was formed by Harichand Thakur in East Bengal in the mid-1800s.
• Thakur attained atmadarshan at an early age and would subsequently preach his Darshan in Twelve Commandments.
• The teachings of Thakur establish education as pre-eminently important for the adherent and upliftment of the population, while also providing a formula for ending social conflict.
• Matua-mahasangha believe in Self-Dikshitisation (“SelfRealisation”). Therefore, anyone who has faith in the Darshan or Philosophy of God Harichand belongs to the Matuamahasanhga.
• Harichand’s grandson P R Thakur established West Bengal’s Thakurnagar as headquarters of the sect after 1947.